Sample Review Paper on Own Personal and Professional Development

Task 3: Assignment

3.1 The process and activities required to implement the development plan

There is need to have in place a well-structured and universally accepted implementation process for the development plan. This would mean working on related activities to achieve both personal objectives and organizational goals through effective deployment of a system(s), plan(s), or method(s) with each of the activities included at every stage of implementation (Adair & Allen, 1999). Some of the key steps or processes followed in the implementation of a personal development plan include: initiation of the development plan; identification of key development processes; identification of tasks or roles; determining action plans; assigning roles; prioritizing on important tasks; timing of activities; activity costing and budgeting; execution of activities and; plan review and evaluation.

Process initiation

This is the first stage in the implementation of a PDP, which entails identification and processing of key execution objectives. At this stage, the first requirement is that an individual must outline all his or her personal and professional objectives, which must also be in line with the general performance objectives of the organization (Adair & Allen, 1999). Clearly outlined objectives and process execution will help eliminate the constraints while ensuring higher outcomes and personal growth.

Identifying key processes

This stage involves identifying and investigating the activities to be undertaken to ensure a change in the personal development plan (Adair & Allen, 1999). While investigating the activities to be followed throughout the implementation process, the individual must compare current situation to desired situations, especially when the implementation requires new processes to be considered.

Identification of tasks or roles

At this stage, it is necessary to identify all the tasks to be undertaken so that the main objectives can be accomplished as planned. It is also possible to perform risk assessment at this stage, so that those factors that may delay the implementation process can be identified and managed appropriately.

Determining action plans

At this stage, the tasks are split into smaller functions so that each individual in the team can be assigned a role to manage. The action plan for the implementation may also involve engaging other senior staff members, especially where important decisions are required for effective implementation of the development plan.

Assigning roles

The action plan may involve dividing tasks based on their weight, human resource requirement and financial requirement. At this stage, individuals are assigned tasks to shorten the implementation time and also reduce the workload on each person.

Prioritizing on important tasks

This stage involves identifying key subtasks and prioritizing on such activities so that there is a reduction in time take to complete them.

Timing of activities

This stage involves estimating the overall time required to complete all the tasks and also forecasting the maximum time each subtask can take to be completed. With the involvement of teamwork, it is possible that the activities can be completed within the shortest time and at relatively lower cost of implementation.

Activity costing and budgeting

Effective planning and implementation of a personal development plan require proper identification of activities and their costs characteristics. Activity costing is important since it ensures maximum allocation of funds and resources that can be used to improve the implementation process.

Execution of activities

At this stage, there is need for an effective execution plan, which means that the assigned roles must be performed at the most convenient time to prevent delays in implementation of the plan.

Plan review and evaluation

The final stage entails reviewing, observing and evaluating the entire development plan based on the earlier formulated objectives.

3.2 undertaking and documenting development activities as planned

Personal development activities assist leaders and managers in their work environments to develop positive relationships with other staff members. At various levels of management, it is true that there are people who continually grow, develop and learn new tactics (Cottrell, 2010). These categories of people who can learn and grow are convinced that knowledge, new experiences and skills play important roles in their lives by making them better persons, and therefore set goals and plan for actions so that they can fulfil both their personal and professional objectives (Cottrell, 2010). Consider the table below with development activities that can improve interpersonal roles and intrapersonal relationships, particularly in a work environment and their documentation is considered ideal for the purposes of learning.

Priority Activity Completed by who Timeframe
Highly Important Increasing level of professionalism and efficiency Human Resource Manager 1 Month
Highly important Developing effective communication within the work environment IT Manager 3 months
Important Recognizing and appreciating the work of other individuals Human Resource Manager 1 weeks
Somehow important Creating new strategies to maximize output Production Manager 1 month
Important   Learning and enhancing individual’s performance Production Manager 2 Months
Highly important Learning how to manage stress Production/Human Resource Manager 1 month

Goal setting and activity documentation are critical processes since that enhances personal performance. While activity documentation provides a general idea about development plans based on personal objectives, the ability to include well-articulated goals depend on personal inspirations (Drew & Bingham, 2001). This would mean conducting a deeper study to understand the roles to be accomplished within the shortest time possible. Apart from the mentioned activities, it becomes important for an individual to learn and develop time management techniques, be able to organize personal work space, set target for personal projects and focus on one task at a time.

