So, 2021 has arrived!

Hopefully you’ve had a break, relaxed, spent time with family and friends, and participated in some of your favourite (perhaps frivolous) activities.

You may even feel that you have extracted yourself from your normal day-to-day career busyness and gained a little perspective on your life!

Chances are high, though, that the COVID pandemic continues to affect your life and that its effects will linger across the coming year.

Wishin’ and hopin’ OR thinkin’ and plannin’?

Some readers…let’s call them planners… represent a highly commendable, but probably small minority of the population!

They are likely to have:

  • thoroughly reflected on their 2020 experiences
  • extracted their learnings
  • framed comprehensive plans across all their life spaces (e.g. family, social, physical, spiritual, financial and career), and
  • put in place monitoring systems that they use 365 days of the year.

Theirs is a laser-focused, rather than scattergun, approach.

Most of us are more likely to have reflected broadly on the past, disrupted year. We may have judged it as “bad”, “fair” or “good” or rated it numerically (e.g. “6/10”).This fragile foundation might then have helped shape New Year’s Resolutions or a couple of vague plans.

Career agendas

When a prospective client first approaches me, I am curious to know their career agenda.

The start of 2021 is a great time to determine what your overall career agenda actually is.

But, first let’s look at three definitions of agenda presented in the Oxford English Living Dictionary

  1. A list of items to be discussed at a formal meeting: It does help if a client arrives at a coaching session with a list of items to discuss. This first definition, though, smells of process.
  2. A plan of things to be done or problems to be addressed:  Most clients seek support for issues that have escalated to become problems. This definition also presents a framework for action.
  3. The underlying intentions or motives of a particular person or group: This final definition relates to overarching drive and purpose and implies a greater emotional connection of a person with their agenda.

I’d argue that the final definition is the strongest foundation for framing your 2021 career agenda.

Intentions and motives

Rather than creating vague New Year’s Resolutions. I’d recommend that you view your 2021 career agenda in terms of your intentions and motives.

You may have multiple intentions and motives for your career in 2021. The following, non-exhaustive list is offered to stimulate your thinking:

  1. Transitioning into a new executive or management position
  2. Securing work after resignation or a role redundancy event
  3. Managing career turbulence
  4. Advancing in your current organisation, field, and/or industry
  5. Contemplating a major career change (i.e. new fields and/or industries)
  6. Considering consulting, contracting, or self-employment
  7. Re-entering the workforce (e.g. after parenting, study sabbatical, or a career break)
  8. Forging a new professional career
  9. Developing high quality job applications (e.g. resumes, cover letters)
  10. Creating or updating your LinkedIn profile
  11. Improving your interview performance
  12. Exploring training options to increase your career agility and employability, or
  13. Partnering with a professional coach to achieve business, career, and life quality goals.

Are there others that occupy your mind?

If you can articulate your intentions and motives, problems can be contextualised, plans can be aligned with desired outcomes, and items can be discussed in a logical, prioritised order.

I wish you good luck (and management) as you execute your 2021 career agenda!