The Professional Development Plan

A Professional Development Plan (PDP) is a document drafted by the individual in collaboration with their manager, one or more mentors, and perhaps a career counselor from the HR department. As a member of the SMT it is highly likely that you will be invited to help an individual with one or more of these roles.

The PDP planning horizon usually spans a full year with reviews on a quarterly basis or as requested by the individual. When used in a job situation the temptation is to schedule a PDP planning session in conjunction with an annual performance review process. In practice it is usually better to schedule PDP development/updating and the performance review processes at different times. Scheduling the performance review and career planning sessions six months out of phase with each other is my recommendation. Conducting a performance evaluation and career planning session concurrently is strongly discouraged. The performance review is not a safe harbor for the individual. In a performance review they are under pressure and often put in a defensive position. In a career planning session they are in dream mode and don't need any pressure imposed on them from some other conflicting activity imposed upon these sessions.

The structure of the PDP process is portrayed in Figure 5.1. First note that the PDP process is never ending. Well I suppose it does end but that will be at death or after winning the lottery. Note that the plan is defined by doing ...

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