A strategy to reach Strategic


Following more and more calls to provide them to the wider workforce, my employer asked me to attend training on three separate Psychometric tools, the last of which I finished a couple of weeks ago. Due to scheduling and the academic financial year-end, I had to complete all three courses in the space of one month. Apart from my dreams now being dominated by distribution curves and large segmented circles this condensed timeframe also provided me with a unique opportunity (for me anyway) to seek targeted 360 feedback from a much wider source group than I would usually attempt – manager, strategic officers, colleagues, indirect-reports, clients, family, friends, coachees.

At the moment I seem to have at least one conversation per week about the benefits of individuals seeking 360 feedback on their performance and development needs, but often fail to abide by my own advice. This glut of tools afforded me the opportunity to think about the future and how my current collection of skills/knowledge/strengths will be able to contribute to that easily or require further development, also which others i need to seek out and add.

Previously I have found the hardest part of any 360 feedback to be the comments that highlight areas I should be looking to develop because, like many others, my initial reaction was to see them as a personal attack. As I have matured emotionally my view has changed and i try (some words still sting) to take the view others have provided me as a map for my development plan and, if not anonymous, thanking them individually for the feedback asking for clarification of what they think I could do to improve.

Whilst most of my strengths were no great surprise to anyone that knows me, there were a couple that seemed to have deepened over the last twelve months bringing home to me how my focus in the workplace has moved towards a much more strategic place. However, my main strengths have always been more people focussed, with me getting the most enthused by that feeling of enabling someone to achieve or develop, which in the Learning and Development field is an obvious bonus and what also helps me to be a good Coach.

The feedback from those closest to me has highlighted that my desire to always be supportive of others can result in a bit of overstretching which if not checked could lead to the danger area of ‘letting others down’ – an event which would have not only negative impact on others opinion of me but also my own opinion of me (always my own harshest critic).

So here’s the crunch, to realise my development desires there is an expectation that I should reduce the amount of direct support I provide and focus more on the organisational (strategic) view, whilst maintaining the drive that I get from providing that direct support. Not always an easy balancing act.

Next steps: After much reflection and discussion I realise that one of the best ways for me to address this is to seek guidance from someone who has already been there. Therefore, as a starting point my next step is to seek out an appropriate mentor and this is where my Personal Learning Network comes into its own, a community full of experienced professionals much further down this road than myself who are hopefully willing and able to offer their mentorship.

Once again I ask you to wish me luck and would welcome any insights you may have to help me in my development journey.

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