employee career development programs

3 Ways To Ensure Your MVPs have a Mobility Mindset

You’ve probably heard that old management saying, “We need the right person, in the right role, at the right time.” We need to modernize that saying to, “What if there were more right places?”

It’s an interesting question and a necessary one in today’s business environment. Think about it. The career ladder, with its finite number of promotion positions available, would cease to be an obstacle when it comes to satisfying top talent with great skills, tons of ambition and no place to use them.

By identifying more “right” career places, talent leaders can create a development culture where everyone has growth opportunities in different sequences tailored to individual preferences, abilities, timing, and tastes. We just need to adjust our vision to see beyond the traditional career ladder and take advantage of its adjacent possibilities. That requires a mobility mindset, not just for an organization’s talent leaders, but for talent as well.

  1. Ensure talent know they are in control of how they define career success.

    Employees have to be willing to assess what success means to them personally and professionally, to take responsibility for their futures. They have to ask themselves, “What do I want from a company by way of development, career advancement, and general growth?” They have to be willing to ask for feedback – and listen, even when what they hear isn’t all good. Essentially, they have to be willing to do the work. Employees have to not only dig out these truths, they have to get up the nerve – and feel free – to ask their managers to help them realize their career goals.

  2. Managers have to shift their mindset from day-to-day operations to provide strategic talent development support.

    Providing stretch assignments can’t be seen as “extra work.” Coaching, mentoring, preparing individuals to learn, these activities must become part and parcel of the manager’s regular lexicon. Development has to be a key underpinning for everything that happens on the job. The support role is a big one. It requires that managers debrief with employees after stretch assignments to make sure the learning sticks and ideally cascades throughout the organization. On the job, learning stops being solely a task for the learning function and becomes a key step to advance business growth and employee satisfaction that managers never want to miss. Further, managers have to keep a keen eye out for growth opportunities to share with talented direct reports. may have to ask some tough questions and listen to some not so pleasant answers, be willing to endure uncomfortable conversations in the name of talent development, retention, and growth.

  3. Organizations have a substantive role to play in establishing a mobility mindset.

    While employees are owning their career futures and managers are looking for growth opportunities to share, the organization at large has to create a continuous development culture that will enable an employee and a manager’s mobility mindset. The HR function, senior leadership, and other stakeholders have to provide access to systems and tools that employees can easily use to find out what development opportunities are available and how they can apply for them. That might mean setting up the suitable communication vehicles to promote mentoring programs or formal stretch assignments. It could mean celebrating lateral moves as well as promotions “up” the career ladder. Or, it could mean rewarding talent leaders who share talent across departments or functions.

At the end of the day, career mobility has to be an essential part of an organization’s talent management strategy. That mindset has to flow through different – perhaps even all – areas of the business.

Promoting flexibility, agility, skill acquisition and lateral, internal career moves that provide a rich mix of experiences is a journey. But it’s a journey top talent is eager to go on, and one that top organizations are equally eager to make happen.

This article is written by Lindy Williams from Career Systems International. 


  Wendy Tan   Oct 04, 2017   Career Development   Comments Off on 3 Ways To Ensure Your MVPs have a Mobility Mindset   Read More

Up is not the Only Way: Career Paths to Patterns

Planning a career has always required some fundamental skills coupled with the willingness to devote time and energy to defining a personal view of success. All of that remains the same for today’s careerists. However, navigating a career in today’s workplaces also required a different way of thinking.

The turbulent workplace of the past decade has transformed traditional career paths from orderly routes with predetermined destinations into flexible collections of experiences designed to acquire skills that build resilience and offer continuous growth.

Savvy careerist knows to prepare for twists and turns and to expect the unexpected. The nonsavvy risk becoming frustrated when the unexpected occurs and too often fail to see the opportunities that can emerge from change.

A History of Career Paths

Career paths emerged in response to employees’ need for assistance in navigating through increasingly complex workplaces. New functions appeared, existing units merged and strategic focus shifted. Employees were finding it more difficult to identify viable routes to success.

Moreover, organizations invested time, energy and funds in formalizing logical paths based on a combination of organizational history and anticipated business direction. Paths were often prescriptive and came with an implied promise.

