Architecting a career strategy can be overwhelming and knowing where to start is often a challenge.   The Career Strategy Framework “Know” process is generally where I recommend people start.  It forms the foundation for setting strategy by defining what is important, the attributes that describe you, and your brand promise.  The output of the Know process use is used to define a target market and value proposition as described in the diagram below.

The Know process attempts to answer the following questions:

  • What is important?
  • Who are you?
  • What is your life purpose?
  • What roles do you play in life?
  • What is happiness?
  • What identity are you positioning?
  • What is your brand promise?

The process challenges you to “Know” what’s important, who you are, and want to become.  There are three primary deliverables from the Know process including a definition of what is important, a personal profile, and a branding position. I recommend this part of the process be one of deep reflection outside of your normal day-to-day environment and routine. The deliverables from this process are foundational for the market analysis and targeting activities in the “Target” process. The definition of “what’s important” will also be used to allocate time, talent, and treasure when you execute your career strategy.

I am leading a career strategy workshop within Microsoft and we are using the concepts from the book Mojo: How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back if You Lose It to help colleagues clarify what brings them energy and who they want to become.  I highly recommend this book and the ongoing process to “measure” the Mojo to shape your career strategy.  Members of my workshop and colleagues who have applied this framework in the past confirm that the “Know” process is not easy but highly valuable to career strategy development.  It takes time and an iterative approach to feel “comfortable” with your profile and identity and brand that you want to position.  Share your draft with important people in your life for honest feedback and validation.

Today I held a roundtable discussion on the Know process and I was amazed by the creativity of my colleagues as they shared their content.  One learning for me was the recognition that introverts and extroverts have different ways of expressing their profile.  There are also cultural factors that influence how people define their profile and to what extent it is shared.

Take control of your career strategy and life by defining what is important, and describing who you are and who you want to become.  What could be more important to set your direction?