Have You Created Your Individual Development Plan?
If you do research on how to create an individual development plan (IDP), you’ll probably notice that the advice you find is typically offered to a leader or manager, helping to develop an IDP for their employee.
They all start with the notion that first, you should know where the business is going and then talk with your employee about the future. Next, it’ll walk you through determining what the person is missing (gap analysis). Finally, it ends with creating a training plan and applying it. You might even find some lists that have a few more steps, but the majority contain at least those steps.
But why wait for your manager to create an Individual Development Plan?
Managers are busy. Sometimes they are lucky to get 1:1 meetings done, let alone helping someone write a plan to develop their career. So our advice? Take your future into your own hands and get started.
“An individual development plan is a map or framework to clarify and manage objectives and activities for YOUR career development.”
An individual development plan is a map or framework to clarify and manage objectives and activities for YOUR career development. The primary purpose is to help you reach both short and long-term goals and to improve your current job performance. As part of the IDP, you should develop professional goals that matter to you. Determine the skills, experiences, and behaviors that you will need; and then create a plan of action to achieve those goals.
It’s a living document that should be updated and revised as you progress. Format is not important.
Here are some basics to help you get started.
- Current state. Start by reflecting and conducting a self-assessment to determine your current skills, interests, and values. Additionally, consider areas that you truly don’t like or areas in which you struggle. You may consider completing different assessments, talking with peers, colleagues, or seeking a mentor to gather a factual evaluation of your strengths and weaknesses.
- Vision of your future. Imagine your future. What career goals are you interested in pursuing in the next three to five years? Do you have an idea of where you’d like to be 10 years from now? Start jotting these ideas down. You may want to dump your thoughts, and then come back to the document and edit. Do a little research to determine what abilities and behaviors will be necessary to be effective in your future career. Begin a list of those key attributes.
- Gap analysis. After you have reflected on where you are in relation to where you want to be, identify the knowledge, skills, experiences, and behaviors that need improvement or that need to occur in order for you to be prepared for the future you want. What is needed to get you from where you are to what your future looks like?
- Build your plan. Once you have gathered the information in the previous three steps, you’re ready to begin building your plan. List the competencies you would like to acquire or develop, experiences you want, and the developmental activities you will need. Identify how you will build those proficiencies. Make sure you include a projected timeline for each activity along with any other resources you may need.
- Create your development team. List people who can help you achieve your career goals. As you consider people, you’ll want people who will be honest with you and are in your corner, wanting to help or support you. You may have several people with different experiences or expertise. You may include the person you currently report to. And these may be people inside or outside your current company. It all depends on your goals and where you are on your career path. At a minimum, you’ll want people who can act as a resource for exploring career options, give you feedback on your IDP, identify opportunities for development, and help you assess your qualification for career advancement. Seek these people out regularly to keep you on track and give you an honest perspective on your journey.
It’s important for you to take matters into your own hands. Start with these five steps to give you something to reflect on as you gain more knowledge and experience. Then you’ll have an outline to help you get where you want to go more quickly. If you’d like a few thought stimulator questions to get you started with each step, click here to download your copy. If you want to advance your career, now is the time to get started.
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