The Overview

The career path we choose is one of the most important decisions in our life.

It will impact our success, wealth, the people we come in contact with, and ultimately our happiness.

But yet, how we should strategically approach and answer this question is not taught in schools.

We are given a slice of time on this earth and how we manage the journey each day will influence the experience of our professional and personal life.

Mastering a career to achieve happiness and success over a lifetime requires more than deep domain expertise.

It demands strategy and social skills to manage oneself and master interactions with others.

By becoming a master strategist in your career, you will increase the likelihood that you will live the life you wish for and make use of the most valued asset – time.

This can lead to making more money, realizing higher levels of contribution, and mastering your internal state of happiness.

The Career Strategy Framework, or CS7 Framework, is composed of 7 strategies with a set of mental models to shape your thinking and actions to manage your career.

Understanding and applying the strategies can likely lead to higher income, more options, and a boost to well-being. You will increase the likelihood that you will gravitate to a career you love and earn achievement that is unique to your talents, experience, and personality.

Your actual life will evolve into the life you wish for.

The framework was influenced by many years of experience in product management and building software products. You are the most important product of your life. Your ability to productize your talents into a portfolio of products that can be monetized as a portfolio will dictate your financial rewards and degree of freedom.

Strategy 1: Know Yourself

Understand who are and the life you want

Pursuing a unique career path with confidence depends on convincing ourselves first about who we are, who we want to become, and the life we wish for.

Outcome: deeper self-awareness of who you are and what you want to experience in your career and life. This insight shapes your career strategy and is used in the principles that follow.

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Strategy 2: Target a Unique Opportunity

Identify your unique path and value proposition

Strategically apply your time, talent, and passion to a target where there is a market opportunity that aligns with your unique persona to create a compelling and sustainable value proposition.

Outcome: Using the insights from Principle 1, you will strategically identify a path(s) and opportunities that maximize your impact, value, and inner joy.

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Strategy 3: Plan the Journey

Envision a unique journey of a lifetime

Design and plan your career journey with an aspirational vision and phased approach to guide the realization of your work and life goals.

Outcome: With a clear target defined in Principle 2, you will identify tangible and practical ways to deliver your value proposition through a phased approach.

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Strategy 4: Learn Continuously

Master your craft through lifelong learning

Develop and deepen competencies that strengthen your value proposition while strategically adding skills in advance for when opportunity knocks.

Outcome: With a high-level plan designed in Principle 3, you will identify and commit to a portfolio of learning experiences to continuously reach higher levels of performance and impact.

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Strategy 5: Sell the Value

Build mind share and market share through value

Market yourself as a product with a primary focus on the value you deliver. Monetize your product across income streams to build market share for your brand.

Outcome: You will elevate your personal brand and increase the value and scale of the target opportunities that come your way through marketing and influencing techniques.

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Strategy 6: Connect Intentionally

Engage purposefully to accelerate your journey

Deepen awareness and guidance through self-reflection and intentional relationships with people who are committed to seeing you succeed.

Outcome: You will become an emotionally self-aware person who is in control of their destiny and leverages the collective wisdom of people they have engaged in their story.

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Strategy 7: Decide Consciously

Optimize outcomes through strategic choices

The complexity of the one life we live is too precious to be left up to chance alone. Make rational decisions that align with your inner core and planned journey.

Outcome: You will make better decisions that align with your purpose and accelerate your journey down the path you have carefully architected.

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Career Strategy Framework Structure

CS7 Taxonomy

The framework is composed of the following building blocks.

  • Strategy – one of seven strategies on how to productize a career to its full potential.
  • Mental Model – is an idea that supports a strategy summarized in a few sentences. Each strategy contains one or more mental. Internalizing these mental models will shape your day-to-day thinking.
  • Overview – this section provides a deeper discussion of the mental model including an example from my career and life. I have found that stories are an effective way of describing the situation, how the mental model helped, and what outcome can be realized.
  • Directives – are a succinct list of actions to apply the mental model – the “things you should do”. These include behaviors to adopt and actions to take to support your transformational change. In my experience, people value a synthesized list of actions instead of a long theory. These directives are nuggets that can be acted upon. I caution you that these are recommendations to myself and suggest you adapt them to your life as appropriate.
  • Experiment With This – a list of probing questions to tease out thoughts and ideas with recommended actions you can take to experiment with applying the mental model in the wild.
  • Resources – a list of books, podcasts, articles, and videos that relate to the strategy and mental model. In many cases, I synthesize and organize concepts from multiple sources that form the key point of the mental model. I highly encourage you to digest these resources when you want to go deep on a specific topic. I recommend you read the full book if you want a deep understanding of the concept.

Why a Framework

For Me

I am responsible for the choices and outcomes of my life.

My happiness and freedom hinge on executing a career strategy that creates a unique path that I control doing work I love.

I could not find a career process deep in strategy yet practical to guide action.

In 2008, I created a framework to help me succeed in my career and broader life.

If we are not methodical in our approach to what is truly important, we will succumb to the daily machine of unconscious inertia.

Deep issues emerge when we diverge off our path.

The changing business landscape and forces make people irrelevant.

Actively managing a career strategy is required to sustain a unique value proposition that fuels my livelihood and my children’s dreams.

By continuously practicing a set of strategies that evolved from my life, it has become an effective form of self-therapy to overcome obstacles and irrational behavior.

As a leader, a career process attracts, develops, and exports talent across an organization.

As a father, educating my kids on topics not taught in schools will accelerate their development and reduce learning the hard way. Their success in life influences my happiness.

As a human being, helping others in their career pursuit can inspire a movement for people to do the same.

All boats rise when people help people.

For You

It’s life and death – your ability to strategically evolve a career will dictate your options and long-term prosperity.

Without a strategic direction that you control, you will be drawn into supporting the goals of others and not reach your true potential. You will be disappointed later in life.

People are busy and often make quick decisions to hear your pitch.

Think of yourself as a product with a succinct brochure on your achievements, persona, and value proposition.

You are responsible for your career. Don’t expect organizations to provide answers and look after your best interests.

Leaders are not mind-readers. Articulate what you want to achieve, your high-level path, and where you need their help to garner support.

Your life will inevitably be rocked by failure or issues outside your control.

A solid strategic plan and a confident mindset will mitigate irrational actions and reinforce calmness.

Who is it for?

Students need direction to choose fields of study, and apprenticeships and establish an early vision of the life they wish for.

Parents need a collection of strategies and philosophies, not taught in school, to help shape their children’s thought processes about choosing a career and how to get the most value from education.

Professionals that are feeling stuck in their current job, need guidance on how to make a job/field transition or market themselves. Significant life-changing events are often a catalyst to re-evaluate your path.

Side Hustlers who want to create options experimenting with unique passions while learning new skills and earning money on the side.

Human Resource (HR) leaders are seeking to build a culture of mutual success that aligns talent with the needs of the organization, improves retention, and an organization that is a magnet for talent.

Managers seeking a proven framework and best practices to develop people within their team and export talent to the organization.

Event Organizers that are seeking valuable career strategy content from a master strategist and executive to help professionals accelerate their path to full potential.