Welcome to the Action step. This might be where you spend the majority of your time, since in many ways you are constantly taking action towards what’s next; however, it’s important to be intentional about how and in which direction you put your time and energy. Take the insights you gained in the Learn and Evaluate steps and create SMART goals for the specific skills, knowledge, and abilities you need to develop as well as specific action steps you need to take to achieve those goals. Use this information to map out a realistic, achievable timeline, share it with a trusted mentor or wise counselor, then get to work taking steps towards achieving your goals.
Here are some tools to get started:
How to Upskill and Find Stretch Assignments
As you work on your professional development, there will be many opportunities to develop skills and knowledge. You might need to have a conversation with your manager to share your goals and identify stretch assignments. You may need to seek out training or certifications or even a graduate degree. You might need to look for opportunities through professional organizations or civic/volunteer opportunities. Don’t limit yourself to your specific role, and remember that you are ultimately responsible for your growth.
Take a look at the following webinar on Creating a Plan to Grow Your Professional Skill Set by HR professional and alumnus Ryan Smith (‘13) and then go back to your goals worksheet. Where can you seek out growth opportunities to help you to reach your goals?
Seeking out and building relationships with mentors, sponsors, and other support resources is a great way to support your growth and gather feedback. We know that finding mentors can be challenging, and that’s why we love the idea of short-term mentoring. Using what you have learned about your values, strengths, and 30-60-90 day goals, as well as the goals you set for intentional growth, think about who the people are in your network who can help you move forward with intention. Read this article to learn more about how to seek out short-term mentorship.
Action Planning: Act to Intentionally Grow & Develop
Now that you’ve spent some time examining your current skills, knowledge areas, and competencies, and identified the gaps and people you need to fill to move forward, complete this planning worksheet.