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'The Importance of Individual Development Plans -- Part II' from Your Talent@Work with Shawn Kent Hayashi

The Importance of Individual Development Plans -- Part II

Posted: Apr 24, 2012

Imagine hearing your boss say, "Because we see so much potential for you to be a star performer here, I want to provide you with an Individual Development Plan that will help you grow in your current role and for future roles in our organization. " Would that be inspiring to you?" Most people want to grow and learn if the opportunity does not feel like a FIX IT plan. Do you have an easy process for creating Individual Development Plans that are customized to each of your employees in their current roles?

We have tools you can use to create customized IDPs here at!

Individual development plans (IDP) are a crucial part of the process to developing your employees. You can use creating an IDP to start a conversation with an employee about the expectations of their role and what it will mean for her to be a star performer this year.


One thing I find very useful to start this kind of dialogue, is to also provide a Job Benchmark, a Coaching Report and a Gap Report that shows the difference between the Job and the employee. Doing so hones in on their current strengths as well as any blind spots and enables the areas for the IDP to stand out clearly. Start the conversation by letting the employees know you're thrilled to have them both at the company and on your team.


If you find you're having trouble labeling a developmental area my book Conversations for Creating Star Performers has a list of the most common ones, and is a useful resource when you're looking for just the right way to describe an area of development. IDPs give employees:

  • Clarity of their current strengths and competencies;

  • Short and long-term goals;

  • Areas of developmental focus;

  • Strategies for achieving developmental goals;

  • An action plan and timeline;

  • Information about the metrics that will be used to measure results.

By creating and being part of an organizational culture that respects IDPs, you will find it:

  • Brands your company as being interested in developing people-setting them up for success in their role.

  • Encourages employees to take responsibility for their career planning.

  • Encourages employees to learn from and with each other-collaboratively.

  • Focuses employees on being lifetime learners, not lifetime employees.

If you would like help creating a Professional Development Plan, please reach out to me - I can help you create one for yourself or your team members very efficiently.


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