Employees translated that to mean successful completion of a series of steps, positions and coursework would result in arriving at the last stop on the path – a job. After all, that’s what a path does: It leads you to a predetermined destination.

“Are paths still useful? Yes – but a career path alone may not get individuals where they want and need to go.”

Paths were intended to be guidelines for career management, but they came with some unintended side effects. Paths led some employees to adopt a “check the box” approach to career planning. The upward progression that defined most paths endorsed vertical, promotional moves as the career option of choice. The careerist who aspired to a nontraditional career experience could feel uninspired and disengaged with the development process.

Career paths have not disappeared. In fact, they’re everywhere. A simple search of “career paths” will produce hundreds of links offering everything from a series of highly specialized roles to a sequence of gradually expanding leadership jobs.

So are paths still useful? Yes, but a career path alone may not get individuals where they want and need to go.

Today’s workplace is more complicated. Employees sit time zones away from managers. Matrixed reporting relationships increase the size and variety of career audiences.

Project-based assignments offer unique and stand-alone experiences. Rotational programs and temporary assignments are plentiful and offer a wide range of growth opportunities. Organizational redesigns demand flexible career planning and pliable options.

Careers are still a series of experiences, roles, assignments, and jobs. However, it is impossible to anticipate all the twists and turns that a modern career will take. A career that extends into 2025 and beyond will most likely be a combination of segments extracted from traditional paths, planned and unplanned stops, meaningful side trips and perhaps a few leaps of faith.

The savvy careerist examines the ever-changing landscape and builds a pattern. A career pattern, not completely unplanned but certainly flexible, prepares the careerist to not just weather the occasional roadblock or detour but also to thrive on the changing landscapes and unexpected challenges.

Paths are fixed. Patterns are fluid. Paths were based on what was done before by others. Patterns are for employees to design. Patterns leave something to the imagination. Just as two career journeys will not be identical, neither will two patterns be a replica of one another.

To understand the career pattern approach, envision a kaleidoscope. When you look through the lens of a kaleidoscope, you see a pattern of shapes and colors. If you twist the outer cylinder even slightly, the pattern changes. A new combination of shapes and colors appears. Today’s careers are similar. Organizations evolve, industries shift and professions change focus. The careers that emerge either flex or become obsolete.

Flexible Career Patterns

Imagine driving along a curvy country road, and around a bend, the road is blocked with a barricade and sign reading, “Road Closed.” A natural reaction is probably to search the side of the road for a detour sing and arrow. Or perhaps grab the phone to search for options from a GPS app.

A career pattern can offer options – detour signs – when a career experience is blocked or has disappeared. If the international assignment was awarded to someone else, then what equally enticing experiences are included in the career pattern that could be pursued instead for now? What learning was expected from the experience that could be obtained doing something else?

Employees may choose to change direction, or a change may choose them. When changes occur, a career pattern offers alternatives. Change may be an opportunity to redirect or rearrange the order of the planned experiences. Career patterns can be as detailed or as general as their owners – the employees – desire them to be.

The Pattern Partnership

Managers have always had a key role in career development. That role is as important today as it ever was, but the manner in which this role plays out in a career pattern is different. Managers will need to accelerate the new shift in the following ways:

Let go of control. The message that employees own their careers has been repeated often. Ownership comes with a responsibility to put forth the effort and energy to continue to grow. But ownership also builds an expectation that the individual will have some control.

Allow for flexible timelines. In today’s organization, it is folly to ask employees: “Where do you want to be in five years?” The rate of change in some industries makes predicting what roles will be available or appealing even next year an impossible task.

“Patterns are for employees to design. Just as two career journeys will not be identical, neither will two patterns be a replica of one another.”

It is up to employees to decide whether they want to plan for the next year or the next month. The savvy careerist examines options and set expectations based on “What’s now?” as well as “What’s next?” Managers and organizations need to allow that latitude.

Think experiences, not position. If careers are made up of experiences, then planning for a career is not a matter of drafting a list of potential future positions. When employees focus on the kinds of experiences they want from a career vs. the job, title, or position, they open up a wide variety of possibilities.

Replace the question, “What role do you want to pursue?” with “What experiences will result in a career that you would find rewarding and meaningful?” Do employees want to lead people, start up a new unit, manage a group project or take on an assignment outside the current country of residence? Here’s where those traditional career paths can help.

