I have a meeting setup at the end of next week where the company and I will jointly create a development plan for me covering the next 3 years.  The meeting will include my boss, HR, and the site manager.

Any general tips, watchouts or helpful hints to prepare for?

Specific concerns:

In a perfect world, I would like a hybrid role of multiple pieces of existing jobs. How do I be sure it isn't perceived as me expecting the company to create a position for me?

How can I say that I want my boss's job without it looking like I'm trying to push him out the door?

How do I make sure that I don't get pushed into a corner based on what the company needs vs what I need?

Because of personal situation, I cannot accept any assignments that would require relocation. The company often "High suggests" (requires) people in management development to take international/relocation assignments. How do I overcome this hurdle?



dmb41carter36's picture

Even though no one commented, I thought I would give some feedback. My meeting went pretty well. Thanks in most part to guidance my boss gave me before the meeting. We do use a standardized form (since I work for a big company) but I thought it was really helpful.

Key points: Be honest. Be prepared including researching company policies, talking with others, your mentor etc.. Treat it as an interview (Situation-Result-Behaviors). The goal should be to align your perception of strengths/weaknesses with the company's perception.

1. Describe your goal for the next 2-4 years (typically the next rung in the ladder).

2. Describe your goals for 4+ years. It's totally fine if you're not sure where you want to be 20 years from now. Most people you are going to have this meeting with will understand that.  The key is to show good logic and demonstrate you have thought about it. .

Typically, there are two paths. One is for a specialist. One is management. For example, you are a junior applications engineer with 3 years of experience. Your 4+ goals could be you want to be the most senior engineer - perhaps a project manager or work across multiple regions or divisions. You want to advance but you don't want to manage people. The second path is the traditional functional manager. You want to manage people. Perhaps you want to be senior VP of the division or function (Sales, marketing etc.).

3. Strengths (vs 2-4 year goal) - describe your strengths in relation to the role you want in the next 2-4 years. Make sure they traits (Leadership, Coaching etc.). Use the interviewing method of describing a situation with examples from your job in the situation-result-behavior method.

4. Weaknesses (vs 2-4 year goal) - describe the gaps that you would need to attain your goal in the next 2-4 years. For example, if you would like to be a first time manager, then you would need to develop interviewing skills, a familiarity with HR policies including compensation policies and  interviewing.

5. The mobility question. Be ready to address it. Know what your company's sentiment on this are. Most companies "Strongly prefer", you to take an assignment in a different region, country or division. Check what the typical duration of assignment is. Then review your family situation. Ensure you talk about it with your spouse. Consider the health of your family (including your parents). Whatever you decide make sure you are crystal clear with the management team. Be ready to accept the consequences. For example, our company typically has minimum 3 year terms on assignment. I told them I would do a 6 month assignment but would reassess the mobility question annually. I told them I understand that it means I may have to wait longer for my opportunity and I'm fine with that. The management team was very accepting of my response to this question.

5. Development opportunities - based on the agreement you attain in points 1-4 you should get feedback from management. This would include them suggesting "We have a development program x" or "You should sign up for training Y". Sometimes you could even get a whiff of a future project. "You know Bob is leaving so you may be a good fit to take over project ZZZ". Make sure you have some of your own opportunities prepared in case management is quiet.

6. Action Plan - set up next steps. Typically this could be "Investigate feasibility of project takeover ZZZ" or register for trainings X, Y, Z.

7. Documentation - For goodness sake, document the crap out of this process! Publish notes!







jcunich's picture

Thank you, i was looking for some guidance on how to respond to my boss, when he ask me, what seminar or course i'd like to take.

Your comments allow me to take this discussion further and better aligned for my company and I.

Valparaíso, Chile.

Sarah81's picture

 I'm so glad you posted your own response!!! There's a lot of confusion around how to handle getting to the next level in your organization. 

I'm going to share this!!

dmb41carter36's picture

In my case I was lucky, management generally agreed with my self-assessment. I have come to know that not all of these meetings turn out to be that way. For example, people have presented before stating "I want to be department manager". They were then promptly told, the senior management does not believe they have management potential. Last piece of advice: Hopefully, you can pre-wire enough to know how the meeting should turn out. Be sure to go into with an open mind, in the event that there is a disconnect between your self-perception and the perception of senior leadership. Think of it this way: what better way to find out what you need to work on, then with a meeting that involves the people directly involved in pulling the strings on your career. Increased self-awareness can often lead to the most dramatic improvements.


@JCunich and Sarah, thanks for the positive feedback!


safz1122's picture

Thank you for posting this, I will be using your suggestions in my career development meeting :)

jl_herrera's picture

Just in time as I am about to create a PDP for myself.  I had not heard that particular podcast before.