Development is about Actions not Words

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It’s the start of a new year which means a large number of readers will be asked to write their objectives and development plan for 2018.

So we all find last year’s objectives and look to see if they can be reused, heave a sigh of relief that only a few minor amends are needed and get them to the boss just before the cut-off time. The objectives are broad enough to cover a multitude of actions so that you can always be measured successfully and all you have to do now is your job so that your appraisal will be just as easy to complete.

But hold on a minute. You were asked to you write your objectives and your development plan. Why did you stop short and only do your objectives? My theory is people don’t like drawing attention to themselves and a personal development plan does exactly that. It touches on the person doing the job, rather than the job that needs to be done. It can be uncomfortable talking about yourself, especially areas for development, and there aren’t always quick solutions at hand. So in our busy work environment (and when is proposal management anything but busy!) we sweep the development plan under the table and focus on the next deadline.

A personal development plan gives you an opportunity to look holistically at yourself. Are you doing everything to the best of your ability? Do you suit the job; does the job suit you? It could be that you need to improve in a technical part of your role where your company will support your training, or it could be something behavioural that is holding you back from promotion. If you don’t consider how you can develop in the workplace you will find yourself falling out of love with your job, your colleagues, and your boss. A good people manager will always find time to help those that want to help themselves, but they are not going to force you to prepare a development plan because if they write it for you it won’t change a thing. You have to see the value of having a plan.

So even if the deadline for this year has passed, or you are self-employed and feel liberated from this corporate merry-go-round, why not take some time to develop yourself. Think about the feedback you got last year, good and bad, and what you can do with this powerful intelligence. I recommend preparing six goals (four achievable and two a little harder). Take three positive traits and ask yourself how you can use these to strengthen your career. Then take three development areas – what can you do to improve? Write down your six statements and determine the best way to measure success – it may be to share with a trusted colleague or friend or perhaps you’d prefer to keep a journal. The important thing is to take action. Enjoy the challenges you set yourself, and remember to celebrate your successes.

This article was written by Alison Gurd.

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