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This Personal Development Plan (PDP) is a statement of my current reality and my vision for the future. It also lists out plan for me to achieve that vision through a series of well laid out action items that have been formulated around my strengths and weaknesses. A comprehensive analysis of my personality type, learning styles, and career aspirations has been performed using the various tools like 360 Leadership Capability Framework, MAJORSâ„¢ pti, Intelligent Career Card Slot (ICCSâ„¢), Learning Styles Questionnaire and various other class exercises. I also talked to peers and other family members for useful feedback. A brief look into my past was also carried out for understanding how I have reached my current reality and what lessons have been learnt that I can take forward.
This PDP extends through a period of two years which is about the time when I plan to finish my MBA and when my contractual obligation runs out with my employer for my current position. At the end of the two years, by sticking to this development plan I hope to be well positioned for a career change through continuous professional and personal self-improvement. In the following sections I have stated the results of the various analysis tools and the general themes that have emerged from the analytical tools and I have validated them as much as possible with my own experiences from the past.
I will start off with a brief look into my past before I describe my current reality, as I believe that it will shed some light as to how I have become the type of person that I am today. I am the only child of my parents who were Indian immigrants living in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and they had moved there in the late seventies during the Oil boom. As a result of the large number of expatriates and the international nature of Dubai, I was exposed to the cosmopolitan life from a very young age (Davidson, 2009). Due to the volatile nature of the politics in the Middle East there was always a financial insecurity in that region and thus I was brought up with great emphasis for the value for money (Telegraph, 2002). After graduation I joined the Oil and Gas industry and was completely focussed on my career and quite often I have overlooked the social aspects of my life. I really enjoyed working in the Oil and Gas industry because of its diverse nature, opportunities to travel and competitive compensation packages. I had to spend a large amount of time away from home and hence I was unable to give my family life its due attention. This lack in attention to family life explains my failed marriage few years back and got me thinking as to why and how things could have been different.
Last year, at the age of 34, my life went through some major changes with regards to job profile, location of work and also marriage. My current job is a lower profile position compared to the last position I held in the Middle East and as a result I get a lot of free time to spend at home with family and doing things that I enjoy a lot, like going on holidays. Everything comes at a price and I have opted for a better life in a better location but it resulted in a financial setback. All decisions made by me were based on what I felt was going to make me and my family happy. So far I am glad to say everything has worked out well and it is almost picture perfect – just like the picture I chose on the first MBA session (class exercise, 2011) that reflects my current reality. It was a picture of a family having a stroll in a beautiful place, probably on a holiday.
After a personality analysis using the MAJORSâ„¢ pti tool, what I found was that this was definitely agreeing with how an “Extraverted Thinking with Sensing” (ESTJ) (personal results, 2011) would set his priorities at my age (McGuiness, 2004). Also my current position which is a QA role is what an ESTJ would be involved in professionally (McGuiness, 2004). Other characteristics of an ESTJ that I can relate to are lack of innovation and the fact that an ESTJ works best alone. Innovation, reluctance to go off the beaten path and last minute changes are qualities that have haunted me in the past. This is particularly evident from my experience a few weeks ago when we had to do a group presentation as a part of MBA. We were all ready and prepared with our part of the presentation when at the last moment one of the members suggested the idea of a press conference style presentation. I was a bit reluctant initially as it required last minute changes. Also there was a chance that we got marked down for presentation style as we had to stand behind the lectern. I normally do not make last minute changes with my professional decisions as it gives me less time to fully analyse the implications of such changes.
The lack of innovation and strategic thinking is also where I scored the lowest when it came to the 360 Leadership Capability Frameworks. I had marked myself down and my peers and managers judged me similarly in strategic thinking and innovation (personal results, 2011). These were also evident from the fact that I used to struggle to come up with innovative ideas during trade shows and I used to be comfortable using successful ideas from past trade shows. The results from the 360 Leadership Capabilities Framework highlighted the fact that I am an average performer compared to rest of the MBA students. Most of my judgements about myself seemed to match what my peers and colleagues perceived about me except the fact about knowledge where I have underestimated myself as I always do. What I think happened there was that although my peers and managers think that I possess good knowledge to get the job done, I have this urge inside me to learn new things all the time and I feel that I am always a step behind. So I feel that this is a good sign and it encourages me to keep improving my already strong knowledge skills. One of my other strong points is that I get the job done on time. Regardless of the situation there are very few times when I have not delivered as promised. This way I have gained a lot of trust within my work environment and I place the trust element extremely high in my ICCS knowing why section (personal results, 2011). With trust comes freedom and flexibility in any work environment and this is also important to me as is job security (Alessandra, 1988).