Think of them as a travelogue. Look for what fits. Study them and sear for ideas and options. There may be experiences described in a path that an employee will want to incorporate into the new career pattern.

Move from promises to purpose. The implied promises of a path – complete these steps and you will get that position – set motion some unrealistic expectations and can initiate or feed an entitlement culture. When employees identify the experiences they hope to include in their careers, the next important step is to put the experiences to the test.

Ask them to write the experiences they hope to have on flash cards and identify a purpose for each one. Ask questions like, “What will you learn or gain from the experience?” or “How will each experience prepare you for the future or for the next experience?” Patterns with purpose are enticing and will include experiences they can’t avoid.

Focus on possibilities, not predictions. Paths provided predictability even though they were never meant to. Patterns provide possibilities and options. Paths are fixed. Patterns are fluid. Careerists who create patterns have options when the change occurs.

Encourage employees to keep career patterns fresh and relevant. If an experience in the pattern is no longer enticing or important, it may be time to replace that experience with another that will provide a greater opportunity to learn. Help them consider which experiences come before others and which ones provide skill-building that can be used as they move through the pattern.

Share stories. Experience is said to be the best teacher, but even the most comprehensive career pattern can’t offer every experience. Employees learn from the career experiences of others, and a great place to start is with a story.

Share stories from successes and mistakes and ones that reveal major turning points, lessons, and inspirations. Managers should share stories that talk about a job that forced new thinking. Encourage employees to ask leaders about their career journeys. The stories they hear will reveal a wide variety of routes. Rarely is a career a straight, uninterrupted series of ladderlike steps.

Owner’s Role: the Employee

Like a kaleidoscope, the beauty of a career pattern is in the eye of the beholder. Career patterns are owned, managed and nurtured by the employee. Only the owner knows what personal professional success will look like for them. Only the owner knows how much or how little they plan to commit to achieving their success. And only the owner can make a pattern come to life.

Creating a career pattern starts with coming up with answers in three areas:

  1. Experiences: What experiences do I want to have during my career? Who can I watch? Who can I talk to? Who has had a career I want? How can I do that?
  2. Purpose: What will I learn or gain through each experience? How will what I learn, serve me in the future?
  3. Plan: How will I move between the experiences? How can my experiences build? What should come first?

Paths needed managing. Patterns need to be managed, too. As Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu’s said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Employees must decide where to begin and then look for routes to take to bridge from experiences to experience.

Here are 6 tips for managing a career pattern:

  1. Redirect: If the hoped-for experience is not available right now or the timing is just not right, redirect to an alternative experience immediately. Don’t waste time stewing over it – find experiences that have a similar purpose.
  2. Refine: Often something is learned from an experience that was not expected. Examine how accidental learning might refine or reshape one or more future opportunities. Patterns can be refined to fit and tailored to leverage new knowledge.
  3. Recycle or Replace: Sometimes an experience that seemed meaningful and full of opportunities yesterday becomes less important. Recycle it. Toss it out. Replace it with an experience that is more relevant or inviting.
  4. Refresh: Pursuing experiences that are no longer enticing results in an unproductive pattern. Patterns should be refreshed regularly to see if they still inspire commitment. Tying a pattern refresh to something easily remembered – maybe when clocks are reset for daylight savings or even a birthday – can ensure a refresh occurs.
  5. Rearrange: Several factors influence the sequence in which experiences are pursued. The first is drive, commitment, and choices. The order in which pattern experiences happen needs to make sense for the owner. Second, careers will not happen in a vacuum. Outside forces often determine what opportunities are available and when. The savvy careerist stays in tune with what’s happening in the organization and industry. If a change or shift occurs that places an experienced front and center, it is important to not allow the opportunity to pass. Rearranging the pattern to take advantage of the timing can make all the difference.
  6. Rejoice: Celebrating the success – the experiences that turn out to be awesome, and even the occasional stumble, the experience that teaches so much – makes the pattern a rich resource of energy and accomplishment.

The workplace landscape is changing so quickly that no sooner do we map it than our map is out of date Savvy careerists – individuals who commit to designing, pursuing and living career patterns that are their own – and managers who encourage and guide them are leading the way in this new approach to careers.

