I came upon a set of documents from early in my career recently that I thought might be interesting to young professionals. I suspect many large organizations give templates or formal process definitions to these sorts of things, but that’s not what caused me to create them. I decided on my own that a yearly plan of how I hoped to develop would be useful, and so I made these myself.
For a number of years I found a framework my company provided very useful in thinking of the dimensions upon which I could improve, and you’ll see that embedded in these plans. I used the time to develop them to reflect upon what I had learned from the prior year, and what I hoped to be able to work on in the next.
Doug Kunkel, a mentor, told me one time that although we like to think we are in control of everything about our careers, in fact we might be in control of 50% of the parameters. Opportunities, the economy, health, family demands and other things all impact what we really are able to work on. So don’t think that by putting down a plan that it will happen if you work hard; and don’t be discouraged if something else happens along the way.
This graphic gives a sense of the framework I used through most of the consulting personal development plans.
This is my professional plan, developed six months into my career. I find it interesting that my interest in computer technology was already showing in some aspects of this plan.
This is the second year plan and report.
In mid 1992 I transferred into the consulting division. My next annual plan was quite short, in 1994, with a simple list of tasks I had been involved in through the year, ranking those by category.
Here is the plan, more formal again, in 1995
My plan for 1996 was one page. No major changes here:
In 1997 I was at a point of major change in my career. It is clear I was ready for something new from this plan, which was perhaps a bit more transparent than some would expect in a business plan, but given the great bosses I had the time, my respect for them, and our shared relationships, was appropriate in getting the issues on the table.
Later in 1997, I developed a single slide that I shared with my boss, as described in this chapter of my book, written more than 10 years after that discussion.
In 1998, my wife agreed to support me in a move to be closer to a major, long term project, in order to reduce the stress I was under with work. The result is my 1998 is very short.
My 1999 plan starts to become much more professional, and well-rounded. My understanding of what a business person needs to know and do is clearer. I think there are elements of what I have done now for the last 20 years represented in this plan.