How to Start a Career Leveling Framework for your Organization

Image result for career ladderAs a company grows, it’s important to set expectations around each level in the organization.   This is important for hiring, performance management, and career development. Below are two examples of leveling frameworks (leadership & individual contributor) and some examples of what could be noted in each area.  While this can be a helpful starting point, it’s important that you take this framework and adjust it to your culture (wordsmithing!) and expectations.   I’m here to help, reach out and we can talk about the best way to create a career leveling framework for your specific organization.

Leadership Levels

ManagerDirectorVice President
HeadlineManages the performance of a team or sub-functionRecommends & Implements strategy for the functionSets the strategy and goals for a department
ScopeGiven the execution plan, determines and manages KPI’sTakes the strategy, brings it to life for the teams and determines execution. Makes final decisions on administrative or operational matters and ensures effective achievement` of objectives.Sets vision and direction through resource allocation decisions for multiple significant organizations or business units.
Complexity & ImpactWorks on complex issues within their area of focus.  Acts as an escalation point for the team. Expected to keep projects on budget and schedule (which was set by the senior leader).  Requires in-depth knowledge of the work the team does and overall understanding of business strategies and company goals.Works on complex issues where analysis of situations or data requires an in-depth knowledge of the company. Participates in corporate development of methods, techniques and evaluation criteria for projects, programs, and people. Ensures budgets and schedules meet corporate requirements.  Requires in-depth knowledge of the functional area, business strategies, and the company’s goals.Through assessment of intangible variables, identifies and evaluates core issues, providing strategy and direction for major functional areas. Influences long-term vision and strategy of corporate consequence. Requires in-depth knowledge of the company, competitive environment, technology and economic or social implications of organization activities.
Policy Making
Other ConsiderationsBonus plans, option packages, severance levels, contract/expense approvals, other perks (ex cell phone reimbursement)


Individual Contributors





Typical Years of Experience

0-2 years

2-4 years

4-6 years

6+ years

Technical Skills

Developing has baseline knowledge but needs training on anything outside of the norm, doesn’t know what they don’t know yet

Strong fundamentals, can start anticipating issues or concerns, able to make recommendations for possible improvements

Able to handle complex projects, provide feedback and mentor others on the teams

Expert-level skills, there isn’t anything they haven’t seen before, able to manage escalations from the team in the absence of the manager

Problem Solving


Decision Making

Is able to follow instructions and training provided to make simple decisions

Is able to start to use skills to suggest decisions outside of the normal scope of the role, needs to get approval from their manager for anything outside of the normal scope of the role

Is able to look at complex situations and make recommendations; empowered to make decisions on projects

Empowered to make decisions on projects they are not working on as an expert on the team

Scope & Impact

Indicators of Success