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How To Write a Professional Development Plan

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article |Professional Development Plan|How To Write a Professional Development PlanIn every work field, development is a crucial part of the job. Whether it’s individual or collective, improving your skills can help you maintain your position or to ascend. Also, you can become more efficient, which makes tasks easier and less time-consuming.

But how can you improve in the most effective way possible? First, you have to create a systematic development plan that helps you focus on every aspect of your job. Then, you can take action and put the plan in motion.

In this article, you’ll learn how to create a step-by-step plan to develop your individual skills or to better the whole team.

What Is A Development Plan?

Before we learn how to develop a plan, let’s define it better.

A development plan is a series of steps to take to improve your performance at work. The result of the said plan should be reaching your career objectives.

Here are some examples of how a well-made development plan can help you:

  • It can aid you to gain a different perspective of your work.
  • It can help you earn a certification.
  • It aids you during a job search.
  • It can make goals more visible so you can actively reach them.

So, when you put together all the elements, you have a clear picture of where and how to start.
You can build your development scheme on digital notes, Microsoft Word, or even on a piece of paper. As long as you keep it updated, detailed, and clear, reaching your goals will be simple.

Consider using as many bullet-point lists as you can and specific keywords that can remind you of the steps at first glance.

Lastly, keep it in a cloud where you can access the document easily, from different devices. Alternatively, if it’s not digital, keep it on the front page of your journal, where you can see it right away.

StrategyDriven Professional Development Article |Professional Development Plan|How To Write a Professional Development PlanSteps To Create A Proper Development Plan

If you wish to create a thorough development plan, you might want to follow a few steps.

1. Evaluate

You may want to find out your skills before you improve them. So, start by thinking about your knowledge, abilities, and specialties. Then, you can focus on improving them. Try to go from more generic and soft competencies to specific ones. Here are some examples:

  • You can say that you’re “technology-savvy” and then elaborate on the apps you can use and the level of expertise for each.
  • You can include “good with communication” and specify the ways you make yourself understood.
  • You can say that you’re “autonomous” and elaborate on how you can manage your work without anybody’s help.
  • You can include “cooperative” and specify the way you work with others on projects.

It’s vital to include all the abilities that define your working methods. Specifically, for a job search, having a list that can describe you as an employee can make a good impression in an interview or a CV.

Don’t forget to include some weaknesses that are pertinent to your position. Maybe you have trouble organizing your paperwork, or you don’t know how to work in groups. If you list the things you can’t do, you can focus on them and improve.

Otherwise, if you work in a team, try to figure out the strengths and weaknesses of the entire group or micro-groups.

For example, suppose you work at a freelance company, like Assignment Help UK, a service or accounting company. Maybe you have trouble synchronizing, and the result is delayed deliveries. Figure out what doesn’t work. Perhaps it’s the lack of communication or poor organization.

2. Set objectives

There’s no development plan without goals. So, try to figure out what you wish to achieve. Here are some examples of objectives:

  • Get promoted;
  • Get a raise;
  • Get a new job opportunity;
  • Work from home.

Make sure that your objectives are well-defined and easy to measure. You want to know precisely the result you wish to achieve through the plan. Moreso, if it’s a quantifiable goal, make sure you can monitor your growth to update your plan or continue it.

Also, your objectives should be reasonable and relevant. Getting a raise, if you’ve only been working for a year at your company, might be a goal to achieve within the next five years, not in six months. So, make sure that there’s a time frame and that your goals are realistic.

If you work in groups, make sure that the objectives you set benefit everyone who’s part of the plan. For example, if you work as a travel writer at Custom Papers, or as an editor, make sure your whole team is aboard. If not, you can create groups with separate objectives.

3. Determine strategies

Now that you know your goals and your resources, you can start to think about how to reach your objectives. Here are some examples of methods:

If you wish to become better at your job to waste less time and earn more, you can take a course. Improving your knowledge through a class or a workshop can make you more productive.
If you want to change your approach, and become more flexible with ideas, consider finding a mentor. You can learn numerous tips from your colleagues or superintendents.
If you wish to work from home, try to show your employee that you can work autonomously and communicate through technology.

