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Build the ARCH to Reach Your Career Goals

Lori A. Sisk, C.P.M.

PMO Leader

Michelle Keith, MBA, CPCM

Annual International Supply Management Conference, May 2008

Abstract. When developing professional and personal goals, one must think with the end in
mind. Where do you want to be professionally and personally in the next 5, 10, 20 years and
what do you need to do to get there? It is important to determine how you would like to see
your life and career develop, self-assess your current situation then develop a road map to get
you there. Critical to your future success is a new found understanding of the positive
correlation between relationships and results.

Your roadmaps first few steps are to create a vision, develop goals then perform a self-
assessment and evaluate how well your current personal network will continue to support your
future aspirations. After these few but critical steps are completed, you then can see which
areas could be improved, possibly through training or some other development means. You
may find in necessary to add resources to your personal network after your self-assessment is
completed. It is important to create the right network of colleagues and friends that will support
you. Finally, the importance of adopting a pay it forward methodology may be the most
important step. It encourages you to share your roadmap, personal/professional knowledge,
and network with others through mentoring, thus building your own legacy.

Building Your Roadmap

Define Your Motivation, Values and Mission (MVM).

There are several available assessment tools, such as Myers-Briggs and DISC, which allow
you to undergo an in depth personal assessment. Such tools generally help you understand
what motivates you at a core level that should better assist you in preparation of a successful
roadmap. There are seven generally identified motivational needs that drive our
Achievement our need to produce or accomplish
Affiliation our need to belong
Autonomy our need for independence
Power our need to lead and influence others
Esteem our need for public recognition
Safety and Security our need for predictability (e.g. money)
Equity our need for fairness

Our value system is generally built on less tangible items that have unique importance to each
of us. They are often very personal such as family, spirituality, culture and relationships. Your
value system must be honestly defined early in this process otherwise you run the risk of
developing career goals that are improperly aligned. This situation will likely provide you with a
sense that while you are a stellar performer at work, your life is unfulfilled.

A mission statement isnt reserved for companies. Everyone should develop a personal
mission statement and revisit it regularly throughout the course of their lives. A mission
statement should be the broadest perspective of what you are all about and will be your first
consideration when evaluating a strategic decision. Your personal mission statement can
include very specific numerical objectives or leave more room for interpretation. Some well-
known business enterprises offer the following:
Walt Disney To Make People Happy
3M To solve unsolved problems innovatively
Wal-Mart To give ordinary folk the chance to buy the same thing as rich people
Mary Kay Cosmetics To give unlimited opportunity to women

Motivation, values and mission are significantly connected and will serve as the foundation for
the development of the remainder of your roadmap. You will want to always be honest in your
description of what motivates you and your value system. When creating your mission
statement, consider approaching it on a grand scale and insure that it clearly incorporates
meaningful and measurable criteria.

Create a Vision Statement. Prior to creating a vision statement, it is important to understand
the definition of a vision. A vision is your guide to implementing a strategy that encompasses
personal and professional values. It needs to be compelling, ambitious, realistic, credible and
responsive to change. It answers the question, what will success look like? A Vision
Statement is different from a Mission Statement in that a mission statement answers questions
Why does a business/organization exist?
What business are we in?
Why do we do what we do in our profession?

A vision statement speaks to an end result. Steven Covey frequently challenges us to start
with the end in mind. Determine where you want to be in the future and then develop a
statement that explains just that. Another source of information that helps develop a vision
statement is Rhonda Byrnes book, The Secret. The advice she provides is that you should
write your vision statement in the present state then visualize yourself in that state on a daily
basis. So, here are some examples of a vision statement stated in the present tense. For
I am a successful purchasing manager with ten direct reports in a company that
supports personal and professional growth.
I have a financially rewarding professional career that supports my life and family goals.
I am the creative force and the most influential leadership factor behind my own
successful business enterprise

Develop and Set Goals. Goals should be SMART:
Specific be exact and precise
Measurable define your goals in distinct terms (months, years, dollars, weight,
Achievable your goals need to make sense
Realistic your path to achievement needs to make sense
Timely relevant to a rational achievement timeline and can be supported by events
around you

