Creating a powerful Personal Development Plan

Personal Development Plans can often be “something and nothing” – a paper exercise mandated by HR for line managers and direct reports to undertake as an annual ritual. When they are at their best they:

  • Identify clearly the difference between where you are now and where you want and/or need to be
  • Link immediate (short-term) objectives and actions with longer-term, wider personal goals
  • Have both a developmental (learning) perspective and a career management perspective
  • Link goals explicitly with values
  • Provide an appropriate level of stretch
  • Are motivating and create a bias for action
  • Are shared with your support network
  • Can be monitored to check that progress is happening and how fast it is happening
  • Are a “live” document that you refer to at relatively frequent intervals, to benchmark how you are doing
  • Are flexible enough to allow for new goals and to respond to unexpected opportunities

Try using the grid below as a framework:

Development area Evidence How I want to be different in performance in my current role? What am I going to do to make that happen? By when? How do I want to be different in career development? What am I going to do to make that happen? By when?
Thinking processes          
Transition readiness          


Some useful questions to ask

  • Why do I want this?
  • How does this goal align with my personal values?
  • How does it align with the values of the organization?

© David Clutterbuck, 2014

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