Are you pondering what to do with your own career ? Here is a fun exercise to help you assess it from a different perspective

Recent years have seen successful executives increasingly realise that the best succession planning in business is a combination of external recruitment and growth of internal talent. In these times of economic downturn, making the most of what you have got is common sense.

Ultimately, responsibility for an individual’s career rests with that individual; whether you or one of your people. However, organisations usually offer some form of advice and support through appropriate coaching; whether via an internal coach (often the manager) who is part of and therefore knows the company or a ‘fresh-pair-of-eyes’ external coach who may have a broader view.

While you’re pondering what you need to do with your own career – or how you can ensure coaching for your people to manage theirs – here’s a fun exercise to help you assess your career from a different perspective. All you need is a pen, paper and a little imagination.

STAGE ONE:
Imagine that you are starring in a movie about your career so far and ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What is the title?
  2. What music is playing as the opening credits roll?
  3. Who are the main characters? (Other than you, of course.)
  4. Which actor or actress plays you? (They don’t have to look like you.)
  5. Who designed the costumes? (What about the sets?)
  6. What are the basic elements of the plot? (Write down your job moves, important decisions you have taken, your learning along the way, any changes in attitude, etc.)

STAGE TWO:

Take a step back and reflect on your answers; try to look at them objectively. What do they tell you? Were you the director of your movie or was someone else telling you what to do? Are any patterns emerging? Is there anything that you wish had been different? Ideally you would do this stage with someone who coach you through these (and other) questions. If not, then try to talk it through it with someone you trust.

STAGE THREE:
Now to imagine the sequel. In other words, the movie of your career from now on. For this, you are definitely the director and the only rule is that it must have a happy ending. (Remember to think positive!)

  1. What is the title?
  2. Who are the main characters?
  3. Which actor or actress plays you? (It doesn’t have to be the same.)
  4. Who designed the visuals?
  5. What are the basic elements of the plot? (job moves, decisions, learning & development you will need, etc.)
  6. What music is playing as the end credits roll?

STAGE FOUR:

Now, having created a picture of your future career, bring it back to the ‘real world and set some clear objectives to help you achieve the goals in your sequel. Again, having a coach or someone who can take on that role would be helpful. In fact, to build on the metaphor of seeing your career as a movie, you could see the coach as your agent; except that they won’t take 20% of everything you earn!

So, are you ready for your close-up? Is your movie a Hollywood blockbuster, a European art-house film or an amateur clip on YouTube? Perhaps it’s Prêt-à-Porter, The Devil Wears Prada or Coco Before Chanel. Whichever it is, hopefully this exercise has got you thinking (positively, of course!) about where you career will take you next.