An Alternative to the Career Conversation – The Whole Self Assessment
As a leader, how often have you heard someone share with you “I have no idea what to do next!” or “I am going to apply for “x” job because it’s a promotion.”. When someone tells me that, I get so excited because this is the start of a self-discovery journey to uncover deep insights. In other words, conducting a whole self assessment. I do this for every person who works for me and, now, as the word is getting out at work, I will do this for anyone who wants to understand more about themselves (btw – its not just for work…my family asks me to do it for them too!!).
I am no psychologist but I am a BIG believer in self assessment, analysis and action. The objective of this exercise is to understand the multi-dimensions that make you YOU on both a professional and personal level by visually recording the conversation. The dimensions are: passions, strengths, personal characteristics, weaknesses, fear and aspirations (which is always last). All I do is ask questions, probe deeper and then look for connections between dimensions that draw out new insights. These insights enable the person to clearly articulate their area of focuses with why, areas to improve with how and how all of that gets interwoven into their future aspirations. Then, we create an action plan that can be integrated with performance development. To me, this is WAY more impactful than the “5 conversations” we have at J&J, which designates only specific points throughout the year to have these conversations (seriously – so old school!). Moving forward, I bring out the whole assessment during any development conversation to connect it back and assess if shifts are being made. Below is a picture of a finished version (see- it doesn’t need to be pretty)! Try it with someone on your team and watch the transformation that one conversation on a person’s whole self can make!!! Make sure you allocate enough time because these deep conversations take time (I typically allow for 90 minutes).