Most people tend to think about their career progression and growth in a linear manner – i.e. work my way up the ladder and end in a senior or leadership position before retirement.

In today’s evolving and constantly changing world, one needs to think about the career topic with a different perspective. Environments change quickly, business shifts happen unexpectedly, impacts are felt globally, leaders and strategies change faster than one expects.

The concept of ‘stretch’ and growth needs to be constantly on one’s agenda. Complexity in different forms ensure learning and growth. As a result, we develop learning agility and it becomes a fundamental element of our approach and way of working. As we widen our ability to think, adapt and grow, we increase our value to any organizational setting.

Here are some fundamental questions to think about in this approach. The deeper and longer term aspects have to be addressed first.

1. What do I want to achieve with my life? What is meaningful success for me? What capabilities, support and paths do i need to build?
2. Am I continuing to grow or learn new things (in an area of importance, aligned to my longer term career objective), irrespective of the position or responsibility I hold today?
3. How long have I been doing the same work (irrespective of the job or role), without changing any element? Can I think of different approaches?
4. Key elements of role changes I would want to explore:
a. Breadth of responsibility at different levels
b. People Management – direct, indirect, matrix
c. Culture – Geography, Organization
d. Organization size, background and structure
e. Business environments – startup, fast growth, mature, major changes
f. Local & Global roles
4. Have I explored experience in different types of work approaches – eg. consulting, independent, volunteer etc.?

One can explore options with current organizations to start with or externally, through encouraging leaders and systems who facilitate the right opportunities.

At the heart of it, it may be always worthwhile to ask ourselves a Tom Peters (management guru) question: “What would you like to be written on your tombstone?”

Life is a valuable gift and it is important to think about the impact we want to create and the meaning we want to achieve through our work. After all, we spend a substantial portion of our lives at work and with colleagues.

Wish you the very best and a successful New Year 2015…

To every reader who’ve followed my posts, shared feedback and encouragement, special thanks to you and best wishes.

Posted on LinkedIn on December 25, 2014.