2 Comments

  1. As someone who has been writing about career ownership for years, I commend your post: your arguments are strong and the issue of transparency is a real one and a huge help in assisting employees to take on ownership of their careers. I’ve found that new behaviors by both employees and managers are critical and must be learned for the “ownership” to become real. I encourage managers, supervisors and team leads to learn coaching skills to be able to have career conversations with employees. [Also available as aids are scripts that newer coach managers can use to talk about career and ‘ownership’ topics like growth, professional value, networks, etc.] While a manager may not know how to coach, developing those on your team is a primary responsibility of those in leadership roles. While learning to have career conversations, they are also preparing to have their own conversations with their managers. Coaching skills can be used up or down.

    Interactive career maps may be possible for some organizations or some areas within organizations. This is quite a big undertaking and may easily become the roadblock to doing anything around career ownership…after all, without job options, how can someone invest in their career options? The real answer is, they can, but it will take learning the difference between ‘renting your career’ and ‘owning it.’ With coaching, employees can take more initiative (helped greatly by transparent organizations) in defining sound strategic directions where they can align their (current or future) value, developing growth plans and building a case for those plans in order to take career steps. A big part of this initiative is connecting with others in growth areas of the business, building their networks and finding places (internships, ad hoc projects, shadowing opportunities) where they can learn about the business, what value they have and what value clearly needs to be developed in them in order to create a career path. Managers and leaders can help with these connections.

    The biggest inhibitor to this ‘out of the box’ career thinking is, of course, embedded belief systems. Employees sit, “waiting to be picked” for their next career move, believing that their manager is the best one to tell them where they might go and what career path they might follow. Managers sit, avoiding career conversations because they believe there is nothing to discuss unless there is a specific position they can suggest. If organizations would begin to shift career conversations to “aligning your value with our strategic directions,” and both employees and managers were taught and encouraged in very different career-relevant behaviors, career ownership would become realistic.

    This is very much a critical topic for both organizations and employees…the shift to people really owning their careers is the only way career satisfaction is achieved. To expect organizations to continue to define career paths is a very unrealistic expectation, given the global markets in which most businesses play. To expect individuals to learn some new skills and then practice them in order to achieve career success as they define it is a much more reasonable expectation. But the skills take learning, practice and support from leadership and organizations.

    It really is a partnership game, new thinking on both sides, but one that can result in a win for both.

  2. As someone who has been writing about career ownership for years, I commend your post: your arguments are strong and the issue of transparency is a real one and a huge help in assisting employees to take on ownership of their careers. I’ve found that new behaviors by both employees and managers are critical and must be learned for the “ownership” to become real. I encourage managers, supervisors and team leads to learn coaching skills to be able to have career conversations with employees. [Also available as aids are scripts that newer coach managers can use to talk about career and ‘ownership’ topics like growth, professional value, networks, etc.] While a manager may not know how to coach, developing those on your team is a primary responsibility of those in leadership roles. While learning to have career conversations, they are also preparing to have their own conversations with their managers. Coaching skills can be used up or down.

    Interactive career maps may be possible for some organizations or some areas within organizations. This is quite a big undertaking and may easily become the roadblock to doing anything around career ownership…after all, without job options, how can someone invest in their career options? The real answer is, they can, but it will take learning the difference between ‘renting your career’ and ‘owning it.’ With coaching, employees can take more initiative (helped greatly by transparent organizations) in defining sound strategic directions where they can align their (current or future) value, developing growth plans and building a case for those plans in order to take career steps. A big part of this initiative is connecting with others in growth areas of the business, building their networks and finding places (internships, ad hoc projects, shadowing opportunities) where they can learn about the business, what value they have and what value clearly needs to be developed in them in order to create a career path. Managers and leaders can help with these connections.

    The biggest inhibitor to this ‘out of the box’ career thinking is, of course, embedded belief systems. Employees sit, “waiting to be picked” for their next career move, believing that their manager is the best one to tell them where they might go and what career path they might follow. Managers sit, avoiding career conversations because they believe there is nothing to discuss unless there is a specific position they can suggest. If organizations would begin to shift career conversations to “aligning your value with our strategic directions,” and both employees and managers were taught and encouraged in very different career-relevant behaviors, career ownership would become realistic.

    This is very much a critical topic for both organizations and employees…the shift to people really owning their careers is the only way career satisfaction is achieved. To expect organizations to continue to define career paths is a very unrealistic expectation, given the global markets in which most businesses play. To expect individuals to learn some new skills and then practice them in order to achieve career success as they define it is a much more reasonable expectation. But the skills take learning, practice and support from leadership and organizations.

    It really is a partnership game, new thinking on both sides, but one that can result in a win for both.


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment *
Name *
Email *
Website