Rock Products management columnist Steve Schumacher asks, “Where do you want to be in five years?” Here is why he thinks that is an important question.
Complacency. Once people get the job they want, they get into a comfort zone and become satisfied. Satisfied with the annual bonus and merit increase. Satisfied with their job routine. Satisfied with everything in life. People that are satisfied with their station in life and work stop growing and developing. By forcing yourself to legitimately look out five years and put a plan together to get there, you can no longer be complacent. Unless, of course, you want to be as complacent in five years as you are today.
Company growth and development. When people stop looking toward their future and striving to move up in the organization, the entire company suffers. As people grow in their positions and advance, the company gains from that advancement through more promotions down the chain of command. The opposite is true for people who do not continue to move up. They become blockers for people that report to them, and want to move up. People that feel blocked become de-motivated and may leave the company.
Modeling. If you are a manager and become satisfied, that sends a message to other people in the company. Especially those that report to you. If you want your employees to strive to improve constantly and develop themselves however they can, the best way to do that is model the behavior for them. As you project out five years and see what you can become, others will follow your lead. This creates a win-win-win situation all around. You, your employees and the company all benefit from positive modeling.
Challenges. As humans, we are wired to respond to challenges. Our bodies are built for flight or fight in the face of a challenge. When you think out five years and put a plan together to get there, you are obviously creating a challenge for yourself. So, your choice is to work take on the challenge, or run away from it. If you choose to move forward vs. backward you have signed up for putting meaningful plans together and completing them in order to improve your life. Taking on challenges stimulates us physically and mentally.
Creativity. Stop and think about five years from now for a minute. Seems far away doesn’t it? If you are honestly invested in putting a personal five-year plan together, it will force you to get creative in what five years from now looks like. Putting the action plan together will require a good amount of creativity also. The creativity that is generated may also carry over to the current work you are facing.
Stress reduction. When you take control of your life and your future, it puts you more in control of what impacts you on the job, and in life. When you feel more in control, you experience less stress. Even if your plans do not play out as you had hoped, or major changes happen that get in your way, you will still increase the sense of control you feel over your future. Just feeling in control can be a freeing feeling.