Why you need a personal development plan

In this article: How a personal development plan can help steer your career and help you achieve everything you want

Everybody wants to gain as much as they possibly can from their career, whether it’s improving your skills base, or rising through the ranks as quickly as possible, but in order to do that you need a plan.

Which is why it’s important to draw up a personal development plan (PDP), something that will help steer your personal and professional development, enabling you to reflect on your performance at work, previous and future learning, your achievements, and form a basis for your future development.

A good plan sets out a pathway to success, as you see it, but quite often supported by input from a manager. In this sense, a PDP may feature as part of a structured appraisal process being linked to personal and company key performance indicators, and in some cases financial reward.

It’s important to remember that the effectiveness of any plan is proportionate to the time, effort and dedication you give to it. You’ll get out what you put in.

Ask yourself this

There are five simple questions that you need to consider when creating your plan, and could help it be a success:

  • Where do I want to be and within what timescale?
  • What do I want to be doing better or differently?
  • What do I need to know or what skills do I need?
  • Would my behaviours need to change and if so in what way?
  • What are my priorities?

Building to the future

Ideally you need to take small steps that will subsequently help you achieve bigger goals.  Personal or professional development should be flexible, on-going and quite often changes, so you need to keep reviewing and updating your goals, vision and plan to reflect this.  It’s important to take your plan seriously and to keep focused and motivated, but don’t worry if you need to adapt it, that’s part of the process.

Having identified your goals you must prioritise them and not tackle too many at once. Be realistic with what you want to achieve and the timeframes that you set.  Remember your goals can be anything from small and simple in the short-term, to bigger and more complex on a longer term objectives.

It’s wise to have contingency in mind as things might not always go to plan, and remember to record your progression as this will strengthen your motivation and help to continue to develop you further.

As an IMI member, one of the benefits is access to a wealth of information and support guides on Alchemy Performance Assistant, accessed via your MyIMI account. Here you will find topics on goal setting and managing your career to help you develop your plan.  IMI can then support you in the next steps to action your plan with various CPD courses, events and learning opportunities to assist you to progress.  

Keep up to date with professional development opportunities through the IMI.