Career Development Systems

About Career Development by Dr. Greg Waddell

One way to lead change is to set up a Career Development System.  Such a system could enable your organization to prepare needed skills and capabilities for its desired state and could, at the same time, enable employees to grow into their life purpose. How can an organization accomplish this?

Step One: Define the purpose of your organization. Once you have identified your purpose, communicate it to the whole organization. Let everyone know, both individually and also in the larger context, where you want to go. Use as many different means of communication as you can.

Step Two: Identify the competencies (skills, knowledge, and experiences) your organization will need to fulfill its desired future. You don’t yet have all these competencies, but you are convinced you will need them for the organization to attain its desired future. This list of competencies should include skills, knowledge, and structures you consider necessary.

Step Three: Help individual members of your organization decide what part they want to play as you move into your desired future. What function does he or she want to fulfill? This is not an effort to discover where they are now, but where they want to be.

Step Four: Find a way to measure where your employees are now in relation to your list of needed competencies. What is the gap between where you are now and where you want to be? I’m not talking about particular jobs, but rather I’m talking about the qualities, abilities, and areas of knowledge you will need in the future. You might want to sit down with each individual employee and say, “Where would you like to be in the future?”

Step Five: Help your employees develop a plan. Ask them, “Between now and three years from today, what do you need to do to gain these competencies? What do you need to add to yourself in order to fulfill your particular calling in the organization?”

Step Six: Provide the means for your employees to acquire these competencies. You can do this through training, providing learning experiences, and self-­assessment materials.

Building a Development Culture means helping people take responsibility for their life. It means helping them to say: “I want to go there. I want to reach that objective.” Then the organization cooperates with the individual to help them achieve their goals.

This is the opposite of the paternalistic attitude that says, “I know what’s best for you.” This is an effort to get the individual to decide what is best for him or herself. The essential element in a development culture is to mesh the organization’s goals with the individual’s goals, so the result will be a win/win situation. The individual feels he or she is adding value to their life. At the same time, the organization, through that person’s growth, is adding value to itself.

Your Career Development program should not be isolated from the Strategic Plant but should be an enabling force that helps the organization to achieve its goals.

What do you think? Does your organization tie its career development policies to its strategic vision?

provides consulting services for churches and organizations. Contact Dr. Waddell today at gregwaddell[at]leadstrategic.com to discuss the needs of your organization.

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