Development is an ongoing process which enhances an employee's contribution in his/her existing position, assists in preparing him/her for future job opportunities, and helps ensure the availability of competent, qualified employees to achieve an organization’s business plan. The development process can be informal since new challenges and opportunities confront us in our daily work situations; or the process can be formal through a systematic approach leading to a documented plan. The formal development process provides background and focus, which help maximize the value of the individual experiences. The three major elements of the formal development process are: • Understanding of and commitment to development by the employee and the supervisor, • Identification of the employee's strengths and weaknesses, career preferences, and development needs, and • Identification and implementation of actions to build on strengths and meet identified needs. An individual development plan should consider two different types of competencies: • Behavioral competencies – the behaviors that superior performers do more often and with better success than average performers, and • Technical competencies – the specific, job related skills necessary to be successful in a particular position. Employee development helps individuals grow both personally and professionally, increasing current effectiveness and preparing them for future change and opportunities. The Development Cycle
One way to think about individual development is as an ongoing cycle.
The development cycle begins when you specific goals that you want to achieve. These goals may address professional, personal, career, or business situations. For example, you may set a personal goal to achieve your masters’ degree in the next 24 months. You might also decide that you would like a promotion to “General Manager” within the next 3 years. Assessment
Once you have defined your goals, the next step is an honest assessment of what the goal requires (skills, abilities, etc.) and what skills and abilities you currently possess. While this sounds easy, it is often one of the most difficult steps. Many of the self-assessments that you will explore over the next few weeks are very easy to “game” – that is, you can manipulate your responses to get the results you want. This will not, however, give you useful information to use in your plan. The best approach is to be brutally honest with yourself about your actual behavior. The next step is to consider the gaps between what your goal will require and where you currently stand. Some people describe this as “creative tension” – it’s the rubber band between your current state and your desired state. The tension is what causes you to move forward towards the desired state. You need to clearly identify and define the gaps – and decide which ones you should work on first. Now, begin brainstorming possible ways to improve in the areas you’ve identified. Use outside resources to help you – for example, if you decide that you need to improve your listening skills, check out some of the many resources available for ideas – and then enlist a trusted friend to help you. Part of your assessment process should also include an honest evaluation of your willingness to engage wholeheartedly in the development process. Individual development is largely the responsibility of the individual – and you will get no more than you are willing to put into the process. For example, if you’ve decided that it’s your goal to get a masters’ degree, are you willing to set aside some of your social plans for the next several months (or even years)? You won’t be able to have much of a social life while you’re studying 15-20 hours per week and working full-time. Action
Simply identifying what...