Career planning is an important topic for the majority of professionals. It is a personal matter, therefore it is a good opportunity to show how a model initially designed for solving business situations can be used in a personal context: defining the career strategy.

As in the previous example, we will focus on the thinking process taking advantage of the links between the model's components.

Stage 1 - Position - first idea

The usual start in 5P synthesis is the Position. I don’t have yet a clear picture, but I know I want to:

Be professional, no matter what I am doing.

... leading to the first entry in the 5P model:

Stage 1 - Start from Position

Very generic, it needs refinement, but it is good as a starting point.

Stage 2 - People - identify my interest and strong points

The next thing I should clarify is WHAT I want to do. Defining the Portfolio. In this situation, I prefer first to think of my strengths and interest, so I jump instead to People.

I have a strong passion for IT, and a long time experience in the field.

I have management experience in different roles.

I like maths, and I am experience in financial management. I enjoy analyzing numbers, building models and simulations.

These are three aspects I should “exploit”, and they start to fill the 5P overview

Stage 2 - Think about strong points

Stage 3 - Portfolio - reflect my strong points

Combining these three People topics leads me to defining my first Portfolio elements:

I offer the bridge between the business, financials of that business and IT infrastructure needed by that business by facilitating collaboration between different specialized business units working in these fields.

I design the infrastructure for business number gathering and analyzing.

I develop business models, I analyze financial and non-financial numbers.

Of course, this statement is still too generic, and needs further details. They can be defined by going back and forth between People aspects and Portfolio aspects, and I will not get into all these details to keep the example reasonably simple.

Stage 3 - Reflect the strong points in portfolio

Stage 4 - Position - Identify in which context I can use my Portfolio items

Having the idea on my Portfolio, I can return to the Position and consider in WHICH CONTEXT can I ensure the bridge between business, financials and IT?

I can position myself as a CFO or similar role in an organization

I can position myself as a CIO/CDO or similar role in an organization

I can become an entrepreneur offering advisory services in these fields combined, and guiding people solve their business problems.

These positioning details, combined with my original idea, gives me a mid- and long-term direction. Even in such cases, I could “segment target market further”: which are the profiles of the companies I could work in a management position, or what kind of company can I found to offer advising. The points above complete the picture in the Position section:

Stage 4 - Put the portfolio in the external context

Stage 5 - Processes - How to "sell" myself, how to fulfill my offer

We covered so far the Position, Portfolio and People aspects in a reasonable level of details for an example. It is time to move to the Process.

HOW can I increase the awareness of my services, either as employee or as an entrepreneur? This is similar with a go-to-market approach of a business, in the end. Well, I could think of

Define and execute a personal branding strategy

Another important aspect is the fulfillment part: HOW can I provide the services in my portfolio in a meaningful way? One way is to

Teach people, support their growth through empowerment

... partially filling the Process section:

Stage 5 - Think of how can I promote, and how I can deliver the portfolio

Stage 6 - People - Complete the skills, acquire the skills

... and which brings me back to the People aspects: Do I have...

The necessary skills to teach others in the topics in focus

…? E.g. teaching skills, clarity in communication, etc., which then leads me back to Processes – define

The strategy to acquire the needed skills for teaching others.

... completing the picture, again:

Stage 6 - Reconsider skills and their development for teaching

Stage 7 - People - Adjust the skills needed

Before going to the next P, I make a review - do I cover with Processes all the previous points? It seems that my initial idea on Positioning – be professional no matter what I am doing – requires some additional thoughts.

On one hand, the mindset and attitude must be the right one, so I should think if I want to make some changes using personal development:

"Personal development": define and execute the strategy for developing myself as a person 

On the other hand, being a professional needs implies good specialized and general skills, and this is done through continuous improvement (what I would like to learn, how I would like to learn, how can I learn from my mistakes, etc.), which means an additional topic related to people aspects:

"Skill development": define and execute a strategy for continuous improvement

On the other hand, being a professional needs implies good specialized and general skills, and this is done through continuous improvement (what I would like to learn, how I would like to learn, how can I learn from my mistakes, etc.), which means an additional topic related to people aspects:

Stage 7 - Consider how to apply continuous improvement

Stage 8 - Performance - what is a successful career?

I am getting towards the end of a first definition cycle. And this is the Performance. If in the case of the business, the first thing to define is the financial success, when talking about career it might not be so straigt forward.

I think of the Performance aspects as what makes me consider the career as successful. One option is the financial success, however it can be defined (e.g. earnings per year). However, there may be other criteria of success, less obvious.

I like to be as specific as possible, so I can also track the progress, so one Performance indicator I could think of is:

Influence in a significant positive way the careers of at least 10 colleagues in the next 5 years

Without getting into more details, the career planning picture after the first thinking exercise looks like:

Stage 8 - What I consider as success?

The Conclusions

The example prezented above is just the starting point. Of course, the plan can be further detailed and completed in subsequent iterations.

It may look exagerated or "artificial" to use a tool designed for business situations in personal matters. Even so, it worths a try, you may find it useful for clarifying your goals and how to achieve them.

The Summary

The sliders below show the brief development of the plan during the first iteration used as an example.

Stage 1 - Position

First idea

Stage 2 - People

Identify my interest and strong points

Stage 3 - Portfolio

Reflect my strong points

Stage 4 - Position

Identify in which context I can use my Portfolio items

Stage 5 - Processes

How to "sell" myself, how to fulfill my offer

Stage 6 - People

Complete the skills, acquire the skills

Stage 7 - People

Adjust the skills needed

Stage 8 - Performance

What is a successful career?