Career Strategist Offers Surefire Advice to Achieve 2007 Career Goals: Ditch New Year's Resolutions, Focus on Self-Assessment First

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Career strategist and author David Samuel says most business professionals skip straight to making resolutions, while overlooking the three most important questions for achieving goals

This time last year, corporate America geared up for another New Year season and business professionals throughout the nation plotted their career goals for 2006. According to a survey last year, these most commonly-cited 2006 goals included getting a raise, being more productive, getting a new job and getting promoted. Then came February, the month when research says most of these New Year's resolutions fall by the wayside. David Samuel--former IBM executive turned career strategist and personal branding expert--says business professionals fail to realize their New Year career goals because they often skip the first, most critical step: self-assessment.

According to Samuel, this self-assessment process hinges on the answers to three important questions: What are my career values? What are my tools? and What is my career vision?

"New Year's resolutions should be about evolving and building upon previous successes, but many people end up making the same resolutions from year to year," says Samuel. "It's great to resolve to do better and improve upon circumstances, but that means nothing if you don't first have a thorough sense of your values, your knowledge assets and a clear vision for your career."

Samuel says this three-step self-assessment process doesn't have to take long, but the time invested in sitting with oneself to ponder these questions can determine success or failure. The process includes answering the following:

  • What are my career values? Today's business environment is far-removed from the dynamics of even seven years ago. Increased connectivity, more global perspectives and escalated customer expectations are forever changing the way business is done. So, today's professionals must understand their values in order to carve a niche in which they can thrive. To what extent are they motivated by increased responsibility, money, job security or functional excellence? Is work-life balance more of a priority now than before? The answers to these types of questions will help professionals uncover their true career values and set resolutions they are more likely to achieve.
  • What are my tools? Once professionals understand their true values, they are then ready to determine whether or not they have the required knowledge and skills for their target career goals. Samuel calls this a "career asset portfolio" and says it's the one step most professionals miss when planning their career goals. The career asset portfolio includes an honest assessment of the personal assets that drive career advancement, assets such as: knowledge areas, skills, disciplines, experience, performance history, perception of value by others, etc. This inward look must include a candid view of any gaps in critical skill areas.
  • What is my career vision? Finally, professionals must incorporate the discoveries from the two previous questions into clear medium-term and long-term visions for their careers. These visions will include the strategies for enhancing their career asset portfolio with whatever knowledge or skills they are lacking, as well as the long-term vision for their target career outcome. Does their medium-term vision include learning a foreign language, earning any additional certifications or developing a better relationship with their supervisor's peers? Samuel says it is one's career vision that sustains them through the process of successfully fulfilling resolutions.

"Research reveals almost 80 percent of people who make New Year's resolutions don't have a plan to achieve them and that most people don't keep their resolutions because of procrastination, lack of discipline and the absence of a game plan," says Samuel. "These factors can be easily addressed during this self-assessment process because individuals will make resolutions that stem from a better understanding of who they are and are rooted in a more solid plan for their career, and life, goals."

For more information on this self-assessment phase and to access free tools for completing this three-step process, visit http://www.leanforwardandgo.com. To interview David Samuel on this topic, or any other career advancement topic, contact Kinetra Smith at 678-884-4008, ext. 702.

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