Since flexibility is important for me I prefer working alone as I can device my own methods at my own pace and stick to my plan without much external influences. This is the learning characteristic of a Pragmatist (personal results, March 2011) as is obvious from the Learning Styles Questionnaire results during the MBA class. I have a strong tendency to set goals and pursue the proven paths in order to get to my destination.
My future reality picture (class exercise, 2011) was a bird’s eye view of a beautiful landscape. The picture portrays three aspects of my future reality.
Higher position career wise.
Broader picture of the firm’s activities as opposed to day to day operations.
Quiet atmosphere at work and at home.
My final goal is to work as a Business Development Manager (BDM) for my domain within my current firm. There is a position available as of now but since I have other commitments in the form of a two year contract for on my current position and my plans to complete the MBA program, I cannot commit to a different role as of now. So I am going to position myself to be well prepared to take on that job at the end of the two years. In my action plan that has been designed I have included some skills that are required specifically for the role of the BDM (appendix A). I will be discussing my plans with the UQ MBA Career Officer as to when the apt time is for me to start applying or showing interest in the particular job.
Below I am going to describe how certain themes have emerged from the various tools that were used for analysis.
360 Leadership Capability Framework
Two key positive elements that have been highlighted from the 360 feedback are my strong technical knowledge and my ability to work in a result oriented fashion (personal results, 2011). So in my action plan that has been listed out in the next section I have set out plans to further develop these strong skills. Coming from a technical sales environment it was important to meet all tender deadlines, timely follow-up of all sales leads and to keep pushing the sales process which continuously developed my time management skills. On the other hand I need to work hard on my ability to work and manage teams and consequently I have action items to work this key skill. One of the reasons why my teamwork skills were not visible in the last few years is because I was on my own travelling and meeting clients and did not require a large amount of coordination with members of other domains. But most of the previous positions required me to lead small and medium size teams on a regular basis.
It has to be kept in mind that differences can occur from what others think of you as opposed to your views about yourself. “While you judge yourself by your intentions, others judge you by your actions” (class lecture, 2011).
Trust is paramount for me in anything I do and it is a way of life for me both personally and professionally. I try and gain my employer’s trust by delivering on time and sharing knowledge. It has to be noted that “Knowledge and trust feed positively on one another” (Anonymous, 2002). I lay strong emphasis on being result oriented. Although the methods I undertake to achieve the end results might not be the most efficient, I make it a point to deliver on time. With gaining the employer’s trust comes flexibility in work schedule which I have rated highly among my “knowing why” section of ICCS (personal results, 2011). I spend time with the technical experts who I work with at the R&D centre where I am employed. I have joined the Society of Petroleum Well Log Analysts (SPWLA) in Brisbane where I can mingle with other technical experts in the Oil and Gas Industry and this way I can pursue skills and knowledge specific to my industry. This also relates well with my “knowing whom” category where I have stressed my wish to spend time with individuals from whom I can learn (personal results, 2011).
The results of MAJORSâ„¢ pti classified me as an ESTJ. I tend to implement ideas and methods that have been proven in the past and seldom see the need to try new things. Thus I do not follow up on my intuitions. I also tend to keep emotions away from taking business decisions and follow rules to the core. There are chances that I can come to conclusions before all facts have been considered and this is undesirable.
An interesting fact to be highlighted is that according to Mary McGuiness in You’ve Got Personality she lists Quality Assurance (my current role) and also Business Management (my planned future role) as some of the career interests of an ESTJ.
Learning Styles Questionnaire
My results from the Learning Styles Questionnaire have stated that I am a Pragmatist (personal results, 2011). A Pragmatist “looks for the earliest opportunity to implement what has been offered. They are practical, down-to-earth individuals who enjoy problem solving and practical decision. The focus is very strongly on implementation and output” (Pont, 1996). This is how I have gained the trust of my employers over the years. But again an ESTJ lacks the imagination that is required for innovative ideas to bloom. This has to be addressed in my personal action plan if I am to be a successful BDM. Another factor highlighted for an ESTJ which has been highlighted previously in 360 is my ability to work as a team leader. My preference to work and deliver alone will have to change if I am to work as a BDM where I have to coordinate and lead groups of technical and sales consultants. I have not been leading teams for a period of three years so it might take some effort to get back into the leadership mode.