This article is written by Beverly Kaye and Lindy Williams on marketing.careersystemsintl.com.

  Wendy Tan   Jul 03, 2017   Career Development   Comments Off on Up is not the Only Way: Career Paths to Patterns   Read More

Why is it important to develop your employees?

It wasn’t long ago that career development was a workplace nice-to-do. Now, it’s no longer even a need-to-do, but a “non-negotiable survival strategy” for employers.

The perk is growing in popularity and importance because it’s essential in driving employee engagement, Julie Winkle Giulioni, co-founder and principal of consulting and instructional design firm DesignArounds, said this week at the Society for Human Resource Management’s annual conference in New Orleans.

“It’s the Swiss Army knife for managers — it’s flexible, it’s productive, it does a bunch of different jobs for you,” she said. “When people feel like they invest in their work, they are happier at work. And it develops a positive reputation that will drive other employees to your organization.”

Additionally, according to research from consulting firm Korn Ferry Hay Group, while a competitive compensation and benefits program is often a key reason that employees join an organization, a lack of career development opportunities is the No. 1 reason employees leave organizations.

Career development encompasses everything, from promotion and management opportunities, training and classes to coaching and simply providing mentorship to employees.

“It doesn’t have to be huge or onerous,” Giulioni said. Employers can start off small, she said, noting that career development needs to be practiced constantly.

“It isn’t an annual exercise of checking boxes, but an ongoing exercise of checking in with employees,” Giulioni said. “It’s like brushing your teeth — you don’t do it once or twice a year; you have to do it daily.”

Beverly Kaye, CEO of Career Systems International, which provides employee engagement programs, says it’s important for employers and employees to think about career development as a climbing wall, with multiple places to go in any direction, rather than a ladder with only so many rungs. Employers should have conversations with employees about what kind of work they want to do, what problems they want to solve and what kind of legacy they want to leave.

Kaye and Giulioni offered some tips for how to mentor employees:

1. Flag performance: Give employee details on a specific project. “Tell them, ‘I think you nailed this’ and ‘I think you need to work on this,’” Giulioni said.
2. Focus on development: “Managers can tell their employee, ‘I think it will improve your development if you try it this way instead of that way,” Giulioni said.
3. Foster performance: Ask an employee how he thinks he did on a certain project and listen. Then the manager should tell the employee how she thinks he did.
4. Celebrate achievements: Celebrate employees’ achievements and growth. Giulioni says it can be as simple as telling a worker, “I saw how much you changed from last week to this week in how you addressed the team.”


“When people feel like they invest in their work, they are happier at work. And it develops a positive reputation that will drive other employees to your organization.”


This post was written by Kathryn Mayer on https://www.benefitnews.com


  Wendy Tan   Jul 03, 2017   Career Development   Comments Off on Why is it important to develop your employees?   Read More

Career Development: Today’s Meta-Priority

Last week, Julie Winkle Giulioni (co-author of Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go) and I spoke at the SHRM conference in New Orleans. Our session was entitled Career Development: Today’s Meta-Priority. The session was so well received, I wanted to share concepts from it in this blog.

In the past, career development was often considered a “nice-to-do” or “when you get around to it” activity. Today more and more organizations are viewing it as a necessity, as several studies link career and talent development to valued business metrics.

Leaders who prioritize career development think and act differently. They’ve incorporated ways to make career development a priority into their daily habits. Demonstrate your commitment to the development of your employees by trying one or more of these priorities.


Priority 1: Assume that everyone has the potential to learn and grow.

This mindset will inspire greater confidence in your employees.


Priority 2: Focus on an opportunity-filled future.

Realize that opportunity still knocks….it just opens different doors!


Priority 3: Cultivate peripheral vision.

Continuously refine your view of the big picture. Be aware of factors that affect your business, industry, and culture.

Priority 4: Treat career development as a daily part of the leadership role. 

Recognize and seize small moments within the context of daily work to connect with your employees.


Priority 5: View talent as an enterprise-wide resource. 

Don’t hoard talent!


This blog post was written by Beverly Kaye, Founder of Career Systems International. Posted on http://careersystemsintl.com/

  Wendy Tan   Jul 03, 2017   Career Development   Comments Off on Career Development: Today’s Meta-Priority   Read More

Conversations to Engage, Develop and Challenge

Talk is cheap … or so the saying goes. But when it comes to what matters most to employees today, talk is one of the most valued commodities organizations have to offer.

In a recent survey by Career Systems International, a vast majority of Human Resource and Talent Management professionals said career development conversations are the types of conversations employees most want to have with their manager. On the flip side, these same professionals report they are not happening. What is? Conversations about daily operations and tasks.

And while every employee needs to know the “what and how of their job today,” they are thinking about a whole lot more. Can I see my future in your future? Do I really like it here? What’s next for me?

The simple truth? Talk is exactly what employees want … we’re just not giving it or giving the kind they want. Conversations to engage, develop and challenge employees are the bedrock of strong relationships between employees and managers. These conversations can and do create an environment where employees feel valued, respected and heard.

So, why aren’t we doing it? Turns out, talk may not be cheap, and it can be hard. For some, that is. Common fears from “what if I can’t give or get what I want” to “I don’t know what to say” hold all of us back from having meaningful, authentic conversations at work. What if it wasn’t that hard?

Turns out, it doesn’t have to be.

Start by cultivating a sense of wonder in your organization. People are inherently curious. Conversations can help us harness and direct that curiosity to engage, develop and challenge others. How? Remember, it doesn’t have to be that hard.

Ask powerful questions and then listen, really listen to what others are saying. Then, ask another. Suspend your need to rush the conversation along, stop yourself from answering the question for them, and approach each and every conversation with a sense of wonder … I wonder what really inspires this person … I wonder what they want to get out of this opportunity … I wonder what skill they really want to develop.

When we really listen, we are often really surprised. Let your employees surprise you and don’t be afraid to surprise others. After all, we all want conversations to engage, develop and challenge. It’s up to you to make them happen.

Conversations kick-starters you can use in your organizations today!

Conversations to Engage

  • What makes for a great day at work?
  • What makes you stay?
  • What might entice you away?
  • How do you like to be recognized?
  • What kind of support do you need from me? What are you not getting?

Conversations to Develop

  • What opportunities are available for your continued growth and development?
  • What skills do you most want to develop in the coming year?
  • What career option most appeals to you in the next three years?
  • What do you most want to learn about?
  • What is the most enriching aspect of your work?

Conversations to Challenge

  • What is holding you back from taking the next step at work?
  • What is your reputation in the organization?
  • Who do you enjoy collaborating within the organization? How are you building that network?
  • What can you improve on?
  • What feedback do you need and from whom?

“Let your employees surprise you and don’t be afraid to surprise others.”

This article is written and published by Career Systems International.

  Wendy Tan   Jul 03, 2017   Article-Consulting, Career Development, Engagement   Comments Off on Conversations to Engage, Develop and Challenge   Read More

The Power of Pause

WOMEN REPRESENT ABOUT half of the nation’s workforce yet still make about 83 percent of men’s median wages, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. They’re also underrepresented in the c-suites and boards across nearly every industry. In other words, women are working just as hard but aren’t seeing the full benefit of their efforts.

As talent management professionals, we work with many of today’s Fortune 1,000 companies. They invite us in to help their employees take ownership of their careers. Our formula is time-tested and successful but only when it’s lived out beyond the classroom and put into practice.

Employees leave our sessions knowing what to do, but the actual doing is quite hard. And it’s a little tougher for women. Why? A woman’s focus is almost never solely in her career. She’s juggling multiple priorities, so intentionally managing her career is an easy one to push down the to-do list.

What does it mean to manage one’s career intentionally? We talk about career management in the context of five critical questions:

  1. Who am I?
  2. How do others see me?
  3. What’s changing in the world of work?
  4. What are my options?
  5. How can I achieve my goals?

Answering these self-reflection questions requires muting the noise going on outside and focusing on the inside.

For women, that means not checking their text messages and see who forgot their school lunch, holding off listening to a voice mail from an ailing parent, and not stopping everything to add a calendar reminder to pick up eggs.

But muting is necessary for a process of discovery to unfold. So, if you are a leader of women, help them press mute and concentrate on what’s going on inside the place they work: what’s happening now, what’s going to happen, and what will make them the best professional now and in the future. Then walk them down this five-step path.


