Creating a Personal Development Plan
At Boomer Consulting, Inc., we talk a lot about working ourselves out of a job and into a new one, and we focus on our bigger futures and unique abilities to get us there. As I prepare for maternity leave, I’ve found it helpful to refine my own personal development plan. But first, let’s rewind to last fall, where this journey really began.
I was tasked with writing a new job description to fit the job I was currently doing, not what I was hired to do. I was recruited to fill the shoes of a high-functioning executive assistant, bookkeeper, office manager, and jack-of-all-trades. Needless to say, these were mighty big shoes to fill. After a few months in my position, it was very clear that my unique abilities did not align with those of my predecessor. That’s when the development of my position began to take place. We shifted a few responsibilities to others in the firm who would be a better fit to provide the level of service my predecessor provided. We eliminated unnecessary tasks, improved processes for bottlenecks and focused in on the key tasks, issues and responsibilities that were needed to help us be more successful and future-ready. Having a refined job description helped me to see how my position was important to the firm as a whole. It also helped focus my personal and professional development so that I could be the best person for the job, no matter where it took me.
Effective Job Descriptions and Duties
As I mentioned previously, I was hired to fill some pretty big shoes. My predecessor had been with the company for 15 years and had learned how to run the firm from the ground up. Coming into the private industry after almost ten years in nonprofit and governmental work, I had to refocus and realign my thinking to that of a small business. This is where I realized that my unique abilities were not the right fit. While I would be able to do my job effectively, I would not be able to do it with the same timeliness or efficiency that had come to be expected.
After this revelation, I was tasked with writing new versions of my job description: one that focused on the now and one that focused on the future. Over the next few weeks, I purposefully thought about my job duties, what my unique abilities are and how I can leverage them to help make BCI successful and future-ready. After several one-on-one meetings, coaching and personal reflection, I developed job descriptions that properly reflected my impact on the firm today and in the future. While several elements of my current one bleed into my future one, the underlying theme of my job description is this: If I can fulfill my job duties effectively and competently, I will eventually help leverage my knowledge and unique abilities in such a way that makes BCI successful. Whether we are looking at budgeting, forecasting or day-to-day operations, if I can fulfill my duties strategically, I will have helped to position our team to make smarter decisions about our future.
Personal and Professional Development
I’ve set my sights on developing into a leader, knowing that I need guidance to develop some of those skills to be truly effective. I reached out to Sandra Wiley, President of Boomer Consulting, Inc., for the proper training and coaching. We meet quarterly for individual coaching and as a larger group in a firm focused leadership program. Ultimately, the goal is to develop the skills necessary to help me be a better fit for my future job.
Earlier this year, our firm took our first set of 360 evaluations and established baselines on where we needed to develop ourselves. The underlying theme through most of my evaluation was that I needed to develop myself to be a better leader. For me, it was almost a relief to have my peers identify the same areas of improvement for me that I see in myself. Over the next few months, I have been tasked, through coaching and through self-reflection, to find the right resources that will help me step out of my shell and find my voice. Later this year, we will take our second round of 360 evaluations, which will help us to see how much we have improved and developed ourselves in specific areas.
What areas do you need to develop to be future ready? Whether it is in leadership, management, or communication, the steps I took can be applied:
Identify what you do now, and what you will need to be able to do in the future to have the career path you want and help your firm be successful
Identify the skills you need to develop to prepare for your future role – getting feedback from your peers, mentors and coaches can help ensure you’re on the right path.
Identify resources to develop those skills. These might be courses, leadership development programs, or peer communities.
Personal development doesn’t happen by accident. Finding a mentor and coach to give hands-on, one-on-one guidance and creating a plan of action is one of the most important steps you can take to develop yourself for the future.