How to Tackle Personal and Professional Development Like a Pro
Part 2 of 3
How to Write a Meaningful and Effective PDP
Failing to prepare means preparing to fail, so having a meaningful and effective Personal Development Plan (PDP) is crucial to ensuring that you actually meet the goals you set yourself.
Now that you know what personal and professional development are and why they are so important after reading our previous article, it’s time to look at how you can create your own PDP and begin working towards your goals.
So how can you best utilise our PDP template (free to download at the bottom of this article) to create your PDP in 5 easy steps?
Step One: Analyse
Self-analysis is the starting point to creating a meaningful and effective PDP.
The aim of self-analysis is to look at your existing strengths and highlights any areas for improvement, helping you decide what areas to focus on developing and improving in. This not only helps prevent you from missing key skills or abilities that you need to develop, but it also helps ensure that you don’t waste time learning about something you’re already very good at; if your time management was outstanding, then doing a time management course wouldn’t be a very good use of your time.
If you’re struggling to get started, here are a few questions you can ask yourself:
- What have your colleagues told you you’re good at?
- What do you not enjoy about your job?
- What tasks do you often ask for help with?
Step Two: Identify
Having now completed your self-analysis, you should have a clear idea of where you currently are in your career; now you need to decide where you want to be.
To do this, you should set yourself a few goals that you want to work towards in the next 12 months; it’s important not to set yourself too many goals at once otherwise your PDP can quickly begin to feel overwhelming which can be extremely demotivating.
When setting your goals, we highly recommend using the SMART goal-setting theory:
Make sure your goal isn’t too generic or vague e.g. “Get better in my job”
You need to know exactly what you’re working towards e.g. “Increase my lead to client conversion rate by 10%”
Make sure the success of your goal isn’t based on your judgement e.g. “Create better marketing campaigns”
You need to be able to easily determine whether you have achieved your goal or not e.g. “Generate 20% more leads from marketing campaigns”
Make sure your goal isn’t unrealistic e.g. “Get promoted from Marketing Assistant to Marketing Director in 3 months”
It can be aspirational and a challenge but it still needs to be realistic and doable e.g. get promoted from Marketing Assistant to Marketing Coordinator in the next 12 months”
Make sure your goals aren’t unrelated to your career e.g. “Improve my customer service skills” if you were a warehouse operative that doesn’t deal with customers
Your goals need to improve your ability to do your job e.g. “Learn how to use our stock checking software more efficiently”
Make sure your goals aren’t open-ended e.g. “Complete an online course”
They need to have a specific timescale/deadline e.g. “Complete an online course this quarter”
For example, a SMART goal for a sales representative could be “Increase my number of sales by 15% this quarter”
Now that you know what you want to achieve, you can fill out the ‘Objective’ column on your PDP template.
Step Three: Plan
Now that you know where you want to be, you need to figure out how to get there by creating an actionable plan that will help you work towards your goals.
As we mentioned in our previous article; a goal without action is merely a dream.
To create an effective plan of action, you need to identify what steps to take/what tasks to complete in order to achieve each of your goals.
Going back to our example earlier, an action step for the sales representative could be to complete an online course about closing sales more effectively.
Once you have decided what tasks you are going to complete for each goal, you can fill out the ‘Activities’ column on your PDP template.
You can also fill out the ‘Who can help’ column with the names of anyone you know who may be able to support you with those activities.
Step Four: Implement
Next, you need to assign deadlines to each of the tasks you’ve outlined to help keep you on track to achieving your goal within your designated timeframe.
For our example, the deadline for the sales rep in our example could be “to complete the online course by the end of June”.
Once you have your deadlines in place and can see what tasks to work on first, it’s time to get started and implement your PDP.
Ideally, you should try to focus on one task or one goal at a time; multitasking is shown to decrease your concentration and focus, meaning it could actually end up taking you longer to complete your tasks than it would’ve if you’d just worked on them one at a time.
Step Five: Review
Once you’ve started putting your PDP into action, it’s important to remember to regularly review it to not only make sure you’re on track but also to alter your goals if needs be, for example, if you decided to change your career direction.
You can now fill out the ‘Review Dates’ column in your PDP.
It’s also important to keep a record of any learning you have completed. This not only helps you see what progress you are making but it can also be extremely motivating to reflect on what you have already accomplished.
One of the easiest ways to keep a record of your personal/professional development is to use a Record of CPD.
As you complete activities, you should also record your progress in the ‘Progress’ column on your PDP.
Things to Remember About Personal and Professional Development
The main thing to remember about your development journey is that it’s exactly that; a journey.
You won’t see drastic changes overnight but if you’re consistent, resilient and patient, you will eventually reap the rewards of personal and professional development.
If you haven’t already, you can download our free Personal and Professional Development Plan template by clicking the link below.
Tomorrow on The Daily Dot, we’ll be looking at how you can encourage professional development within your organisation to help your staff reach their full potential, so be sure to keep an eye on your inbox so you don’t miss that article!