American entrepreneur Jim Rohn once said that income seldom exceeds personal development. Simply put, investing in your personal development is one of the most valuable and enduring investments you can make.

Your first step is to set up a personal development plan (PDP). A PDP may be defined as structured process that takes stock of your current knowledge and skills level as well as your performance, which is then developed into a plan for your future personal and career development.

Some managers invest heavily in their skills portfolio early in their careers and then do so less and less intensively as their careers progress. Not continually focusing on your personal development could lead to your personal and professional growth stagnating and, unfortunately, to you being left behind in your industry. Regardless of whether you are young in your career or a seasoned professional, continuing to invest in your personal development will help you work smarter and better, as well as (potentially) enhancing your wellbeing.

But how do you keep investing in your personal development? Your first step is to set up a personal development plan (PDP). A PDP may be defined as structured process that takes stock of your current knowledge and skills level as well as your performance, which is then developed into a plan for your future personal and career development. There are a number of practical, workable steps involved in setting up your PDP.

YOUR PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN

  • Establishing a purpose or direction − First you need to establish the purpose or direction of your personal development plan. Clearly establishing your aim, or what you want to improve on or update in your skills portfolio, will allow you to focus and direct every step that follows after this crucial first step.

  • Evaluating the current situation − Next you need to evaluate where you are at. What are your core skills and competencies? What do you do well? What are you not as comfortable with doing? What are the most current skills or knowledge areas required in your field of work? At this point you should also take stock of the resources available to help you meet your end goal and consider possible challenges that may impede you in achieving it.
  • Devising a plan of action − Then you need to set up a plan of action. What specific actions do you need to take to achieve your goal? A plan of action should be concrete and actionable, with clear objectives set out. If your goal is larger or more long-term, a step-based approach will help you to ensure you stay on track and will allow you to more easily measure your progress against certain success criteria.

  • Reviewing your progress − The secret to a good PDP lies in its adaptability. A rigid approach to your plan does not guarantee a higher success rate − on the contrary, in the event of unforeseen setbacks, an all-ornothing approach may see you eventually abandoning your goal altogether. Continuously reviewing and reflecting on your progress and altering and updating your plan as required will aid you in retaining your focus and ensure a far better chance at success and satisfaction.

Your personal development is unequivocally worth investing in − for your career or business, and for yourself. Whether you want to upskill or update a pre-learned skill, amend your management approach, or address certain threats (perhaps, specifically, ones that cropped up in the challenging year that was 2020), a proper plan will ensure your path to success is straighter and more even.

If you haven’t drafted a PDP, now’s the time to do it. It’s the first step in investing in your future.

 

F.R. (Rhys) Robinson, PhD is Executive Director, Infinitus Reporting Solutions (Pty) Ltd, provider of enterprise-wide consolidation, planning and reporting solutions.

 
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