What do you hold most dear, what do you do better than anyone else, and what do you really love doing? We talk about these three areas in the terms of having a good career fit.

Being able to be articulate one’s skills is critical. In much of our work, the stereotypes prove true—women have a harder time articulating their specific skills (not just “I’m good with people”) and speaking about them as if they’re owned. We have seen exceedingly skillful women unable to passionately and vehemently defend their almost innate abilities, and we often see women rating themselves lower in their skill sets.

And while women may have a harder time articulating these skills, they inherently possess many savvy behaviors that are key to navigating a successful career. They tend to score higher on their ability to listen well, collaborate, be comfortable with diversity, and build relationships through teams. In build- ing these relationships, however, women can suffer from putting their own interests last. So, while they might know what they are passionate about doing, it’s not uncommon to see the female talent to hang tough and do work they don’t enjoy for the sake of the team or peace at work.

Finally, what about values? What matters most to women? We’ve gotten a variety of answers over the past 35 years—everything from spending time with family and friends to challenging oneself intellectually.What is consistent is how women rate satisfaction with their values given their current work situation. It’s common to see female talent more dissatisfied. Perhaps this is related to their willingness to tough it out for the sake of the team, the organization, or the family. In our own experiences, we’ve put major promotions on hold to care for young children where the value of family trumps the value of a career.

One value we do see more often with women is the desire to feel appreciated and respected. It’s important to them that their tough-it-out mentality is recognized: Hey, can’t you see the sacrifices I’m making here—appreciate me!


The days of having your manager tap you on the shoulder and point you to your next job are over. Today, no one manages their career in a vacuum and no one truly works alone. Even if you work in a remote office, you’re still connected and how all these connections view you is important.

To know the opinion of others requires feedback. And, while women are generally eager for feedback, it’s not uncommon to see them ruminate on it. In fact, one of us is still talking about the feedback we received from a boss in 2005. It was accurate feedback—about pouting in a meeting—but still, stings.

Perspective from others is effective when women keep their emotions in check. We encourage them to stick to the facts and ask for specific examples when the feedback is fresh. Then step back and look for the truth within it. If you’re not sure, ask a peer or mentor. Mentors are a powerful resource; women benefit from learning from someone who’s walked a mile in their shoes.

We’re talking more to women’s groups about the power of personal branding in today’s workplace. It begins by asking the hard questions like “what’s my reputation at work” or “what do people say about me when I leave the room?” If you don’t ask, you won’t know if your brand is getting in the way of the career you want.

“Once a plan is in place and women are excited about it, our experience is that they will pursue their goals with a tenacity that’s often unmatched by others.”


Careers grow and evolve within ever-changing cultures and environments. A critical step in any career management is knowing exactly where you stand amid this changing environment and arming yourself to see opportunities where others may not.

To grow in today’s complex organizations, it’s essential to build a rich and diverse network. The key word here is diverse. We often see women looking more for networks at their own level and not higher-level networks that may help advance their careers and knowledge. Conversely, it’s not uncommon to see their male counterparts being more strategic about who they want in their network. They take the “you never know unless you ask” approach.

Managing one’s network is a conscious responsibility and the prescription for personal and business success. Know what you want, who can help and how, and what you can offer in return.


Here is where we see women in the workplace both thrive and struggle. Typically, we find that women aren’t as upward-focused as men but they do see multiple career options: Up, down, sideways, a little of each, or growing right where they are. The barrier is the either-or mentality they often take. Do they pull out all stops to get ahead or just keep their heads down and hope it all works out? The right answer is yes.

We recently spoke at a Women in Leadership Conference and career options was a highly charged topic. The women in the room openly voiced the concern about saying no to any opportunity that comes their way. By saying no, many thought they were giving into the stereotype that women don’t really want to do whatever it takes to get ahead. The fear prompts many women to say yes even when it may not be the right fit.

Leaders can support women more fully here by realizing that we employ a whole person and that whole person brings to work values, skills, interests, and perspectives that may not align with every opportunity. It’s why self- awareness is so critical. Saying yes or no should begin with who you are, not what others want you to be.


