Planning for growth - creating a career development plan

Oct 9, 2018 | Todd Bynum | @toddbynum

Are you looking to make a job change or acquire a new skill to take your career to the next level?  A solid plan is important to increase your chances for success.  Follow these simple steps to create a development plan to guide your growth.

development process

Create a vision

Start with the end in mind.  Visualize where you want to be and what success looks like.  Be as specific as possible and pick targets that inspire you and motivate you to strive for growth.  Now, write your targets down.

Take stock

Once you have your destination clearly in mind, assess where you are now with respect to your skills and abilities related to each target.  Be honest with yourself.  There’s no point in holding back as it will only hinder your success.

Identify gaps

Now that you have a clear picture of where you want to go and an accurate representation of your current state, you can then identify any gaps between the two.  What knowledge, skills, abilities and experiences do you need to acquire to close the gaps?

Develop a plan

Armed with the information from the previous step, draft your development plan.  You should include specific steps to address each gap.  Create SMART goals to ensure that they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.

Writing your plan down is essential.  Use the Career Development Plan template (Mayo internal link) to record your goals and action steps along with target dates for completion.

Take action

Begin working through your plan to accomplish your goals.  Use your development plan to track progress toward your goals or log any revisions needed along the way.  Be sure to celebrate successes and don’t be afraid to revise your plan as needed.

It is also important to share your plan with someone to help keep you accountable and to look for ways to remove any barriers and to stay focused.  By creating a well-thought-out development plan and sticking to it, you can achieve great things.

Do you have any tips you would like to share?  If so, leave them in the comments below.

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