Goals should also be simple, significant, strategic, rational, tangible, written and shared. The
critical success factor for achieving your goals is that they are set in a way that is consistent
with your values. When developing your professional goals, you may want to first determine
whether or not you plan on staying in the same organization, the same company or the same
Industry. If you plan to stay with the same organization in the same company, you will then
want to look at the overall goals of the organizational to provide you with some guidance. If you
arent ready to make this initial set of decisions, go ahead and work through the goal setting
process. You will likely find that this will help you in your decision-making process. If you find
that your goals dont align with your current organization, company or industry, you may want
to consider making a change. Examples of goals could be:
Obtain my C.P.M. in the next fourteen months
Network with at least 3 people in my desired industry within the next 2 months
Update my resume to target my new industry and management position desired within
the next four weeks

Calculate Your Goal Achievement Factor. Weve mentioned the importance of insuring that
your goals are measurable on an independent level. However, its also important to measure
your goals as a collective. The following model should help you put your overall goal
achievement into perspective:
Take the total number of stated goals and divide that number by .10 (e.g. the base
number for 8 goals = 80)
Divide your base number by the total number of goals that youve achieved. Its
important to be honest with yourself; you should include not just the fact that the goal
was achieved, but it should have been completed in the time frame you assigned
Ultimate success is a factor of 10 youre on cruise control
10 + 3 youre in overdrive (75% - 85% of goals achieved)
10 +5 shift down to go uphill faster; youre in the wrong gear (60% - 75% of goals
10 +10 youre in neutral; put it in gear (50% of goals achieved)
10 +15 youre in reverse (35% - 50% of goals achieved)
10 +20 youre in a stall situation; call your mechanic (<35% of goals achieved)

Self Assess Your Competencies. Now that your goals are set, ask what are some additional
personal or professional tools or skills that should be acquired to achieve your goals (self-
What skills do I have?
What skills will I need?
How will I obtain those required skills?
The time frame for any personal or professional self-investment needs to fit within the time line
youve established for your goals. The same Myers-Briggs and DISC assessments that were
mentioned earlier also serve as behavioral assessments. Essentially, they allow you to
evaluate yourself in relation to several different types of behaviors. This added assessment
element is a tool you can use to help you understand how you see yourself, develop areas that
may require improvement and, in some cases, help you see how others perceive you. These
are valuable personal learning tools as you prepare for the next step of developing your road

Evaluate Your Personal and Professional Network

Networking has become a hot topic because people see the importance of it in their careers
and lives. There have been several books released on networking lately. In Jeffrey Gilomers
Little Black Book of Connections, he outlines 17.5 strategies, guidelines, and rules of
connecting of which some are listed here:
Be friendly first, and everything else falls into place.
Project your self-image in a way that breeds confidence in others
Your consistent positive attitude will breed positive responses and positive results
Ninety percent of success is showing up prepared
The less you focus on your motive to meet, the more likely it is that your connection will
be successful
Take a genuine interest in other people before you ask them to take a genuine interest
in you
Your projected image will often determine your ability to make a real connection
Staying in touch is more important and more valuable than making the initial connection
Since you dont know when a powerful connection will be made, you must be ready
every day.

Networking can lead to career opportunities that one may not have been aware or even
existed prior to the connection. The importance of networking can be surprising to those that
have not experienced the benefits. It is important to target a certain network if you have found
that this is something missing from your self-assessment. If you want to go into a new industry
or move from being a practitioner to a consultant, it always better to know someone in that
arena prior to moving there since you can learn from them.

So, whether it is a colleague or a recruiter or someone you met at a seminar or workshop, it is
important to continue to add these people to your personal network. You never know how one
of them might be able to help you in some important way in the future such as help in finding a
new career or becoming a mentor. All things being equal, people want to do business with their
friends. Joining organizations that can support your leadership and development vision is not
an option; its a requirement if you seek to make powerful connections. When meeting
someone for the first time, the sooner you can find something in common with the other
person, the sooner all barriers will disappear. One very good practice is to send a follow-up
email after meeting someone.

Training is another way to support your personal and professional development. Organizations
such as ISM offer regular opportunities for training. You may also find it helpful to add an area
like public speaking to your tool set. In that case, you may want to look into Dale Carnegie,
Toastmasters or other organizations that help you diminish the fear of public speaking and
offer other skill building opportunities.

