“I am looking to keep my career moving and I am making a push for a promotion to the next level at my current company:”

That is from an executive client at a large tech firm. Starting as a technician, he worked his way up over 13 years into the executive ranks. When he came to me with the above statement, I proposed using a particular framework for career development. The framework considers executive expertise in five areas: leadership, technical, tactical, business, and cultural.

Being in a tech firm he wanted data that could help him. Hence, he requested a 360-degree evaluation and pulled one out from 18 months ago.

In his examination using the five areas of the framework he assessed the level of expertise required at the next level and how well he met those criteria. He also rigorously evaluated his previous 360 and current professional growth and progress.

Additionally, he worked with Human Resources for detailed descriptions of the Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSA’s) for his current and next level. Being a mature tech company, there were very good descriptions of performance criteria. As a data driven professional, he mapped his current performance against the KSA’s for both levels.

Once he completed this process, he chose two areas to focus his development; business expertise and leadership. With business expertise, he felt growth in understanding where the numbers came from and the factors that influenced them would make a difference in his ability to be a better decision maker.

With his leadership, he wanted to develop in two areas; growing as a strategic thinker and being a better listener.

He then tied his two areas of development to specific KSA’s, to develop skill sets to be more effective at his current position and in preparation for the next level. Sitting down with his boss, he walked him through the analysis and asked for feedback and direction on the path forward.

This may be the most rigorous process I have seen an executive take. His mindset is; I need criteria to be measured against and objective feedback on progress. Without it I am just guessing.

Together with his boss they are creating specific opportunities to focus on development. Some will be short term events and others are ongoing behavior changes.

What can you do to accelerate your development? I gave you the specifics of this case however, his process hit three areas:

1) Criteria: he found criteria to assess himself against. First, a general framework then the more specific KSA’s

2) Assessment: he used a self-assessment, a formal 360, and the opinion of his boss.

3) Action and Feedback: he chose specific areas to develop and is taking specific actions to develop himself. He is also incorporating feedback measured against objective criteria.

Some coaching questions:
How can you implement this for yourself and/or your direct reports?
What would be the impact if you did?