A Personal Development Plan of a student in the UK

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After successfully gained admission to study for my doctoral programme at Greenwich School of Management London (GSML) - one of the recognised institutions in the United Kingdom (UK). I have set up a Personal Development Plan (PDP) that will improve my personal and professional Skills which are required in meeting organisational and my personal goals. If the PDP is well implemented and well monitored; it should help to improve and develop new skills that will tackle problems associated with my research topic, improve my communication skills and to make a good value judgment, improve my leadership and managerial skills, and improve skills that will meet future challenges and enhance employment opportunities.

When planning my PDP, I allowed objectivity to prevail in assessing my skills which helps me to come up with clear personal skills audit and then developed a simple action plan. It also helps me to identify my true nature of learning style. The PDP was reviewed on regular basis to reflect on my personal development needs and then assessed the progress that I have achieved to date by comparing it with target goals. The PDP was divided into three phases; short, medium and long term goals so that I can easily evaluate the extent to which I develop my personal skills and achieved my goals.

What is Personal Development Plan (PDP)?

PDP is a process of writing a short clear plan that sketches out a person's plan probably for a year in order to assess (strength and weakness), to develop skills that require development and to evaluate progress in line with targeted goals. For PDP to be effective, it must meet personal development cycle: state the purpose for development; perform personal skills audit to identify the areas (skills) that need development; formulate action plan that cover the needed skills; record and monitor all the activities involve; and review and evaluate the progress in line with targeted goals.

PERSONAL SKILLS AUDIT

Personal skills audit is a process of sincere identification and evaluation of someone's strengths, weaknesses and areas for development. The outcomes of my personal skills audit are stated below:

Computer application skills

Information seeking skills

Communication skills (verbal and writing skills)

Numerical and Analytical skills

Selecting and Training the necessary staff

Stress management skills

Teamwork skills

Decision taking skills

Organisation management

After conducting the personal skills audit, I was able to recognise my strengths, weakness and areas that need more attention. I have decided to close the learning gap through critical action plan. The action plan grid below was designed purposely to know more about my skills and develop myself for future challenges that will help me too in tackle problems associated with my doctoral studies and enhance my employment opportunity.

ACTION PLAN-detailed

SKILLS AREA

I AM ABLE TO DO THIS VERY WELL

I CAN DO IT BUT I NEED MORE TRAINING

I AM NOT ABLE TO DO THIS

PRIORITY FOR THIS SKILL

1=highly important

2= important

3=not important

COMPUTER APPLICATION SKILLS

I know how to use all computer applications to provide solutions to my research topic and organisational problems

I know how to use Network programme to pass necessary information to my colleagues and across all levels

I am able to use computer applications to capture the interest of fellow researchers or work colleagues in an organisation

I can use computer applications to make my work unique and organise my work effectively

INFORMATION SEEKING SKILLS

I know how to find a specific material (journal or book) in the library by using electronic or on-line catalogue

I know how to use different or variety of sources to find useful information (e.g. text book, journals, electronic resources, CD-ROMs)

I know how to get information from people either through conversation or interview

I know how to evaluate and select the useful information from gathered materials

COMMUNICATION SKILLS-writing and verbal skills

I know how to analyse my research problems and determine what is expected to be done

I know the difference between organisational reports and publication journals

I know how to make a written plan to answer my research questions and other related problems (including organisational problems)

I know that I have the ability and confident to express my views (or opinion) clearly both verbal and in written form

I can adapt my writing styles to meet international publication requirements

I know the importance of reference in research studies to avoid plagiarism

I can speak confidently in front of audience or colleagues

I know how to prepare and deliver a presentation to capture the attention of the audience

I know how to use visual aids to enhance my presentation

I understand the principle of two ways communication by listen to and appreciate the views of others

SELECTING &TRAINING THE NECESSARY STAFF

I have a strategy for identifying and selecting staff that due for training

I know how to use different training techniques for staff development

I can make effective changes when training colleagues or staff

I can make effective notes when listening and interviewing staff (e.g. during training &assessment)

I have a strategy of giving feedback &recommendations to colleagues (team members) and organisation

NUMERICAL &ANALYTICAL SKILLS

I am able to make simple calculations without assistance from others

I know how to present and apply numerical material to form useful information that will capture the mind of the audience

I know how to use a variety of numerical and statistical techniques (e.g. fractions, decimals, charts, regression) to solve problems

I know how to present and analyse information in graphs and illustrations without assistance from others

STRESS MANAGEMENT

I know what causes stress to my colleagues and I

I am aware of my personal and colleagues symptoms of stress

I can use strategies to help me cope with my stress

I am able to understand the concept of Emotional Competence

I am able to apply it to assist my team in solving pressure at work

TEAMWORK SKILLS

I am able to / I can lead a team

I participate well as a member of a group or team

I am able to listen and appreciate the views of others

I enjoy group work so that we can share my responsibility/task among us

I always/I am able to make significant contribution in group work to achieve organisational targets/objectives

