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Why Create a Development Plan?


Do you have your employees create career development plans? Have you created a development plan for them?

Why Create a Development Plan? Too often managers wait for the individuals within their organizations to take the initiative and have their own development plan while employees generally expect a manager or other individual within the organization to outline development plan for them.

Development plans are extremely useful at helping the individuals at your organization to remain emotionally connected to the work they are performing and continue developing professionally within the scope of their assigned roles (also also develop to fill future roles). Additionally, development plans lay the groundwork so that the necessary employee training is being done efficiently, effectively, and is targeted specifically to the needs of the individual.

I’m a big fan of Dan McCarthy’s “Great Leadership Blog”. Dan is the Director of Executive Development Programs at the University of New Hampshire’s Whittemore School of Business and Economics (WSBE). On his blog, Dan has a popular post that walks you through a leadership development plan. I’ve take his leadership development plan to another level and modeled all of my employee review forms to be in essence, a leadership development plan. I bounced from review form to review form, never fully satisfied with the results that I received after using the various forms at review time, until I found Dan’s development form.

Here are the 4 basic areas covered in the development plan:

Section 1: List Current Position / List Responsibilities & Focus Areas

Section 2: List Performance Strengths & Major Accomplishments

Section 3: List Areas in Need of Development / Recent Struggles

Section 4: Define Development Plans, Projects, Assignments, Trainings

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting a sample development plan outline and discuss a little bit about the 4 basic areas I believe are critical to include in a development plan. The best part is that this is something employees can complete in 10 minutes or less. Managers can review it in 2-3 minutes, make notes, and begin planning the development of the employee.


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