January 11, 2022

186: Create an Actionable Individual Development Plan

Great managers invest in growing their team members. But who is actually responsible for professional development? Surprise: it’s the individual, not the manager. Organizations take a wide variety of approaches to professional development ranging from none at all to reserving Individual Development Plans (IDPs) for only high potentials or those struggling the most. So where does that leave everyone else?

This episode is all about taking control over your individual development plan. I walk through the process of crafting an IDP for yourself and how to work with your team members so they can own their professional growth.

The full episode guide includes a detailed process for developing an IDP as well as how to work with your team members to create and manage their IDP. It also includes the template I use with my clients for documenting and tracking goals, measures of success and actions. Get it when you join the Modern Manager community or purchase the full guide at www.themodernmanager.com/shop.

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Read the related blog article: Own Your Professional Development

Key Takeaways:

  • Individual Development Plans work for short and long term goals.
  • Make goals based on where you want to be in the future or what you need to feel more satisfied at work.
  • Figure out what knowledge, behavioral skills, or real life experience will help you achieve your goals.
  • Get feedback from colleagues about what could help you succeed.
  • Consider what measures of success would mean you’ve achieved your dreams. These are either externally-based from a colleague or through passing a test or internally-based on your sense of achievement.
  • Keep between 1-3 goals at a time. One goal often feels too slow and more than 3 goals can be distracting.
  • IDPs are living documents that should be revised and updated. Check in monthly to update actions taken, measure goals, and add new ones.
  • Your teammates need to take ownership of their success and make their own IDPs.
  • Brainstorm with your team about their goals and offer them feedback, accountability, and securing funds for these goals.


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