6 Reasons a Professional Development Plan is a Leadership Essential

Ever wonder why some people seem to rise gracefully to the top, while others seem to struggle and get nowhere? From my experience, there’s a lot of reasons, but most of them come down to not having a proper plan in place.

Sure they might have goals and they might even have some tactics to get there, but they miss a lot of the picture and the gaps when they move forward without a proper plan that accounts for all the pieces needed, not just the major pieces. Things like getting a mentor or specific education can often be left out when it could be the accelerator that helps you get to your goals quickest.

If you don’t have a Professional Development Plan (PDP) here are some crucial reasons you need to sit down and devise one now.


Motivate yourself forward

Any job can get boring or stale if we don’t have bigger goals or new things to learn. A professional Development Plan offers the chance to continually challenge yourself with goals that excite you.


Stay focused

It’s easy to say one day I’ll climb Mt. Everest and then it never comes to fruition. If you really want to tackle big goals, you need a plan that will help you stay on track. Without a plan, you could be doing a lot of tasks to get there, but chances are it won’t be focused action that gets you to the next step.


Cultivate your strengths, minimize the impact of your weaknesses

A PDP isn’t just about bringing up your weaknesses, it’s also about using your strengths to their best abilities. If you know that you are a strong hands-on learner, a coach or mentor might be a better option than classroom training. Sure there may be some things you have to learn in the classroom or from a book, but lean on your strengths first. You don’t have to bring all your weaknesses up to strengths, just limit the unwanted impact they might be having on your growth.


Create a path

A PDP helps you lay out a clear path so you always know what you want to be doing to achieve your goals. Once it’s laid out, you just complete the outlined tasks – it’s that simple.


Empower your own advancement

When you develop your own PDP, you have control over your goals and your timeline. You are empowering yourself to get to where you want to be. Without a plan, many people hope that their bosses or supervisors will lead them to the path of promotions. When you develop your own plan, you get to decide where you are going to go and when.


Build Confidence

Probably the best thing about a PDP is when you review it and realize the progress you are making. By having an outlined plan and following through on the steps, you’ll be able to see all your accomplishments and the challenges you overcame. When we start seeing progress on big goals, our confidence gets a boost and we find it easier to continue on our plan and step into bigger things. Commitment and accountability are two elements to self-trust and self-confidence. They are also two essentials to others having confidence in us too.

While a Professional Development Plan may seem like just one more thing to do, I’d argue that it is one most important thing to do – especially if you want to tackle big goals. It will build your confidence and help you see yourself as successful as you want to be. Most importantly, it will help you get to goals that you might not completely think is possible right now.


Leaders have a plan.


Develop your own PDP with this simple process.

I’ve developed a step-by-step guide on crafting your own Professional Development Plan. With this guide, you’ll know exactly the type of information you want to include and how to use the PDP moving forward. Everything you need is right here.

Accomplish big things – craft your plan here.

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