August 15, 2011

the real value of employee development plans

I believe in goals.

People we would describe as successful are frequently quoted speaking about goals. One clear statement, attributed to one of the pioneers of the self-development movement, Earl Nightingale, is that "people with goals succeed because they know where they are going. It's as simple as that."

Over and over again, my personal experience provides evidence to support this premise. It is an easy equation. When I have goals, I work towards them. When I don't have goals, I drift and feel lost.

To create goals, to stay present to them, to regularly assess progress, and to achieve them, requires some sort of structure. Many personal development and business success books and programs provide just this: a structure to help us achieve our goals. If you follow the approach, you will achieve what they promise. Each of us has own our style of approach that works best for us.

Organizations have forms of personal development plans. These plans are also intended to provide this structure. Although such plans can be useful for employers to evaluate performance, they are also rooted in the basic premise that human beings are happiest and most fulfilled when they are working towards something.

If you are required to have an employee development plan for the organization you work for, consider looking at it from this perspective. It is a structure intended to help you achieve your goals.  Not as something you have to do, but as something you choose to do because it makes your life work better.

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