7 deadly sins of development planning, part 1


This is the first in a two-part series. After reading this article, check out part 2.

This is the time of year when many leaders find themselves engrossed in the business planning process. They browse historical data, assess the current state, analyze the environment, predict the future, identify the multiple scenarios that may arise, consider alternatives that will promote organizational success, and create actionable strategies and tactics. to get results.

What if leaders brought the same thoughtfulness, rigor, and discipline that applied from business planning to individual development planning?

After all, it’s the people within an organization who communicate with customers and clients day in and day out. These are the people who can bring out problems, improvements and innovations. These are people who have or do not have the skills to execute company-wide plans. And it is in fact the people – and their level of development – that dictate the success of any planning effort.

What if leaders elevate individual development planning to the same (or more) importance as corporate planning?

For lasting success in today’s ambiguous and changing environment, it is becoming increasingly important to find ways to integrate meaningful individual development into broader corporate strategic planning. Because a well-trained and highly engaged workforce, committed to continuous growth and learning, is the most powerful differentiator an organization can bring to the market.

And doing that is much easier than it looks, but only if leaders are able to break certain unproductive habits that have developed – and in many cases institutionalized – over the years. In fact, there are seven deadly sins that, if resolved, can unleash the potential and power to advance even the most ambitious business plans.

Deadly Sin # 1: Focus on Form

Filling out the fields and checking all the boxes on the prescribed documents is not the same as developing. Too often, leaders rely on well-executed organizational processes and mechanisms, forgetting that development is a human endeavor – not human resources. Move the focus. Put the conversation and the relationship first and let the form simply commemorate a great conversation.

Deadly sin no. 2: Confusing development and performance

Many organizations have moved performance reviews away from career development for good reason. Discussions of performance, while essential for the individual and the organization, are retrospective. Development must start with the here and now and project it into the future. Certainly, performance and skill gaps can and should be bridged and incorporated into growth plans, but only as one of the many factors that can help propel others forward.

Deadly Sin # 3: Assume Everyone’s Heading Up

The main explanations given by leaders for avoiding conversations about career development are their belief that everyone wants a promotion, a raise, a corner office, or some other perk that they cannot offer. And that’s so unfortunate, because study after study suggests that only around 25% of the population is actually preparing for their next promotion. Most employees are looking for ways to expand their skills and contributions. In fact, research I conducted with Beverly Kaye while writing “Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go: Career Conversations Organizations Need and Employees Want” found the # 1 outcome that employees expect from a Career conversation with their supervisors is “creative ways to use my skills and talents.”

Deadly Sin # 4: Forcing It All Into One Meeting

“One and done” is done when it comes to development planning. The old annual ordeal has always been overwhelming and ineffective. But given the rapid pace of change, it’s unreasonable to expect that planning today will still be relevant in seven months, seven years, or sometimes even seven days. A distributed approach to development – a more iterative approach – better matches the pace – and the needs – of today’s dynamic business environment.

See you next month to learn more about the remaining deadly sins associated with development planning in Part 2 of this series.

In the meantime, you may find this resource that I created with my co-author and Berrett-Koehler Publishers to create a brief electronic guide, “Ignite Development Potential: The Modern IDP”, useful. It offers tools and strategies to overcome these seven deadly sins and transform employee development from another strenuous requirement into a meaningful, engaging and interactive experience. You can download it here.

Julie Winkle Giulioni works with organizations around the world to improve performance through leadership and learning. Named one of Inc’s Top 100 Leadership Speakers. Magazine, Giulioni is the co-author of the Amazon and Washington Post bestseller “Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go: Career Conversations Organizations Need and Employees Want”, You can read more about her talk, training and blog at JulieWinkleGiulioni.com.

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