How to Create And Follow A Personalized Development Plan



In order for an organization and its employees to thrive, development plans need to be in place and supported by leaders. Leadership expert John Maxwell sums this up when he said:


“The single biggest way to impact an organization is to focus on leadership development. There is almost no limit to the potential of an organization that recruits good people, raises them up as leaders and continually develops them.”


Development planning is a critical process for the overall success of an organization. It has an impact on the organization internally; affecting the efficiency, productivity, skills, and leadership ability of employees. Organizations that support their employee’s career and development planning have higher rates of retention and engagement.

Development planning impacts organizations externally as well; affecting public presence and quality of service for clients. Ultimately, development planning helps businesses to address their needs and meet their goals, in order to help with financial viability.

Development planning is an important process that enables people to successfully manage their careers. Individuals who have development plans are not only better positioned to achieve a promotion, they also report being more fulfilled in their roles.


Creating and aligning your development plan with your direct leader is a straightforward process. To begin drafting your development plan, you can follow this simple three-step planning process.


  1. Begin by reflecting on the following:

  2. Defining Career Goals - Career goals are made up of the stages, roles, and other specific achievements you would like to accomplish in your career.

  3. Exploring Strengths - Strengths are your ability to consistently provide excellent performance in a specific task or area. These are abilities you value and are valued for.

  4. Identify Development Areas - Development Areas are the specific skills or behaviours that you need to develop in order to be more effective in your current or next role. Choose two to focus on and identify results, resources, and three measurable action steps with a timeline.

  5. Next, organize a meeting with your direct leader to discuss and align the plan with the direction and priorities of the organization.

  6. Finally, schedule regular check-ins with your direct leader to measure progress. Refresh and update this plan every year.


Following this process each year ensures that important career and skill development areas are identified and aligned with the needs and direction of the team and organization. Involving your direct leader in the process activates them to support your efforts and increases accountability towards the plan.


Download a copy here of our Development Planning Toolkit and

contact Jennifer to learn how to provide training for your leaders on how to lead their own development planning process.