Our proteges know that we at Protagion are strong proponents of understanding ourselves, our aspirations, skills, passions, interests, strengths and weaknesses, in order to achieve our career goals. So much so that ‘knowing yourself’ forms the foundation of the self-directed component of our career management platform, including the Journey of Self-Discovery.
This post explores career self-reflection, specifically clarifying your career and job aspirations in your own mind. This includes looking at where your career is going, what your transferable skills are, what interests, excites and motivates you, and what you actually want from your career.
It is based on a podcast discussion between Elayne Grace, the CEO of the Actuaries Institute in Australia, and Lesley Traverso, director of the Talent Insights Group in Sydney. Lesley has experience of the United Kingdom, Middle East, Asia and Australia, is heavily involved with the actuarial profession in Australia on topics from Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to diversity, and is currently completing her Masters in Culture.
While the podcast was aimed an actuarial audience in Australia, we feel its messages are highly relevant for all professionals globally. It touches on broadly-applicable elements like upskilling ourselves, career transitions, and engaging with our employers about our goals.
Three further examples of international Non-Executive Directors (NEDs) in Part Three of our multi-part series sharing career paths and insights of individuals performing these roles. As before, our shorthand NED includes independent NEDs (iNEDs).
Similar to Part One and Part Two, the individuals represent different levels of NED experience, from those in their first few roles to seasoned board chairs. The need to prepare thoroughly for board and committee meetings has been raised in previous articles, and is mentioned by Part Three’s participants below too. This sentiment is described in more detail in a LinkedIn article on “Being an Effective Board Member” by John Howard, himself an experienced NED with a legal background. He describes the importance of preparation for these meetings like this: “Before each board and board committee meeting read the board book and reread relevant material from orientation. Speak to the Chairman and CEO (if the roles are separate) before the meeting. Meaningfully discuss the agenda, issues that concern you, and make suggestions so they know before the meeting your state of mind. Lack of preparation is the most common trait of bad directors.” John adds that proper preparation allows NEDs to bring something innovative to every board meeting, offering the idea for consideration at an appropriate time.
Jose Ribeiro, Sheelagh Malin and Karabo Morule are profiled in this article, and we hope that their reflections and recommendations will prompt your own reflection. Read more below for their career paths and NED experiences.
Our recent article on reflective practice, "Professional Reflection: Learning through Experience", discussed the value of reflection in our Continuing Professional Development (CPD). It considered a number of professions encouraging reflective practice such as the healthcare/medical, teaching/education, and actuarial and accounting professions, and described some practical frameworks for reflection.
While collaboration and feedback are inherent in some professions, others may view reflective practice as a solitary activity. There can be value in forming your own opinions first, but at Protagion we believe strongly that working with others is fundamental to our professional development, including reflecting and discussing together.
Christopher Johns, a professor of nursing, in “Guided reflection: a narrative approach to advancing professional practice”* argued that the act of sharing reflection with a guide, colleague or mentor enables the experience to become learned knowledge at a faster rate than reflecting alone.
Read more for our brief thoughts on feedback, followed by more detailed exploration of “reflective practice discussions”, part of some professions’ CPD requirements i.e. their members are required to discuss their professional development with others. We look into who the reflective practice / diffraction discussion could be held with, the general elements of the discussion, and end with specific examples of possible questions to explore between the professional and the discussion partner.