Personal development planning

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This document is intended to explain the concept of Personal Development Planning and Personal Development Plans (PDPs), to analyse your training needs and to give you the opportunity to develop your own Personal Development Record, (PDR).

PDPs are not a new idea but it is only in recent years that they have become more accepted and used in a wide variety of contexts. Indeed many professional bodies have developed significant and sophisticated approaches to PDPs and PDRs and it is often compulsory for their members to maintain them in order to retain particular membership levels of such organisations. A number of professions require them to be used in order to maintain a licence to practice. Many large companies and not for profit organisations also expect their staff to maintain PDRs.

What Is Personal Development Planning ?

Personal Development Planning has been described as "a structured and supported process undertaken by an individual to reflect upon their own learning, performance and/or achievement and to plan for their personal, and career development".

The primary purpose of a PDP (Personal Development Plan) is to help you learn and develop more effectively and to be able to:

learn in a wider variety of ways and a wider range of contexts;

recognise and be able to list evidence for your own learning and therefore the progress you are making;

draw upon and use your expanded personal knowledge to achieve particular goals;

review, plan and take responsibility for your own learning;

recognise and define your training/learning needs.

This document will help you to produce a PDP and analyse your needs and to:

define short and long term aims and objectives decide what is needed to achieve these aims and objectives be able to list, analyse and understand your strengths and weaknesses use the analysis of aims and objectives and strengths and weaknesses to define your need for additional study, training, and further development of all kinds to enhance your skills, knowledge and competencies. Such a process is often described as producing a Training Needs Analysis (TNA) reflect on and take active part in planning and development of your own personal skills be more effective in carrying out tasks

What Is A Personal Development Record?

There are many different kinds of PDR (Personal Development Records) built around a variety of frameworks. However, all are intended in different ways to maintain a clear record of learning and personal development.

By reflecting on your skill needs over time and recording the training that is successfully completed a comprehensive set of information can be built up that can help you, inter alia to:

initially be a more effective researcher be a more independent, autonomous and effective learner plan and manage your career decide on future career paths  create appropriate CVs have evidence with which to apply for (or retain) membership of a Professional or Statutory Body related to your profession apply for promotion

Who Should Use This PDP Framework?

You may work in a large organisation and/or be a member of a Professional or Statutory Body that requires you to maintain a PDR following a framework produced by such organisations. You may be completing a doctorate which has no intended job-related outcomes. For these and other reasons the Research Degrees Committee, acting on behalf of the Academic Board, has decided that use of a PDP by all research students and postdoctoral researchers will not be compulsory at this time. This may change at a later stage and there may be individuals who are required to use this PDP scheme following consultation with their supervisory team and/or decisions at registration by the Research Students Progress Groups acting on behalf of the Research Degrees Committee. However, the Graduate School strongly recommends that all research students and other researchers use appropriate parts of this framework unless they have a PDP from their employer or professional body which is adaptable to their needs in relation .

Performance review- How does it fit logically within the overall strategic and operational intent of an organisation?

One of the most misused and disused management tools is the performance review and appraisal. If we were to ask any director of an organisation or its chief executive whether they believed performance review is important, the answer would be an unequivocal 'yes'.

This intellectual response however, is not mirrored in actuality. There is huge variation in the quality of appraisals -- when they are done at all. There are a number of reasons for this, but what emerges from all the research on performance appraisals is that, neither appraiser nor appraisee enjoys undertaking them.

There is no easy solution or silver bullet to completely remove the anxiety, tension or discomfort experienced by all participants in the appraisal process. But it is possible to significantly reduce concerns by utilising a framework that is evidence based, objective, respects individuals' dignity, is agreed by all parties and delivers no surprises.

The most important point to keep in mind is that the purpose of appraising performance is to improve performance in the future. It is necessary to review the past but it cannot be altered. The future can, however, be positively influenced by identifying the barriers or impediments to performing at the required level. And even when the current overall level of achievement is satisfactory, various individual aspects of performance can often be improved.

