Please accept our free development plan template by clicking the link at the bottom of the page.
1. Establish your purpose or direction
The purpose of any development activity needs to be identified. You may do this, either, by yourself or with the help of your manager, mentor, career coach, colleagues, or friends. This involves:
2. Identify development needs
The identification of development needs may emerge from intended or actual new tasks or responsibilities, from discussions with your manager or others, or from dissatisfaction with current routines. Some people know what they are good at, others may be less sure. Various instruments such as self-assessment tests, benchmarking exercises, and personal diagnostics are available to help you assess your skills in a structured way.
3. Identify learning opportunities
As a result of one, or several, of the assessment processes above, draw up a list of the skills or knowledge you need to acquire, update or improve. Compare this list with your current skills and knowledge base and identify the gaps.
4. Formulate an action plan
For each of the skills and knowledge gaps, you identify, set yourself development objectives. These need to be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. There must be an element of challenge in them so that they stretch you as an individual and carry you on to new ground. But they must also be attainable and viable within a realistic time-frame, otherwise, time will overtake you.
5. Undertake the development
Put your plan into action- what you do and how you do it should be your choice. In addition to training courses, options include work shadowing, job rotation, project work, networking, and community involvement.
6. Record the outcomes
Keeping records serves to remind you - and others, such as potential employers - what you have done. Most importantly your records will help you to focus on what you have got out of your development activity. Record the date, the developmental need identified and the chosen method of development, the date(s) when development was undertaken, the outcomes, and any further action needed.
7. Evaluate and review
Evaluation is the key stage in the self-development cycle. There are two issues you should reflect upon: whether the development activity you have undertaken was appropriate and worthwhile; and whether and how your skills or working behavior have improved as a result. Evaluating development activities also involves asking the following questions: