Posts Tagged adaptability

What’s your strategy?

Chess by wintersixfour

My strategy is to distract you with my fingernails while I move this horsey thing...

At the end of last year I taught a Chartered Management Institute Level 3 Leadership and Management course. It was great fun as it allowed me to play with various leadership and management theories and apply them to practical situations.

During the course, we touched on strategic planning and I came across an interesting model/theory about different approaches to strategy used by organisations. It occurred to me that this could be applicable to individuals thinking about their own career development strategy.

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Employability: concepts and components

Will work for food

Flexibility - a key component of employability?

I am preparing material for an employability module, and I’ve been getting myself into it by exploring different definitions and concepts of employability.

What is employability?

Coming at that question from a careers adviser’s perspective, I tend, by default, to think about employability in terms of the awareness and attributes of the individual job seeker. So into my head come the career management skills of the classic DOTS model (although, why it’s called DOTS and not SODT escapes me).

  • Self awareness
  • Option awareness
  • Decision learning
  • Transition learning

However, that’s not the only way of looking at employability. I thought it might be useful to share some of the perspectives on this subject that I have found most interesting. This is not meant to be an exhaustive literature review on the subject of employability, just an idiosyncratic collection of things that have caught my attention.

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Is ‘management’ the wrong word?

Careers may just be too complex to 'manage'

At a recent workshop I was running for medical educational supervisors we were discussing why the provision of careers support for doctors is now such a big issue. In the words of one of the consultants: ‘You used to be able to bum around for ages as a house officer until you worked out what you liked and disliked. Now you have the two years of your foundation programme and you are expected to know enough about the whole of medicine to make a sensible decison about your entire future.’ This was backed up by stories from the consultants about their haphazard career paths, full of wrong turnings, unexpected discoveries and random opportunities.

I find it somewhat ironic, therefore, that one of the most commonly used phrases in this new career support is ‘career planning’. ‘Planning’, with its implication of being able to predict, decide and control the future seems an inappropriate concept for many of the foundation doctors I have met. Even the fairly self-contained world of the medical profession is subject to social and technological changes that see the waning of certain specialties and the rapid growth of new ones, so that it is hard to predict what an area of medicine will look like by the time you are qualified to practise it.

Outside of medicine, I have noticed that we tend to use the term ‘career management’, which, if slightly less prophetic than ‘planning’, still presents the assumption of control. Of course the currently correct terminology for what we do is ‘career development learning‘, but surely we don’t call it that in front of the students! So what do we call it? Is ‘career management’ the right phrase to use?

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