Areas of development
During this development plan I am going to concentrate on two strengths and two apparent weaknesses that have been identified using the various tools that we were discussed in the previous section. My main strength is my technical knowledge and I will be planning to improve on that in the coming year. I will be developing knowledge specific to my industry and as a part of learning I will be presenting my newly acquired skills to my small team here in my Brisbane office which will improve my presentation skills. My other strength is my time management skill and I plan to meet all the deadlines as far as my work and MBA is concerned. This will be a challenge as I am planning to complete my MBA in two years and I also have my full time job to attend to.
As identified previously one of my major challenges is being open to new ideas and innovative ways of doing things. I will start off with little things by taking risks and trying to be comfortable in a risky environment. I want to leave my comfort zone and venture out to newer vistas and explore different possibilities in life. This is an ongoing process and will take a long time to realise. The other area that requires revisiting is my leadership quality which I have not been able to exercise for the last few years mainly due to a change in job profile.
To summarize, the four areas for development that have emerged and I have decided to address are.
Result Oriented Planning and Timely Execution
Innovation and Strategic Thinking
The following section is basically a plan on how I can work towards strengthening my established skills and overcoming few of the weaknesses that has been identified through the various analytical tools. Along the course of this PDP I will be setting minor goals and review periods for making sure that I am progressing at the right pace.
In the table below, I have laid out SMART goals (Platt, 2002) for me to address the areas of development that were recognised in the previous sections. I plan to concentrate more on my strengths rather than weaknesses. “We have found that by helping individuals and teams to gain clarity on their strengths (that is, what energizes them at work) and then supporting them in tapping into this energy by exploring where they could use their strengths to a greater extent as regards their current work task or role, and establishing how they could develop those strengths further, the untapped energy derived from strengths can be harnessed and guided in a direction that benefits the individual, team and organization” (Brewerton, 2004). I have further classified each action item into transferable and non-transferable skill item depending on whether such skills can be used in other industries. As is evident I have thrown in a good mix of both which will help me in scenarios where I have to change industries (Humphreys, 1997). I also plan to add on an additional action item for developing my leadership abilities during the course of the MBA program, but I plan to do this when I take up the Leading People and Teams module in August 2011. I have also left the action plan open for changes as circumstances might change in terms of new opportunities that arise and some that fade away. So a PDP has to be flexible for coping with unforeseen circumstances (Greenhaus, 1995)
Factors In Favour
Learn in depth about Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR)
Access to technical books, Experienced technical lead in office
Deliver a short presentation internally on NMR
Learn in depth about Core Analysis
Access to technical books, Experienced technical lead in office
Deliver a short presentation internally on Core Analysis
Suggest four innovative ideas for implementation in next release
New release planned for this year – apt time for new features.
Not being taken seriously due to relatively lesser work experience.
Meet all MBA assignment deadlines well in advance
Flexibility with work timings.
Three subjects in a semester can be hectic
Attend all career related networking events.
MBA Career Officer
Time off from work
Prepare Tier I procedures – coordinate with global T1 in each business region.
Worked both as Tier 1 and Tier 2 support
Different time zones and travelling consultants -makes it difficult to plan
Officially apply for the Business Development Manager position.
Technical Competency, R&D Experience, Sales Experience
Position might not be available at the time of graduation
To summarize I would like to point out the fact that there were no surprises or conflicts with respect to my personality type and my capabilities that were highlighted in the results of the analytical tools that were used. They were more of a reminder of how I am and why I tend to behave in certain ways under different circumstances. It was great to know about my strong points. I plan to take my feedback about areas of improvement in a positive manner and as a result I have included them in my action plans set out the next two years. I have concentrated my action plan on developing my existing knowledge skills and my ability to work in a result oriented environment. Areas where I need improvement are my abilities for leadership and thinking out of the box. I have included specific action plans to address these factors.
I feel that if I stick to the current plan, at the end of the two years I will be in a very strong position to take on the role of the Business Development Manager for my domain within my current firm. This position is definitely a higher position than what I am in currently and will provide me with a bigger and broader picture of my firm’s operations in the region which relates well to my choice of picture that depicts my future reality (class exercise, 2011). There are always surprises and things don’t go according to plan and that is when my transferable skills and various other skills that I acquire during my MBA program comes into play for opening doors that might otherwise be closed or not visible.
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