Driving Impact in Personal Career Development

An excerpt from The Guide to Natural® Foresight Framework:

Strategic Foresight is the key to reframing our outdated, Industrial Age processes that are no longer effective in our Postnormal environment (Sardar, 2010). One such antiquated process is career development.

Organizational career development began in the 1960s, but the practice of career counseling can be traced back to as early as 1890. Traditional career development methods fail for the same reasons that our mainstay financial and strategic planning methods do – they assume that the future will be a linear extrapolation of the past. Not only is this inaccurate; it’s also dangerous. By attempting to forecast the future in a linear manner, we create an official future mindset that leaves us blind to outside opportunities and threats. 

It should be no surprise that this relic from the 19th century is unable to keep pace with our 21st-century world. What is needed today is Career Foresight – an ongoing process that allows us to translate the weak signals in our external environment into multiple patterns and narratives, revealing hidden opportunities and uncovering potential threats. Foresight helps us address our ability to accept new information and then scan the external environment for trends and emerging issues that will shape our future career options and pathways. Rather than relegating our career development efforts to an isolated, annual exercise, we must create several divergent narratives that will allow us to be successful no matter what future emerges.

Forget about the “career ladder” or even the “lattice.” Career Foresight allows us to sketch out three or more divergent stories about possible futures (personal or professional) over the next 10 years or more. The ability to chart a course to our aspirations regardless of obstacles allows us to recover from setbacks quickly while taking advantage of new opportunities without hesitation.


Sardar, Ziauddin (2010, June). Welcome to postnormal times. Futures. 42 (5): 435–444. doi:10.1016/j.futures.2009.11.028

Access a full and complimentary copy of “The Guide to the Nature Foresight® Framework” here.