Depending on where you are in your career, and how you feel about making "plans" for your life, creating a career plan may or may not be a welcoming idea. However, it is a step that is vital to ensure you are focused on your career objectives and are taking the right steps along the journey to get there. Related: Your Career Six-Pack: Become A 360° Career Strategist A career plan can be whatever you want it to be. It can be a short-term or a long-term plan, or both. That is the beauty of it; you get to decide. It is your plan. Regardless of whether you want a long or a short-term plan, there are several key aspects to include in your plan. First, you want to have an end result. What are you trying to achieve? It might be the next job or assignment you want to reach in the next twelve months, or it might be the ultimate C-Suite position you are trying to reach in the next five years. This is the objective of your plan, and by establishing it, you set your plan's foundation. Next, identify your strengths. These are the areas you can leverage as you work on reaching your career objective. Next, you want to identify the areas where you need to develop. Perhaps you already know you need to develop a specific skill or you need leadership training to reach your objective; however, if you do not know where you need development, take some time to find out. Talk to leaders and colleagues who you work with and respect and ask them for some feedback. You can also get a mentor who can help guide you as you put your career plan together. This person should be someone who can help you determine where you need to develop and provide guidance on how to achieve your objectives. The last essential aspect of the career plan is to weigh it against your values and motivators. Are you striving towards something that matches what you have identified as your values? Are you motivated by the prospect of developing and growing into this career objective you have set? Hopefully the answer is yes, but if it is not, then take some time to reflect and revise so you are creating a career plan that matches your values and motivates you. This will ultimately keep you satisfied with your career. Another item to note is career plans are not permanent; therefore, they should be revisited frequently (on an annual basis, at a minimum). This allows you to assess how you are doing against your objectives, as well as assess whether or not you are still on a path most satisfying for you. Your career plan should be revised accordingly. Remember, that is the beauty of it; you are in control and you get to decide. It is your plan. This post was originally published at an earlier date.
Recently, a list of companies that have the happiest employees was circulated online. The companies were commended on their ability to promote a healthy work environment and sustain work-life balance. Pfizer came out on top with Kaiser Permanente coming in second, followed by Texas Instruments. Looking at these lists, one wonders how these companies are able to promote such a positive productive environment for their employees.
Many would think this is due to compensation packages or other related perks. But then, is work only about earning money? Is it the most important aspect when employees join a new company? What about the other factors that play an important role in building a strong bond between the employee and the organization?
- A bond that stems from mutual appreciation and respect for the value system that both parties shape together
- A bond that is dependent on many diverse factors such as recognition, open communication, and teamwork
- A bond that strengthens over time when the employee performs well
The importance of core values is illustrated by a quote from famous author and inventor, Edward de Bono: "Effectiveness without values is a tool without a purpose."
This analogy really hits home. A purposeless tool is a worthless thing and so is a company without a campus—a culture that is formed on the basis of core principles.
Core values serve to constantly guide both the employee and the company in achieving their mutual goals, in a manner that is based on an ethical and ideological framework. Every business is different, and so are their core values. Having said that, there are some principles that are alike for all, even though they may be phrased differently.
Here are four such core values every organization should have:
1. Integrity And Ethics
Simply put, the two principles of integrity and ethics translate into doing the right thing, in an honest, fair, and responsible way. Building your entire business on the foundation of honesty and integrity goes a long way toward building a strong, trusting relationship with your employees, stakeholders, and customers.
Truthful conduct on everyone's part can create a strong, credible reputation for the company in the market, which is beneficial for everyone's interests.
Without dedicated employees, a company is nothing. Period.
Committed employees form the backbone of the entire corporation. They work together with the system in order to achieve growth and profitability.
A company has a responsibility toward its employees and, if one of its core principles is showing the utmost respect to its employees, it's likely management will have a low employee turnover rate.
Respecting all employees means respecting their individual human rights and privacy, and eliminating all kinds and forms of discrimination, whether based on religion, belief, race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, or physical disability. Moreover, ensuring a safe and healthy work environment for all employees is an important part of giving respect to them.
Many organizations across the globe adopt an attitude whereby the entire company interacts together like a close-knit family. Such an atmosphere helps boost the confidence of employees and makes them feel like an important, even indispensable, part of the organization. This inspires feelings of commitment and a drive to do even better.
3. Innovation (Not Imitation)
Companies that focus on being ahead of their competitors and introducing new ideas in the marketplace follow the principle of "innovation, not imitation." This is crucial if a company wants to be a trendsetter and introduce new products that consumers appreciate.
Employees in such companies are encouraged to be dynamic and come up with innovative ideas that can translate into successful products for the company. Constantly imitating others won't take the business far.
The thirst to constantly improve can be achieved if one is never satisfied. Organizations that have this principle as one of their core values try to provide a dynamic platform for their employees, where they can explore their creativity and skills and further enhance themselves.
While celebrating successes is an important thing, just sitting back and getting complacent over them is unacceptable for such companies. The reason why some companies habitually do well is because they know that employees are the most valuable resource.
Nothing compares to an employee who is dedicated and willing to go the extra mile. This requires a company to cultivate an environment that promotes respect and frowns upon politics. If you want to achieve this type of work environment at your company, these four core values are a great place to start.
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