A personal development plan is simply a plan that details the steps you may want to take to develop yourself. This may be targeted at a particular aspect of your life or a general plan that will enable growth and advancement in life. In the plan you will be able to state in clear details what it would take to move you from point A to point B. This could include an appraisal of yourself, a review of your past activities and experiences and analysis of your strengths and weaknesses.
There are various stages in the planning process which include:
1. Personal AppraisalAt this stage, you will need to do a careful assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. It could also include the opportunities you perceive that exist and threats that may arise to halt the achievement of your plan.
This personal appraisal will help you to know who you really are and the experiences in life that have moulded you. It reviews your past in order to make your future better. It enables you examines the mistakes you have made in the past and identifies the causative factors with a view to proffering solutions. Self appraisal is very important and is a key factor to the success of your personal development plan. It would also help you to determine what you will need to do that will move you forward; friends and lifestyles you must avoid if your plan will ever be realized.
I stated earlier that in this appraisal, you would also need to identify
Strengths: These are your strongest areas. Where you stand strong may be in terms of the skills you possess, educational qualifications, work experience, level of training, ability to cope with pressure, commitment to assignments and goals, leadership and management qualities.
Weaknesses: These could include areas where you lack skill or the requisite knowledge to deliver appropriately. It may be your inability to balance your work and life properly, inability to plan and lack of skill in leadership.
Opportunities: This would require you to detail the opportunities that will enhance the utilization of the skills and abilities that you possess. It may also include external factors that will enable you follow through your course of action with a view to achieving it.
Threats: This may refer to the perceived limitations or areas in your life that need to be further developed to help in the realization of your personal development plan. These threats may also be external such as the economic situation. Other threats that exist may be personal to you and may include a wrong mindset and attitude could threaten your personal development plan from being realized and stand in the way for a long time. Association also matters as this could pose a threat.
2. Goal settingWhen you know what you want to achieve, it is easier to pursue and accomplish it. Goals can be likened to targets, where you are heading to in life. They may be classified as short, medium or long term but they will give you an idea of what your future will look like if your personal development plan is actualized. These goals must be realizable and measurable. If your goals can not be measured, you will not even know when you have achieved them. You need to know what it is you are gunning at and how you will need to go about it. Goals give you a picture of your future.
Your goals should also have timelines attached to them as this enables you work with a specific time when you should have accomplished a particular goal, all things being equal. Remember, that goals are not mere wishes.
In summary, questions such as: What are my learning goals? What must I do to achieve it? What resources will I need? How can I measure my progress?
should be answered while at the point of goal setting.
- Short term goals
These are goals that you want to achieve in the next 12 months. You will need to identify what goals to put in the short term so that you won't overstretch yourself.
- Medium term goals
These goals should be achievable within the next 2-3 years.
- Long term goals
These goals are things you may want to achieve from 3 years upwards.
3. Personal ObjectivesHere, you should be able to state what your objectives are. They must be clear and easy to understand. If they are not clear, you will not be able to define your goals and how to achieve them. To properly situate your objectives, you will need to be clear on your purpose in life; your dreams and the values you that guide your daily living. Without these, it may be practically impossible to accomplish your objectives.
EXAMPLE - PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT PLANJoan is a 22 year old graduate and works with an international oil and gas company. She has spent over 3 years with them and had joined them immediately she graduated from the University. She has worked in several departments in a junior level and has gained a lot of practical, hands-on experience over the years. She is currently undergoing a managerial training programme and was transferred to a new department as a junior manager.
The company is interested in the growth of their employees and supports training and other learning initiatives that would help them grow and become more skilful. The employees are also allowed to aspire for higher positions if they possess the right qualifications.
How does Joan go about achieving her dream of becoming a senior manager in the near future?
To complete her personal development plan, this is the format she can use to develop it.
Date the Personal Development Plan was completed:
PART 1: PERSONAL APPRAISAL
PART 2: GOAL SETTING
WHAT DO I WANT TO ACHIEVE?
WHAT SHOULD BE DONE?
WHAT ARE THE RESOURCES I NEED?
HOW CAN MY SUCCESS BE MEASURED?
TARGET DATE TO REVIEW PROGRESS: