Comment on HBR Article: Think Strategically About Your Career Development

The HBR article on the above subject suggests the following as important steps for career development:

  • Get clear on your next steps.
  • Force yourself to set aside time.
  • Invest in deep work.
  • Build your external reputation.

Of these four suggestions it is very important to “Invest in Deep Work”. Before (and during) such focus one should be clear about Why/ What? and How? about the Deep Work.

Why Deep Work: As the author of the HBR article says you have to do something different from others. If you do the same work as others then there are more people competing for your career path. Chances are the co. will find a way to standardize your jobs and eliminate a few people or outsource them :-(

What is Deep Work? It is the ability to identify a need, convert it into a solution and make it useful (and be sure you get paid for that). We call this ability (Discover X Develop X Deploy) to implement a stream of new solutions as the TRANSFORMATIONAL SKILLS. 

How to engage in Deep Work? Here are are seven path ways (Transformational Skills):
1. Develop a common language (What is the NEW SOLUTION? Why/ How?)
2. Focus on using all your core capabilities (Knowledge, Experience and People Skills; Science, Engineering and Management skills); Constantly add to these six skill buckets through life long learning as needed.
3. Practice a system view for all solutions (Task is what you do; System is what you develop). Every system is an Input / Transformation/Output scheme. Keep in mind that the whole is always larger than the mere sum of its parts. You are required to complete an entire jig saw puzzle( the new solution) and not just fit one piece in it.
4. Focus on the SCIENCE (Quantitative understanding and use of the Transformation); Use Digital and Mobile data as much as possible.
5. In developing and implementing the solution reach out and use a broad network of resources and clients. This is called networking in general. It is more specifically called as Ecosystem development, since everyone in the network feeds off of each other for their collective success and growth.
6. Be motivated to go from beginning all the way to the end (= Discovery X Development X Deploy)
7. Practice Emotional Intelligence (Be useful to others which in turn can be useful to you).

Building a career where you are seen as useful is always much easier than simply chasing ideas and connections. It is not easy. It will need you to set aside time and effort to gain clarity on your new solutions and the value through them. There will always be pressure to do a lot of tasks unless you set aside time to step out of them and think clearly to work on the above sevenn steps.

If you build your external reputation when you are not seen as valuable in your current employer that may get you a new job, but it will not be a solid base for building your career path.