3.3 Reflecting critically on own learning against original aims and objectives set in the development plan

The objectives set in the development plan aim at increasing the level of professionalism and efficiency in the work environment; developing effective communication within the work environment; recognizing and appreciating the work of other individuals; creating new strategies to maximize output; learning and enhancing individual’s performance and; learning how to manage stress. The objectives are important in a work environment since they improve the performance relationship between managers, process planners and other stakeholders (Honey & Mumford, 1992).

Learning is a continuous process that allows individuals have a better understanding of their personal needs and how such needs differ across the various professional fields (Honey & Mumford, 1992). The differences in profession and personal life targets compel individuals to set goals that are welfare improving. The only difference in this case is that some of the aims and objectives have more weight than others and may require higher levels of engagement, huge resources and more time for the development, planning and implementation.

Effective activity implementation requires proper analysis and higher levels of understanding of all the activities as set in the development in terms of implementation cost and execution time (Honey & Mumford, 1992). Through learning, it becomes possible to conduct a detailed analysis of personal development plan based on the objective and goals of the presented by the individual. This means that the person in question will be in a position to improve performance in his or her current roles, be able to address unanticipated changes in roles as well as getting the opportunity to address career aspirations towards a future role. Before completing the personal development the decision to engage in skill analysis and other relevant activities would help in the identification of learning and needs for development as well as sorting out the objectives to meet personal desires.

3.4 updating the development plan based on feedback and Evaluation

Essentially, the personal and professional development plan evolved as an approach towards planning careers and skill development among individuals in organizations that depended on human workforce as one of the useful resources. Professional and Personal Development Plans aid in creation and development of clear action plans through which individuals in various organizations, especially the line managers and human resource managers, can take primary responsibility to ensure the best input in terms of skills. For the purpose of ensuring continuity in their managerial roles, individuals must identify prior to the implementation of the development plan supportive activities (Honey & Mumford, 1992).

Feedback and evaluation are vital stages in the implementation process, and even though the PDPs may differ based on the type, nature and objectives of individuals, certain activities remain essential since they define the plan and also provide guidelines for the implementation.

Under the feedback and evaluation approach, updating the personal development plan would mean learning from others; learning through research; engaging in self-managed learning and; learning through seminars, secondments and conferences (Adair, 1988). All these activities will ensure that an individual develops appropriate skills that would be used in evaluating personal strengths and weaknesses against the set personal objectives or goals.

Task 4: Individual Presentation

4: Demonstrating acquired interpersonal and transferable skills

In most occasions, employees tend to demand soft skills like ability to understand each team member and communicate clearly; reason selflessly in order to prove a lasting solution to the range of problems the organization is facing and; extract and use appropriate information for the purposes of improving the overall organization’s productivity (Davis, 2011). All the mentioned skills in this section are considered transferrable, and when fused with personal skills, positive attitudes and behaviours, there are higher chances that the person will grow on the job, work with other employees and contribute productively to the functions of the organization. Transferrable skills, otherwise known as employability skills, are those skills that complement technical expertise making it easier for individuals to use their hard technical skills efficiently.

In general, transferrable skills like strong communication skills, ability to work well with others, ability to work well in a team and ability to manage personal skills effectively are highly recommended for an individual that aims at improving his or her relationship with other staff members. In summary, communication as one of the transferrable skills in a work place requires an individual to:

  • Read and be able to understand the nature and content of information as presented in different forms like words, charts and pictorial diagrams;
  • Be able to communicate in clear terms in a way that can allow those engaged in business function to derive a meaning of what is being communicated;
  • Remain committed in organization’s function, engage in other individuals by asking relevant questions so that the points and views of other people can be understood and appreciated;
  • Constantly engage in information sharing through available technologies.

Apart from communication a person should develop interpersonal skills because majority of employers are increasingly becoming interested in people who can fit in the organization. By fitting in the organization, employers are interested in employees who:

  • Know, and are enthusiastic, about their employers and the job
  • Capable of sharing the goals and values of the organization and employers
  • Are able to appreciate the employers’ organizational structures and designed processes
  • Have higher experiences working in multicultural environments and
  • Are in a position to work as a team

The interpersonal skills as already stated are important when it comes to working as a team to improve individuals’ roles and functions towards mutually shared objectives. Through interpersonal skills, it becomes possible to manage a successful team with each member committing to accomplish shared goals; contributing to a climate of trust and openness; communicating honestly and openly; valuing diversity as part of the organization’s asset and encouraging creativity and ability to take risks. The most important personal management skills recognized in any organization or business environment include:

  • Positive attitude and behaviour so that employees can demonstrate confidence in their roles, respect for other employees as well as showing interest in the work done by other people.
  • Showing higher sense of responsibility by laying down goals and priorities; and developing a framework of managing time and the available resources more efficiently.
  • Getting interested in lifelong learning experiences so that there is improvement in individual activities
  • Being in a position to adapt, carry out several tasks or plans, remaining innovative and becoming open and responsive to change.

