The quickest career development plan you’ll ever make


Pay-off: A quick model for creating a career development plan and planning your next career step

Investment: 2 minutes

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If you’re new to this idea you should find it useful.

And if you’ve seen it before, it applies to you even more right now than ever before. (Because the present moment is the only time you can do anything about it.)

It’s a model that’s been around a while but is as relevant as ever. It helps you work out a sensible next move in your career. And it was popularised by management author Charles Handy.

Here’s what it is and how to use it:

A quick career development plan from the sigmoid curve

When you look at your career or your business, where are you right now on this sigmoid curve below?


The x-axis is time, the y-axis is your level of performance or value.


Are you in the stimulating learning phase? Where you’re likely having fun but operating at a cost to your business or organisation?


Are you in the exciting growth phase? Where your outputs exceed your inputs and you’re creating increasingly higher value? (Here’s a great way for you to strengthen your career position).


Or are you in the decline phase? Where your performance and value are declining as the world, environment, or circumstances change around you?

So what’s your next career step?

It pays to determine roughly where you’re at.

Because then you can use the next chart below to work out what to do next.


You might want to think about stacking your curves. Before the decline phase kicks in, you should ideally be in the growth phase of a new curve (or a new career, business, product or service).

So what’s your next curve?

Choose your next career step

Your next two questions should be:

  1. what could and should my next growth phase be?
  2. what should I be learning ahead in preparation for my next growth phase?

Think about leveraging, amplifying and growing your strengths. Think about applying them to a niche area. Think about finding the sweet spot where your strengths and interests overlap with a proven sustainable (for now) paying market. Think about the next logical progression. Think about the next absurd, risky or parallel progression. Think what others have done next in your position. Think about industries that are set to grow over the next few years (and see here). Think about products, services and organisations that are set to grow. Find a position that will elevate you (and one which you can elevate yourself within too).

Get clear on your next phase of growth. (If you’re struggling to get clarity, try this.)

Then decide what you should learn next.

What, if you acquired and mastered it, would make the biggest impact to get you growing in that position?

X marks the spot on that skill, knowledge area or behaviour. Right, now pull a daily learning plan together and get cracking!

Here are two ways to strengthen your career position.

Here’s where your career could be taking you if you don’t act.

Here’s how to pick a new challenge.

And here’s how to build a plan that can’t fail.

(If you’re interested to learn more on this and similar ideas here’s some of Charles Handy’s books worth browsing: Charles Handy Books)

Any questions, give me a shout, or drop me a comment below.

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