Personal Career

Midlife Career Change

We have coached many people from all walks of life through midlife career changes in different companies and in our personal career coaching practice. Eventually we came to a standard template that works for most people thinking of changing careers.

The key issue we found is that many people think they are their jobs. When asked them who they are and most people answered I am a “Doctor”, I am an “IT Professional”, or “I am a Teacher” they in some way link their person to their job or their last qualification.

The specific work you feel you can do the best or want to do the best defines who you are. For example, a project manager answered I am an accountant 20 years ago.

During a midlife career change, it is critical that you know what kind of work you want to do more of and what kind of work you want to do less of.

Exploring what you want to do less of and more of in your new career

If you are clear on exactly what you want, it becomes easy to communicate your “Career Change Message” to the right place and the right people. With a clear message, you can make smooth transition in a midlife career change. You have years of work experience and abilities and these skills are worth much to companies. Even though your current work experience might not overlap 100% with your new direction, your skills and workplace experience is still worth gold.

If you are planning a midlife career change, it is very important to get the exact job you want in the precise industry of your choice and in the geographical area, you want to work. The chances that you will make a major career change again later in your life are small, which makes the career change choices you make now incredibly important.

Remember you are the only steward of your work life, what you do and what you earn. No one else really cares.

Let us begin to get clarity on your mid life career change

First, let me ask you a very important question.

Do you believe you have a choice? It is extremely important you absolutely believe you have choices, be confident in yourself and your life experience. To make a midlife career change is a major move; you need to get your mind in the right place. Your confidence will shine though in everything you do from here on forward.

We truly live in the best time ever in access to knowledge, communication and travel resources.

Now let us follow a process to gain that critical clarity in your communication on the industry and the work you want. Clarity is vital in middle-life career changes.

  1. Which industry do you enjoy working in? Identify the products, services, development, people and the contribution you will make. Be sufficiently clear and be ready to adapt your message with input from others in friends, family and colleagues. Once you are clear on where you want to go, you must clearly communicate how the company, division, team, suppliers and clients you want to join and serve will benefit.
  2. Communicate your message to people you know and ask them to send it to people they know. Identify and engage key people in the company, team of division you want to join. Be clear how the company, division, suppliers and clients will benefit.
  3. Be visible and get involved, engage in the places and work you want to do.

About career change and resumes

Too many people hope their resumes will find work for them. Your resume is important, but it is much more important to be clear on what you want. Before you start writing your resume, get your story straight, know what kind of work you want and be 100% sure in which industry you want to work.

Notes for midlife career changers:

  • Be flexible on starting salary and expectations of compensation for work done.
  • Communicate the work you did before, during and after the tasks above.

Useful tools for career changes:

  • Do a sweep of what you know and who you know.
  • Do a sweep of what is in your diary that does not belong there and say no to the things that does not move you forward.
  • Search for what should be in your diary and schedule it.
key results area

Take ownership of your own and/or your teams KRA’s or KPI’s (KRI) to grow your returns on effort. Choose the right effort, get agreement and learn to say NO!

This will help you understand key result areas. You will also be able to explain to your team in simple to understand terms what Key Result Areas are and how to apply them effectively. KRA’s are also known as performance management or communication and informing to maximise your INCOME!.

Clearly defined key result areas helps you take ownership of results in:

  • your business involvement
  • teams you are part of
  • projects you need to deliver to
  • your personal career growth

Key results areas are also known as “Key Performance Indicators” or KPI’s. In the following text we explain what exactly key result areas are and how you apply kra’s in performance management. We aim to give you simple and practical answers in the form of a “Question and Answer” style of writing with some more in depth explanations and notes as we progress through the conversation.

key result area Ask

I often hear people in the company talking about Key Results Areas. What are Key Results Areas and what can I gain from it?

key responsibility areas Answer
  1. Performance management (Managers and HR professionals) use key results areas to measure employee performance
  2. To business managers kra’s mean business results dash board or key performance indicators.
  3. People in careers manage their careers by understanding and reporting on key results areas.

All key performance areas focus on how business generates value to clients, the processes and your roles or functions.

The answer is KRA is an acronym for Key Results Area in business or projects. Having clearly defined Key Results Areas enables you to take ownership of your business, team, career or job and to accept responsibility for those areas where achieving business and career results are your responsibility.

Key Results Areas enable you to

  • Have clearly defined and achievable goals or dashboards. (See: Smart Goal Setting)
  • Measure and communicate your progress during the year in terms of identified targets.
  • Manage your skills development. Identify areas for development (skills gaps which exist).
  • Contribute to the company’s wealth creation.
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  • Obtain timelycommunications and  feedback that will allow you to stay aligned and change direction when needed.
  • Promote an environment of alignment and self-management.

Key Results Areas enable you to maximize the Contribution Zones (overlap) between yourself, the company and the customer, as well as the customer’s clients. Furthermore, it matches your individual aspirations with the company and customer requirements.

The diagram below indicates the all-important area of overlap in which you can make Key Results Areas work for you.

You need Key Results Areas to determine your EVA (Economic Value Add).

what is key result area VENN Diagram of KRA’s

 

key result area definition Ask

I’m a bit confused.

What’s the difference between my position in the company, my roles and my tasks?

key responsibility areas Answer

Your function is your job title i.e. Sales Manager.

Your roles are your different areas of responsibility.

(KRA’s – Key Results Areas), for instance:

  • Managing your team and their performance;
  • Applying selling skills to meet targets;
  • Providing technical skills training for other team members etc.

Your tasks are the activities that you have to perform in order to carry out your roles, for instance:

  • Product presentations and demonstrations;
  • Sales calls;
  • Proposals, quotations etc.

Your function is defined by the key roles you play in terms of agreed success factors.

Your roles tend to remain constant while your tasks may change in line with changing circumstances and targets.

key result area sample Ask

Ok, how do I go about defining my Key Results Areas?

key performance areas example Explain

Defining your Key Results Areas:

Ask yourself: My job exists to do what for whom?

What?
For Value Added?
1
2
3
4

Writing your Key Results Areas

Write down your Key Results Areas using the SMARTM process:

What?
Value Add?
S – Specific
What must be done?
M – Measurable
When is it done?
A – Achievable
Why can I do it?
R – Results
What’s in it for me?
T – Timing
When must it be done?
M – Monitor
Monitoring
key results Advise

Having your goals clearly defined makes it easier to change something along the way if this should become necessary.

key results area Ask

How do I go about managing my performance?

key result areas examples Answer

Managing your performance will be no headache if you make the steps below a personal ritual that you follow conscientiously at regular intervals.

Managing your performance

  1. Review regularly – Keep a copy in your diary.
  2. Has your job focus changed?
  3. Has the company changed focus?
  4. Drop unfocused Key Results Areas and add new ones.
  5. Regularly check progress.
    • Are you on target to reach your goals?
    • Who can help?
    • What can be done to assist you?
  6. Obtain your manager’s feedback.
  7. Manage your relationship with your mentors.
key performance area Ask

What would really help me is a tool that I can carry with me that will constantly remind me of what my roles are for the year, as well as the tasks they encompass. Oh yes, also the gaps that I have to work on to increase my competencies.

what are key result areas Explain

To ensure that your Performance Management stays on track,  keep a copy of the SMARTM process in your diary and refer to it regularly.

key performance areas in performance management Advise

When reviewing your KRA’s consider applying the White Hat and Black Hat thinking processes and don’t forget to inform others of changes.

My roles for the year

Once you understand personal goals determine your roles for this year:

Please insert this into your diary

ROLE 1: ……………………………………..

ROLE 2: ……………………………………..

ROLE 3: ……………………………………..

ROLE 4: ……………………………………..

key result areas of ntpc Ask

That’s exactly what I need to manage my contribution.

key performance area Answer

Here are some additional tips:

  • Review your KRA’s at staff meetings.
  • Review your KRA’s with your mentors.
  • Having your goals clearly defined makes reaching them easier.
  • It also enables you to identify areas of change.
  • Take responsibility for receiving and giving input; this reduces management involvement.
  • Faster growth with less management involvement results in increased effectiveness.
key result areas sample Ask

My team leader said that Key Results Areas are central to an integrated growth plan and compensation.

What did he mean by that?

key result Answer

Let me explain.

Some of the concepts I will mention are explained elsewhere in this book. At this stage only understand the big picture.

Your integrated growth plan, and corresponding compensation is closely connected to managing your Contribution Zone. This zone is essentially the area of overlap between yourself, the company and the customer.

There are three focus areas that are especially relevant to monitor:

  1. Career focus: What represents your interests? Where are you going in terms of your chosen career path?
  2. Results focus: What represents the interests of the company? What results are expected from you? Are they agreed and communicated?
  3. Customer focus: How effective are you? How satisfied are your customers?

The diagram below illustrates some of the mechanisms that will contribute to an integrated growth path.

The process of arriving at your Key Results Areas contribute to clarifying and communicating the agreed results expected from you. Thereafter your Key Results Areas help you stay on track in terms of the results expected from you: your roles, functions and tasks.Tools mentioned here to measure your effectiveness, like the Balanced Scorecard and the Order Cycle, are explained elsewhere in this book.

kra Key Result Areas