Why create a personal development plan?
At work, a personal development plan helps you gain insights into your career aspirations and identify strengths and weaknesses. It also provides a map of skills you need to improve or learn in your area of weakness. Think of it as a detailed roadmap that guides you throughout the development journey to achieve your goals. Thus, breaking down goals into bite-sized milestones ensures a clear understanding of your goals and the steps you need to achieve them.
As Jim Rohn, personal development expert, said: “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”
It can take anywhere from 1-20 hours or more depending on what you want to do, how much detail you need to provide, and the level of experience. In this article, we'll give you a short overview of the whole process, with examples for each step.
How to create a Personal Development Plan at work
To create your development plan, you'll first need to take some time to reflect on what you want to achieve. Think about it holistically include a short-term and long-term period.
At Talbit, we usually go through 5 steps when creating our development plan. Simple but impactful process that helps us identify our goals, strengths and weaknesses, thus how we can develop it.
1. Self assessment
Assessing your current career situation is a good place to start. Knowing your professional interests, knowledge, and skills will help you determine where to focus your time to achieve the goals you have set for yourself.
Ask yourself these questions:
- How is your career currently progressing?
- Are you where you thought you’d be at this stage in your career?
- Where do you want to heading to in the next 3 months, 6 months or a year?
- Do you have the skills to achieve that career goals?
- What does success mean to you?
Use this opportunity to reflect on your actions, and analyze how they have helped you develop professionally. Once you've written down your answers, it's much easier to break them into goals.
2. Set goals and milestones
Use the SMART rule to create goals that make sense. It is an effective and most used goal-setting strategy that brings structure to any objectives. SMART Goal stands for:
- Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
- Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
- Achievable (agreed, attainable).
- Relevant (reasonable, realistic, and resourced, results-based).
- Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).
Structuring your goals like this make it easy to achieve by completing small step at a time. Thus every achievement is a source of motivation, and it’s worth celebrating.
3. Define strategies to obtain your GOALS
Once you've got all these plans in place, look at ways of achieving them. Depending on the goals, your strategy can be varied. If your goals involve a career change, look at the certification or education you need to obtain and how long it takes to achieve it. If you want to move to a new position, think about the skills set you need for that role and how to build those skills.
In addition, to be effective in learning and development, your strategies should be:
- Job embedded as in job learning. It means that the learning process should occur during the workday and has a direct link to the goals. Thus it must facilitate the transfer of new skills into practice.
- Diversify your approach to learning by including experiential learning (learning by doing), exposure learning, such as through feedback or connections with others that provide insights.
- Continuous and ongoing: it is crucial to learn daily and keep the process running.
Also, remember to incorporate what you’ve learned into your work as soon as possible. This will give you a valuable hands-on experience when developing new skills and a better chance to remember them.
4. Identify the resources
It is essential to know where is your learning resources located and how to access them. Make use of a diverse selection of resources such as online courses, blended learning platforms, in-job training, conference, articles, webinar, and mentoring for your professional growth.
5. Set a timeline
Laying out a time frame is crucial to ensure you stick to the development plan and a deadline to reflect your progress. We recommend planning your target every quarter (3 months) for a short-term goal and a yearly basis for a long-term goal.
Putting It All Together
The final step is to put it all together and start planning your personal development. It’s sometimes difficult to step outside of the comfort zone and see your full potential, so don’t be afraid to ask colleagues and managers for their honest feedback. Your managers can help you connect the plan with the company’s objectives and how you can develop it strategically.
Get access to a personal development template here and start to build your dream today!