Careers happen, planned or not. You won’t achieve even the clearest, most realistic goals without commitment and focus. It’s this focus—or lack thereof— that can be a real roadblock for women. It requires putting themselves first. They can do so by reaching out to other women as mentors for guidance, form- ing career action teams where they support and hold one another accountable, or even asking for very specific development ideas from people in their career network, including their manager.

Once a plan is in place and women are excited by it, it’s our experience that they will pursue their goals with a tenacity often unmatched by others. But it starts with having the courage to press pause. Do you have what it takes?


“For women in the workplace, the key to continued growth is intentionally muting the noise.”


Written by Beverly Crowell and Beverly Kaye on Talent Quarterly, The Boss Issue.


  Wendy Tan   May 16, 2017   Article-Consulting, Career Development, Resource for Performance Conversations   Comments Off on The Power of Pause   Read More

Finding a Good Career Fit



One of the unfortunate effects of getting swamped by deadlines, inundated by emails and engulfed in an ever-changing pile of priorities is losing sight of “you”. In this wired world of work, you can lose track of what really works for you — the connection to yourself and what you need and want from work. Satisfying and successful careers are more than just jobs: careers embody your unique values, skills, and interests, as well as your personal traits and style. Self-awareness – or the lack of it – affects every choice and decision you make. You cannot plan your career without first knowing yourself.

Having control of your career requires finding a good career fit–one that offers alignment between your personal values, interests and skills and creates a fulfilling and productive work life.

The clue to achieving a career fit is to first be clear on what your interests are, which are based on a solid understanding of your current personal needs and what matters to you. When your interest and values are defined, you can safely determine the type or job you really need to reach a work/life balance.

To create a productive and fulfilling work life, it is also important that the job you choose maximizes your strengths and offers the development opportunities you need to improve those not so strong skills, as well as those new skills you will need to stay abreast of changes in your field and your organization.



Now that you know what it really means to be in control of your career, you will want to do something about your current job situation. Begin by sharing your values and interest with your boss and together find ways for you to meet them in your current position. If your boss does not have the means to make this happen, perhaps he/she can help you make the right connections within your organization that can help you.

If you want to feel good about your job, you need to take action. Stop waiting for your ideal job to come to you. Stop saying “I wish….” or “if only I could….” and take charge of your career!

Written by Katie Wacek, Career Systems International

  Wendy Tan   May 14, 2017   Career Development   Comments Off on Finding a Good Career Fit   Read More

Career Coach: New Boss? Here’s how to manage the transition

If there is one thing Washingtonians know, it’s that no leader sticks around forever. This is true no matter the sector. At work, there are ways to make any transition to a new leader or manager much smoother – whether you’re a team member or that new manager coming in. It all boils down to being tuned in and proactive.

Organizations would do well to select new managers who are more proactive and change-oriented than a former leader to achieve an effective leadership transition, with minimal disruption This advice is rooted in research. Along with three co-researchers, I recently studied leadership transitions of mid-level managers and how teams responded to them.

So what can a new manager do to be successful in his or her role?

1. Win over your team

Hold off on implementing all of your new big ideas and focus on getting ‘in’ amongst the team. Your first priority when taking over a new role is to gain team members’ trust and also to help ensure that the team’s beliefs and values are consistent with yours as the leader. When a highly proactive new leader is paired with team members who are also high in proactivity, they will tend to “sync” with one another. Seek out ways to get to know each individual on your team better. Set up one-on-one meetings with each member to understand their role, goals and any challenges or concerns. Be perceptive – you need to understand the group’s culture and team dynamics and how individuals work together (or don’t) before you can be effective.

2. Know who came before you

It is critical that you understand the type of manager who led the team previously. If you are new to an organization, the leaders who hired you can help shed light on these details. Your one-on-one meetings with your team members should also fill in some information. Your ability to push through changes in an organization depends on how the former leader was viewed by the team, and also how you view the former leader. Use that information to rally support from the team. If you are replacing a popular manager who will be sorely missed, understand why that person was so beloved by team members and leaders and try to emulate some of his or her traits and continue his or her successful policies. And if you are replacing an unpopular manager, you likely won’t have a hill to climb to gain the team’s favor.

3. Ask for support

Sometimes, extra support from the top down could really bolster your success as a new leader. Ask your organization’s leadership to communicate with your team to help convey your commitment and emphasize your unique positive, proactive characteristics.

