Your first framework will be wrong - that’s okay!

Your first framework will be wrong - that’s okay!

Posted byJonny Burch on


We’ve spoken to countless teams about building their progression frameworks. We know:

Your teams want and need the clarity a progression framework provides

It's impossible to know if you're focusing on the right things, getting where you want or making career progress without support from the company you work for. Employees know this, in fact 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career. Getting those important skills out of your head and onto a shared document is the start of doing that.

They take time to create

We know of teams who’ve taken years to roll their frameworks out. Thousands of skills and competencies, behaviours and roles. Going round the houses with all your stakeholders and teams, then deep breath the big bang roll-out where you find out whether they'll go down ok.

They’re not always a business priority (but they should be).

Unfortunately on any manager's plate there's always a hundred things. Managing up, down, across, hiring, performance, culture. It's enough to boil the brain. The progression framework as 'important but not urgent' sits at number 2 to anything 'urgent' - those burning fires keep popping up.

While you're putting off finishing the last part of your framework, no-one is getting the value.

It’s hard to know if they’re 'right', particularly if they’re one person’s responsibility.

There's so much conflicting advice and so many different methodologies that it's very easy to boil the ocean creating perfection. But even then, is it the right set of requirements? Am I qualified to choose? Who else can I ask?


However, we also know from the teams on Progression who are successfully using frameworks:

  • They work. Their teams are happier. Career/progression conversations happen more regularly, and are more effective.
  • They wish they’d rolled out a first version of their framework earlier.

It’s this last point that we think is most important. It's a secret that, once you realise it, will liberate you from the shackles of perfection.

Your framework is never going to be perfect. Ever. A progression framework is a product not a project. It will, and should, change.

A better way

Drop the attempts to map every requirement on day one. Seriously.

Create a first framework with the core skills your team requires. Position your framework as 'v1' and encourage people to add things they think are important.

Most importantly roll it out to the team and start progression conversations. You will only know what is right and wrong with the framework by using it.

It’s easier to add skills to a framework than to remove them. So start having career conversations, and then come back and improve the framework for the next time as a team.

The 'perfect' framework doesn't exist. All the time spent trying to build one is time where you're not helping your team to grow.

So embrace your first framework being wrong. Everyone else's is.

Picture of Jonny Burch

Posted by Jonny Burch

Jonny is CEO at Progression


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