See further, go further - professional development, it’s all about the plan!
Have you ever looked at people within a workplace and stopped to wonder why their career is going so well? Have you ever looked at someone’s success and wondered how they’ve managed to achieve quite so much? Have you ever resigned yourself to the fact that just maybe these people are more talented than you? Yes, there may well be people with a natural flare but, more often than not, what sets these high achievers apart is their desire to focus on their professional development.
Now, the good news is that these people aren’t superhuman. Instead, they commit to a plan. They set goals and objectives and sign up to the idea of lifelong learning. In return for this commitment, a rewarding career is much more likely. If you like the sound of all of this, we’re going to share how you can achieve it too. With a plan and a pledge toward continuous development, you can have the career that you’ve always wanted.
A future you…… everything that we do today contributes to defining who we are tomorrow
A successful career rarely comes about by chance. If you have a clear idea about how you want your future to look, today is the day to start your plan. Whether you’re looking for results in the short-term, medium-term, or long-term, it all starts now. By making a decision right now to learn and embrace the benefits offered by a mentor, you can sure up your future.
As we go through this article, we’re going to explore just what a professional development plan is. We’re going to share the benefits of having one in place and also share some tips so you can get yours up and running. Taking this action today can propel your future progression and ensure that you end up with a rewarding career in a position or industry that you're proud of. Sound good? Then read on.
What is a professional development plan?
To understand how a professional development plan can benefit you, it’s first necessary to understand what one is. The good news here is that your plan can be pretty much anything that you want it to be. There are no set rules and no set format that you have to adhere to. The most important point is that a plan exists and that it’s written down.
While you can of course involve your employer with your plan, the person that it truly exists for is you. It is your strategy to develop. It contains your goals, your objectives and has meaningful ways of tracking these. It may involve the use of coaching or a mentor to guide you. You may wish to ask your line manager or supervisor to help you shape it or contribute to development options. It can include anything that you need to as long as the overall effect is that it leads to your success.
Why is a professional development plan important?
There has long been a field of thought that states that by committing something to writing, it is more likely to come true. In terms of your future success in your career, it’s all well and good holding a vision in your head as to what you would like to happen, but it is committing this to paper that sets the wheels in motion to turn the vision into a reality.
Beyond this, there are other benefits brought about by a professional development plan such as:
Get to know what you want
Forget your employer for a moment. The most important point of your plan is that you get to discover what you really want. Often, employees will turn up to work in an almost blind state. They follow the same daily routines and monotony sets in. With your plan, you’re identifying just what you want and then you can identify the steps that you need to take to get there. Whilst your employer may have input (if you want them to), they certainly are not responsible for you achieving your life goals, this is down to you.
You get to know yourself
Sitting down to reflect and plan is a great way to get to know yourself. You get to assess the contribution that you're making and have the chance to identify your strengths and weaknesses. With this, you then truly know what you have to offer the world and what you can achieve for yourself.
A clear roadmap
By committing a plan to paper, you’re giving yourself a roadmap that allows you to see exactly where you’re heading and just how you’ll get there. A step-by-step plan makes progression that much easier as it's clear how you get from one point to the next.
With a professional development plan, you’ll soon find the areas where you need to develop. There could be technical skills that you need to develop or it could be the likes of leadership skills that you need to grasp. When you know the gaps that exist, you can plan to learn and fill them.
Where do you start with creating a plan?
If you’re keen to start work on your professional development plan, then we want to make sure that you get off to the best start. There are three basic steps to get you started:
The first step towards continuous development is knowing where you are right now. By carrying out a self-assessment you can identify where you are right now and where you want to be. It can be tough to look in on yourself but the rewards make this worthwhile.
Set your goals
Using the SMART pneumonic, set yourself clear goals. Be sure that you have logs where you can monitor and record your progress towards achieving these.
Set your strategy
You’ve set your goals, but how are you going to achieve them? Will you need coaching, a mentor, or even a professional course? While your goals are important they won’t be achieved without a clear strategy in place.
The bottom line
The reality is that successful careers don’t just happen! A professional development plan is needed so that you have a clear roadmap that allows you to reach your destination. It may well be a cliché, but it certainly holds true: “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail”.
You may also benefit from readding a few of our other career advice hints and tips for: