Plan Your Professional Development for 2015-2016
In last month’s Rhode Island Creative Magazine (RICM) we discussed how to Think Strategically About Your Career. If you have not had the opportunity to review that article, you may wish to do that at this time. Assuming you have, we’ll now talk about translating strategic goals into a concrete action plan.
We will be preparing a three-part professional development plan for 2015-2016. The first part is very simple. Write or copy a five or six-sentence summary of your strategic plan onto the top of your professional development plan. Read it and be sure it is still meaningful for you.
Implementing a major plan may take many years and may require many steps. The second part of your plan includes documenting these steps. Think of where you are today. Think of where you want to be. Write out all of the steps required to move from where you are today to where you want to be in small steps. The first steps should cover time intervals of three months or less. Don’t be too aggressive, or you may get discouraged. The later steps may include a time period spanning up to a year. Assign dates to each step.
The third part of your plan involves preparing a very detailed listing and description of everything which needs to be done in 2015 and 2016 from the second part of your plan. This may include having conversations, taking classes, reading books, observing, attending networking events, making telephone calls, sending emails, etc. Just list each of these items, along with a realistic start date and a realistic completion date for each of these items.
Once your plan is complete, review it and decide if you think it is worth doing. If it is, review it with selected members of your board of directors (see last month’s article for explanation of the board of directors). Commit to the plan. Enter each of these items onto your personal calendar. Prioritize these development items as being at least as important as other items on your calendar (or the plan will not work). Check each item off on your calendar and on your development plan as completed. Most importantly, never let a week go by in which you don’t do something towards your plan. Some weeks you may need to do less, but always do something each week – this keeps your plan moving and forces you to continually think about your plan, which can spark creative and impactful ideas.
I would like to thank Dr. Margarita Posada Cossuto for helpful comments.
by Ron Shapiro, PhD