Once you have gained an understanding of yourself, your organization and your role within the organization, it’s time to shift a critical lens to your development up to this point and construct a vision for the next phase in your career development. Identify your relevant knowledge, skills, and abilities according to your career stage, industry, organization, and role. Assess how these proficiencies contribute to your growth and to your work in your organization. Identify gaps in your skills, knowledge, and abilities that you will need for continued success where you are or to move forward. As needed, conduct curiosity conversations with people who have expertise in the skillset or knowledge area that you want to develop. This will help you envision a clear picture of how to transition into the action phase.
Here are some tools to get started:
Evaluate Current Role and Skills
Before you make a plan to move forward, you need to start with where you are. This includes asking questions about what you do and don’t like about your current role, organization, and industry and taking stock of your skills and how they align with your ability to be successful there.
Use this worksheet to assess your skills against your job description, your performance goals, and feedback from your manager. If you are uncertain how to answer these questions, ask for a feedback conversation with your manager and others.
You may have performed a SWOT analysis as part of an organizational strategic planning process. It’s also a great tool for you to use on yourself as you consider your current strengths (things to build upon), weaknesses (gaps to fill), possible opportunities (needs you are uniquely positioned to fill), and threats (external changes that might impact forward movement).
Once you have identified the skills you need for your current role and looked at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, it’s time to think about what could come next and how well-prepared you are for that opportunity. An easy tool to gather this data comes in the form of existing job descriptions. If you’re unsure of what that next move might be, spend some time scanning job descriptions and take note of the roles you find interesting or exciting. Then, look at the specific skills, knowledge areas, and other competencies required for the role. What do you have and what are you missing?
This also is a great time to reach out to people for some curiosity conversations to learn more about roles, organizations, and industries. You can learn more about these important conversations with this blog post and video. And don’t forget people within your current organization, especially if your goal is to move up where you are.
If you are considering a change, but aren’t sure where to start, use this Possible Lives exercise which encourages you to consider all the potential options, themes, and patterns that might inform next steps. After you complete the exercise, share it with a trusted friend or advisor to gather additional feedback on themes and possible next steps.
Action Planning: Evaluate Skills and Gaps
Now that you’ve spent some time examining your current skills, knowledge areas, and competencies, and identified the gaps you need to fill to move forward, complete this planning worksheet. The answers to these questions correspond to the Knowing How questions on the Career Competencies worksheet in the Learn Self, Role, Organization step and will prepare you for what’s next: Act to Intentionally Grow and Develop.