14 January 2011

"Where do you want to be in 5 years?"

I have a standard question when helping employees plan their careers and when interviewing prospective employees: “Where do you want to be in 5 years?”

The answer shows how self-aware a person is, how well they’ve planned ahead, and importantly their capacity to dream a little bit. Some of the answers are very specific, like a job title or a function. Some are lofty, like having achieved something exceptional. Others are developmental, like having learned a new skill or discipline.

It occurred to me last night that this question may be unfair. Our business is changing so quickly that it’s hard to plan five years ahead. So now I’m going to ask, “Where do you want to be in 3 years?” If the answer is about next year, and has substance, I’ll gladly accept it.

You can still dream big about next year or even this year. Rapid change in our business also means that new opportunities arise all the time, and we shouldn’t be afraid to embrace them.

Kevin Carroll, Katalyst

If you want some inspiration, check out Kevin Carroll, self-proclaimed Katalyst. He addressed the annual meeting of Draftfcb Chicago last night and really inspired me. He publishes a blog and you can follow him on Twitter. That's his picture above.


  1. I like to dream about what will come tomorrow--long term plans at a very lofty level are ok, but can be as constraining as they can provide focus
    Despite my knowledge of what has to get done when the sun comes up next, I also dwell in the possibility of what might provide a game changing opportunity or perspective. In each and every new day.

  2. Hmmm...glad to see that Jack Handy is reading my blog!

  3. I'd like to have the scj business-right steve?

  4. Everyone should have future goals to shoot it, we need to set short term & long term goals, which we want to do in 5 years.
    I have consulted a public relation firm to make a analysis on my future projects.