When it comes to development planning, there’s no shortage of excuses for falling behind and taking shortcuts. Which of the following sound familiar to you?
- “I just don’t have the money to spend on developing my skills.”
- “I wish I could do something but my manager is holding me back.”
- “I just don’t have the time to focus on development planning activities.”
- “I can’t come up with development goals that are measurable enough.”
In my last post, I provided a few examples of SMART goals for developing competencies or “soft skills” (as opposed to technical skills). Samples were written for the common yet vague goals to “be a better communicator” and “improve leadership skills.” If you haven’t already done so, I recommend you read that post first before continuing with this one, because this post is a continuation of that example. This post will focus on leadership development activities as opposed to leadership development goals.
If you’re reading this blog you’re probably looking for SMART goal examples targeting a competency or “soft skill” for development in your IDP template (or perhaps helping a client to do so.) When setting development goals, people have little trouble translating the tangible ones into SMART goals. “Increase revenue by X% within six months”….”Reduce customer wait time on the phone by 4 minutes by end of Q3”….and so on.
If you work on your company’s succession planning program, raise your hand if any of the following statements sound familiar:
“Our leaders are engaged in the succession planning process but not so much in the development planning that follows.”
“The development plans of individuals in the succession plan are pretty weak.”
“Leaders have a hard time identifying the development needs of their successors because they think they’re so skilled at everything they don’t need further development.”
Well it’s about the end of the quarter. Time to check in on your goals. And don’t forget about your development plan. Do you even know where it is?
A quarterly check-in may sound stressful if your behind on your development plan or even your goals, but it will only get worse if you don’t do it. Everyone falls behind at some point. The good news is checking in regularly provides you opportunity to review your progress, assess your obstacles, and take action to get back on track.
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.
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.
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.