Career success takes skill, strength, accomplishment and aptitude; in other words, talent. Recruiters are constantly on the lookout for emerging talent on track to be nurtured and aligned with their organizational mission. Henceforth, this targeted talent then jumps from being a follower—a job seeker—to be the driver—proactively recruited. As the navigator, they now have input on salary, benefits, and professional direction, as well as strategizing their role and responsibilities within an organization.
Still, long before one takes hold of the wheel, talented professionals must assess how fast and far they’re ready and able to drive.
Whether you liken yourself to a sports car or station wagon, we all need a little career maintenance from time to time. Not only does it clarify our purpose and worth, but it keeps us on track with where we want to go professionally. So, pause occasionally and fill up the engine, kick the tires, and poke around under the hood. By doing so, you’ll jump from the trunk to the driver’s seat as you navigate the talent highway.
Fill’er Up: If you were able to uncap your talent tank and peak inside, what would you find? Are you constantly growing, learning, and being challenged or are you resting on your reserves? All too often we fade into the work we’re doing, engaging less and obliging more. Pro-active talent management not only includes organizations dialoguing with high-potentials, but talented professionals crafting and implementing their own strategic career plan so they get noticed and recruited.
Curtis L. Odom, ED.D., in his book “Stuck in the Middle: A Generation X View of Talent Management” suggests that talent management should be about four things: “Know, Grow, Show and Flow.” He goes on to flesh out how these four principals can foster a well-structured succession plan. Odom’s “grow” element includes an employee’s knowledge, skills and abilities to succeed at the next level. Part of our own professional development includes knowing when to ask for more. Although an organization can offer opportunities and support, it’s ultimately up to the individual to take control of their professional future. Odom calls this owning your own “succession plan.”
Pop the Hood: Whether you’ve selected a sports car or station wagon as an icon for your career, know style isn’t as important as substance, as flashy colors and sleek designs will only get you so far. It’s what’s under the hood that counts. Know what drives you (passion), know what you’re capable off (strengths) and find a way to merge and build on these assets. But an honest review of your skills and accomplishments must come first. According to Odom, “part of making things happen in life, as a company or as an individual, is taking a hard look at things personally.” He acknowledges this isn’t always easy but if ignored may lead to the feeling of being “stuck in the middle.”
Not only does one have to self-advocate, but they must know what assets they are advocating for and where growth is needed. Odom reminds us that “the unwillingness to do a hard assessment is a disconnect between getting what you want and continuing to lack what you need.”
Kick the Tires: Are you ready to roll? If you’re continually honing your talent and you know what you’re capable of, then it’s time to make a move. This may come in the form of dialogue with a decision maker or developing opportunities outside your current organization. It’s important that you have both balance and tread in order to move forward. In other words, assess what you’re capable of putting forth as you drive your career forward. If family obligation takes precedence, then a 60 plus hour work week will leave you unbalanced. When it comes to tread, what foothold do you have in your organization, industry and with strategic alliances? You need to pave your path with concrete resources that will help move your career forward. This requires effort and drive.
Whatever your career goal, going the distance takes maintenance and drive.
It’s never easy. According to Odom, “Success comes with challenge and sacrifices… If you’re not willing to put forth the effort…then you really don’t want personal success that badly yet.”
How To Be Career Happy? Gear Up For Success