When They Win, You Win - Career Conversations Tool

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Conversation 3: Career Action Plan

Review your Focus Area Summary below, and then create a short-term Career Action Plan using the prompts in "Create your Career Action Plan."

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Look at the 'Priority Rank' in the Focus Area Summary below. It is determined via a mixture of your stack ranking and ability scores from the previous step.
Priority Rank of 1 (higher importance ranking and lower ability level) is your top Focus Area.
Build - and focus - your Career Action Plan using no more than three Focus Areas.
Document your Career Action Plan using the prompts below as a guide. For every single action item, you **must answer* who will do what by when. If you don’t, you will fall victim to Problem 3 in Chapter 13.
Do the actions you’re preparing to take align with your stated Career Values from the Life Story Conversation?

To kick off Conversation 3, pressure test your employee’s thinking by having them defend their decisions at the beginning of Conversation 3. Ask tough questions, make sure you understand their logic fully, collaborate to finalize the stack-ranking and ability scores. Make sure you understand the plan. Make sure every action item answers who will do what by when. Make sure you take on some action items and help your employee find other folks to help.
Do the actions your employee is preparing to take align with their stated Career Values from the Life Story Conversation?

Step 6: Opportunity Area Summary

Given your ranking and ratings from the previous section, we have prioritized your Big Rock skills - or Opportunity Areas - to help you think about what you should focus on in your Career Action Plan. This exercise will allow you to make prioritized progress toward all of your Career Vision Statements, without being forced to choose a single Career Vision Statement right now.

Employee: Review & reflect on Focus Area Summary

Your Big Rock Focus Areas

Below are the skills which are most important to prioritize as you build out your Career Action Plan. These are based on how you rated and ranked the Big Rock Skills across all visions, back on the page.
People Management
Product Marketing
Digital - paid and earned
There are no rows in this table

Step 7: Create your Career Action Plan

Given your Focus Area Summary above, identify small actions — the ‘gravel’ from Chapter 16 — in each of the four Career Action Plan (CAP) categories below. There is no action too small when all actions are rooted in a shared understanding of your dreams.

Manager & Employee: Identify action items that help to move towards

Pick a few tangible activities in each of the following 4 areas of your Career Action Plan based on the Focus Area Summary above. Remember, you do not have an action item until you have answered the question ‘WHO will do WHAT by WHEN?’
Clear sample data

1. Changes to Current Role

Find time in your current role to advance growth and development, given Focus Areas and Career Vision Statements.
Amanda’s Career Vision Statement is to be the CFO of Disney. She and her manager made two changes in her current role. First, Amanda is now running the team’s budget. Practically this means she gets to work with the finance function, FP&A and start to learn the ins and outs. She and he manager also agree to orient her toward people management. To that end, she begins to mentor the team's new hires by leading bi-weekly 1:1s. This begins to prepare her for people management which is inevitable as CFO and for several jobs inside finance leading up to the big job.

2. Identify your next job

Most logical next job here or outside of current company, given Focus Areas and given Career Vision Statement(s).
Meet Tony. Tony wants to be a CTO. He and his manager openly discussed both specific and conceptual/ theoretical roles that he was highly interested in. One such role was actually his manager, Wendy's, role! Many might regard this as an uncomfortable conversation, but Wendy made the process completely open and transparent for Tony, which made it easy for him to articulate that he was interested in her job. Wendy also made sure his manager was aware of Tony's preferences. To everyone's surprise, a month later, Wendy resigned to move back to Iceland, her native country. Tony, a very high performer who'd been taking time to learn his manager's job, and who had also been assessed formally for leadership potential was a shoe-in for the role. Wendy's manager barely hesitated, offering Tony the job the next day, helping him advance his career relevantly given his long-term vision and importantly allowing the business not to miss a beat.

3. Develop your skills... formally

Specifically, what degrees, conferences, classes, seminars, etc., make it more likely you will achieve your vision?
Chas has identified that one of his big opportunity areas is Business Development, because he likes the intersection of sales (ie negotiation, externally facing) and strategic thinking (ie filling in the company's competitive offerings via partners). After going through this exercise, it became clear that Chas should prioritize a negotiations class at Wharton West.
Example 2: Amanda does not have a CPA, and since here primary Career Vision Statement is to be the CFO of Disney, she believes she probably needs to consider an MBA. She and her manager arrange her schedule so she can spend a few evenings a week studying for the GMAT, which is a key input to getting into a competitive school.

4. Activate Network(s)

Identify people who can inform and influence your short and long-term career opportunities, given your Focus Areas and Career Vision Statements
Grace’s primary Career Vision Statement is to be the head of product marketing for a small consumer tech company. She is currently a tip-of-the-spear sales development representative. She speaks to her manager about this, and her manager happens to know one of the top product marketers in the company. Her manager requests that his friend holds an informational interview with Grace to help her better understand the long term vision, a likely path, and possible next jobs that will increase her chances of achieving her long term vision(s).

Action Items
Activity Type
WHO will?
Russ Laraway
Chat with the Brand team about how their strategy and approach to quarterly planning.
Maria Marquis
Talk to the Product Team about involving Maria in more user research projects
Maria Marquis
Make a list of small, health and fitness companies in the SF Bay area
Maria Marquis
Confirm budget approval for Pinnacle training
Russ Laraway
Sign up for Pinnacle presentation training
Russ Laraway
Reach out to CMOs from in my existing LinkedIn network to learn more about their career journeys.
Not started

Manager: Jot down additional notes

Use this space to write down any additional notes from your conversation.

How to use your Career Action Plan

Go to , then bookmark the page for quick access and updates.
How to view Career Action Plan as a PDF, then post it somewhere where you’ll see it regularly
← Here’s how
Select the doc options menu (kabob/three dots) > Print & PDF > Export to PDF, then click Export
Sample PDF:
My Career Action Plan.pdf
1.1 MB
How to view your Career Action Plan on your phone
← Here’s how
How to access this tool as ‘an app’ from your phone
Open this tool from any phone browser with the link to the doc. The URL needs to be the ‘doc link’, rather than the ‘published link’ and start with: https://coda.io/d/
Once you’ve opened this page on your phone browser, save it as a bookmark shortcut on your home screen (on any iOS or on Android phone or tablet devices). Coda even uses the icon near the page title as the app icon on your phone, so it’s easy to identify.
Your mobile version lets you easily add and update the status of your action items on-the-go, but if you want to make edits to your skill rankings, you’ll need to do that from your desktop computer.
Reminder: Check the link to the page you plan to bookmark in your phone to make sure the URL starts with ‘coda.io/d' and not ‘coda.io/@russlaraway, otherwise none of your comments and upvotes will be saved.

🎉🎊🥳💃🏾🎈🪅🍾 Congratulations! 🍾🪅🎈💃🏾🥳🎊🎉

You’ve created a . Now it’s time to execute on it. Please do not become the cliche outlined in Chapter 13’s vignette called “The Ridiculousness of the IDP.” You and your manager should check back periodically, at least every six months, to evaluate progress and update anything that requires changing.

Want to print your doc?
This is not the way.
Try clicking the ⋯ next to your doc name or using a keyboard shortcut (
) instead.