The higher the level of management, the rarer women become, so supporting the development and progression of women is absolutely crucial, says Marie Hannan-Meads, MD and founder of Professional Development Training.
Direct a recent CMI Women Webinar on Creating an Ambitious Personal Development Plan (PDP)Marie reviewed the importance of PDPs and discussed the essential skills we should include when developing one.
Women’s career development
Quoting an article in Forbes magazine, Marie described the four typical phases of women’s careers.
The first step is 20s Ambition – those who are just starting their careers and can focus on learning and exploring, without dependents. Then comes the 1930s Culture shock, where individuals may face a conflict between parental responsibilities and career potential. The third stage is quarantine Re-acceleration, refocusing on career priorities. Finally, 50 years and + Self-actualization, where âempty nestersâ discover their âpeakâ career years.
These career milestones, explains Marie, can help determine what your current priorities might be when developing your PDP – which she says are becoming more important than ever. Part of the reason for this is that the idea of ââladder progression has been replaced by a ‘trellis path approach’ where instead of a ‘forward and upward’ career, it can take turns. lateral to different functions or departments.
What is a PDP?
Marie describes a PDP as a âlive self-management toolâ that allows us to review and improve our current performance while keeping an eye on future potential. It allows us to document our career development with quarterly or semi-annual reviews, to keep tabs on what we have done and learned, and to determine where we are in our professional journey. Ultimately, a PDP allows us to design, implement and track career development.
The role of self-awareness
Self-knowledge is the first step in developing a PDP. DiSC modeling, 360 degree feedback, SWOT analysis, one-on-one coaching sessions, etc. can help understand strengths, weaknesses and potential stressors and give us the opportunity to think about our future. (Please note that all of these templates are available on CMI’s ManagementDirect platform – members can log in and search for these terms here.)
âCoupling this self-knowledge and this SWOT analysis with your future goal means you can identify where you would ultimately like to get to while still accepting that that may change in five years,â says Marie. âSo where do you see your future goal at this point? ” she asks.
PDPs should include three key areas:
â¢ Staff : What areas of personal improvement do you need to work on? This may relate to handling difficult situations, dealing with clients, presentation skills, assertive behavior, or personal confidence.
â¢ Technical: Depending on your role, you may need specific technical qualifications or experience, such as project management, purchasing CIPs, or obtaining a charter.
â¢ Leadership management: What management or development skills do you need to acquire to be the best you can be? It can be planning or organizing, delegating or motivating teams. This area is a step forward in becoming a team member and becoming a team leader, explains Marie.
21st century skills
There are several 21st century skills from a leadership / management perspective that Marie believes should be included in a PDP:
â¢ Collaborative work – work effectively between functions and teams
â¢ Emotional intelligence – social awareness of the person you are working with and adapting to different social situations
â¢ Agility and resilience – the ability to adapt to change quickly and to bounce back from setbacks
â¢ Build and inspire a team – have a fundamental understanding of how teams work and inspire and motivate others
â¢ Influencing skills – understanding office politics, being able to broaden your leadership style to suit the needs of the people you work with.
Along with this, Marie points out additional skills that she believes are fundamental to reaching the leadership levels. These include strategic awareness, business acumen, budget control, networking and visibility. In particular, visibility is a crucial element, especially since some women may be reluctant towards self-promotion.
âFrom the perspective of women in management, it’s really important to start a bit of self-promotion,â says Marie. âWe need to think about raising our profile and making sure people understand that we are ambitious and that we want to get our name out there. “
Marie recommends incorporating SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) into a PDP to ensure that goals are monitored, met and ultimately achievable within a defined time frame.
PDPs should be self-directed and written and include many elements of what Mary calls “extended missions”, requiring different skills and approaches, and outside your comfort zone.
âTake something that is out of the norm for you. Come up with a different approach to a challenge, âshe advises. âRaise your hand, volunteer, get started on new projects or initiatives. “
The 70-20-10 rule of PDPs is particularly relevant here: 70% of a PDP can be achieved in-house, whether by changing work practices, stretching assignments or getting involved in training budgets. . Often times, it’s just the time and creativity that is needed. The 20% of a PDP is based on review, feedback and coaching: examining existing relationships and creating interactions between different departments. The remaining 10% require formalized training and qualification, such as the Chartered Manager Award from CMI. Will you add accreditation to your PDP for 2021?
âThis means that you have a lot of ammunition to go to your supervisor to discuss development, because the majority of a PDP can be done in-house,â says Marie. âIt doesn’t have to be done at the expense of the organization. “
It is also important to be ambitious. It’s about coaching and mentoring others, handling tough negotiation, managing teams, and increasing your exposure to senior leaders. All of this, says Marie, will âmassively developâ interpersonal and leadership skills.
Keep it alive
As Marie points out, it is crucial that none of this is just flash in the pan; something that is put away and forgotten. It is about taking responsibility, monitoring the entire process, reviewing it regularly and making it evolve. A PDP needs to be meaningful, so if it doesn’t work at some point or is no longer relevant, change it.
Ultimately, a PDP is all about embracing ambition. âAmbition shouldn’t be hidden, but many women hide it and they don’t necessarily say how ambitious they are,â she explains. âSo discuss your career with your line manager and prepare with your own research and SWOT analysis. Managers will accept that someone on their team is eager to grow.
âOnce you take this step, progress can be made. “
You can watch the recorded webinar in full here – why not check out our calendar of virtual events here?
Remember that you can watch our previous webinars, conferences and weekly #BetterManagers briefings on our Youtube channel.
You can find out more about CMI Women and register here.