Generally speaking, the best strategies to reach your goals involve education and experience. However, if your goals depend on your habits, you can just try to change those.

For example, let’s assume you write blog posts, the assignment help or articles. Maybe you’re having trouble delivering on time because you have a chaotic schedule. So, you can start to write tasks and due dates in a journal.

Still, even in this case, you might want to get educated about self-management through Youtube videos, webinars, or other methods.

If you work in a team, the solution could involve breaking up the large group into pairs. Or the solution could be installing a cloud where people can get work on the same project from different devices.

4. Find the right tools

Once you figure out what you need to do to improve, you can start looking for the tools to do it. The instruments you use are related to your strategies. As mentioned before, if the strategy is educational, then your tools are institutions, webinars, development platforms, mentors, and more.

On the other hand, your instruments can be new software, new arrangements in the office, etc.
List all of your options and see which ones are more effective.

5. Have a step-by-step approach

Remember to keep breaking down your process into smaller tasks. For example, if you need to attend classes, your guide should look like this:

  1. Go to class. First, try to be punctual and attend classes.
  2. Study. Secondly, you can start to study for your certification and do your homework.
  3. Become autonomous. Lastly, try to do extra work or to turn theory into practice.

Once you complete those little tasks, you can move on with your plan.

Conclusion

If you wish to improve your aptitudes and reach your career objectives, try developing a plan with the following steps:

  1. Evaluate.
  2. Set objectives.
  3. Determine strategies.
  4. Find the right tools.
  5. Have a step-by-step approach.

About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Tiffany HarperTiffany Harper is a freelance writer who helps as a subject matter expert with some college paper writing service and top essay writing service. She is very fortunate to work from home like a consultant with blogs and social media posts of bestcustomessay.org. When she’s taking a break, Tiffany loves to practice Yoga in a local park or meeting new people. Please do not hesitate to contact her on twitter.

How Can I Start My Own Business?

StrategyDriven Starting Your Business Article |Start my own business|How Can I Start My Own Business?While many ideas for businesses never fully come to fruition, some entrepreneurs dream big enough to actually put pencil to paper. Though starting a business amidst the current pandemic might feel impossible, over 69% of American entrepreneurs begin their businesses right from the comfort of their own homes. If you’re wondering how to go about making your own entrepreneurial dreams a reality, consider the steps below on how you can start your own business even during these uncertain times.

Have a Concrete Idea

It’s no secret that many business ideas seem good in theory but become much more complex in practice. Whether your idea for your small business is one you have fleshed out on your own, or one you’ve developed with the help of family and friends, make sure it’s a solid one. A good rule of thumb is to start simple. For example, should your dream be to develop an entire clothing line, it’s probably in your best interest to begin with one category of garment at a time, such as blouses and shirts. Focussing your creative energy on one portion of your idea will likely save you money at the beginning of your business venture, and it will also keep you from feeling overwhelmed as you work to get your business off the ground.

Conduct the Proper Research

The nature of the business world is a competitive one and thus requires the right amount of research if you plan on entering it. Conducting market research along with taking the time to do a full competitive analysis as it pertains to your business is vital to the success of your company. As you do your research, use the questions below as your guide:

  • Is there a demand for the product or service your company offers?
  • Who is your target consumer?
  • What is the population size of the consumers you plan to market to?
  • Does your target audience live in your area or are they elsewhere?
  • What do you plan on charging for your product or service?
  • Who else already offers your product/service and what can you do to set yourself apart?

Though your research isn’t required to be limited to the questions above, answering them will give you a starting point for where you stand amongst your competitors and what you’ll have to do to stand out as a business. For more information on market research and competitive analysis, utilize this guide from the SBA.

Develop a Clear Business Plan

It’s important to note that having a business idea is vastly different from having a business plan. There are numerous online resources available that outline the proper steps for developing such a plan. Block out some time in the coming weeks to sit down and write. A simple Google search on how to write a business plan should suffice for the information you’ll need to get things started. If you plan on presenting your finished plan to investors, be sure to keep it concise and to know your audience. However, if you’re composing your plan simply to keep yourself on track, make sure you’re using the future as your guide. Have an emergency fund should things go south, and look for ways your business can adapt should the pandemic continue for longer than expected. Business plans are essential to the overall success of your company and are a perfect guide for you to stay on track and organized.

