How to create a personal development plan

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As a new season begins, many of us will be looking to boost our careers. Here are some tips from a licensed manager on how to support your career growth.

1. How to define a personal development plan

Start by identifying where you are currently in your field, then define where you would like to be after progressing. This will give you a measure of the gap you are looking to bridge through training and experience.

When setting a goal or direction, you must take into account the reality of the industry or organization in which you work. It is important to link your plans to the needs of the organization and / or industry. Contact your manager, coworkers, coach or mentor for help with this.

My best advice? The success of your personal development plan will depend on your enthusiasm. To make sure you stay inspired to develop your skills, think about what interests you and what you’re good at.

2. Why should you ask your own supervisor for help?

Managers play a crucial role in helping establish employee goals. On a practical level, they must ensure that business plans are up to date in order to expose potential development opportunities.

Be sure to schedule regular assessments and reviews to share your career progress and aspirations. Well-balanced employees help an organization achieve its goals – it’s a win-win situation.

3. Find the best way to reach your goals

Establish your learning style. As CMI rightly points out, some learn by trying new things or experimenting, while others prefer to research or sit and observe situations.

In my experience, companies that recognize the diversity of their workforce offer a variety of training, development and education opportunities. Internal options such as technical training and job shadowing programs are a valuable addition to external and tailor-made training courses.

Plus, use information from professional bodies such as CMI, government agencies, trusted online resources, and your professional and personal networks.

4. Talk about deadlines

T: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Fast.

It is essential to have deadlines set in your action plan. Shorter and longer timeframes might apply for different purposes, for example a one-day training course versus a one-year secondment.

Time goals should be tough to maintain momentum and enthusiasm.

5. Set new goals as you progress

You may find that you identify more goals during the assessment process. Each assessment is also an opportunity to assess whether a certain learning style is appropriate or needs to change to give better results.

6. Be aware of the pitfalls of personal development planning

I think the hardest part of personal development planning is setting a goal. I firmly believe that watching and finding careers of others is time well spent for this.

It can also be difficult to determine your learning style. To help you, take a learning styles quiz, like the one designed by Peter Honey and Alan Mumford.

7. Continue

A personal development plan is something that an individual should have at all stages of their career.

I maintain a personal development plan to stay on top of my professional goals. Whether I tried to get a promotion, to diversify my experience or to refocus on my job, I set myself new goals to stay motivated.

I regularly seek the advice of my mentor and I have identified sponsors who allow me to progress. Like most career-oriented people, my personal development plan continues to be a work in progress.

Image: Shutterstock


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