When it comes to career management, planning is essential. But career planning is not about where you want to be five years from now; instead, career planning is about a couple of essential skills that need to be done by you.
Career planning is really about a simple formula, given to me by one of my previous managers:
Performance + Skills = Opportunity
Performance means that no matter what the job, performance counts. This is consistent across many good managers that I’ve had the privilege of working for in my career. Performance, to potential managers of your skills, means that you will go into a position and be successful, regardless of the position.
Skills means that you have the necessary prerequisites to be able to perform in the position.
If you have skills and no performance, you are a person with potential. If you have performance, but not the right skills for a new position, you won’t be given the opportunity.
In short, a person can only control their performance on the job and the skills they acquire.
A person cannot control the job market, nor their company’s performance, nor their manager. They can only control their own performance on the job and the skills they acquire while working.
By working their performance on the job and learning skills appropriate to the work, a person will be presented with opportunities. And opportunities, ladies and gentlemen, make your career management world go around.
Personal branding can give you a marketing position compared to others. Presenting those skills to potential employers — internal or external — can give you some shots at good work.
But performing well — sometimes very difficult with some managers — and learning the skills for your area of focus is all you can control to give you opportunities.
That, in a nutshell, is career management.