The foundation for any performance appraisal is an examination of vision, strategy, and culture. Unless these are defined, clearly articulated, and understood, the appraisal of the performance of the CEO is materially weakened and is likely to be reduced to an annual review of what has been achieved, with little or no focus on the future.

Measuring what has been achieved during the period under review is vital. The organisation's strategic objectives are articulated in the business plan from which the CEO's individual objectives should logically fall. Objectives, key performance indicators or targets -- the language used to articulate them should be common at the organisational and individual levels. With these agreed, the board and the CEO should both have a clear understanding of what needs to be achieved.

Much of the data that is used to measure performance produces information that is already out-of-date. The really valuable information that can pre-empt major problems lies in lead indicators that show how objectives are being achieved -- or not, as the case may be.

This is where concepts of culture, values, and success-related behaviours come to the fore and should be of as much interest and importance to directors as financial results. For example, if customer satisfaction is dropping and the number of complaints rising in an organisation that uses call centre client servicing: it may be that the technology is stretched beyond its capacity; or that inadequate staff training and support has been provided; or that staff morale has been eroding over time.

Traditional performance review systems focus on what has been achieved -- a 'management by objectives' approach, measuring performance with 'hard' data. But the hard data is the simple stuff. Understanding the 'soft' indicators, e.g. retention, organizational health, customer satisfaction and quality of leadership is overwhelmingly more insightful and powerful.

An appraisal of the chief executive should encompass both the hard and soft elements. That allows directors to review what has been achieved and cannot be changed, as well as providing the opportunity for pre-empting problems where the soft elements are early indicators, enabling directors and the chief executive to take corrective action.

There are certain base requirements for an effective appraisal. The board should have an up-to-date and relevant position description. It should have a performance agreement in place for the chief executive which clearly sets out what is to be measured and how it will be appraised.

The board should have agreement with the chief executive on the use of 360-degree feedback, on customer satisfaction evaluation and on staff satisfaction, all of which, together with measures such as growth and profit targets, market share etc, are clearly aligned with the organisation's strategic aspirations.

Agreeing on a framework and approach allows directors and the chief executive to understand what is being measured, how and why. Doing this effectively allows both parties to engage in the performance 'discussion' objectively and preserves the dignity of each party and the respect between them. The anxiety and concerns about the appraisal process can be mitigated if not totally removed.

Jean-Francois Manzoni, associate professor of management at INSEAD global business school, has identified three significant behavioural phenomena to be aware of. The first is what he calls binary framing, which relates to the often unconscious approach of trying to gain control of a situation and to win, which means the other party must lose.

Second is the false consensus effect: we have a tendency to assume that other reasonable people will see a situation as we see it. When we are reasonable and competent people, why should others see things differently?

The third is called the fundamental attribution error. This is where we link the issue under discussion directly to the chief executive's disposition and capabilities and underestimate or ignore the impact of the conditions under which he/she is operating.

To overcome these potential barriers to an effective performance appraisal discussion, the research identifies three simple conditions that significantly enhance the acceptance of feedback:

The person offering the feedback is reliable and has "good intentions".

The feedback development process is seen to be fair; the board has collected all relevant information and has allowed the chief executive to clarify and explain his/her view, considers the chief executive's opinions and applies consistent standards when delivering criticism.

Finally, the communication process is fair and the chief executive has the sense that she/he has been listened to with some care, despite disagreements.

In essence, there is little in the professional performance appraisal process that is ground breaking. The rationale for measuring or appraising performance has not changed over time, and is unlikely to. It is about improving performance in the future.

Performance appraisal should follow on directly from strategic intent and business planning. It should measure what has been achieved, and how, and the data needed for this process needs to be agreed.

Adopting this approach can contribute to the board and the chief executive discussing performance in a constructive and improvement-focused manner.


