An Introduction to role-task, work-based development plans

Development plans sound like a great idea but somehow installing this as a practice in organizations can sometimes be quite challenging. There is a tendency to focus so much on the 'template' that we forget the actions the template is supposed to scaffold and enable, and the results and value those actions are supposed to achieve and deliver. 

Like everything else in life, some of the things we do with conscious, rational thought and decision have become habits such that we are no longer aware that we are doing it or in some cases why we are doing it. 

Development is one of those things that we naturally do in response to things we are trying to achieve that we currently can't. How effective we are in selecting and executing development actions differ and this might over time result in either a belief that we can develop what is needed or a belief that we cannot. For example, people decide they can't learn certain things or do certain things because of previous experiences of failing while trying to learn or do those things.

The beauty and opportunity that reside within development planning in an organisational context are the opportunities within tasks you are required to execute daily. These are the tasks you execute to achieve certain results to deliver certain value in your current role or for a future role. The concrete, grounded nature of this reality means development is probably already happening as you pursue these goals but risks being highly inefficient and ineffective which could potentially lead to conclusions like "I can't do that job" or "I am not cut out for this" or other growth and performance potential limiting beliefs. Therefore, the goals associated with implementing a development plan in an organisational context include:

  1. To bring conscious rationalisation to the effort of development - this way you can know what you are working on and avoid emotions clouding the definition to equate all experiences to the same thing (positive or negative)
  2. To be able to draw on support to ensure you are clear about what you are working on and that the actions you are selecting to take to achieve it can help you achieve it
  3. Be able to check if you're making progress without being, once again, blinded by emotions associated with experiences that do not contribute to actual progress
  4. Ultimately, this process, that forces a conscious reflection on development goals and actions, conditions and positions the individual to pay attention to all experiences of those actions with a development mindset which, by itself, has the potential to drive development results and value immediately.

The only way to achieve the above goals is if the approach to development planning is tightly integrated to the tasks of the role and not to an abstraction from these role tasks towards generic content. Much like the visual below, the approach needs to be more of the image on the right; task-performance focused and not so much of the left, knowledge and skill focused. 

The attached presentation presents a detailed view of how this might play out using a template to drive the explanation and narrative. Using the template allows the narrative to address the "so how will someone do this" while retaining a complete emphasis on "why is someone doing it".  

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