My supervisor has a habit of doing a formal RR&E review in January (with ongoing conversations throughout the year as things change). What this means for me is that the past couple of years I’ve gotten to take a look at my RR&E summary document from a year ago and think about what I want my future RR&Es to look like. While I’ve already decided not to make any personal new year resolutions, as I stare at my past RR&E it seems like a great chance to think about some professional new year resolutions.
Career development (or looking to what one might contribute in the future) has been one topic folks around my office have been talking about quite a bit lately. There is much to learn from free societies about career development (don’t worry, I’ll get back to RR&Es in a second).
“A truly free society rewards people according to their individual merits, not by what group they are associated with” (Science of Success, 84).
Most MBM organizations don’t have formalized career development curriculums because formalized curriculums, career paths and other mass-standardized programming doesn’t allow us to think about INDIVIDUALS and what they have or may have the potential to contribute in the future. This can be frustrating for some people who have a history of working with more formal, group-based measures. Instead, MBM organizations tend to rely on supervisors to help individuals identify and develop what capabilities can best help them contribute in the future. To give you an idea of the differences in approach, here are some examples.
- Traditional/Group-based Approach: Employees come in on a pre-set career path. Accountant I becomes Accountant II and so forth when certain pre-set requirements are met.
- MBM Approach: As a supervisor and employee learn more about the employee’s capabilities, an individualized career-path is forged.
- Traidtional/Group-based Approach: Employees are put into cohorts (usually based on title or tenure) and put through a pre-set training curriculum.
- MBM Approach: A supervisor and employee work together to determine what classes, mentoring, on-the-job-training, or other methods will help that individual best develop his/her capabilities for the future.
These are simplified examples, but I hope you get the flavor of the individualized nature of the MBM approach. What this means for employees is that there are many different ways to achieve his/her career goals. What this means for supervisors is there is a time/energy investment focused on the future for each employee.
Okay, so what does this all have to do to with RR&Es and new year resolutions? The RR&E is a great tool to help supervisors and employees be deliberate about what investments are going to be made into the employee’s career development. It can be as simple as a bullet point at the bottom of the summary document that outlines what the employee will be working on and the expectation for that. In other words, as you think about your professional new year resolutions, use the RR&E as a tool to help you really go after it this year.
Below are a few tips I’ve found helpful. Please leave your tips/ideas in the comments:
- Focus your career goals on the type of work and work circumstances you want. The job market changes too fast to get locked into one dimensional thinking about titles.
- When prioritizing what you want to work on, focus on individual capabilities. [Individual Capability: demonstrated and sustainable ability of an employee to perform a type of work in a way that creates a competitive advantage compared to others in the marketplace who do this type of work. Most employees have multiple capabilities.]
- Pick one capability to focus on – the mental model of personal knowledge teaches us that most people need focused attention to learn something deeply. Trying to change/grow too many things at once usually results in lackluster (if any) results.
- Keep talking to your supervisor and/or direct report(s). We live in a dynamic world where opportunities and ideas are constantly changing. The RR&E is a great tool to keep the conversation about career development going.