4.1 select solutions to work-based problems

The many problems experienced in work environments and life require immediate intervention because at times, it may not be possible to have enough time in future to solve them. Problem solving is one of the key roles of leaders and business managers and this means that leaders must at all times be courageous enough to tackle problems as they emerge. This follows the objective to persistently remain resilient with and aim of creating and sustain higher performance levels. In line with the personal goals and objectives stated in part three of this discussion, there are four major solutions to a work-based problem. The four solutions to work-based problems include:

Transparent communication

At this level, every person is allowed to express concerns and points of argument freely without interference. Effective communication in this context is important in problem solving because it is facilitated by organisational leaders who advocate for open dialogue. The process is effective since it restores the trust of individuals who feel that they are in a safe environment to share their grievances (Cunningham, Bennett & Dawes, 2000).  Under effective communication, there is need to present the voices and all differing opinions so that the leader can collectively and within the shortest time map out the leading path towards a viable and more sustainable solution.

Breaking down silos

This is the second stage in problem solution and requires that there is creating or a boundary-less organization with a culture targeting the health status of employees and other staff members. The silos are the main cause of problems in a work environment and times become hard to resolved, especially when there is division among the teams (Cunningham, Bennett & Dawes, 2000). The only way to improve this approach of solving a problem is by embracing entrepreneur skills so that individuals can navigate and connect with an aim of solving a problem.

Remaining open minded

An individual who is open in his or her thought is always in a position to eliminate the silos and problems in communication within an organization. This argument is based on the understanding that an individual who is closed-minded faces long and winding roads of misery when it comes to developing a framework for effective problem solving.

Implementing a sound foundational strategy

At this stage, effective strategies must be laid down so that all the problems arising from within the organisation can be solved. The implementation requires the leader to dissect the problems instead of determining the strategies for changes lying within the problem itself (Cunningham, Bennett & Dawes, 2000).

In general the stages followed in problem solving can be summarized into problem evaluation, problem management, decision making, problem resolution, and examination of results as outlined in the table below.

Main Steps  Detailed Procedures
Problem evaluation At this stage, there is need to clarify the nature of the problem, formulate questions, gather relevant information, collect and organize data, condense and summarize information, and finally define the desired objectives.
Problem management This stage requires effective use of the information gathered, splitting the problem into manageable parts, brainstorming and considering options, analysing the presented options, and identifying appropriate steps to be followed in achieving the objectives.
Decision making, This involves making proper decisions based on the possible options and actions to be taken, making decisions on further information that can be collected before an action is considered, deciding on the resources like time, finances and staff.
Problem resolution This entails implementing actions, making information available to other stakeholders, or rather delegating tasks, and reviewing progress
Examination of results Monitoring the outcomes of the specific actions and reviewing the problem solving techniques as well as ensuring that similar problems do no occur in future.

4.2 communicating in a variety of styles and appropriate manner at various levels

Communication is an important tool among professionals working in the corporate world and with effective interpersonal communication; there are higher chances of creating a smooth platform for running the business. Following the changes in business operations and the needs to have a strong performance base, individuals must be in a position to understand the various communication styles and the factors that trigger them (Cunningham, Bennett & Dawes, 2000). An individual’s level of reception can be determined based on how one speaks about himself, for example, being able to share personal information and at the same time remaining comfortable with emotions. At times, individuals would prefer remaining reserved and not sharing their feeling with other colleagues. The various styles of communication can be explained through the 4 categories of communicators as below.

Open communicators

  • Individuals are able to express their emotions and feelings freely;
  • People intend to have informal conversation before engaging in actual business discussions or activities;
  • People have the zeal to know business partners and other important figures around.

Reserved communicators

  • Individuals do not like other people to know about their private lives;
  • People tend to keep personal information and how their feel or think about things;
  • Asking personal questions may at times make this group of individuals feel uneasy;
  • This category of individuals is always busy with the work assigned and rarely participates in workplace communication and other social activities.

Indirect communicators

  • This category of individuals have a slow and intentional talk;
  • They do not fee attracted to fast, loud and intensive talks;
  • These people concentrate more on the presented facts and figures, and not on personal assumptions.

