Career Development: Preparing Yourself for the Unexpected 

January 03, 2017 | Joan Chan

(Reposted from the Human Capital Institute

We came across this great read on career development by the Human Capital Institute (HCI), and thought that we would share it with you guys! What better way to kickstart your 2017, than to start planning for your own development? 


Author: Skillsoft | Source: HCI | Published: November 10, 2016
Community: Learning & Development


Career development is typically thought of as an intentional, well-planned, and mapped progression of upward or lateral movement as a result of experience, education, and competency development. But, as we all know, life rarely allows us the luxury of neatly checking off boxes in order to ‘level-up.’ When I think of the business climate today I’m very often reminded of this phrase, a favorite used by a college English professor of mine; ‘the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.’

I believe the question we really need to ask ourselves when it comes to development, learning, and career pathing is, ‘how can I plan for the unexpected?’ What may you be called on to do that you aren’t doing today, and wouldn’t have envisioned yourself doing tomorrow? How can you prepare yourself, or your organization, for that journey into the unknown?

1. Place yourself in new/uncomfortable situations

One of the best ways to learn how you may react in a future scenario is to intentionally place yourself in an unfamiliar setting, as a dress rehearsal for the real thing. I heard an interesting description of the presidential transfer of power today, and was intrigued to hear the detailed scenario planning that the president-elect and his team work through. They actually get to sit in the situation room as a test-run to familiarize themselves with those surroundings, and have the opportunity to take it all in; everything from the sound of the air-conditioner, to the color of the room, as preparation for the real thing.

2. Drive your own development

Organizational support and resources for development are important, but shouldn’t be looked at as the total solution. Be your own advocate, and dedicate time to your own learning objectives. Your manager may not be as development focused as you would like, or need, but by setting your own objectives you can move yourself and your organization forward.

3. Create a learning resource “bug-out bag”

The zombie apocalypse might not be coming in the near future, but keeping yourself in learning ‘survival mode’ will serve you well. Something you may not necessarily see as relevant today could actually be a key component for a future role. Many learning resources or free tools such as Evernote allow you to collect digital resources and save them for when you really need them.

4. Create your own content

These days everyone is talking content and creating content, but what does that really mean? Content is more than just a buzz-word, and has been expanded to include just about anything you can think of – from social media posts to long-format research and everything in between. Creating your own content on a topic – a blog, a podcast interview, or an infographic, is not only very easy with today’s readily accessible digital tools, but it can be a great way to start a conversation and meet peers who are interested in the same topic. This type of content is great for sharing on organizational intranets to build internal knowledge.

Redefining career development for today’s chaotic reality needs to be top of mind for individuals and organizations moving into the next year. For tips on driving and influencing enterprise wide development join this webcast live to learn how you can evaluate your organizational culture to identify development drivers, and overcome manager reticence to dedicated development conversations.

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