Career development strategies. Are yours up to date?

career development strategies

CCS (or Career Counselling Services to give them their full title) is the organisation I did my career coach training with many, many, years ago.  Twice a year alumni who have trained with CCS come together to exchange knowledge, ideas and experiences as part of our continuous professional development.

We were also lucky enough to have the latest event videoed (including yours truly – seen at 2:02 minutes in)

You can find out more about it here:

The event is made up of a series of workshops led by alumni and guest speakers.

Unlike other career coaches, my focus is less on helping people change jobs and more on helping organisations develop the leaders they need for the future.  On this occasion I led a workshop on “Agile Career Development – How can we help organisations and employees adapt their career development strategies to changing circumstances?”

Career development strategies – a presentation

Here is a copy of my presentation slides.

But rather than describe what I covered in my own words I think it’s probably more interesting to learn what participants took away from the session.  So here is the write up from Rob Nathan, Director of CCS

Agile Career Development

How can we help organisations and employees have a flexible approach to career development? What can we learn from the original use of the term ‘agility’ – taken from project management, where it is ‘characterised by the division of tasks into short phases of work and frequent reassessment and adaptation of plans”? Why do we need agile career development?

An employer in today’s environment must be able to quickly and effectively change the way people make decisions within its organisational structure and systems. Career development is one of the areas where agility is key, and needs alignment with the organisation’s strategy in a VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous).

For our work as career coaches, we are often faced with clients who want stability and certainty, and when they do not know how to be agile. It takes much skill and some confidence to be agile.

Antoinette posed the question: If an organisation had an agile approach to career development, how would we know? What would be the signs? What would others notice to show that agile career development is going on?

I can imagine there needs to be a focus on collaboration, partnerships and mentoring. The group raised the question ‘who owns the change?’ When senior management makes changes on behalf of their staff, what impact does this have? I am reminded of the book by Richard Noer Healing the Wounds which summarised succinctly the need for organisations to carry out change programmes sensitively.

The challenge for organisations is to produce the people with the right skills and mindsets quickly enough to respond to the needs of their particular markets.

Not surprisingly, when Antoinette quoted from a McKinsey document, these were some of the more significant behaviours expected: empowered to act and learning from failures. This means the organisation needs to adapt its own infrastructure to enable agile behaviours.

IBM’s approach to career development distinguishes between stable and dynamic factors. Their Career Development Framework is stable, while the dynamics lie in organisational differences, learning style differences, employee needs, and changing company strategy.

The Career Development Framework describes:

  • competencies (needed by all employees)
  • skills (specific to job roles)
  • capabilities (combination of applied knowledge, knowledge, skills, abilities and on the job experiences.

Many of their competencies stress relationship building, partnering and collaboration, plus a systemic and global perspective.

Finally, Antoinette cited two TED talks (1) Simon Sinek – Start with why?’ and (2) Adam Leipzig – “Find your life purpose in five steps”. Both of these talks are about understanding the core purpose of why we do what we do, who we do it for and how those people benefit as a result.

Maybe our career coaching clients could think less about what job they want to do, or should be doing, and more about the problems they want to be solving.  Then perhaps they and we would find it easier to access those aspects of their career narrative which can propel them forward within organisations and on the open job market.

Written by Rob Nathan, Director of CCS

How can we help organisations and employees develop a more agile approach to career development?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Please share in the comments box below.

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