Career development demands more Collaboration today than ever before. Of the five career factors  listed in earlier blogs – Courage, Commitment, Collaboration, Connectedness and ConfidenceCollaboration may be the factor that has evolved the most as a driver of career development and professional growth over the last decade.

Career paths have been helpful navigational tools for careerists for years. And paths still provide useful information. However, a rapidly changing workplace accompanied by transformations in the workforce itself, create a need for more choices and options than traditional career paths offer. Discovery of those career options depends heavily on collaboration. The career landscape continues to grow and shift with globalization and emerging technologies. Collaborating in all directions – up, across and down – is the key to building relevant and resilient career patterns.

Managers, mentors and coaches who encourage consideration of a wide variety of career options are moving from simple discussions of “What’s next?” to the better question of “What’s possible?” Career conversations that are two-way collaborative dialogues versus one-way advisory discussions trigger deeper thinking on the part of the individual planning a career pattern. The manager who asks, “What interests you?” opens the door to exploration. The mentor who asks, “What experiences do you want to include in your career?” widens the career lens. The coach who asks, “What capabilities to do you have that you haven’t yet applied?” deepens the dialogue. Collaborative career conversations generate thinking and prompt insights. Insights are where possibilities live.

For individuals building career patterns in an evolving workplace, reaching out beyond managers, mentors and coaches is essential. Meaningful and productive career-focused conversations emerge from collaborating with colleagues who possess different skillsets from our own or are in roles that seem interesting to us. Even a few give-and-take conversations with others can offer factors that lead to more informed career decisions and may produce options never considered before.

Career development, learning and growth continue to be key engagement drivers. Organizations that promote collaborative career conversations are acknowledging the importance of professional growth and demonstrating an openness to career choices that are driven by individual employees rather than dictated by processes or tradition.

Career collaboration can be a win all around – for managers, mentors, coaches, individuals and the organization!

When your organization’s ready to talk about career development, contact Talent Dimensions to learn from our decades of experience helping clients build powerful, sustainable and inclusive employee growth and development strategies.