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.
There are many possible reasons you’re behind schedule in your development plan. Before considering yours, make sure you are willing to admit what is working and what you may have misjudged. You’ll need to look inward. When you’re ready to own up to it, consider these common issues and what you can do to address them.
5 Reasons Your Development Plan is Off-Track and What To Do About It
1. Insufficient planning.
Things are taking longer than you thought. Surprise issues pop up that push back your timeline. Important meetings got rescheduled. And so on. Who knew! Looks like you’re also getting some development in project management. Now you have a better sense for how long things really take and the kinds of problems that could set you back. Take some time to identify what could happen in the future, then make a contingency plan for what you’ll do if it does occur. Check out these tips from Wrike for some basic project planning tips. Although you may not be able to plan for everything, you will definitely be better armed for the more common problems that you’re likely to face in the future.
2. The activities in your development plan are not realistic.
Whether you set SMART goals or CLEAR goals, your plan needs to include only activities that are realistic. Maybe you planned to have meetings with people that you’ve since learned are impossible to get meetings with. Or maybe you’ve found your speedy timeline is just not feasible due to circumstances beyond your control. So now you know what’s reasonable to expect and what’s a pipedream. Ask yourself these questions regarding each deliverable you’ve set for yourself. For those that are pie in the sky, adjust them accordingly.
3. Your development activities are more difficult than you thought they’d be.
If you’re feeling like things are harder than you expected, be careful not to let the challenge defeat you. There’s a difference between keeping things realistic as described above and truly difficult work. This is your development plan. It’s supposed to be difficult! If it were easy, you wouldn’t need development in it. If you’re feeling overwhelmed it might be a good time to do some self-reflection about your experience. Try a journaling activity where you answer the following specific questions:
What is going well in this activity?
What is challenging about this activity?
Is this challenge within my control?
If yes, identify at least one immediate change to make.
If no, identify what aspect of the situation needs to change to allow you to gain control.
If you’re honest with yourself in completing this exercise, you should get enough insight to either keep going, or make an appropriate change.
4. You’re not committed to your development plan.
What if you have all the planning right, a sufficient level of challenge, and realistic deliverables, but you’re still having trouble reaching your goals? It’s time to question how committed you are to this plan. Consider what motivated you to start this journey in the first place. Who or what are you doing it for? What is your vision of what things will be like after reaching your goal? Do these things drive you to work harder? They should. If they don’t, reflect on what does motivate you and what you’re aiming for. What is your long-term goal? The purpose of reminding yourself of your motivation is to provide you with a fresh burst of energy to keep going.
5. The activities in your development plan are no longer relevant.
How well can you predict what craziness you’ll be dealing with six months from now? Probably not so much. The days of routine and monotony at work are over. So if your development goal is no longer relevant to what you do (e.g., you changed jobs, have different responsibilities, you’ve been part of a reorg, etc.), change your development plan to make it relevant again. If you expect more change to occur in the future, consider shorter-term deadlines or more generic types of activity so you are still able to focus on your development despite the potential for more change. But don’t let the potential for more change be an excuse for tossing your development plan in its entirety.
What reasons have impacted your ability to keep your development plan on track and what have you done about it? Share with us in the comments!