DECISION MAKING SKILLS

I can easily look around the business environment and recognize the issues that need attention or tap resources available

I am able to assess changes /situations to know if I have chosen the appropriate strategy to solve problem

I can decide without bias who need to be brought into the decision making

I am able to handle differences in opinion especially on sensitive issue

I can solve work related problem over a specific time

The team and I will be able to monitor the decision making process and the feedback from people

I am good in decision taking

ORGANIZATION OF LEARNING

I have strategies that will help me to plan, manage my colleagues and time

I am able to work and achieve my goals to deadlines

I am aware of what makes my person organization skills more effective

My Learning Style

The Personal Development Plan has helped me to realize my learning style and how to exploit my potentials. Many Educationists realized that we learn in different ways and we are able to assimilate information and respond to training base on our learning style. One widely acceptable categorization of different learning styles is that provided by Honey and Mumford which identify four different characters with quite different preferred learning styles; the Activist, the Pragmatist, the Reflector and the Theorist. Diagnostic tests exist to establish which learning style is most appropriate for us and to help us develop an action plan to develop our learning skills.

After passing through the four learning style tests, I realized that I am pragmatic in nature-Pragmatist but also have some instinct of Activist in my approach to life. Definitions and descriptors of the Pragmatist were stated below:

Definition

Descriptors

Pragmatist

A pragmatist is a practical person who likes to solve problems. They enjoy experimenting to improve techniques. They frequently come up with the answer to a problem. Their only interest in theories is to be seen if they work in practice. They dislike situations where there is no clear, practical come.

Pragmatists learn well when:

They are expected to make practical decisions

Timescales are tight

They must (quickly) find better ways to do things

Learning from proven good practice

Learning from examples and the expertise of others

They are expected to plan the next step.

Pragmatists will particularly benefitfrom training which involves simulations and case studies.

Pragmatists learn less well when:

They are expected to come up with new ideas themselves

The practical relevance of what they are doing is unclear

They are expected to work out why a technique works (i.e. reflect on it)

A Pragmatistsis constantly searching for the most efficient way to open a package. Whilst opening their presents they will enjoy experimenting with different methods of unwrapping.

After critical personal development plan with objectivity, I have able to understand my nature properly and which helps me to know my learning style. I have used outcomes of these personal development plan and critical analysis on learning style to utilise all available resources within my environment and also set up a monitoring techniques for the following reasons; that will help me to update myself, help me to meet target (target goals and date), monitor my progress and use as a scale for measuring the efficient use of available resources.

Conclusion, the impact of learning styles on personal development can be viewed as follows; ability to identify personal goals, ability to make good judgement on our strengths and weaknesses for development, ability to be conscious of opportunities and threat within our environment, ability to plan for personal development, ability to help others to recognise their potentials, ability to accelerate your learning as you undertake activities that best fit your preferred style and helps to avoid repeating mistakes by undertaking activities that strengthen other styles. With this action plan grid, I will be able to develop myself for multitasking jobs and be effective in my role.

My Personal Development Plan (PDP)

Short-Term Personal Development Plan

It is a short-term personal development plan because it covers plan and goals that can be achieved within one year or less. This is my short-term plan and objectives:

To acquire good leadership skills training

To acquire more communication skills training (both writing and verbal)

To acquire good team relationship within the organisation

To develop good decision-making skills

Target completion: from August 30, 2008 to June 30, 2009

In short-term plan, I will move back to Ireland to continue working for Lidl Ireland GmbH and then apply for Internal Vacancy Opportunity (Supervisor) that encourages staff to move up within the organisation. My MBA degree will open many chances within the organisation. I will like to start from Supervising but my target is Store Manager. Within this period as a Supervisor in my Store, I will use all avenues to acquire the above listed skills which are very easy to achieve because of my new role in the stores.

As a supervisor, I will be attending variety of leadership trainings which will help me to acquire good leadership skills for myself and also useful to the organisation because I will be able to carry out my duty effectively. This new role will help me to improve in my communication skills (both in writing and verbal skills). As a supervisor, I will be writing reports on daily activities during work shift and also improve my verbal communication skills because the position will give me much opportunity to communicate with many people (colleagues and customers). Supervising role will help me to acquire good team relationship skills and ability to make good decisions.

At the end of June 30, 2009, I should be able to meet all my targets and then evaluate the skills acquired if it meets the expected level.

Medium-Term Personal Development Plan

This plan is to consolidate on my previous objectives and achievements. It will serves as roll over which cover the gap in short-term success after critical skills audit. The medium-term personal development plan focus more on professional skills and it includes the followings;

Ability to support others

Ability to inspire and motivate staff/colleagues

Ability to delegate responsibilities and monitor it

Ability to analyse information and make good decision and recommendation

Ability to write reports

Within this stage of my plan, I should be able to apply for Store Manager Position in one of the stores own by Lidl Group after a critical personal skills audit. I should be able to display that I am competent to Stand Out at assessment centre and display a good leadership skills. My qualifications and experience and training acquired during my MBA programme will contribute to my success. At the end of this stage, I should be able to demonstrate all the abilities mentioned above (including the short-term development plan).

