Career Development

Your future begins here. Check out these self-assessment tools.

‘… One cannot build on weakness. To achieve results, one has to use all the available strengths…  These strengths are the true opportunities’ (Drucker, 1967)

The Theory from Gallup:

Strengths-Based Career Development: Seven Checkpoints
1. Move from strength.
A. Assess your talents, knowledge, experience and capabilities. Sort out what you can learn from that which is innate and enduring.
B. Don’t rule out a career possibility because you lack knowledge or experience. Those things can almost always be acquired. Evaluate whether you have the needed strengths or talents instead.
C. Take a close look at why the role seems attractive to you. Resist being drawn to a role for the wrong reasons (for example, by prestige, glamour, or power). Make sure you love to do what the role requires.
2. Consider the possibilities.
A. Roles, organizations, and even entire industries are changing rapidly, so building flexibility into your career plan is more important than ever. Spend time considering the choices before you. This exploratory phase will help you become more aware of possible career options.
B. Ask for help if you are unsure of opportunities that exist inside your organization or community.
C. Seek the advice of others whose career progression has been broader than your own or whose work allows them to work with people in many different roles.
3. Define the expectations.
A. Once you have selected one or two possibilities, define specific expectations for each role.
B. Consider the talent, knowledge, and experience your target role requires. What tasks would you have to accomplish? What talents and knowledge will it take to be successful? What would you do in that role every day?
C. Sometimes, getting the role you want requires a different set of strengths than the role itself. Getting elected is one such example — the talents and skills needed to hold an office may differ from those required to run for office. Managing salespeople may be another: The skills required to succeed at sales are not the skills needed to manage highly successful salespeople. Consider what has to be accomplished to acquire the role. How well can you meet that challenge?
4. Candidly consider your “fit.”
A. Don’t gloss over the parts of the role you dislike or wouldn’t enjoy. While no role will “fit” you perfectly, the parts that don’t “fit” should be kept to a minimum, and they should reflect the more negotiable aspects of the job.
B. Ask yourself, what tasks would you perform every day? How closely are those aligned with what you do best?
C. Don’t attempt this step alone. Seek input from your Career Board or from individuals who know you well and who are willing to help you with this process.
5. Define an action plan.
A. Once you’ve locked onto your goal, it’s time to plan. What are the things you must you do to prepare for this position? And how can you attain it, once you are ready?
6. Build a constituency.
A. Think about the people who can help you land your target role. Do you already know those people, or do you need to find ways to connect with them?
B. Identify the support you will need to be successful. Whose help will you need once you’ve attained your target role?
7. Measure your performance.
A. Chart your progress on your action plan. As you check off your current steps, identify the next three.
B. If your long-term goal requires interim steps, you may need to celebrate smaller successes as you go. These are excellent times to connect with your Career Board and other supporters.
C. Finally, continually reassess how your long-term goals relate to your career plan. At each step, consider whether you’re still happy with your overall direction, or whether you might have learned some things about the role or about yourself that might cause you to change your course. Failure to self-correct may lead you to token success — you may achieve your initial goal, but discover your priorities have changed in the interim.