When I work as a direct manager, myÂ primary concern for anyone reporting to me is their professional and career development. I’ve learned that there are many ways for people to grow, and I want to be sensitive to the particulars of each individual on my team.
To get at that, there is what I call the Personal Professional Mission. I ask each team member just what is it that motivates them; why, in a universe of opportunities, have they made the choices thatÂ land them in the role they have. It’s a big idea that most folks have never been asked about, and haven’t considered deeply, and require some time to develop an answer. However, I find it to be the key to understanding how the person will want to grow, and the guidance and mentorship I can provide them on that path.
To help them understand what I mean, I share my personal professional mission: to make the world safe for great user experiences. This has pretty much been my animating principle since I first started blogging in 1998, and was perhaps most fully realized in the creation and development of Adaptive Path. It also spurred my departure from Adaptive Path, when I felt that I could best tackle this mission from inside the enterprise, as user experience no longer needed a laboratory for development, but instead required operationalizing in-house in order to deliver on the promise.
I was sharing the idea of the Personal Professional Mission to a design director looking for guidance in her career. And as I was explaining it to her, I had an uncomfortable realization: I don’t know if myÂ mission still holds true for me, and I haven’t figured out what would replace it. This isn’t something I had thought about recently, and it caught me by surprise. But it also helps explain why I’m a bit adrift right now.Â I’mÂ in the process of figuring out my next professional move, and the universe of options is a bit overwhelming (I know, it’s a good problem to have). I’m thankful I’ve uncovered what is at the root of this uncertainty, asÂ it should help me address it.Â We’ll see where it takes me!
You’re not alone!