Why Doesn’t Your Personal Development Plan Work?

Why Doesn't Your Personal Development Plan Work - People Development Network
Why Doesn't Your Personal Development Plan Work - People Development Network

You can make your personal development plan work!

In my experience of working in the corporate world for 12 years and then in the Learning & Development world for 13 years, it’s that everyone finds ‘doing’ personal development planning really hard.

Be Aware of the Woolly Mammoth

The biggest mistake I have made, and seen others make, is to finally getting around to creating a fantastic personal development plan. A plan that is almost a vision to behold on your computer screen, planned, formatted, and anyone would be proud to have written it. Only to find that 12 months later nothing was done with it. In fact it was only resurrected because of my performance review – The irony!

Having gone from an inbox junkie in the corporate world to becoming an avidstudent of time management and a trainer in the subject, I now know why I did very little with my PDP. It was a woolly mammoth. Such a big task to tackle that I put it off, procrastinated and found anything to do than my PDP. Of course I was busy, I don’t know anyone that isn’t, but too busy to do my PDP – No. I just didn’t know how to ‘get at it’.

Making Your PDP Live and Breathe

In this post about Personal Development Examples you can download a PDP template and read the instructions to complete it. This will be very similar to other personal development plan examples you have seen. The key differences are subtle, yet effective, because they’ll help you make your Personal Development Plan ‘live and breathe’. My 3 top tips for a PDP that has life are:

  1. Complete your PDP template in 45 minutes (Book a meeting with yourself in your diary for 45 minutes). Any more time spent on completing your plan will only work towards growing your woolly mammoth.
  2. Use a pencil (As you can rub parts of it out later) to complete your PDP. Completing it on-screen encourages us to make it look ‘beautiful’, rather than a used, working document. Think mechanic, what has a clean mechanic been doing all day?
  3. Do one thing each month for 20 minutes on each skill, for up to 3 skills. For example, if Time Management is one of your skills to improve, this month read 3 chapters of Brian Tracy’s Eat That Frog book, or do 20 minutes of research on getting your inbox to zero, or research booking an Executive Coach to help you.

How do you get on with your Personal Development Plan? Similar? Or have you cracked it?

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Darren A. Smith
Darren has worked in the world of supermarkets and suppliers for over 24 years. His story is one of a game of two halves. For the first 12 years he worked as a Buyer & Category Manager in one of the big four UK supermarkets buying mainly fresh foods, from cottage cheese to fruit. Seeing the opportunity to enable supermarkets and suppliers to work better together, he founded MBM and has spent the last 12 years working with suppliers on People Development to enable them to get the best from their people with their retail accounts through Sticky Learning http://www.makingbusinessmatter.co.uk/why-choose-us/sticky-learning/ His main specialities are Category Management Training, Negotiation Skills and Time Management. His personal blog on People Development. The latter particularly because he was once an ‘email inbox junkie’! His favourite film will send him into a tailspin as he has so many, yet with his arm up his back, he chose ‘Gladiator’. When not working you’ll find him living in Thame with his wife, Gayle, and children, Gabby and Jack, creating memorable experiences because he believes ‘life is for the taking’.
Darren A. Smith


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