Know Your Funding Options

Once you have a plan in place for your company and you’ve done the proper research, the final piece to the puzzle is locking down your funding. While there are plenty of options to choose from, make sure you consider non-traditional funding methods such as:

Crowdfunding: As the name suggests, this funding alternative is all about who you know. If you’re a big networker, this may be a great option for you aside from a regular business loan. Take to your social media outlets or even create a GoFundMe page and get the word out. Though those who fund your business are not guaranteed a return, you can always offer them perks when you do get your business off the ground.

Home Equity Loans: While most individuals use home equity loans for affording a college education or for funding a home renovation, they can also be used to cover business expenses. The appeal of a home equity loan comes from it’s low interest rates, making them a stable option long term. If you are unfamiliar with how these loans work, use this home equity loan resource as your guide should you be interested in using one to fund your business.

Microfinancing: This option of funding was developed specifically for entrepreneurs who may not even have the option to go traditional with their funding. Microfinance organizations provide small loans in order to help entrepreneurs get their business off the ground in the beginning. Microfinancing is an option for those who want to achieve their dreams but have no collateral to do so. For more information on microfinancing, consider this article on: what is microfinance?

While traditional business loans are still an option, the unique choices listed above may be more viable funding alternatives during these uncertain times.

As you put the steps above into action, remember to stay focussed on your goals. Starting a business can be overwhelming and discouraging at times, so be sure to maintain a strict budget and use your business plan as your guide when you feel lost. With the right research, a clear plan, and the proper funding, any business dream can be made possible.

5 Tips to Help Streamline Your Business

StrategyDriven, Business Management, Business Plan, Bussiness Software, cIt’s important for any business to ensure it’s making the most of its resources. Often, you don’t need to add anything to your company in order to improve its performance; you’ve just got to make better use of what you’ve already got, and this is where streamlining comes in.

Here are five tips to help you streamline your business.

Planning

There’s got to be a plan, and there have to be goals that everyone is aware of. If you don’t have these two things, then it’s difficult to know what direction your business is going in. The better your planning is, and the more people understand their individual goals, the more efficiently your business is likely to run.
Make sure you’re taking the time to invest in your business planning, and be open with your communication in conveying goals.

Finances

It’s much easier to do that planning and create realistic goals if you’re on top of your finances. You should know exactly where you are with your finances, and the best way to do this is to get the best bookkeeping services in Boston.

Not understanding how your finances stand is a perilous situation in business, but the more you know, the more you can streamline how you use that money.

Finances are clearly a vital aspect of any business, but too often, people don’t pay enough attention to them.

Hiring

It’s extremely difficult for your business to run efficiently if you’re not hiring the right people. A company can be a complex, interconnected entity, and if there are just a few pieces that aren’t working well, then it can cause problems for the whole system.

This means you’ve got to put care and attention into every hire and really make sure you’re focussing on the process of how your recruit.

When you need to make a quick hire, this can be very difficult, but so often it’s worth taking the extra time and making sure you get the right person.

Software

Even if you’ve got amazing employees throughout your business, they can’t do their job effectively if they don’t have the right tools.

Any business today needs to make sure they’ve got the right software. It can be expensive to invest in new software, but it can quickly earn that money back through streamlining processes. If you think about all the small inefficiencies you have across your business, then they can add up to a huge amount, and the right software can help in this area.

Culture

Culture plays a huge part in how well a business operates.

If there’s a negative culture where people end up doing the bare minimum, then it’s going to have a big impact. However, when you create the right culture where people can thrive, then you will find everything becomes much more streamlined.

Business culture isn’t something you can change overnight, but you can take active steps to create the kind of culture you would like. A positive atmosphere can make the world of difference, so it’s well worth investing in.

Weather the Storm of Constant Change by Strengthening 3 Balance Sheets

StrategyDriven Managing Your Finances Article |Balance Sheet|Weather the Storm of Constant Change by Strengthening 3 Balance SheetsThe COVID-19 crisis has put an exclamation point on the idea that we live in a world of perpetual whitewater. Whether caused by a pandemic, an economy in free fall, an unforeseen change in the competitive business environment or a problematic geopolitical issue, the world in which we operate is volatile and unpredictable. Success, even mere survival, hinges on being prepared and nimble enough to adapt to rapidly changing conditions.

