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July - 2006 - issue > Sage Speak
Career Progression Planning-Your Career-Your Choice
Sanjay Singh
Monday, July 3, 2006
It is Monday morning; my Operations Manager walks into my office for our weekly update. Looking at him, I get a sense that something serious is on his mind. A talented and hard working individual, he has met performance expectations for the past year. He enjoys working with his team and is respected by his peers. As the meeting progresses, I get to know what’s on his mind. A question that most managers have lived through at least once in their corporate lives, if not more. “I have been with the company for a year, what’s next?” Most times, there is a feeling of an unspoken threat accompanying this question, “Well, if you don’t give me an answer, then I will have to start looking around.”

The hierarchal system where the employee’s career progression was pre-defined by the organization is slowly giving way to a more open and healthy work environment where the entire concept of career progression is defined around empowering the employee to be the master of their destiny.

Empowerment begins when employees exercise the need to change themselves. This gives them a vision for their future, the ability to choose, which transforms them to take control of their destiny and self-learning.

Most corporations are willing to go the extra mile to make their employees feel good about their working environment. It’s common to find companies providing high tech working facilities, coupling this with fabulous gyms, cafeteria, pick up and drop services, food and even fruits! When the physical well-being is taken care of with attention to such minute details, the obvious next step for companies is to provide self-development tools and knowledge base to its employees to transform themselves and in turn transform the organization.

Career Progression Planning (CPP) sets the framework to develop critical leadership and competencies in a company’s workforce. The CPP enables the employees to plan and track their short/long term career aspirations. It’s also an important tool for continuous learning, professional and personal growth. This results in a highly motivated workforce.

In this new world, where employees are leading themselves, and are empowered to define, and plan their future, the manager’s role is also evolving. The manager is now a facilitator and a mentor. In this new role, the manager is recreating the organizational culture to encourage innovation, knowledge sharing, and self-learning.

This will give way to a new breed of self driven knowledge workers, who come to work smiling and leave in the evenings not because they have clocked in the necessary number of working hours but because they feel satisfied that for that particular day they have done their bit to contribute to the future of the organization. These are the empowered individuals who will lay the foundation for a new generation of change agents, who think freely, innovate passionately and motivate universally.

I look at my Operations Manager and ask him “Where do you want to be in the next two years?”

Sanjay Singh is the Managing Director, Akamai Technologies India.
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