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How to Create a Personal Development Plan

How to create a personal development plan

Personal development plan

Your "personal development plan" is the written steps you intend to take to increase your professional skills, knowledge and abilities.

Your personal development plan is important because you need to consider yourself as being in a state of continuous development. You need to be continuously developing because the world is changing rapidly, if you do not work hard to update and improve your skill set, you will quickly find that your knowledge base is obsolete.

What are the major professional skills sets to develop?

The six major skills to develop are:

  1. Technical skills relating to the provision of your product or service.
  2. Set clear and distinct goals.
  3. Communication skills.
  4. Problem-solving skills.
  5. People skills.
  6. Self-management skills.

1. Technical skills relating to the provision of your product or service.

You need to know your stuff. If you are not up to speed with the latest advances or innovations that pertain to the delivery of your product or service, then you are in danger.

The only way that you can make progress and earn more next year is to improve your knowledge base. You can do this by:

  • Reading books and journals that are specific to your industry.
  • Observe what others in the field are doing.
  • Reviewing what you know and practicing your skills.

2. Set clear and distinct goals.

Your aim is to be successful. And to be successful you must progress by setting goals and working to achieve them.
You cannot achieve a goal that you never set. So, the first step to achieving a goal is to set it.

Leaders are good at setting clear and distinct goals. The goal acts as the focus point for all planning and activity.

If you don't set goals, then you can have no plan.

3. Communication skills.

Communication skills are a vital component of your professional development.

To be able to elicit the best performance from others, you need to be able to accurately transfer information. To do that, you need to be able communicate effectively to avoid miscommunications, misunderstandings, upset and conflicts.

4. Problem-solving skills.

Setting a goal immediately presents you with the problem of how to achieve that goal.

You need to study and improve your ability to solve problems; to create solutions capable of eliminating the problem or circumnavigating it.

Problem-solving requires the following skills:

  • Skills of analysis: the ability to break a problem down to its component parts.
  • Skills of logic: the ability to formulate a logical plan of action.
  • Skills of creativity: the ability to make intuitive leaps and arrive at a new and unique solutions to an old problem.

Logic and creativity are all skills that can be developed and learned.

5. People skills.

Whenever you try to implement a plan, you will find that some people won't like it. They may become difficult and may oppose you and your plan. If your plan is sound, then you must learn to handle the difficult person and manage the conflict situation. You may need to develop your negotiation skills.

Handling difficult people means:

  • Not getting angry and losing your temper.
  • Not getting upset and giving away concessions, simply to avoid the conflict.
  • Managing the conflict by using objective language and negotiation skills to lead the person to a workable solution.

6. Self-management skills

Self-management means primarily being in the right place at the right time.

But, also you must be able to arrive in the right mood - in the right frame of mind.

You must be ready mentally and emotionally for whatever the event demands.

You might call this skill, emotional management or emotional intelligence.

You must be able to direct your own mind and mood and master yourself. If you cannot manage yourself, then you will not be able to manage others. You also need to inspire others to give their best performance and to do this, you must be prepared to give them your best.

When you have developed your personal development plan, you can concentrate on the Success Formula.

The Success Formula

All successful actions are as a result of the following six sets of activity:

  1. Purpose - the goal that you want to achieve.
  2. Plan - how you intend to achieve the goal.
  3. Action - the proper and effective implementation of the plan.
  4. Positive Feedback - the results of the actions that are consistent with the goal.
  5. Negative feedback - is the results of the actions that are inconsistent with the goal.
  6. Change - the alterations and modifications to the plan that you make because of the negative feedback you have recently received.

Be More Proactive

People who are proactive tend to achieve more, tend to be happier and tend to be more respected than those people who are either reactive, or passive.

Therefore, whether you choose to be proactive, reactive, or passive, it will shape the outcome and condition of your whole life.

What is meant by being proactive?

Being proactive means, "deciding to act on your own volition". It means not waiting to be told what to do by someone else. And it means not waiting until circumstances have become so bad that you are forced to act, to avoid a catastrophe. Being proactive means you are the source of your own motivation, and this motivation emanates from your own thought process.

How To Develop a Pro-Active Mind

To develop a Pro-active Mind, take the following steps.

  • Decide exactly what you want.
  • Decide that you will develop the skills necessary to achieve the goals.
  • Decide what steps you must take to kick start some progress towards the goal.
  • Don't wait for the timing to be just right.
  • Don't wait for others to give you their blessings.
  • Don't listen to people who tell you that you won't be able to do it.
  • Don't wait for fate.
  • Don't wait for your luck to change.
  • Instead, make your own luck.

About the Author: Chris Farmer


Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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Further Reading in Personal Development

  • The Difference Between Objective and Subjective Reality
    Objective reality is the world according to the facts. Subjective reality is a person's perceptive of something. It is important to be able to distinguish between the two and know how to interpret them.
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  • Learn From Your Mistakes
    Criticism is good for you. Don't get upset when you receive negative feedback, instead use the criticism to make adaptive changes. Learn from your failures and you will be on track to succeed.
    Read Article >
  • How to Improve Yourself
    If you want to be successful and achieve your life goals, you must look to your personal development. Do not be content with what you already know, improve your knowledge, your self belief and ability to get on with other people.
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  • How to take criticism
    We all make mistakes, but most of us probably don't take criticism well. Being able to use negative feedback constructively, is one of the most important gifts you can give yourself. We must also learn to give proper constructive criticism to others.
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  • Train Your Brain to Focus on the Future
    Train Your Brain to Focus on the Future It is very important to focus on the future. The past is gone and can never come back. Whether that past was good or bad, it can never come back. If the past was bad for you, then it's good to forget. If...
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