5 Steps to Create Your Own Personal Development Strategy


In continuing our discussion about John’s ability to achieve developmental goals by accomplishing his to-do list, we have laid out 5 steps that will help you create your own personal development strategy. If you need a refresher about John’s strategy, click here!

The strategy that John developed is exciting in a number of ways:

  • John, through some initial effort, has created a list of developmental goals. This may have been via 360 feedback; end-of-year review; a work-behavior inventory or a focused conversation with his team.
  • John has a trigger for doing his planning work. Developing a new habit is easier to implement if you have a trigger to tell you when to do it. John uses his Monday morning meeting to tell him its time to plan the week. He does not have to think about when he is going to get around to this activity that he has decided is important to him.
  • John has a plan. John knows exactly what he has to do when the trigger strikes. By having a plan, John puts his creative energy into finding ways to turn his weekly tasks into developmental activities, not into figuring out what he should do during this set aside time.
  • John is purposeful. There is a great deal of power in thinking about what you are doing while you are doing it. If John is conscious about his networking goal while he is preparing for the call with a colleague outside of his research area, during the call, and after, he will get more out of the call than just information. With a bit of reflection, John will increase his confidence and he will identify ways to improve his network even more. All with very little extra effort.
  • John is efficient. Most professional development comes from on-the-job training. If we are using activities that ‘don’t really matter’ to practice new skills, we are probably not putting our heart into the activity. There’s no better way to get better at something than to put yourself out there and practice on real activities. Keep it real.

Change your developmental activities from being “something else to do” to real growth and better performance.

Jonathan Shaver