Your Career Development Plan
man climbing ladder

Who is responsible for your career development? You? Your manager? Your leadership development director? Your company?

The easy answer is that they all are! But in reality, it is you who bears the greatest burden to make your career work for you. In fact, it’s way too important to place in someone else’s hands.

What about putting in hard work as the road to success? Won’t that get you noticed and rewarded? Oftentimes, yes. But just as often, you could be taken for granted.

A better plan is to start out doing an excellent job, then seek information about what is required to take on greater responsibilities. What logical tasks match your career goals? Which of these will be supported by your organization? Lobby for those opportunities. Don’t be bashful in asking for resources to accomplish those objectives if you want to stand out from the competition.

Remember to turn to these sources for help: your boss, the head of your organization’s development programs, a mentor, a coach, or a partner. They should all be ready and willing to offer a hand. But it still comes to you to sort out the wheat from the chaff from the information they provide. And it’s your job to do the work necessary to build your own brand and portfolio within a company.

Meanwhile, does your organization have a management succession plan? Most do, so find out what key characteristics are expected of future leaders. Work on those attributes. If your organization does not have a succession planning function, then discuss with your boss or other leader in the organization what it takes to move up.

Climbing the career ladder is never easy. On the other hand, it’s pretty straight forward: It really boils down to excelling at your job, creating the right network of coaches and mentors, and working diligently on those skills and experiences defined by your organization as the key ingredients for promotion. And don’t forget all the troops along the way. Your reputation and networking capability is only enhanced by treating everyone with dignity and respect.

Your career development is in your hands. Don’t wait for good things to just happen. And, by the way, nice guys CAN finish first.


Beth Kelzer
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