This Just In
Development Plans – Borrrrring!
How many of us have become a little skeptical of the value of the IDPs (Individual Development Plans) or the PDPs (Professional Development Plans) included in our performance assessment instruments each year? In a past life, we put together many such programs for clients. When we trained managers and supervisors how to use the instruments, we heard the usual protests about preparing them. “They’re not worth it.” “They end up being blown off.” “You sign off on them just to satisfy the next level up.” Sitting down withyour manager for a nice mutual discussion on your strengths and weaknesses, and feeling completely safe in sincerely confessing your lack of some skill or your need to alter a habit is often very difficult. And if the person you’re discussing it with can affect your future, maybe impossible. Besides, completing development a plan is a required procedure, so you may feel you are completing the exercise more for the organization than you are for yourself.
But as we have created mentoring programs over the years we have discovered through observation and feedback from mentors and mentees alike, that mentees are far more at ease and much more motivated to discuss professional development issues and to set goals for improvement with their mentors than they are with their bosses. I’m listening but I don’t hear any gasps of surprise out there. It’s just easier for the mentee to consider a mentor as a colleague or an ally. Why is that? The mentor, if he or she is doing the job right, does not have an axe to grind. The mentor’s only priority is that the mentee is helped to improve and grow. And, of course, the mentor properly does not have input into the mentee’s performance rating.
So the moral of the story is – Do not assume that development planning will always work between a boss and direct report. Do think seriously about providing mentors for people in your organization.
– Jim Perrone