Individual Development Plans Key to Leadership Process
This is the fourth step of the Leadership Development Process and is an important key to the ultimate success of the process. The individual development plan is the connecting link to ensuring the success. Without a plan there would be limited focus on progress through developmental actions. So, this step connects the dots and gives clarity on the areas of need.
Key points of reference regarding developmental plans:
- Specific plans – the old days of holding a seminar or workshop that “everyone” attended does not necessarily count as a action plan. The only way this counts is if the content covers and addresses the definitive area of need for the individual in the leadership program. General – one size fits all – solutions may miss the mark for effectiveness and change.
- Target Improvement – Choices are involved in improvement plans. What do you improve? The old school just looked for any weakness and would target the weakness with the logic being – develop what is missing or low and you will get immediate increases in results! Well, good logic – bad decision – if the weakness has no bearing on the unique job performance. Even the great Peter Drucker stated that weaknesses that do not affect the job performance should not be improved.
- Job Related – The areas for improvement should be job related. Whatever can increase, improve, or enhance job performance are the areas that should be targeted for improvement processes. If a skill, talent or competency is not needed on the job and it is improved – it actually becomes a weakness or a liability to the leader who then attempts to use this new found attribute.
- Measure Results – The best developmental plans use measurable results as a guide or proof of actual improvement. The benefit of having a measurable result is the calculation of a return on investment for the leadership development process. A positive ROI allows for continued use of the process for all the leaders in an organization.
Every Leadership Development Process should have a Specific and Measurable Plans to ensure the success of the program. More importantly, the leaders in this program should be expected and encouraged to devote the necessary time and resource commitment to their personal improvement. Often we have found individuals that did not value their own development and then were the first to complain when a 360 feedback or a performance review reflected a lack of knowledge regarding key traits addressed in their developmental process.
Plans are meaningless unless the individuals take the responsibility to learn new or improved techniques that allow them to become more valuable. Take your plans seriously, make choices regarding the importance of the plans and execute the plans like a business strategy. Success takes many shapes – yet, it is action that makes it work.