The Strategic Career Action Plan



For maximum career success and fulfillment, we need to be able to identify and pursue work assignments that provide:

  • CONTRIBUTION (impact)
  • MEANING (legacy)
  • FIT (alignment of work with core values and other life priorities)

So the “Whats/Whys/Whos/Wheres/Whens/Hows” of our career direction represent the core choices in a strategic career action plan.

And given the fluidity of the world and life, a narrow focus on a single manifestation of career success and fulfillment could restrict our ability to recognize and pursue compelling variations on our essential career themes. This is why we don’t identify THE DREAM JOB and call that a strategic career action plan.

Please use the following template to articulate the parameters of your strategic career plan. Use whatever additional space you need, but remember: we want to confront, and not avoid some hard choices. More words, explanations and/or longer lists sometimes work against achieving the clarity and focus required to work both effectively and ‘on purpose.’

Strategic Career Action Plan Key Elements

What – The essential elements of future career assignments related to task, process, accountabilities, business problems or situations to confront, etc. It is helpful to include examples of ideal job titles/descriptions.

Serving Whom – Ideal customer groups and organizations.

With Whom – Desired characteristics of hiring organization/manager/ peers/staff.

Why – Your rationale for the key elements in the Plan best summarized as: why YOU; why THEM (i.e., the hiring organization or person); and why NOW (what needs or trends make your contribution necessary or relevant). Be prepared to reference data sources for each rationale.

Where – Ideal settings, areas, units, functions, etc.

How – Signature strengths or approach. Include any related stipulations for success, (i.e., schedule, travel, etc.).

When – Preferred timing.

Critical Success Factors – Requirements for success; it helps also to include the elements that would represent ‘failure’ so you know better what to avoid or resist.

Readiness Needs – The talent development needed (real or perceived) related to building knowledge, skills, and experience, AND/OR the needed demonstration of such talent to relevant others.

Sponsors – Key people who do or should support your plan as influential advocates or support.

Next Steps – Key actions and anticipated milestones.

Download the Strategic Career Action Plan Worksheet


Laurie Anderson, PhD, is a clinical psychologist with over 20 years experience as an executive coach to leaders in organizations ranging from Fortune 100 companies to the World Bank. Visit or call 1-708-524-2444 for more information on Laurie’s services for individuals, groups, and organizations.

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