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MapQuest, Margaritas, and Career Development

Posted by Ken Klaus on May 28, 2008


I have a terrible sense of direction. Before MapQuest if you wanted me to come for a visit, you had to give me really precise directions, preferably without using any compass headings – which was about as effective as giving me directions over the phone using sign language. Here’s an example of what worked for me.

From Highway 1 take the Market Street exit. At the end of the ramp, turn left. Take the second right onto Elm Street. At the first stop sign take a left onto Oak Street. Go 2.3 miles until you reach the Dairy Queen on your right. At the next traffic light make a u-turn and take the first right onto Shady Grove Avenue. Look for the sign in the yard that reads: Welcome Ken! I, along with the margaritas and guacamole, will be waiting for you on the front porch. P.S. I’m including reverse directions for the drive home, but just in case we finish the pitcher of margaritas I’ve also made up the guest room.

Most workers require a similar level of detail when it comes to career development. The good news is our talent management solutions should do most of the hard work for us; but first workers need know where they want to go. This, in my opinion, is the sole responsibility of the employee, though having a mentor or a good manager as their co-pilot greatly increases the likelihood of successfully reaching their destination. Once an employee knows where they want to be, a good talent management solution should do most of the remaining work for them – in the same way MapQuest automatically generates custom driving directions. Here’s how it should work.

First, the profile management application will help the employee understand where they are today, e.g. I’m an independent contributor with a specific set of competencies, skills, and experiences; for MapQuest this represents the starting location. Next, using the goals and development plan application, the employee will define where they want to go, e.g. I want to be manager; for MapQuest this represents the ending location. The learning management application should then provide a custom learning path (the driving directions) from where they are today to where they want to be at some point in the future.

Many talent management solutions in the market place today have good learning management solutions, but lack integrated profile and goal management applications; which means the employee is forced to navigate through the learning catalog making less-than-educated guesses – usually based on complex or arcane competency models – as to which courses will help them reach their goal. A complete, fully integrated talent management solution avoids this problem by leveraging what we already know about the employee, their profile, their goal, and their learning history, in order to create a custom learning path that will lead them directly to their goal – no compass required (margaritas optional). Cheers!

5 Responses to “MapQuest, Margaritas, and Career Development”

  1. Meg Bear said

    well, as you know I have a directional disability that makes GPS necessary (I’m considering implanting a chip so I always have someone telling me where to go). I have to say that the Margarita element had been missing for me until now — genius!

  2. Ken Klaus said

    I so need to get me a GPS – I feel so client / server still using MapQuest vs. Meg who is totally web 2.0. =) Can’t wait for the new iPhone – Tweet me when you get yours, Meg! Cheers! -Ken

  3. Kathi Chenoweth said

    I’m so relieved to hear that you two are also directionally challenged. I got lost on the way back from our team dinner to my hotel earlier this year. I had MapQuest printouts in my rental car for: airport to office, office to hotel, hotel to office, and office to airport. And before heading to the team dinner, I printed out: office to restaurant. But I did not have: restaurant to hotel –that was my downfall.

  4. […] The article also identifies GenX as developing career “webs” versus “paths” and tending more towards lateral moves, new opportunities versus traditional climbing of the corporate ladder. OK, well, that does sound more like me. I break out in hives whenever I feel that someone is going to ask me for my five year plan. Plan? I don’t have a plan. I just want to do something interesting and challenging. It’s worked out pretty well so far. This might also have to do with my lack of navigational skills. […]

  5. kk said

    You should not waste your time with MapQuest. Much better: maps.google.com. Give it a try.

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