When planning a road trip to a new destination, we always make sure we have a map handy to ensure we don’t get lost along the way. Why should life be any different? Whether it’s to further your career as a mortgage broker or to achieve goals in your private life, a personal development plan is your roadmap to growth.
How do I build a personal development plan?
To get the most out of your personal development plan, understand that this plan is – as the title suggests – an incredibly personal process.
The main reason why personal development plans fail is because they’re focused on the business, rather than the individual, reveals change management expert Joseph Folkman to Forbes. Folkman further acknowledges that many personal development plans ignore the personal motivations of the employee in favour of those thought to be important by higher management.
With this considered, it’s important your personal development plan targets specific areas of growth unique to an individual, rather than those of the wider company.
1. Define your goals
Before you build your plan, you need to identify why you’re creating one in the first place. The best way to isolate your goals is by thinking ahead – where would you like to be in three years time? Generalised goals aren’t going to help you in a personal development plan – simply aiming for “more success” will make your plan too broad, and leaves little room to hone in on specific areas of focus. Reflect on your daily activities, and what aspects could be better. Perhaps you would like to progress further up the company ladder, or build a better relationship with your clients.
An effective method of determining these goals is through SMART criteria – an acronym outlining key parameters that your goal needs to meet in order to be feasible. Under SMART, your goal needs to be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-based. This method helps in creating accountability for your goal – while your personal objectives may be difficult to reach, under this criteria they aren’t impossible. For example, instead of stating your goal as “being more successful”, consider what this may mean – perhaps customer retention or satisfaction, or selling a certain number of policies.
2. Identify your strengths and weaknesses
There’s little benefit in creating a personal development plan if you’re unaware of the areas you need to develop. Time to get introspective – what are your strengths? Isolating these skills can help in determining which ones can help fill the gaps in areas you’re less confident in. For example, you may have great empathy and perception, but struggle at maintaining meaningful customer relationships. In highlighting these traits, links can be made between them to help develop your skills further.
While it’s important to largely base your personal development plan from your own self-perception, we often have a skewed interpretation of our skills. Chat to your colleagues about their view of you and your skills.
In these instances, numbers can speak louder than words. Review your previous performance and identify areas to improve on. Within this identification stage, it’s helpful to make note of any roadblocks or opportunities that are likely to come up along the way. This may be a chance for a salary increase, or a planned holiday that reduces your time in the office. Keeping these in check before they occur means you can adequately prepare and recognise how they fit into your personal planning.
3. Reflect and review
Once you have put your plan into action, it’s important to continually review the process. The idea of personal development is to continue adapting and growing in order to get the best out of your performance. Carrying out a thorough evaluation at the end of your personal development plan period allows you to draw insights into what could be improved or what you should do differently next time. Questions you can ask yourself include:
- Have I progressed towards my goals?
- Did I achieve as much as I intended?
- What were the areas of difficulty throughout the process?
By following these tips, your personal development plan can not only indicate where you’re going in terms of goals and how to get there, but what may lie beyond the benchmark.
As one of Australia’s fastest growing broker groups, we pride ourselves on our ability to produce industry professionals of the highest quality. For more information on how Red Rock can help further your mortgage finance career, request an information pack.