After searching far and wide, or perhaps by asking HR or a colleague for help, you’ve obtained a development plan template because you realize it’s important for you to have your own development plan. You’re committed to work on your development and really looking forward to it. It’s all downhill from here.
Experiential learning, as you might guess, is learning by experience. Check out the wiki for more detail. It’s a great way to learn because it allows for application of newly acquired knowledge to real-world situations. Check out this recent ATD post for a few examples of how some companies have implemented impressive and robust experiential learning programs to develop their employees.
Recently I wrote about some great opportunities to ask for feedback. Hopefully reading that post gave you some ideas for upcoming opportunities you will have to ask for feedback. I don’t want to discourage you, but asking for feedback is only the first step in getting it. You can’t just put a survey out there and wait for the magic to happen. It’s unfortunate, but despite the increasing focus on feedback in organizations, some people are still uncomfortable giving it.
If you’ve ever worked in a mid-size or large organization, you’ve probably had at least one individual development plan (IDP). If you work in HR, you may have dealt with many IDPs – those of your company’s employees. In either case, there is a dirty little secret about the IDP that you are likely familiar with.
If you’re lucky enough to have a culture of self-driven development, employees at any level should be able to solicit feedback on a regular basis from their coworkers. This is growing more common as companies are moving away from the annual performance appraisal exercise and seeking ways for employees to receive more frequent, meaningful feedback, As with anything, some times are better than others to do so. This means HR organizations and employees themselves need to identify who, when, and under what circumstances feedback should be solicited.
The topic of feedback is all the rage right now. Just last week I found this article from the NY Times and this podast from HBR. And there’s plenty of great content written prior to these posts, so you really don’t need me to regurgitate it to you. In fact, the topic of feedback has been so hot lately I’m going to take a small leap and presume you don’t need to be convinced that it’s a necessity. I’ll even go so far as to say you are a feedback advocate! If not, review the material linked above, search for more if you need more convincing, and return to this post when you’ve come to your senses.
As you likely know, one of the current trends in talent development is a focus on employees taking ownership of the individual development plan. See this article by the Center for Creative Leadership for example, or this recent blog post by HR Bartender for great examples.