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Seb Anthony

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Personal Development Planning


With the Introduction of PDP's a few months ago, going through all the benefits with the managers and directors and getting the go-ahead to implement them - i am now struggling with the managers not understanding the importance of setting SMART long term objectives where individuals can see fully where they fit in, what their role to the business objectives are, and how they are going to get there.

I seem to keep hitting a brick wall, it's not really a difficult concept to grasp, especially as i've been through the benefits, and how to do it, what it'll mean to the company if we do it, what would be the alternative if we don't...

Can anyone give some suggestions as to how to help me solve this challange?

Thank you very much, any help is very very much appreciated.

Diane Mooney

4 Responses

  1. Please leave your comments
    Please leave a comment, no matter how long or short it is – i really need your help! Thanks

  2. Do they have their own objectives?
    Hi Diane

    Have these managers been given their own objectives by their line managers?

    If so, when they look in detail at how they’re going to achieve them, the role of their reports should become clear. It then becomes much more personal and perhaps relevant to them. You could do a group exercise looking in detail at one of theirs.
    If they haven’t been given their own objectives, it’s a ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ scenario and you need to start at the top to persuade the directors to not only set objectives but also to support you in the implementation. It sounds like they’ve left it all to you!


  3. Is it the smart or the long term?
    Hi Diane
    I have come across this situation with some of my clients and the first thing I do is work out whether it is a problem with long term planning (eg what is the point, who know what is going to happen) or with SMART (some people, including me just find that using Smart as a starting point doesn’t help my long term planning)
    If it is a case of both I try using other tools to get people thinking more about where they want to go.
    I find Ian Cunningham’s work on self managed learning really helpful at developing the idea of a personal learning plan which builds on where have I been, where am I now and where do I want to go.
    I also use some image cards I have bought and use these to get individuals and teams to think about their future vision. It sounds strange but I have found groups as varied as senior executives, engineers and care workers respond well to firstly visualising in this way their ideas. Then then can start noting down themes, and then structure these into clearer goals.
    Hope this helps, sounds like some unblocking is needed – and I agree that working on the senior team first!

  4. chickens and eggs
    Hi Diane – How frustrating for you! I agree with the other comments about how this all fits in with clarity of objectives etc. I also note that one of your previous comments on mission statements that this doesn’t seem to be part of your company “culture” either.

    Depending on personality types and preferences as well, often language that is meaningful and helpful for one person, is a block and a hindrance to another.

    Individuals need to see something as being meaningful to them within their own view of what’s important. Some people find a structured approach helpful. Others think of it as strait jacket.

    Perhaps to start you could look at it differently. Perhaps just encourage eveyone to have a single item on their PDP that they understand, that their manager understands, and that they report progress against and that they acheive within a specific short time frame would start give the “concept” some reality, and build a collective experience of how it works – and the benfits that come from personal development per se. This is your building block to getting longer term PDPs that can be linked more closely with business performance.


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