The Global Positioning System (GPS) was created in 1973 by the U.S. Department of Defense to provide reliable location and time information. It was established to overcome the limitations that existed in previous navigation systems. Who would have thought 38 years ago that such a system would be so commonly utilized in our daily lives today?
Those of us who have invested in this system depend on it for direction. We want to make sure our routes are direct, intentional, and efficient. If such a system existed for career paths, Goals: Personal and Strategic would be an individualized route you could utilize to guide you through your career!
Goal(s): The difference between thoughts and actions is execution. Let’s say you’ve decided to become a corporate executive within the next five years. You are currently in leadership and have been in the same role for eight years. The fact that you’ve made a decision, then articulated your plan for the future, means nothing if you haven’t done anything to move closer to achieving your goal. The path to achieving your goal is special; it is customized and individualized for you, just as the route in the GPS is used for travel. The goal could be identical to someone else’s, just keep in mind that your route may be different.
Personal: No two people are exactly the same and each of us has a personal brand. Your personal brand sets you apart from everyone else, so your branding should be purposeful and intentional. Taking short cuts in an effort to increase efficiency can damage your personal brand. One example is the use of texting language while communicating at work. Out of habit, we abbreviate our words when communicating electronically. In a professional environment, abbreviated words, improper grammar usage, and the like will leave an impression of someone who has poor communication skills. Being mindful of minute details when it comes to branding will set you apart from the competition.
Strategic: As your GPS announces every turn, it does so with a plan of action to aid you in reaching your destination. Your should approach your career path the same way. Your goals should positively impact your personal brand and be succinct in nature. It is possible that you may have to eliminate some steps along the way that would cause you to step backward in your career. I have observed unhappy employees in my leadership career who simply wanted to be rid of their existing job responsibilities and accepted a role, only to regret it later. When an opportunity presents itself, you have to decide whether you want to wait for the right opportunity or if you will settle for the next available opportunity. A GPS will specifically let you know when to turn and which way to turn, so be careful to take the appropriate turns on your career path.
Having your very own GPS for your career should be as common as having one for your vehicle. You might find navigating professional twists and turns will be that much easier once your destination has been pre-planned. Even if the route on your career path needs to be recalculated and redirected, your strategic goals will quickly help you get back on track.