Generally in the business world you will be evaluated on your performance once per year. At times you will be evaluated quarterly, monthly, or even daily. Depending on the structure of your organization, constructive feedback is given to assist you in performance improvement. Constructive feedback from your supervisors is one stage of development.
Constructive feedback from your supervisors will allow you to be aligned with company expectations through someone else’s feedback, but how will you improve yourself? The key is to utilize development plans to enhance your overall performance measures and be aligned with your supervisor/corporate goals. A personal development plan allows you to review the feedback from your supervisors as well add personal goals. A balance of strengths and weakness is required to balance out your goals.
Strengths: Initially you will have to decide what three strengths you possess. The purpose behind selecting three strengths is to focus on the most important factors in your development. When reviewing strengths, be careful with your selection. Simply put, you want to ensure your strengths are not vague, you have the ability to leverage (exert power over your other strengths), and your strengths are aligned with the company goals. An example of a vague strength is stating you are a “people person.” Why not state “employee relations” as strength?
Development: If you state too many areas of development or not enough, narrow your selection to three areas you must improve. Focus your development needs on the competency of your job. Objectivity is vital, due to a leader naturally thinking they do not have to improve much or over inflating the reality of their position.
Objectives: Now you have selected your strengths and development needs. What are your specific objectives to accomplish? For example, an objective could be to improve knowledge of specific accounts on a profit and loss statement. Your main development need would be financial acumen.
Action Plan: You have identified strengths/development needs. Specific objectives are addressed. So now is time to act on those objectives. An action plan gives you a road map for success. All good action plans follow a S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound) guideline.
Resources: Resources are basically anything and everything needed to accomplish your development plan. Whether it is peers, selected readings, or specialized classes to name a few, utilize tools readily available. Remember not to rely on those resources too heavily since an individual development plan is your plan and not others.
Goal Achievement: Did you accomplish your goal? During action planning, you should add the overall goal of your actions. Take the previous example regarding your profit and loss statement. If you can measure an improvement, then you have succeeded in this particular goal.
Updates: Notate any changes to your plan. With changes in business, come changes in your development. Say you went to an unplanned training designed around your development plan, this would directly affect the success of your S.M.A.R.T. plan.
Feedback from supervisors will assist you in our development. Personal development will have a more sustainable effect on you as a leader.