Have you adapted your personal development plan?
Personal development is an ever-changing, fluid process (even in the most stable times). As leaders are currently overwhelmed with immense changes to the business landscape, the first thing that often falls off the radar is their own personal development. Simply considering taking the time and structuring your plan may seem far off base…or even selfish!
If you are having trouble determining if your personal development is essential right now, the answer is….IT IS! It’s as important (and maybe even more so) than your employee’s development. As the organization’s leader, you set the stage for the culture that is developing during this time, which is much different than it was before. If you want your people to drink from the same well (alignment), it’s up to you to fill it first. And that starts with your personal development.
Your structured personal development plan, when done right, becomes your blueprint for where you want to go with your career, what you want to be, and the steps that will take you there. This can be very different than it was 4 months ago. If you need more help with putting structure to your plan, this template will provide guidance on how to build a professional development plan. It’s just four pages total, with lots of white space and a user-friendly feel. Filling it out takes willpower, a bit of time, and a general mindset of commitment on your end. But it’s all manageable and very doable.
Here are three ways to boost your odds of making your professional development plan work for you:
Commit to do it. As you us this template to restructure your plan, be proactive and disciplined about this activity. Set a time, date and place where you can really focus and get this task done. Put it on your calendar—make it a meeting date with yourself. Then choose a place where you can relax and not be interrupted. The key is to eliminate distractions, even turning off your cell phone and avoiding email if you can. Give it your all, and you’ll get the most back out of it.
Don’t strive for perfection. This is a living document…it’s going to change over time. Recognize and accept that fluidity, realizing it’s never going to be perfect. For instance, the exact words you use when filling it out aren’t as important as the activity of taking control of your growth and writing your plan. If you get hung up on the expectation for this to be perfect, you might find yourself struggling to start or get it done. Remember, this is a guide. If there are aspects of it that you want to tweak or customize for you, go for it—after all, it’s got to be something you can own, something you can believe and honor. And yet try to keep the vital elements in tact. We’re sure you’ll find they’re all solid in terms of a reliable and credible blueprint…that’s why we’ve stood behind this tool for decades (and through multiple recessions). Many of our clients have achieved their goals and dreams using this template as their starting point and an ongoing guide.
Share your plan. Developing leaders all need trusted advisors. This could be a business partner, your MAP consultant, or another type of viable mentor. Turn to this person and share your plan. Get some feedback from this confidant and build accountability with this person, asking him or her to actually hold you accountable to the goals and action items you’ve listed. Set up monthly check-ins to review your status, revise where necessary, identify opportunities to take corrective action and celebrate your wins.
When sharing your plan, make sure you’re doing it with someone who knows something about professional growth and your business challenges. A co-worker you like but who is not disciplined in challenging himself or herself isn’t ideal. Pick someone you know will push your comfort zone and help you adapt your plan to be the greatest leaders (and human) possible.