I recently was in touch with a LinkedIn friend of mine, Gail Johnson Morris.  Gail is a top executive in career change mode after a recent lay-off.  I asked her what her top three “to-do’s” were in her career change action plan (if you don’t have one, write one — can easily be a one-pager!).  Here’s what she said….some sage advice I wanted to share with everyone:

1. Determine exactly what components of all roles and assignments thus far put me in the zone where I do my best work. To do this in a disciplined way, I took several approaches; Found Buckingham’s ‘Strengthfinder’ and “Go Put Your Strengths to Work’ (check out the podcast of this work that he did with Oprah) the most comprehensive for role components; Beck’s ‘Steering by Starlight’ is a great method to excavate activities that bring out passion and engagement; and Sonnefeld/Ward’s ‘Firing Back’ provides executive level step-by-step results for recovery from career set-backs.

 2. Clarify personality traits and what brings out the best in me in terms of company culture, opportunity, peer team (if any) and accountabilities/opportunities – Birkman’s Self-Development Report moves way past the 1st generation of these tests (Myers Briggs) & was my favourite for this step. 

3. Create a networking map for my next great assignment that ensures I am getting in touch with business professionals who have advice, counsel and contacts to assist me in landing where I can deliver the most value and have the best chance for future success. Execute the networking in a disciplined, consistent and professional manner and loop in all inputs and learnings from the advice receive to my goals.

Brian Kurth 

Career Strategist, Founder of VocationVacations and Author of Test-Drive Your Dream Job:  A Step-By-Step Guide To Finding And Creating The Work You Love  – Hachette 2008.