Tweak Your Biz » Management » The Importance Of A Personal Development Plan For Career Development

The Importance Of A Personal Development Plan For Career Development



In my previous TweakYourBiz post I discussed the importance of encouraging continuous self development among employees.  I want to follow up in this post with a reflection on the importance of a  Personal Development Plan.

Kotter (The New Rules: How to Succeed in Today’s Post Corporate World, Free Press, New York, 1995), argues that the ability to continue learning is a highly important factor in career success.

There are many types of self-development.

  • For example,taking a qualification is one,
  • attending a seminar about new ideas is another.

However, even more important is developing the ability to learn from experience, by reflecting on the lessons of what has happened and drawing conclusions from them as to how best to move forward.  Central to this process of reflecting and planning ahead is the creation of a Personal Development Plan.

Related: 10 Things You Can Learn From Buddhist Monks About Motivation

A Personal Development Plan

Before looking at this from an individual perspective, from an organisational one, encouraging the use of this type of plan is important as it identifies opportunities to align job duties with an employee’s personal goals. This can in turn, improve employee morale and reduce turnover.

In my experience it is important to involve your manager during the creation of the Personal Development Plan.  You need to get their input and approval to ensure that the goals and objectives of the organisation are covered in the plan.

Related: 5 Ways To Improve Your Attitude And Commitment

Career development

When I reflect upon my career development to date I can see the real value of having a my own plan, which is updated on a regular basis.

  • In the past, my career development consisted on simply attending one or two training courses each year, with little thought going into how, what was learned on the courses could be applied to my job.
  • The result was that I frequently never got to put into practice what I learned, and consequently over time I lost the knowledge that I had gained.

However, since I’ve stared creating and using a Personal Development Plan, I now put more thought into my development choices.  It now serves me as a road map for my career which I review on a regular basis with my manager to ensure that I’m keeping on track and making progress.

Related: Become A Better Manager: 10 Inspirational Management And Leadership Blogs

Do you use a Personal Development Plan, or do you have another approach to planning your personal and career progression?  I’d be interested in reading about your approach in the comments.

The views expressed on this post are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer, Oracle.

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Image: “White clock with words Time for Success on its face, symbolizing the drive and desire for personal and professional accomplishment in business or other pursuits in life“/Shutterstock



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The Author:

I live in Kilkenny, Ireland, and I'm married with one daughter. I was born in Derry, and came to Kilkenny via Manchester, England, and Dublin. My passion is all things Social Media, and for the last 2 years I have been working as a Social Media Evangelist for Oracle, where I have worked for the last 8 years. This role entails, promoting the use of Social Media internally for improved communication and collaboration. My other interests include sports, especially football (soccer), reading, video games, movies/tv, music and walking. http://frankbradley.tumblr.com/

Add Your Comment

  • http://twitter.com/fredchannel Fred

    Interesting post Frank. I never used a PDP. Will look into it. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.ivanwalsh.com Ivan Walsh

    Nice post, Frank. nnI guess as I work for myself, I’ve focused more on development the business, product suites etc. nnSaying that, it does make sense to have personal goals that compliment what one does and, with respect to the current climate, allows one to have more choices if things don’t work :) nnYou don’t want to get boxed in and not see it til the last moment. nnRegards,nnIvan

  • http://www.tweakyourbiz.com Niall Devitt

    Hi Frank, great point about how critical it is to be able to put into practice what you’ve learned so as it remains steadfast in your knowledge bank. For me, the internet has become the significant tool in my own personnel development. Thanks for sharing, Niall

  • http://www.encouragingexcellence.ie/ Mairu00e9ad Kelly

    Nice post Frank. Personally I believe in life-long-learning and most trainings I undertook for work have had some use on a personal basis and all of them stand to me now. I think the biggest factor in choosing the courses I did was the fact that I had to pay for most of them myself, so I chose what I knew I had a serious interest in.nnIt saddens me when I hear people say they have no interest in learning more, either for themselves personally or for work.

  • http://www.seefincoaching.com/blog Elaine Rogers

    My PDP is paramount to my journey in Life – if it is not consistent with my life goals and ambitions, then what’s the point. nnUnfortunately it is mostly in my head, but I generally separate the long-term plans (coaching, study) from the 1 year plans (training courses) and monthly plans (reading, seminars) and weekly plans (blogs, white papers etc)nnAs long as it’s there in my mind, I know I will do it, as it is not just a thought – it is part of my self-planning process (I love processes) but as you know Frank, I have recently discovered MindMapping, and find it brilliant for planning ahead and generating ideas :-)

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Ivan. Great point about sometimes stepping outside the business focus. I think we shouldn’t let our work define who we are.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Niall. In what way has the Internet become a significant tool in your personal development? Do you have examples of how you use it?

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Mairead. Life long leaning is vital. As the average age of our population increases and the retirement age increases, this is going to become even more important.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Adam. I agree absolutely. Too often people restrict development purely to their professional life, and ignore development outside of work.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Elaine. I think you are not alone, in having a plan in your head. I guess we are all different, but for me it’s important to have it written down. I find that I have limited recall, and I just need to commit it to paper.

  • http://www.jonesliew.com Jonesliew

    Totally agree, companies and people in my country(Singapore) mainly focus on professional development and maybe internal-social development. What I propose is that, companies and individuals should invest in emotional intellegence and physical (Body-Health) development too, so that we can really grow completely.

