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Future Think During Development Conversations

When my career started, you could pretty much write out the path of most professions. The patterns were the same - sure, there were a few deviations, but for the most part, we could design standard career paths that most people followed.

I’m not sure exactly when that changed, but boy has it ever changed. In fact, I would argue that it has fully reversed. Where a standard career path was the norm in the past, following a traditional career path has become the exception.

This is very positive in terms of careers, but it has made development something of a trap. If you were an entry-level accountant, HR and training could devise a path to get you to Accountant 2 and then Sr. Accountant, etc. One path served many different people.

Now, the path may be entry-level account, to social media coordinator, to data analyst to operations manager. Everyone’s path is different. No more one-size-fits-all development plans.

This requires managers to do more of the development work. Plans get customized based on the individual. Which is why I have the individual control it, with the manager guiding and supporting the person.

The best managers will not only work with the employee on areas they want to develop, but challenge the employee to think beyond the current situation. What look like the next big challenges and topics in the industry? What roles or skills might be needed in 2 years that don’t even exist right now.

I heard one statistic (haven’t researched its accuracy) that says the top ten jobs today didn’t exist 10 years ago, and the top ten jobs ten years from now don’t exist today.

The development work you do now will benefit the employee and the company tomorrow.

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