Kyle Johnston

Career Path Framework

While serving as creative director at Garmin in 2016, I undertook a project to develop comprehensive career paths for my team of 50, which included designers, copywriters, UX specialists, videographers, and more.

My role: Creator

The Challenge

In exit interviews, the number one piece of feedback we received was people didn't see a way to grow in their roles at the company. While department leaders had a strong understanding of opportunities available to team members, we lacked a clear framework that allowed everyone—team members and managers—to understand how they could progress in their careers with the company and develop the skills needed to achieve their goals.

The Approach

I started with the concept of a career lattice. This helped to illustrate a couple of key ideas:

  • People weren’t restricted to one type of role. Provided they met basic qualifications, they had the freedom to take on new roles and develop new skills.
  • There was a clear path for both ‘makers’ and ‘managers’.

Career Lattice

The Career Lattice

Defining a Career Path

For each role in the lattice, I created a career path framework outlining core qualifications, role competencies, duties and responsibilities, and indicators. These details allowed each person to clearly understand what was required of them to progress in their careers. It also helped managers ensure their team members were building relevant skills and experiences.

Career Path

“Maker” Career Path Guidelines


To roll out the program, I created a presentation and supporting materials to help team members understand the framework, their responsibility in the process, and answer questions.

Career Path Overview
Career Path Overview
Career Path Nomenclature
Demonstration of Skills
Mastery of Skills

What’s Next

In addition to introducing this framework at Garmin, I implemented a similar program in my next role at DEG.

Based on what I’ve learned, I’ve developed a consulting program to help other in-house and agency creative teams implement similar career path programs.

Get in touch if you’re interested in getting on the path.