You don’t need to wait for a new year to come by to set your goals, but as we jump headlong into 2017 for a lot of people, bringing in a new year translates to hope, hope that this year is going to be different, this year they will “make it”. This could be chasing the elusive number on a scale, scaling a mountain, being a better parent or dusting off that guitar stashed away somewhere in the dark corner of a closet.
While we haven’t listed out a five-step plan on getting you to strum your favorite number in time for ringing in 2018, we do have one for you as far as your career goes!
Set a goal
Far too many women tend to just ‘go with it’ as far as their career goes. Setting a goal will help you build a vision for your career, motivate you and give you something concrete to work towards, that is of your own design and making.
You will need to identify your skills and interests and map the two. Then define where you want to be, a milestone that you want to achieve. If you have defined a long term big milestone, then break it up into smaller milestones to be achieved in a year or two.
Define the gap
Ask yourself the following:
What’s the gap between where you are today and where you want to be, in terms of skills and experience. It's worth noting that study after study shows that while men will be promoted on the potential they have shown, women need to prove that they can handle the work that they are taking up before they are awarded the role. A little bit of a chicken and egg situation unfortunately, but being aware of these gender biases will help you circumvent them.
Are you on the right path this far - your current role, organization and environment - are they conducive for where you want to be? Is your manager an ally or a barrier? Your manager will pay a key role in whether you will be able to achieve the growth you are looking for, so you will need to pay special attention to your equation with him/her.
What are your personal barriers - self limiting beliefs, bandwidth to take on more etc.
What's your “brand” - the image you have built? Will your brand help you get to where you want to be? What have you portrayed yourself as an expert in?
Communicate your goal
If there aren't any fundamental gaps(eg the organization or manager) then the next step would be to communicate what you want to achieve with your manager.
Align with them on the feasibility of what you want to achieve.
Be prepared with a list of asks - what you need from him/her for you to achieve this - e,g, work on a specific project to gain a skill that you need
Ask your manager to define a set of KPIs that you need to achieve in order for you to achieve your goal.
Keep your ear to the ground
The first three steps revolved around you and your world, however the fact is that you can't work in a silo. Do the networking you need to do, be aware of what's going on with the organization's direction,strategic interests, profits etc.
Work at it
It's time to do the hard work
Break your goal into weekly actionable steps.
Work on all the gaps you have defined.
Work on what you have agreed with your manager
Check-in with your manager regularly - this will keep you accountable, and remind your manager of your goal.
When the time is right, march up to your manager and ask and negotiate to see your goal to fruition!
Get in touch with us if you would like to be coached in setting goals and achieving them, to progress in your career.