The Prifysgol Bangor University (n.d.) notes that “Development is a process of expanding, shaping and improving skills, knowledge and interests to improve your abilities and effectiveness.”
With this in mind the first step to a PDP is to brainstorm ones ideas, goals, wishes and areas where one wants to improve knowledge or skills. These can be short time (6-12 month) or long time goals (1-5 years or longer).
Now the goals should be checked whether or not they are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time). Those goals can then be transferred into a list format. To make the list of goals more visual they could be represented by pictures and one can create a vision board and hang it somewhere in good sight.
Goals need to be checked and possibly updated on a regular basis. If one goal has been achieved it could be either replaced by a new one or just ticked off the list. The outcome should be evaluated at the end, to find out whether the route needs to be altered or not in order to get to achieve the remaining goals with a positive result.
Sometimes though, creating a PDP can already be a challenge on its own, in this case a consultation with a professional life coaches might help. Alan Chapman describes that “Life coaching can be effective in many situations, for example in helping a person’s career direction and development, or for personal fulfilment or life change more generally.”
Benefits of a PDP for an individual
The main benefits a PDP for an individual are clarity and focus one ones future development. One can include every area of life into his/her PDP. One person might include personal issues like parenting skills or housekeeping, while another person might focus on speaking a foreign language or learning how to fly an aeroplane.
So for example if the goal would be to lose weight, it is advisable to make it a smart goal; specific; lose 10 kg, measurable; taking the start weight correctly and comparing it to the end weight, achievable; yes, by following a weight loss and fitness program, realistic; yes, by staying on track, time; 3 month.
As described by Palgrave Study Skills (n.d.) “Benefits of PDP to personal life
• A better understanding of yourself and how you ‘tick.’
• Being in a better position to make appropriate choices to meet your aspirations.
• Greater awareness of your needs and how to meet these.
• Greater awareness of the unique contribution you can make.
• Developing a positive, forward-looking approach.”
Benefits of a PDP for an organisation
Since the start of the internet, the world has become more connected and employees are no longer needed to work from an office but are now also able to work online far away from the head office. The Economist (2013) states that “Last year the value of this sort of online work topped $1 billion for the first time; it will double to $2 billion in 2014, and reach $5 billion by 2018, forecasts Staffing Industry Analysts, a “contingent work” consultant.”
This has grown the demand for expanded knowledge and skills, because employees are facing a greater competition against each other. This could be for example that one employee lives in China but works together with his New York colleagues on a project. The skills which this employee has to offer might be very different from the skills others can offer.
Modern technology increases the speed of change in businesses and organisations and therefore creating a PDP as an employee can be a great tool to stay up to date with the demands.
So for example one of the goals could be learning how to use social media in marketing, which would become a good asset to the employer. The person could take part in a course, which is specific; Social Media Marketing, measurable; passing the course and being awarded with a certificate, achievable; yes, with enough effort to learn, realistic; the course is available and basic IT knowledge exist, time; 6 weeks course.
Personal development planning is a valuable tool for any person. Whether it is for an individual or for an organisation, in any case there is a positive outcome, because of the focus on future personal development.
In one’s personal life a PDP can be helpful to clarify personal goals and to stay focused in order to achieve them. As there is no limit to what can be put on to a PDP a person can go through his/her life and include every area witch needs to be developed from learning a foreign language to being a better parent.
Positioning oneself ahead on the job market, by gaining more skills and by learning something new, will help to be able to keep up with the rapid changes. Redundancy is a great threat to every employee, so the more valuable the person is to his/her employer the better.
Having skilled and motivated employees will make it possible for a business or organisation to keep up with rival companies. Therefore businesses are keen to employ and keep people within their business that are highly motivated .
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All the Best,