Career Conversations from The New Leadership Playbook

Career conversations are not performance reviews, and they are not necessarily about a pay rise. They are about utilizing talents, developing skills, and sustaining motivation. 

The strength and sustainability of a company depend on attracting, retaining, and developing good talent, and career conversations are a vital part of this. Considering the importance of these conversations, many managers feel at a loss on how to have them, and employees don't know how to prepare for them. 

Karin was frustrated. She felt taken for granted and knew she was being under-compensated. What added insult to injury was that her manager made no attempt to engage her about what she wanted, despite her driving one of the biggest and most complicated technology projects in the company's history.

Karin confided in me, during our coaching together, that she had started to look outside her firm because she didn’t feel recognized and was not being recompensed for the impact she was making.

How many good talents, like Karin, are lost to companies because nobody took the time to have a career conversation and find out what’s important to them?

You might feel like Karin, but as a manager, you need to make sure you are not losing good people because you didn’t run this play.

As it turns out, I was able to help Karin frame the conversation with her manager, and at the time of writing, she is getting acknowledgment for the work she is doing and is in line for a salary bump.

A single conversation across the table with a wise man is better than ten years mere study of books. - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The New Leadership Playbook

Career Conversations are one of the 12-plays in The New Leadership Playbook (2022).

 Here is an excerpt from that book.

One day, Rahul (Global Head of Performance, Culture, and Future of Work) was having a career conversation with a high-potential from the marketing department in the Asia-Pacific region. The manager was thirty-seven years old and said, ‘If I don’t get a promotion by next year, I won’t be able to hit my goal to be at a certain level by forty-nine.’ This was a typical conversation with an ambitious person from this part of the world, and Rahul had just the right advice.

‘You are from marketing, so you are familiar with the two-by-two grid that looks at new and existing markets and products. Well, replace the market with skills and product with experience. Now map where you have most engaged.’

The high-potential realized he was most happy and engaged when developing new skills within his existing experience (the learning zone). Rahul advised him to look around the company for roles that met these criteria. As it happened, such a role did not yet exist, but it was created when this individual identified a need and contributed to solving the need.

Career conversations are best framed around progression, not promotion or pay. It is about the individual’s growth within the organization— what the individual wants, balanced with what the company needs.

The New Leadership Playbook contains several conversation examples for the new or seasoned manager to have more effective career conversations.

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