If you grow more capabilities more quickly than others do, you'll perform better today, earn opportunities to perform better in the future, and a virtuous cycle will take hold — development matters.

Unfortunately, most companies are, at best, average at developing future talent. So how can you chart the shortest, surest path to success if your company isn't contributing to your development in meaningful ways?

We grow most successfully through a combination of on-the-job, social, and formal learning. Think of growth as a cycle; successfully perform, get feedback, and perform again even better. Experiences power that growth cycle, so you'll want to understand which experiences matter most and gain as many of them as quickly as possible.

To begin, you want to be clear about your starting point and desired destination on that development journey. Two key steps to growing faster are:

  1. Determine your from/to.
  2. Get the experiences and create a personal experience map.

To get an accurate from/to, you'll need to check your ego and ask others for their candid view of your origin and destination. With a clear from/to, you can focus on accelerating your growth. Examples of great from/to statements include:

  • From an individual contributor who adds value through technical expertise and closely follows others' directions, to a people leader who creates a clear strategy and delivers results through teams.

A personal experience map shows which experiences you want to acquire to grow your career. Two types of experiences will accelerate your development — functional skills and management experiences. Functional skills help make you great at something, i.e., marketing, supply chain, R&D. They allow you to prove that you're highly competent at what you do. Management experiences will help you show that you can perform in a variety of challenging situations.

Growing yourself faster isn't easy, but it's more straightforward when you're clear about your origin, your destination, and the fastest route between the two.


Inspired by: Harvard Business Review - A Simple Way to Map Out Your Career Ambitions, by Marc Effron