Start Your Career Strategy With “Know”

Architecting a career strategy can be overwhelming and knowing where to start is often a challenge.   The Career Strategy Framework “Know” process is generally where I recommend people start.  It forms the foundation for setting strategy by defining what is important, the attributes that describe you and your brand promise.  The output of the Know process use is used to define a target market and value proposition as described in the diagram below.

career strategy framework

The Know process attempts to answer the following questions:

  • What is important?
  • Who are you?
  • What is your life purpose?
  • What roles do you play in life?
  • What is happiness?
  • What identity are you positioning?
  • What is your brand promise?

The process challenges you to “Know” what’s important, who you are, and want to become.  There are three primary deliverables from the Know process including a definition of what is important, a personal profile and branding position. I recommend this part of the process be one of deep reflection outside of your normal day-to-day environment and routine. The deliverables from this process are foundational for the market analysis and targeting activities in the “Target” process. The definition of “what’s important” will also be used to allocate time, talent and treasure when you execute your career strategy.

I am leading a career strategy workshop within Microsoft and we are using the concepts from the book Mojo: How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back if You Lose It to help colleagues clarify what brings them energy and who they want to become.  I highly recommend this book and the ongoing process to “measure” the Mojo to shape your career strategy.  Members of my workshop and colleagues who have applied this framework in the past confirm that the “Know” process is not easy but highly valuable to career strategy development.  It takes time and an iterative approach to feel “comfortable” with the your profile and an identity and brand that you want to position.  Share you draft with important people in your life for honest feedback and validation.

This presentation provides a deeper overview of the Know process including examples that may help you craft your definition of what is important, your profile and brand identity.  Today I held a roundtable discussion on the Know process and I was amazed by the creativity of my colleagues as they shared their content.  One learning for me was the recognition that introverts and extroverts have different ways of expressing their profile.  There are also cultural factors that influence how people define their profile and to what extend it is shared.

Take control of your career strategy and life by defining what is important, describing who you are and who you want to become.  What could more important to set your direction?

Use Mojo to Shape Your Career Strategy

Over the next month I will be writing content on how to apply the “Know” step of the Career Strategy Framework.   As I have worked with colleagues over the years to apply the framework I have received feedback that the Know step is generally the most challenging. It inspires curiosity of who we are, what is important and who we want to become.  Many people struggle with the “what do you want to be when you get older” question and how that relates to your passions in life.  I find that many people have a hard time starting to define a career strategy or make a career transition because they are not deeply in touch with these basic questions in life.

One of the most important aspects of building your career strategy is to understand what brings you energy and what drains your energy.   I have used Marshall Goldsmith’s book Mojo: How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back if You Lose It as an incredible reference that helped me build my “personal profile” that is a deliverable from the Know step.   I highly recommend the Mojo book if you are just starting out to develop a career strategy or perhaps at a career crossroads.   Applying the concepts in the Mojo book will enable you to:

  • Define what is important to your life
  • Determine what brings you happiness and meaning
  • Define or clarify you desired identity
  • Shape your reputation

I am such a fan of this book that I recommended it to a group of people who are at the early stages of building their career strategy and plan.  We will see who can find and measure their Mojo!