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Individual Development Planning

Establishing a direction and mapping out your success




What is an Individual Development Plan? 

Close up Two Happy Young Businesswomen at the Office Talking About Business Report on Paper.Having a direction and a purpose for our work can help us to stay motivated and engaged.  It can help us to establish goals and efficiently work towards them.  Individual Development Plans, or IDPs, can help us to define our direction and map out our career and development path.  An IDP is action oriented with checkpoints that can be measured.  The key to a successful Development Plan is knowing yourself and being honest about what it is going to take to get you there. But first, you need to own the process and take the time to reflect on yourself and your true career goals. 


What are some components of an Individual Development Plan? 

There are four main sections that should be included in the Individual Development Plan: 

Professional/Career Goals or Aspirations 

  • Where do you see yourself in a year? 3 years? 5 years? Defining this vision helps us to identify the destination that we are working towards.  Now, think about what skills are necessary to achieve this vision. This will determine our next steps.  
  • When establishing professional or career goals, think about how this aligns to your values.  Every goal should have some level of intrinsic motivation built into it, so identifying what we enjoy and want to pursue is going to help ensure the presence of intrinsic motivation.  
  • Meet with your Manager to share your goals and aspirations.  They may have additional insight into different roles that could be a good fit.  They can also then start to advocate for you to leadership, share encouragement and positive reinforcement, and identify different development/training opportunities as they arise that will aid in your pursuit of your goals and aspirations.  

Identify and Leverage Strengths and Talents 

  • Each person brings something unique to the table.  Identifying your strengths and talents is going to help you determine how you can best leverage those assets, helping you to meet your checkpoints efficiently.  
  • Starting with our strengths and talents helps us to stay positive and confident.  We know what we can fall back on during challenges or times of chaos, helping us to stay calm and able to rise to the occasion.  
  • Be sure to reference previous employee assessments and Sparks to further back up your identification of your strengths and talents.  Meet with your Manager to gain their perspective as well.   

Training and Development Opportunities 

  • Now that we know our strengths, where do we want to focus our time on improvement or enhancement? What areas do we want to develop in the upcoming performance period? 
  • Once we have identified the development opportunities we want to pursue, let’s also determine how we can grow in these areas.  Are there any training opportunities?  Is there someone who could mentor you?   
  • Be sure to include a date by when you want to have developed this area to ensure that you are actively working to grow. This date will help you to provide updates and adjustments in your Contextual History.  

Action Plans 

  • Building off of our Training and Development Opportunities, it is essential that we define how exactly we will be growing.  Having specific and measurable action plans with a deadline will help us to stay focused and motivated on the task at hand.   
  • Once you have outlined your plan, document it as a Spark.  Sharing your plan with your Manager helps to hold you accountable and keep everyone on the same page.  Be sure to update your plans and goals as necessary.  A good development plan is one that is constantly revisited and updated as career goals are met and aspirations change. So, get ready and start developing yourself and your career! 

What is the difference between an Individual Development Plan and a Performance Improvement Plan? 

A Performance Improvement Plan, or PIP, is a more formal document that outlines what a Team Member needs to do to bring their performance up to an acceptable standard.  It is typically for employees who are struggling and performing at a lower level.   

An IDP focuses more on career goals and is a proactive plan that helps Team Members to achieve their developmental aspirations.  Individual Development Plans are a good practice for all employees as it helps everyone to plan for success.   


Guides to get you started 

Planning out your future can seem intimidating.  Feel free to use these guides as you start to reflect and put together your Individual Development Plan.  Once you’ve completed a guide, attach it to a Spark for easy reference.  

Thinking About MyScreen Shot 2021-07-19 at 3.49.53 PM Motivators
My Career Aspirations and Development Opportunities
My Learning Objectives Calendar
Individual Development Plan Template

Want even more resources?

Be sure to check out the rest of the Employee Resource Center, as well as our Resources page in Truvelop Tips.  We have links to TED Talks, blogs and articles, interviews, and podcasts

Have other ideas for content?  Drop us a message at support@truvelop.com 

Have any questions? Want to learn more one on one?  Email juliana.withers@truvelop.com


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