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.
The redefining of performance reviews and the feedback that goes along with them continue to challenge HR. Companies are continuing to drop or revamp their performance reviews. Some changes are more drastic than others. I recently found this SHRM article describing how some organizations are shifting their performance reviews to be adjective-based as a replacement for the now-doomed numerical rating scale. Surely words are better than numbers! The rationale is that adjectives are more personal than numbers, provide more information, and therefore increase employee motivation.
Recently I attended a session at a conference about feedback. I was looking forward to hearing material about feedback-related issues such as 360 assessment, the neuroscience associated with feedback, and examples of companies that have created a “feedback culture.” While these subjects were briefly mentioned, it didn’t take long for the audience Q&A to turn the discussion into a plea for help with performance management.
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.
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.