Saturday, 20 September 2008

Career planning: Handle with care

In his best-selling book Blink, the author, columnist and occasional blogger Malcolm Gladwell (, makes a strong case for decision making that leaves room for understanding in the moment. The cues that we take both consciously and sub-consciously from a situation are as valid as any pre-conceived intention or conditioning, in some cases more so. In other words, any plan or conditioning with little or no room for 'live' action and reaction can hinder rather than help.

For the same reasons, a successful career plan should not limit opportunities by being too prescriptive. It does need to answer questions convincingly on the subject of where we are heading and why but it should also be flexible enough to take into account the opportunities we encounter, need to process and manage every day.

Adopting the habits of successful people will get you so far but only so far as they apply to the situations you are in, or how much you agree with the role model you have chosen. A much stronger case presents itself for a career plan based around the core components of each individual's relationship with work. Only a plan that has been individually authored in this way has the ability to define a meaningful direction for the future and allow the freedom to act and interact in the moment.

I hope Mr Gladwell would approve.

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