Direct communicators

  • The individuals in this category talk direct and in a clamorous and rapid manner compared to the indirect communicators;
  • The individuals are able to accept risks;
  • Are aggressive and self-assured;
  • They relate well with the ‘type A’ personalities.

The above discussion reveals the various styles including open, reserved, indirect communication and direct communication with the underlying explanations as presented under each category of communicator.

4.3 evaluating and using effective time management strategies

Effective time management is an important aspect in planning for personal and professional management, and just like other resource, effective time management indicates earlier preparation towards meeting the set goals and personal objective. Evaluation defines the approach used to determine whether the development plan is viable based on the set goals, cost and time of implementation (Dubrin, 1997). The timing and evaluation are important stages in the planning and implementing a PDP since they allow individuals to: understand what they can realistically achieve within the time allocated; make appropriate time allocation, which is essential for the remaining part of the plan; take care of the unexpected by adding contingency time; limit the plan to the resources available and; establish a proper work-life balance.

With the idea of time management, it becomes important for the individual to have deeper understating of techniques like prioritization, planning, scheduling, organization and delegation (Chambers, Wakley & Bright, 2008). The five techniques are widely applied by organizations that aim at improving efficiency in performance by creating a link between human resources and capital resources. Where organizations engage in effective time management, there are higher possibilities that more work will be done within the time available so that the output per hour will be higher.

Organization– at this stage, the activities must be conducted in an orderly manner to avoid instances where other activities fall out of the system. The idea is to prevent the negative performances and result due to slowed operations, procrastination or assigning lesser value to some of the activities.

Prioritization-at this stage, categorization base on the value, cost, and urgency of activities is applied as a reflection of the overall performance (Chambers, Wakley & Bright 2008). The valuable, less costly and urgent activities are determined before considering those activities that are less valuable, costly and with longer duration. The activities can be evaluated through scaling, or through ABC analysis where activities are rated from 1 to 10 based on either agency, cost or value, and the activity with the most desirable characteristics considered for implementation (Chambers, Wakley & Bright, 2008). The fact that an individual or management is able to prioritize in the most valuable activities means that the more work can be done at the lowest cost and shortest time possible.

The idea under ABC in this context is that tasks that have longer duration are more risky than tasks to be performed in shorter durations. Additionally, other time evaluation methods consist of Pareto analysis and POSEC method (Dubrin, 1997). Similarly, the Pareto analysis postulates that a particular percentage of the tasks can be effectively completed within a shorter time if the planning is sufficient. The analysis attaches probabilistic values to the tasks, for example, if p is percentage number of tasks completed in time t, then 1-p is the proportion of tasks that will take up to p percent of the time allocated.  The POSEC approach work under the assumption that people should be in a position to predict, prioritize, organize, economize and contribute their personal skills to improve the work experiences of other individuals.

Elimination- this phase entails removing part of the tasks considered not important, or those considered insignificant in the development plan. This means that the tasks must be first classified based on their importance and those that carry lesser weights are permanently removed from the development plan.

Monitoring-the monitoring stage remains important in the life cycle of the plan since it allows an individual or individuals to match goals with real achievements. Within the frameworks of assessment there is a possibility of determining those factors that may make the development plan fail (Cameron, 2005). The technique allows involvement through suitable schemes to improve the plan by emphasizing some of parts to be adjusted

References

Adair, J., and Allen, M. 1999. Time Management and Personal Development. Hawksmere.

Adair. J. 1988. Effective Leadership. Pan Books. London.

Cameron, S. 2005. The business student’s handbook: Learning Skills for Study and Employment. 1st ed. Financial Times Prentice Hall. Harlow.

Chambers, R., Wakley, G. and Bright, P. 2008. Revalidation. 1st ed. Radcliffe: Oxford

Cottrell, S. 2010. Skills for Success: The Personal Development Planning Handbook Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.

Cunningham, I., Bennett, B., & Dawes, G. (Eds). 2000. Self -Managed Learning in Action: Putting SML into Practice. Gower, Farnham.

Davis, G. 2011. Make Life Work: Personal Growth for Today’s entrepreneur. Google Books

Drew, S. and Bingham, R. 2001. The student skills guide. 1st ed. Gower. Aldershot, Hampshire, England:

Dubrin, A. 1997. 10 Minute Guide to Leadership. John Wiley & Sons. London.

Honey, P. and Mumford, A. 1992. The manual of learning styles. 1st ed. Peter Honey. Maidenhead: London.