The issue of Work Permit will be solved at the stage because the Company will be willing to retain me base on the experience have acquired. Lidl will not like to lose any of their staff that has been added as a part of their Assets. The position of Store Manager also provides opportunity for me to earn up to salary that is required as a prerequisite to Work Permit.

Target completion: Dec 31, 2011 (this include the short-term development plan)

Long-Term Personal Development Plan

Since my long-term development plan is to be a Store Manager which will give the opportunity to achieve the ultimate goals of becoming the District Manager. Before the end of 2013 all the goals/objectives must be accomplished without any detriment to organisational goals. I must be able to achieve the followings;

Display leadership skills that will be helpful in motivating, leading and supporting colleagues.

Apply good communication skills that enhance decision making, analysing situation and problem, and writing reports for the organisation that provide constructive feedback on ideas to team and individual.

Display skills that develop trust and confidence in the mind of people and help me to handle many responsibilities.

I will make sure that all these goals are review annually with objective mind and check if each goal has been achieved at the expected (target completion) date. It will take four years to accomplish these tasks without becoming too overwhelming or distant. I drafted this PDP to be useful as a career plan so that I can use it as a process for carrying out an in-year assessment of my strengths, weaknesses, and development needs.

Habits that need to be value for Future Purpose

I have developed some useful habits that will be useful to my future learning which are clearly spelled out and they are very simple to be inculcated into my day to day activities to achieve best results in all my endeavors. These following habits were developed:

Use training activities constructively. After each training course, I will try to note answers to the following questions;

What did I learn?

What skills were gained?

What will I do differently as a result of this learning?

When will I have an opportunity to practice these new skills or put my new knowledge into practice?

Keep a Reflective Diary. This diary will help me to think about my experiences and feelings as I try to develop and put new skills into practice. It will help me to produce evidence of new skills and approaches at work. This diary shows absolute honest of how I feel.

Maintain a portfolio. I will keep all copies of any records that identify my development activities and achievement such as; certificate s from courses attended any email or notes from colleagues who demonstrate my skills in relevant areas, and my personal development plan.

Conclusion, my Personal Development Plan was designed in a way that it is simple, specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely target. The PDP can be meaningful if objectivity takes its course. I have tried to be honest in my PDP not to be overwhelmed with unrealistic target but with determination, commitment and prayer all these goals can be achieved. In order for this plan to useful, it will be reviewed frequently to meet present and future needs, and monitoring mechanism was in place.

My Learning Style

The Personal Development Plan has helped me to realize my learning style and how to exploit my potentials. Many Educationists realized that we learn in different ways and we are able to assimilate information and respond to training base on our learning style. One widely acceptable categorization of different learning styles is that provided by Honey and Mumford which identify four different characters with quite different preferred learning styles; the Activist, the Pragmatist, the Reflector and the Theorist. Diagnostic tests exist to establish which learning style is most appropriate for us and to help us develop an action plan to develop our learning skills.

After passing through the four learning style tests, I realized that I am pragmatic in nature-Pragmatist but also have some instinct of Activist in my approach to life. Definitions and descriptors of the Pragmatist were stated below:

Definition

Descriptors

Pragmatist

A pragmatist is a practical person who likes to solve problems. They enjoy experimenting to improve techniques. They frequently come up with the answer to a problem. Their only interest in theories is to be seen if they work in practice. They dislike situations where there is no clear, practical come.

Pragmatists learn well when:

They are expected to make practical decisions

Timescales are tight

They must (quickly) find better ways to do things

Learning from proven good practice

Learning from examples and the expertise of others

They are expected to plan the next step.

Pragmatists will particularly benefitfrom training which involves simulations and case studies.

Pragmatists learn less well when:

They are expected to come up with new ideas themselves

The practical relevance of what they are doing is unclear

They are expected to work out why a technique works (i.e. reflect on it)

A Pragmatistsis constantly searching for the most efficient way to open a package. Whilst opening their presents they will enjoy experimenting with different methods of unwrapping.

After critical personal development plan with objectivity, I have able to understand my nature properly and which helps me to know my learning style. I have used outcomes of these personal development plan and critical analysis on learning style to utilise all available resources within my environment and also set up a monitoring techniques for the following reasons; that will help me to update myself, help me to meet target (target goals and date), monitor my progress and use as a scale for measuring the efficient use of available resources.

Conclusion, the impact of learning styles on personal development can be viewed as follows; ability to identify personal goals, ability to make good judgement on our strengths and weaknesses for development, ability to be conscious of opportunities and threat within our environment, ability to plan for personal development, ability to help others to recognise their potentials, ability to accelerate your learning as you undertake activities that best fit your preferred style and helps to avoid repeating mistakes by undertaking activities that strengthen other styles. With this action plan grid, I will be able to develop myself for multitasking jobs and be effective in my role.

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