What’s the Russian’s plan, son?

One of my favorite lines was in the movie Hunt for Red October when the Captain of the US Aircraft Carrier asks the young officer, “What’s the Russian’s plan, son?”

The young officer had just laid out the scenario about the Red October submarine Captain Rameus (played by Sean Connery) defecting from Russia and how the entire Russian Navy was looking for him.

The Captain asked, “What’s their plan?”

Tired and without sleep for two days the young officer goes to temporary quarters set up for him to get a little rest. Upon rising, he showers and shaves before heading back to the ship’s Bridge for follow-up discussions with the senior officers. As he shaves, he looks in the mirror and starts asking himself questions, , , “What’s their plan?”, , , “How does a nuclear submarine and its entire crew defect?”, , , “the entire crew defecting doesn’t seem possible”, , , “How do you get 100 sailors off a nuclear submarine?”

You can watch the movie to get the full context of the situation, , , but here is a question for you,

“What’s your plan?”

Do you have a plan?

“A plan for what?”, you might ask.

Well, , , anything, , , but at a minimum you ought to have a least two plans:

  1. Your IT strategy and plan for supporting your company
  2. Your personal career plan

Let’s focus on the second one – your career plan. The question I ask everyone I have a career planning discussion with is, , , “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Do you know what you want to be? Have you given much thought to it? What do you want in your career and in life? Or are you simply floating along?

Nothing wrong with drifting along, but those who achieve great success identify what they want and put an action plan in place to prepare themselves to achieve it.

They go for it !!

If you want to be the best programmer, invest in your programming skills, learn new technologies that will help you be a better programmer with more productivity and quality in your work, , , and become the best programmer.

If you want to be a great project manager, invest in your project management and people skills. Start tracking your projects to quantify the results you are getting. Do you know what percentage of your projects are delivered on time, delivered within budget, and meet client expectations? Do you know why certain projects failed and now how to prevent these issues from occurring in future projects? Can you also quantify the benefits each of your projects have delivered? If not, learn how to do all of this better and better and become a great project manager.

If you want to become a successful manager, learn what it takes to succeed in the management role you are shooting for and what paths are appropriate to get a shot at management. When you get the opportunity, hopefully you have invested in yourself to be prepared. Many aren’t and do not fare well as a result.

Leading and managing others requires a whole new set of skills than what you may have developed in your technical role so learn what is required and go prepare yourself. It may seem obvious that those who are prepared tend to get the assignment and do well as a result over those who are not prepared. Seems obvious but many miss the obvious.

So, , , what’s your plan? If you don’t have one, now may be a good time to start thinking about what you want in your career and begin developing a plan to get there.

Need help? Take a look at Develop a Career Plan for some quick tips and a career planning tool.

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