Organizations 2014: Reflections and the Road Ahead

By Bryan Lubic

Throughout 2014, book reviews and articles connected career development practices, processes, and ideas to the organizational side of career development. Next year, you will see more convergence that will spark insight, invite dialogue, and facilitate change.
Here’s a review of themes and suggestions for the road ahead.

Theme 1: The success of an organization is increasingly dependent upon the engaged and sustained performance of employees.
It's not a groundbreaking thought: organizations need employees who consistently perform and deliver necessary results. But it is a groundbreaking process: creating results by helping employees to transform themselves and each other through a coaching approach. Strategies and steps for this process were outlined in the March 2014 book review of The Extraordinary Coach: How the Best Leaders Help Others Grow, including a framework for coaching conversations and connections to the business impact of coaching.
Thomas Crane's book, The Heart of Coaching: Using Transformational Coaching to Create a High-Performance Coaching Culture, reviewed in September, 2014 showed that organizational growth and development is dependent upon the growth and transformation of individual employees. The result of such efforts is a better organization where individuals are transformed by implementing a coaching culture.
Theme 2: Understanding that the key to success in any kind of business, whether for-profit or non-profit, depends on people in the organization understanding the value they bring, and the value they create for their customers.
What is the value you create? How can you use your strengths, skills, and abilities to create value for a specific customer, including your own organization? The authors of Business Model You, A One Page Method for Reinventing Your Career, reviewed in April, 2014, showed how a visual business model can be used by an individual to visually describe and communicate their own personal business model and the unique value they create for their clients or customers.
Helping people manage their careers like a project was the insight share by Jennifer Bradley and Sharon De Mascia in February's article "Tracking Careers: How to Apply Project Management Tools to Promote Career Development". The article also broke ground by helping us see an application of a business approach -- project management -- as a method for career development. The metaphor works well, and connects employees to the business of an organization through the shared language of project management.
In October's book review of The Loyalty Effect, we learned the importance of loyalty for customers as well as employees. Understanding what value means to customers is important; so is understanding what value means to employees. Alignment is also critical: employees and organizations that share the same values will be more effective in serving their customers.
It's much better when you know the business of the business you're in. The concept of value is not new, but it's still not widely understood. This is an opportunity for career development practitioners to take the lead in helping employees understand ways in which they bring value, and ways they can contribute to the value and growth of the organization.
Theme 3: The first themes aren’t new or easy to fully implement or sustain, and yet, they are totally worth striving for, because the consequences are very costly.
Companies in crisis face difficult decisions, including layoffs. Indirect effects of layoffs, as we learned in May 2014, include survivor's guilt. Outlining the signs and symptoms layoff survivors experience, Suzanne Beier, Pam Gordon and John Seinrukos also provided a framework for assisting and motivating layoff survivors.
Stress from everyday challenges builds over time, and can be magnified on a regular basis. When is it too much? And how can we take action to relieve the pressure before it's too much? In August  2014,Roxanne Farkas shared how mindfulness can be applied at work to help our clients relieve stress and gain clarity, with her article,  Mindfulness at Work: A Career Professional's Perspective. With examples of simple activities we can use ourselves and with our clients, everyone wins: employees gain peace, clarity, and relief, and organizations gain employees who feel better and can be more effective.
Theme 4:  It's time for action: The future of career development and organizations will be defined by how effectively we implement and practice the great ideas we've seen, read, and shared this year (and, really, every year before).

Articles this year provided tools and templates, processes and steps. Now it's time to focus on the action and implementation of these ideas in our own lives and organizations.

  • What will we do this year to improve the career success of our clients?
  • What's one step you can take to increase the professional mobility of an employee looking for their next step?
  • How can our organizations improve their own bottom line by supporting employee development?
  • Over the next year, what is one result you'd like to create or see created that would advance career development in organizations?

Now here is an invitation to you to advance yourself, your organization, and our profession. Share one plan, step, action or project you'd like to accomplish in 2015 by submitting an article to Career Convergence or posting a Comment in the section below. It's time to make this the year we advance career development in organizations...together.

Bryan LubicBryan Lubic, M.A., CCMC, loves all things related to personal and professional career and leadership development. He currently serves as the Director of Career Education and Advising at University of California, San Diego, where he is privileged and proud to lead a team of six super-stellar advisors on a bold journey to support the success of students and alumni in reaching their awesome and inspiring professional goals. He’s (kind-of, sort-of) (in)famous for using Post-its and (occasionally bad) puns in creative and inspiring ways to help people have their own “A-Ha!” moments. He can be reached at blubic@ucsd.edu

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