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Posted by on Aug 18, 2016

Performance Review Season

The national conventions have wrapped up but campaign season is far from over. Everywhere you turn you are inundated with the latest breaking political news…. And maybe a few resurfaced stories. As bogged down as I have become with the flood of politics on the news, in my social media thread, and creeping in to dinner conversations, I have to admit – I like the attention that the “plans” are getting.

It may be campaign season for some Feds, but for most of us it is performance review season and the perfect time of year to take stock of your professional development and makes plan for next year. As we all know planning, in the work setting, is often the thing that suffers in our fast-paced, results-driven environment. When push comes to shove, and I’m under tight deadlines, the last thing I want to do is stop and document a plan. The presidential candidates’ plans remind me that planning is incredibly important; it’s the backbone for everything that comes after.

I take my professional development very seriously (I’ve even built a career around it!) but my individual development planning could use more attention. I spend the majority of my time supporting other individuals, teams, and organizations in leadership development but I have to remind myself to take the time to plan my own professional development and career path. If there is one thing I have learned from the work I do to design leadership programs for others, it is to take a systematic approach to career planning.

Career planning is the process of matching an organization’s business needs with the career goals of individuals. This process includes:

  • Understanding the mission and goals of the organization
  • Determining career goals
  • Exploring career options
  • Assessing personal and professional interests
  • Identifying opportunities for development

Understanding one’s own goals is fairly simple – communicating that, working it in to team and organizational goals is a little more complicated. But it’s in the alignment of those multi-faceted goals where the real magic happens! Managers, HR professionals, and those charged with supporting professional growth within organizations must be equipped to assist the organization’s employees through the intertwined process of career development.

Consider this time of year a reminder to take stock of how professional development can better both individuals and organizations. It starts with an Individual Development Plan (IDP) where goals, interests, strengths, and areas for skill building are identified. That planning phase is what sets the stage for identifying gaps with current and future states of an organizations’ workforce and finding effective solutions to address those gaps. It requires a strategic view of the organization’s mission, vision, and goals to turn individual development plans in to a career progression.

Career planning is not as simple as having employees fill out IDPs and posting the organization’s mission statement in the break room, it requires careful planning and a strategic approach to workforce planning and goal alignment.


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