  • Mjcostello

    While I like your ideas on developing a Personal Development Plan I’d like to share my approach of building on strengths based on Martin Seligman’s and other’s ideas and research work. While the objectives are simiiar the strength’s building idea really grabbed me. You are very welcome to visit my site at http://www.personaldevelopmenttoolbox.com to read my blog on how I have fared in identifying and building on my strengths.nnregards,nnMjCostello

  • http://twitter.com/xcelbusiness Helen Cousins

    nnInternships can and should be a two way street. Employers shouldnput in place a formal mentoring programme for interns, so that interns canntruly learn from the experience of other staff. It can be difficult to get anjob without experience, and an internship should bridge that gap. However, somenof the internships that have been advertised appear to be simply job vacancies requiringnexperienced staff, and are potentially exploitative in nature. Bad attitude isnbad business and will rebound on these employers. It would be great to hearnsome positive intern stories from other commenters u2013 hopefully there are some!nThanks Gianni for raising an important ethical issue and welcome tonBloggertone!nnn

  • http://www.DIYMarketers.com Ivana Taylor

    I can’t speak for Ireland or Europe, and I must come from the stone age, but I would have killed to have an internship –even an unpaid or lowly paid one while I was in school. I came out of college in the. I’d eighties to a “reduced” interest rate of 9% on my college loans and few if any jobs available. An internship at anybprice would have given me the experience that so many employers wanted.nnOnce I finally got my professional job, I was shocked to hear interns “requesting” and demanding perks in addition to the generous salaries they were paid. It seemed to me that theybexpected all the benefits without learning the ropes of the job.nnThre is so much to learn in the real working world that you don’t learn in the classroom that the internship experience in and of itself is valuable.nnOn the other hand, if companies are abusing interns by making them get coffee instead of learning the ropes – then that is a different story. Giving interns the opportunity to experience and learn the job at a Lowe cost is one thing but using them in unrelated areas is something different.

  • http://www.ecoevolution.ie Mary Gethings

    I wasu00a0 discussing this very topic yesterday with a colleague and it is good to see it being highlighted. The onus should be on the employer to provide mentoring and suitable training for the intern and also be fully responsible for their welfare. Stricter rules and conditions (with no loopholes) need to be put in place so as to prevent this type of exploitation which sadly seems to be very prevelant. nnGianni you are so right when you say valuing your staff, (interns or not), can surely only benefit yourncompany, both in terms of staff morale and public perception.u00a0 nAs the saying goes u2018what goes around comes aroundu2019! So, if employers donu2019t treat staff/interns correctly and with respect u00a0well then at the end of the day it will be their own downfall. Bad press travels very quickly!nIu2019m sure there are many interns out there who have had a very positive experience and many employers who have valued the knowledge and expertise of their interns.nnA great first post Gianni!

  • http://www.ecoevolution.ie Mary Gethings

    I was discussing this very topic yesterday with a colleague and it is good to see it being highlighted. The onus should be on the employer to provide mentoring and suitable training for the intern and also be fully responsible for their welfare. Stricter rules and conditions (with no loopholes) need to be put in place so as to prevent this type of exploitation which sadly seems to be very prevelant. nnGianni you are so right when you say valuing your staff, (interns or not), can surely only benefit yourncompany, both in terms of staff morale and public perception. nAs the saying goes u2018what goes around comes aroundu2019! So, if employers donu2019t treat staff/interns correctly and with respect well then at the end of the day it will be their own downfall. Bad press travels very quickly!nIu2019m sure there are many interns out there who have had a very positive experience and many employers who have valued the knowledge and expertise of their interns.nnA great first post Gianni!u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0u00a0

  • http://twitter.com/gianniponzi Gianni Ponzi

    Thank you Mary :-)nu00a0

  • Britzzzz

    Nice piece, the words in bold are worth remembering and posting on your fridge :)

    My inspiration for goal settings lately has been this http://bit.ly/nwrGAv a free e-book
    from personal coach Eric Bailey. Helps you stay focused on the right things.

  • http://www.austcover.com.au/ life insurance

    This provided valuable resources and tools that must be used to drive real business results. Thank you for a business leader nice blog

  • Lifestyle Consultant

    One among the finest tips for the personal development I have ever come across.
    Thanks a lot.

  • Kariima

    i in somalia i m single i don’t want to marry i am proffessional lawyer

  • Debi Harper

    Thank you so much Elaine, we have seen so many disasters out there as I am sure you have too, and it really should be an exciting adventure. Hopefully it will highlight some of the “must remember to ask” questions. I might go into more depth on each header ,whilst trying to keep it readable:) as there is so much to know.

  • http://www.facebook.com/elish.bulgodley Elish Bul-Godley

    Best of luck on your many ventures Lorna and sad to miss your Garrendenny blog from an interiors point fo view as its always been great for my ( Furniture & Interiors Trade Fair ) community. Where will we see any of your interiors related blog work in the future?

  • http://twitter.com/WriteOnTrack_L Lorna Sixsmith

    Thank you Una :)

  • http://twitter.com/WriteOnTrack_L Lorna Sixsmith

    Thank you very much Rachel :)

  • http://twitter.com/WriteOnTrack_L Lorna Sixsmith

    Thanks Kieran, variety is the spice of life as they say and I’m really looking forward to getting busy with We Teach Social :)

  • http://twitter.com/WriteOnTrack_L Lorna Sixsmith

    Thanks Elish, ironically, I’ve just been asked to write an interiors column in a bi-monthly national magazine so I’ll be keeping my toe in the interiors water with that :)

  • http://twitter.com/WriteOnTrack_L Lorna Sixsmith

    Thanks Niall :)