Map, driving directions

Create a leadership plan for your successful career

By Greg Price

What are your ambitions? What part of your job resonates with you most? What are your strengths, your dreams? Do you align your ambitions with strategic workplace successes, or do you let others control you while you stay in a job that does not afford you the personal success, growth, or challenges you desire? There is a 5-step plan you can create to achieve greater career success. Read on to learn more.

Vision statement

First, you’ll need to decide which direction you want to go and creating a vision statement, which is a type of road map, is the best place to start. Ask yourself a few questions: where do you see yourself in 5-years? What do you enjoy doing? What are your passions?’ Write down your answers, which can serve as your future vision. Do not get stuck on writing a superbly developed vision statement.

The best vision statement is clearly written that contains honest responses to the questions you asked of yourself.

Mission statement

Your next step will be to create a mission statement, which is your plan on how you will attain your vision. Ask yourself, ‘what do I need to do to achieve that goal?’ It may be that you need a new credential, certificate, or degree.  It may mean you need to change jobs or location, or it might mean a lifestyle change.  Whatever that change is, write down your mission goals and work towards them, everyday.

Set strategic goals – Use the SMART goal system

Now, look back at your mission statement. You have set some goals; it is time to deliver a process to reach them. If you need a master’s degree to reach the goal you have set for yourself, but you do not yet have a bachelors degree, then the first thing is to begin that process – one course at a time, one day at a time.

SMART Goals – use clear, concise language.

  • S – Identify one Specific goal per sentence.
  • M – Give the goal a defined Measurement, be it a timeline, a number, etc.
  • A – Make the goal Achievable.
  • R – Make the goal Realistic.
  • T – Give the goal a Timeline to complete it.

Gather your board of directors

Who will hold you accountable to the goals you have set?  You could include family members, community mentors, members of the business community who may have interest in your success, etc. Also, when choosing board members, be sure to diversify those on your board.

Different perspectives will give you the best advice moving forward, which will also give you many different values to consider. You do not need to call on these members often, but call on them occasionally to help evaluate your successes, challenges, and most of all, help you stay the course.

Create your personal brand

In this section, identify some different ‘values’ that succinctly describe your character, your style, and your traits. You can do this by informally asking others to ‘describe’ you. This does not need to be a long list of variables. Choose three to five values and you are good.

Once you have completed these steps, take stock in your newly forged Career Leadership plan.  Review it annually. How many of you make New Year’s resolutions?  Instead of resolutions, perhaps you can review your Career Leadership plan. Reflect on your successes, and update it with new goals you wish to set for yourself for the coming year.

The MA Leadership at City University of Seattle helps students to accomplish this type of progress. We call it the Leadership Doctrine assignment. It occurs near the end of the program; students develop a Doctrine that helps them take the skills they have learned in the program to support the advancement of their career.