4. Now get ready to roll out your changes

Once you have hopefully gained your team’s respect and trust, it will be much easier to get them on board with any new ideas or changes you want to implement. Getting buy-in from the people who will actually be carrying out your vision will make it a lot easier to motivate them and make the efforts more successful.

But what if the new leader is your boss. Here are some ideas on how to cope with a new manager:

Be open-minded

You may think your new manager won’t be able to fill the big shoes of a favorite boss who left. Or he or she may provide the breath of fresh perspective your team really needs. Regardless of the manager who came before, give your new boss a chance without making a snap judgment.

Let your voice be heard

Make sure you are proactive about communicating. Your voice will never be heard if you don’t speak up. Offer to meet up with the new manager or suggest grabbing coffee or lunch together. This can help build your relationship and establish a level of trust between you and your new boss.

Be honest

Give your new manager a true understanding of how your team worked with the previous manager. What worked well and what didn’t? Having this information can help your new manager work better with you and other team members.

Get ready for change

Any new leader is going to have new ideas. Prepare yourself to do things a bit differently and be flexible. Having already established open lines of communication will help you provide feedback to your new manager when he or she does implement something new.

As we all know, change is inevitable, regardless of where you sit – as the new manager of the team member with the new boss. Be proactive to embrace the change and make the transition as smooth as possible.

By Susan Taylor on Washington Post

  Wendy Tan   May 14, 2017   Uncategorized   Comments Off on Career Coach: New Boss? Here’s how to manage the transition   Read More

More About Stay Interviews

What you ask and how you respond during a stay interview will determine the outcome of this important interaction.

Charlie set up a meeting with his plant manager, Ken, for Monday morning. After some brief conversation about the weekend activities, Charlie said, “Ken, you are critical to me and to this organization. I’m not sure I’ve told you that directly or often enough. But you are. I can’t imagine losing you. So, I’d like to know what will keep you here. And what might entice you away?”

Ken was a bit taken aback—but felt flattered. He thought for a moment and then said, “You know, I aspire to move up in the organization at some point, and I’d love to have some exposure to the senior team. I’d like to see how they operate—and frankly I’d like them to get to know me too.” Charlie responded, “I could take you with me to some senior staff meetings. Would that be a start?” Ken said, “That would be great.”

Charlie delivered on Ken’s request one week later.

What if you can’t give them what they want?

Many managers don’t ask because they fear one of two responses: a request for a raise or a promotion. They might not be able to deliver on those kinds of requests. Then what?

Next time one of your talented employees asks for something you think you might not be able to give (e.g. money), respond by using these four steps:

  1. Restate how much you value them. “You are worth that and more to me.”
  2. Tell the truth about the obstacles you face in granting their requests. “I’d love to say yes, but I will need to investigate the possibility. I’m honestly not sure what I can do immediately, given some recent budget cuts.”
  3. Show you care enough to look into their requests and to stand up for them. “I hear your request. I’ll run this up the flag pole and get back to you by next Friday with some answers and a possible time line for a raise.”
  4. Ask, “What else?” “Meanwhile, Ken, what else matters to you? What else are you hoping for?”

Research shows clearly that people want more from work than just a pay check. When you ask the question “What else?” we guarantee there will be at least one thing your talented employee wants that you can give. Remember to listen actively as your employees talk about what will keep them on your team or in your organization.

Beyond, “What will you keep you?” here are some favourite stay interview questions managers have asked:

  • What about your job makes you jump out of bed in the morning?
  • What makes you hit the snooze button?
  • If you were to win the lottery and resign, what would you miss the most about your job?
  • If you had a magic wand, what would be the one thing you would change about this department, team, and organization?
  • As your manager, what could I do a little more of or a little less of?
  • What can we do to support your career goals?
  • What do you want to learn this year?

Remember — it doesn’t matter so much where, when, or how you ask—just ASK!

“Remember to listen actively as your employees talk about what will keep them on your team or in your organization.”

This article was written by Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans.


  Wendy Tan   Mar 11, 2017   Career Development   Comments Off on More About Stay Interviews   Read More
Copyright ©2013-2020 The Flame Centre.