C. Gilchrist,(2007) Human capital consulting, Sheffield.

Encouraging Innovation In Business:

Ensure that there is a well-communicated innovation strategy that fits with the overall vision of the business Motivate people across the business to identify ideas for new products or services

Ensure that resources, particularly time, are made available for idea generation, development and testing of ideas Evaluate business cases and plans, approve those that appear viable and monitor their progress Ensure that the originators and developers of any ideas receive recognition for their achievement

Plan Change:

Assess the gap between the current and required future state of procedures, systems, structures and roles Assess the risks and benefits associated with your strategies and plans and develop contingency arrangements Make sure your plans include short-term "wins" as well as longer-term deliverables

Develop systems for monitoring and assessing progress

Develop a communication strategy that allows people to give feedback

Identify training and support needs and plan how to meet these

In order to improve in this area, you may want to plan for the following:-

Main models and methods for managing change effectively

Effective planning techniques

Theory and application of the change or performance curve

Theory and understanding of teams, including an understanding of team-building

techniques and how to apply them

How to assess the risks and benefits associated with strategies and plans

Stakeholder expectations and how they influence the process

Lead The Change:

  • Make sure people responsible for planning and implementing change understand their responsibilities
  • Communicate the vision for the future and the reason for the change.
  • Set and prioritise objectives for the change
  • Identify strategies for achieving the vision and communicate them clearly to everyone involved
  • Communicate progress to everyone involved

In order to improve in this area, you may want to plan for the following:-

Main models and methods for leading organisational change and their strengths and weaknesses Principles and application of risk assessment How to use different leadership styles and behaviours for different circumstances The political, bureaucratic and resource barriers to change, and the techniques for dealing with these How to use different methods of communication in various circumstances Stakeholder expectations and how they influence the change process

Manage A Programme Of Projects

Make sure everyone involved is clear about how the programme links to strategic targets

Take account of all essential needs and translate strategic targets into practical, efficient and effective actions

Make sure everyone involved understands the critical aspects of the programme and arrangements for dealing with contingencies

Monitor and control the programme so that it achieves the stated objectives on time and within budget

Make recommendations, which identify good practice and areas for improvement

Tell everyone involved about important issues and the results of putting the programme into practice area

In order to improve in this area, you may want to plan for the following:-

The difference between project and programme management and the role of a programme manager

Principles, processes, tools and techniques for managing programmes

The basic principles, methods and techniques of total quality management

How to manage, motivate, plan, monitor, and assess people

How to assess and manage risk

How to manage change within projects and programmes

Implement The Change;

Communicate regularly, making effective use of a range of different communication methods

  • Create a vision with supportive plans.
  • Develop a range of leadership styles and apply them to appropriate situations
  • Give people in your area support and advice when they need it especially during periods of setback and change
  • Encourage people to take a lead in their own areas of expertise and show

willingness to follow this lead

In order to improve in this area, you may want to plan for the following:-

How to create a compelling vision for an area of responsibility

A range of different leadership styles and communication methods

How to get and make use of feedback from people on your leadership performance

Types of difficulties and challenges that may arise and ways of overcoming them

The benefits of and how to create and maintain a culture that encourages creativity and innovation

The importance of encouraging others to take the lead

The following are the Skills to be developed, under the Personal Development Programme;

1. Fund Managers

  • Communicating
  • Decision-making
  • Leadership
  • Prioritising
  • Valuing and Supporting Others
  • Motivating
  • Analysing
  • Delegating
  • Reporting

2. Client - Relation Managers

  • Planning
  • Monitoring
  • Information
  • Management
  • Problem Solving
  • Evaluating
  • Consulting
  • Reviewing
  • Thinking Strategically
  • · Presenting Information

3. Technical Analysts

  • Critical Analysing
  • In-depth thinking
  • Foreseeing ability
  • Market Knowledge
  • Clear thought
  • Well-organised
  • Customer focussed
  • Attention to detail

A Personal Development Plan would be prepared based upon the template below, fo the above mentioned employees.


Personal Development Plan


Objectives What do I want to be able to do or do better?

Success criteria How will I recognise success? How will I review and measure my improvement?

Actions What methods will I use to achieve my learning objectives?

Implementation How will I practise and apply what I learn?