You may have come across health enthusiasts sharing their personal transformation stories on social media platforms. Some even highlight the routines they followed to achieve their ideal body type. What’s common among a majority of individuals is that they have an end goal and a proper plan in place to meet the end goal.

No matter what you want to achieve in life, setting realistic goals and tracking your progress helps to a great extent. Even in businesses, both employers and employees engage in planning and development to achieve positive outcomes in multiple ways. Read on to see the meaning and importance of development planning in management and the difference it’s capable of making in one’s life.


  1. Defining Development Planning

  2. Why Create A Career Development Plan For Employees?

  3. Create Your Own Professional Development Plan

  4. Making The Right Decisions

Defining Development Planning


It isn’t easy to define development as it’s a complex issue, taking different forms in different contexts. At the macro-level, development is linked to growth and empowerment. In a professional context, development planning is the collection of milestones and goals that a person or organization plans to meet withing a certain period of time. The milestones are time-based benchmarks that help measure progress. A professional development plan usually includes criteria to gauge whether goals have been met or not.

When organizations make planning and development a priority, there are several advantages that come along with it:


  1. Writing important details down not only helps in focusing on strengths but also devising a plan that can help organizations work on what matters most
  2. Planning helps define success; it helps organizations gauge how they’d like to grow in the coming years and what are the milestones they’d like to achieve in the long run
  3. It helps organizations make tangible changes as they can track and analyze numbers, gauging whether the changes discussed in the plan have been put in motion


This is why businesses need to understand how to approach development planning and dedicate their resources towards it.

Why Create A Career Development Plan For Employees?


When personal goals align with the overall business goals, focusing on development planning becomes easier. Businesses can play a pivotal role in creating a career development plan for employees and getting them more involved in the overall mission and growth.

Here are some useful ways in which businesses can help employees focus on professional development:


1. Mentoring

This method is widely utilized by senior management, who guide their junior colleagues to embrace essential foundational skills. This one-on-one teaching process typically includes critical thinking, communication, strategic management and long-term vision articulation.


2. Working Groups/Workshops

This method gives people a chance to interact internally (with peers and coworkers) as well as externally (consultants and agencies). Workshops are a great way to learn about new things and meet new people. Meanwhile, working groups help sharpen teamwork and collaboration skills.


3. Career Planning

Organizations should aim to create a more employee-driven workplace culture. If there’s room to discuss future or alternate career paths, people may volunteer to take up tasks that benefit their careers. Some may also be motivated to work and collaborate with other teams to learn a spectrum of multidisciplinary skills.


While these strategies are helpful in ensuring that all individuals have a fair chance of accessing opportunities for growth and advancement, building a plan requires effort. Let’s look at these simple yet effective tips to create a career development plan for employees:


1. Business Goals

Organizations should take some time to understand what a team needs to achieve in the long run. For example, if a business depends on external funding and sponsorship, then it makes sense to invest in a sales program. However, every development goal for employee success should be realistic and measurable.


2. Gaps In Skill Sets

If there are visible gaps in a team’s skill sets, it’s wise to optimize the development plan(s) to meet business needs. Interacting with the teams and getting feedback can help check for any obstacles that may hamper their performance.


3. Professional Training Programs

Employee development programs promote excellence in the workplace as they address the gaps in competency and proficiency. Online upskilling and reskilling programs are convenient tools for knowledge enhancement. Picking programs that are impactful and encourages every team member to step outside their comfort zone is essential.


4. Willingness Vs. Potential

Just because someone has the potential to do something doesn’t mean that they’re ready to do it. Managers and team leaders need to make sure that they don’t push their teams too hard. If someone’s mind isn’t in the right place, they may end up being counterproductive. It’s important to check if people are open to the long-term change(s) that are about to be implemented.


5. Cross-Departmental Training

A majority of departments in an organization like to function independently. What most leaders fail to see is that departments function better when they’re interdependent. Collaboration and cross-functional performance actually improve engagement and productivity. Cross-departmental training helps identify common objectives and encourages departments to support one another.

Create Your Own Professional Development Plan


While planning and development are important tenets of a successful organization, they’re equally essential for the employees involved. Personal development is a transformational step towards improving your physical, emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual and financial state in life. It’s a process of becoming the person that motivated you to work towards self-improvement in the first place.

Let’s look at some personal development plan examples that’ll explain the concept better:


  1. Skill Enhancement: There are two skill enhancement processes—personal and interpersonal effectiveness. Interpersonal skills focus on how you interact with others and develop relationships. Personal effectiveness skills like goal-setting, time management, decision-making and stress management benefit you at an individual level.
  2. Mental Conditioning: The process of building and strengthening our mind is known as mental conditioning. We’re able to focus on our objectives by visualizing what we want to achieve. This helps maintain a positive focus, improving self-image and self-confidence. Some mental conditioning techniques like meditation, breathing exercises and relaxation activities have proved useful in boosting concentration and bettering performance.
  3. Habit Creation: A habit often refers to routine behaviors or tendencies that are automatic and without intention. It’s difficult to break out of habits but it’s not impossible. To make our lives more enriching we can also create new habits and bring about positive changes.


Having a personal professional development plan makes room for leadership capacity-building. Leadership skills are necessary for not only helping the organization grow in the desired direction but also advancing your career in the most optimal way. Here’s how you can create an effective leadership development plan and pursue your career goals more rigorously:


1. Communicate Frequently

Communication is essential to break the ice and build a rapport with colleagues. Show your coworkers that you’re open to conversation and healthy arguments. Listen attentively and disagree respectfully if someone challenges your existing beliefs and opinions.


2. Work Collaboratively

Be proactive when it comes to teamwork and collaboration with other departments. Different perspectives give way to new learning experiences. Moreover, you’re encouraged to be more productive when you share and discuss common objectives and timelines.


3. Be Open To Feedback

Receiving honest and constructive feedback is one of the best ways to grow in your career. Whether you’re a team leader or a team member, make sure you provide as well as receive feedback from your peers. You’ll get clarity on your performance and progress.


4. Attend Training Sessions

If you feel that your performance is affected because of gaps in your competencies, be open to training programs. You can always upskill to catch up with emerging business demands. Moreover, your employer will appreciate the added efforts you make towards driving organizational goals.


5. Evaluate Your Success

Your personal leadership development plan should have checks and balances that help you gauge that you’re headed in the right direction. Here are some critical indicators you should look out for:

    • Your quality of work is improving
    • You’re increasingly delegating responsibilities (wherever possible)
    • You’re continuously learning and planning

Making The Right Decisions


Personal development is a conscious process of improving oneself in various aspects of life. It’s a constant pursuit of growth by developing skills, competencies and knowledge. The ultimate goal is to be a self-fulfilled person. When combined with professional development, it helps you gain clarity on your priorities and work harder to achieve your goals.

The more you work on your skills and abilities, the more you discover your hidden potential. You learn to push your boundaries and explore new things because you know how best to utilize your knowledge. The process is empowering as it lets you take control. Since there is constant improvement, you feel more confident and motivated. Your productivity increases and your performance gives you satisfaction.

At the heart of good planning and development lies critical decision-making. If you want to make sound decisions that lead to desired outcomes, try Harappa’s Making Decisions course. This impactful online course on decision-making will equip you with frameworks to process, reflect and include multiple perspectives for informed decision-making. Identify obstacles like biases, peer pressure and uncertainty that stand in the way of good decision-making. Start your free trial today!

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