Do You Have A Career Plan?

Career advice often suggests writing a plan for what you want to do and then implementing it step by step. But in today’s world of digital disruption such advice is no longer enough to guarantee success.

Finding purpose

Deciding what you want has always been encouraged as a way to discover your core purpose or mission in life. Writing a detailed plan by populating it with short-term goals and long-term ambitions is also advised. Such an approach has advantages, as it provides a focus for when things are difficult and fail to progress as promised.

But the world is being reinvented every day and what worked in the past will not work in the future. Different career planning advice is needed for a number of reasons. First, traditional planning was based on a world where the environment was relatively stable and reasonably predictable. Today, however, it is unrealistic to plan in great detail for long periods without embracing flexible thinking. Second, what motivates us today may be different tomorrow when new responsibilities are undertaken. It can therefore be difficult to develop an all-encompassing mission that sustains and motivates over many decades and demands. Three, the idea of having a sense of purpose is laudable as long as it or something else provides financial constancy.

Finding answers

The answer of course is not to follow the traditional approach of choosing one single option: to plan or not to plan. The answer is to pursue both options simultaneously. When an entrepreneur starts a business and writes a business plan they also constantly fine-tune it by reacting and responding to what works and what doesn’t. They change their plans a little or a lot depending on what’s good for the business. A plan in this context is more akin to a guideline or map that sets a general direction while requiring regular revision. Following any plan without questioning its effectiveness will damage any career.

Even though entrepreneurs are celebrated for building businesses they are also admired for their openness to change as a way to compete against the competition. And within such openness are countless acts of boldness and bravery, not chance or confusion. Entrepreneurs without written business plans plan too, as they take action to overcome challenges that arise. Successful entrepreneurs operate in a state of managed flux, as they plan ahead, respond to changes, and anticipate the future.

For today’s career, pliable planning has superseded predictable planning, as it more accurately reflects the realities of the digital world. Traditional planning may have worked in the past but more flexible planning is now needed to be effective. Good planning is always a work in progress and good plans evolve and adapt to anticipate current and future trends.

So, if you need career advice why not learn from entrepreneurs: write a plan and commit to constantly fine-tuning it as a way to succeed.