I’m sure you know what a strategy is in a business context. You’ve probably been involved with developing or executing strategic plans. You’ve definitely experienced the tactical bits! My favorite definition comes from businessdictionary.com: “A method or plan chosen to bring about a desired future, such as achievement of a goal or solution to a problem.”
Have you applied that definition in your personal life? Of course you have! You had a strategy when you bought a house, or when you saved for some other big expense. You’ve had a strategies and strategic plans several times in your life, whether or not you were aware of it!
But when it comes to the next step in your career, do you have a strategy? Sure, sure, you are thinking in terms of “strategic moves”, but what’s the strategy you’re trying to execute? What’s the desired future you are trying to create? Start with a vision of your desired future. Now you have your North Star for directional guidance and the occasional course correction. By the way, you can have several goals in your strategy!
If you are thinking about changing jobs, roles, companies, even careers, it is very easy to get caught up in the moment, and spin out with wasted activity. Let’s say one day you feel extraordinarily frustrated, you’ve had enough and you are going to do something. So you set off a chain reaction of random actions – you call a headhunter friend, you send your resume (as is) to a listing you kinda like, you go on an interview for something that might be “interesting”, etc. Most of these actions go nowhere (or nowhere you really want to go) and you’ve spun around in a futile whirl of activity – and you become disheartened. Not to mention that you haven’t done things in a logical order, with thought and cohesion, missing a step or two (my personal brand? Huh?).
Or there’s the more positive feeling scenario, where someone presents an opportunity that seems wonderful, and you decide to pursue it. Could be wonderful. Could really be good for career. Wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to quickly check with the North Star to make sure it isn’t the career equivalent of an impulse buy?
Once you have your strategy, you can make a plan. The strategy is the desired outcome. The plan is a tactical set of actions, milestones and metrics – that’s how you achieve your strategy.
You make a plan because you want to get something done, you want to be successful and you want to be able to sleep at night because you know what you have to do next.
I find that a lot of my clients spend a lot of energy keeping their work and personal lives separate. They don’t take advantage of all the “work” skills that could help them achieve their goals for success and happiness in their own life. In my practice, I help them “translate” their skills from one arena to another – like developing strategies. Keep checking the blog for more transferrable skills. Next up: A series on developing your personal change management strategy.
What do you think? What kind of “transferrable skills” do you have – or want? Comment below!
Sound like the kind of things you’re thinking about? Want help thinking through your strategy or translating your skills? Let’s hop on a call for a Strategy Session. Email me to set it up: firstname.lastname@example.org