"Sticking to the plan you have just because you have a plan is a recipe for being really, really wrong. We have to respond to changes in the world around us. The problem now is that we don't yet know what the changes are. ", said Peter Cappelli , the George W. Taylor Professor of Management and director of the Center for Human Resources at The Wharton School.
Of course, Dr Capelli was referring to what human resource executives should do for the executives to whom they report. However, the same goes for the rest of us in determining the next steps to manage our careers. Should you stay or should you go? Would a lateral move be preferable to a move up. Is it the right time to switch to a business/industry sector with different products/services. Is a move to growing global region worth the opportunity cost? Contracting/consulting vs being an employee.
These core career decisions are questions my clients face daily. Often they are not directly articulated but disguised within issues, problems and circumstances such as a company reorganization, job/product obsolescence, industry commoditization, Spain's (for example) crashing economy, income short-falls, life balance and unfulfilled ambitions.
Like Cappelli, I suggest a situational approach based on potential outcomes or scenarios. It used to be said that every professional should have a plan A, B, and C for their job moves and career choices. If it were so simple now but it isn't. There are many decision-making techniques to call upon. Relying on denial, blind faith and gut feelings, albeit of unique value, are not among them.
I refer you to Robert Harris's website, Virtual Salt, where he offers a myriad of tools to help you figure out stuff.
You risk your future and, perhaps, company's success if you don't endeavor to parse out scenarios and outcomes for all your options. At least you will have improved and refined your responses to the unknowns that descend upon you.
To deal with the unknown unknowns, I like a matrix approach with two or three columns of potential unknowns and two or three rows of options currently considered (see below). You get the idea. This gives you a chance to play out each choice against the backdrop of an unknown, in this case the economy. Try with your own scenario and tell me what you think. Does this give you more clarity? Are you at least better prepared to make the necessary choices when they come up? Your feedback is welcome. just fill in a comment.
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