Put It All Together. Now, with your MVM, vision, goals, and self-assessment (including any
identified skill gaps) in hand, you are now ready to put the first iteration of your road map
together. You will quickly find that your path will actually start to develop itselfat least at the
lowest common denominator level. Natural less/more categories such as time, creativity,
leadership, money and prestige will become evident. Once defined, you are now prepared to
stay on the interstate, veer off onto side roads or blaze new trails. Again, make sure that all of
the roadmap elements are realistic for your life. Here is just one example:

Building Your Roadmap
On Ramp Stops Along The
Roads Youve Traveled Roads To Discover
Starting Point Motivation,
Values, Mission
Positive, people,
creativity, environmental
sustainability, be the
best person I can be
More time for self
and others, more
Destination Vision Be part of a company
that customers are
excited to spend their
money with and every
team member is proud
to be a part of
More leadership,
more prestige, more
Reason for journey Goal Achievement
10 +3 (9/10 goals
More achievement
Reason to continue Self Assessment
No additional training or
Less studying, more
Building to connect
what you have and
what you need
Involve myself with
others from other
industries and
More variation

The important thing to note here is that if you take yourself through this exercise and have
listed any items in the last column, you may find it helpful to plan for a career or life change.
The idea being that you use this process/model to help you assess the need for such a
The Pay it Forward Methodology

Build Your Personal Legacy. The Pay it forward methodology works in all avenues of life. In
Catherine Ryan Hydes book, Pay It Forward, her hero takes an extra credit class assignment
and creates a movement. Instead of just doing something good for one person, do something
good for at least three people. Instead of paying it back, each person then has to Pay It
Forward to three more people. Now nine people have benefited. Nine becomes twenty-seven.
Twenty-seven quickly becomes two thousand one hundred eighty-seven.

Giving back to the industry, profession, community is very self-rewarding and helps you build a
powerful legacy. Mentoring is just one way of paying it forward. The reasons for becoming or
seeking out a mentor are numerous. Career development, personal improvement, career and
life changes are all great reasons to find a mentor. You can begin your lifetime of mentorship
by starting with the people around you such as co-workers and/or direct reports. The other half
of your mentoring pair will value your desire to help them build their vision, assess their skills,
suggest necessary training, and map their future. Mentors personally benefit by offering others
their time and experience. These benefits continuously pay themselves forward as those on
the receiving end of a mentoring partnership cycle around to become mentors themselves.
Several professional organizations, including ISM, provide opportunities to meet other
individuals who may become excellent mentors.

Mentoring can be either informal or formal. An example of informal mentoring could be coffee,
lunch or some other get together with someone in your immediate work environment. This is
generally a current or previous boss. You should not be afraid, though, to look to those in other
functional areas in your workplace or outside of your company for guidance. ISMs Women in
Leadership Groups (WiL) mentoring program is an example of the formal type. The WiL Group
officially launched the first iteration of its mentoring program in 2005. After a brief hiatus and
some fine-tuning the program went into full operation in 2007. The Wil Group recently
succeeded in creating 14 mentoring pairs, up from just one mentoring pair in its initial phase.
The programs new found success is attributable to:
Time spending and giving
Planning and consistency
Willingness to learn and to teach

Some of the characteristics that one may look for in a mentor are: achievement, skills,
expertise, influence, trustworthiness, a willingness to invest time, good listening skills, the
ability to offer encouragement and good coaching skills. Conduct the search by asking for
recommendations from people that you know. The six degrees of separation rule states that
you are only six people away from anybody you want to meet, anywhere in the world.

In summary, your ARCH
to success looks something like this:

Coal Achevement Factor
Network Assessment
Pay lt Forward
The first three elements are your building blocks. They require honest personal reflection and
documentation to properly align your wants and achievements. The fourth item is appropriately
the pinnacle as this element will determine the side of the slope that is next in store for you. If
you are slow in achieving your goals, you may want to revisit one or all of the first three steps
in creating your roadmap. If you are on tract to achieve your goals, you are ready to proceed to
the final three elements that collectively contribute to your path to greatness. Finally, Steven
Covey notes:

Rather than focusing on things and time, focus on preserving and enhancing
relationships and on accomplishing results.


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Byrne, Rhonda, The Secret, Simon & Schuster, Inc., New York, NY, 2006.

Covey, Steven R., 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Simon and Schuster, New York,

Covey, Steven R., Daily Reflections For Highly Effective People, Simon and Schuster, New
York, NY,1994.

Sisk, Lori and Keith, Michelle, Play Your Cards Right: Build the Right Network and Mentoring
Relationships ISM International Conference Proceedings, 2007

Gilomer, Jeffrey, Little Black Book of Connections, Bard Press, Austin, Texas, 2006. P.26-31

Goodwin, Kimberly, The Achievement Architect,

Humbert, Philip E., The Top 10 Steps to Set and Achieve Your Goals Every Time,

Ryan-Hyde, Catherine, Pay It Forward, January 2000,