Everyone wonders when we will get to the “new normal.” It may be preferable to call it the “next normal.” Whatever becomes normal as we progress through COVID-19 is just temporary — like after 9/11 or the financial crash of 2008, there will be another major disruption following in the not-too-distant future. We need to evolve amidst an on-going sequence of next normals without capsizing.

How do you survive, or even thrive, in a world of continuous turbulence and change? The organizations that have best weathered the COVID-19 storm entered it with strong balance sheets in three functions: Not only do they have a strong financial balance sheet, they also have strong balance sheets with their team members and strong balance sheets with their customers.

Regardless of what the future looks like, to be prepared and to weather the storm of perpetual change, you must prudently steward all three balance sheets. Navigating through the next normal requires that you:

1. Have a plan. The plan must include both your purpose and your strategy.

Purpose creates the True North for the organization — what you aspire to contribute. People want to contribute to something bigger than themselves. Your purpose defines what that something is. Purpose attracts talent and aligns and energizes effort. What is the organization’s higher calling? Why does your organization exist? Why does your organization matter?

Strategy defines how your organization positions itself in the marketplace to create unique value for your target customers. What do you provide or do differently that causes customers to buy from you versus anyone else?

2. Execute your plan. You can’t just have a plan; you have to execute your plan — and most organizations don’t do that well. Some 75 to 80 percent of organizations fail to achieve the results they expect from their strategies.

In a rapidly changing world, execution is critical to survival. It’s vital to maximizing your results and building your triple balance sheet. The ability to execute your organizational strategy smoothly and successfully is what provides the financial, human and reputational capital you need to navigate the next change and to be able to invest in adapting quickly to the next, next normal.

To execute effectively, you must align the actions of everyone in the organization to the purpose and strategy. This means:

  • Having the right people in the right roles with the right capabilities. Think through the performance in each current role, the potential for future roles and the capabilities that need to be developed for both current and future roles. Then, connect that assessment to development efforts that help people build the capabilities you’ll need for success in the future.
  • Aligning your systems, structures, processes and culture to the purpose and strategy. For example, how well do the compensation, rewards and recognition and promotions systems in your organization align with your strategy?
  • Keeping a scorecard that drives performance. Ensure scorecards with quantitative measures of performance, results and trends over time are visible and available to everyone in the organization. This allows them to make adjustments mid-course that can affect the outcome.
  • Following-up and following-through. To both generate learning and create rigorous accountability for performance and for living the values of the organization, schedule regular updates to analyze performance gaps and adjust the plan for moving forward.

3. Just lead, dammit! Leaders deliver results by fully engaging their teams in the effort. They build organizations of people passionate about and wanting to contribute their best to the company every day. In order to build a strong balance sheet with their teams, great leaders forge deep connections to their team members. They:

  • Communicate often and openly. With rapid changes in the environment, leaders need to communicate often and openly. Failure to do so creates a vacuum that people will fill, often by making stuff up. Leaders should convey a realistic picture of the dynamic environment of the market where conditions are likely to change rapidly.
  • Create dialogue, not diatribe: One-way, top down communication stifles the kind of multidirectional communications required to fully understand and adapt to rapidly changing circumstances. As a leader, you can’t possible have all the answers — too many unknowns and even the “knowns” can change. It’s critical to be clear about what you do and what you don’t know.
  • Empathize with their team’s point-of-view. Constant change can put people on edge. Show sensitivity to the emotional and real challenges individuals on the team face. Hear the question behind the question, or the key point behind what team members say.
  • Are authentic. People want their leaders to be real. They appreciate honesty, even if it’s painful or upsetting. Being authentic builds trust, which is vital for ensuring that your organization is strong and resilient. Most importantly, it sets the right example for others to emulate.

4. Build resilience. Mike Tyson famously said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

Regardless of how good your plan is, or how effectively you execute, you’re going to get punched in the mouth! In a world of perpetual whitewater, you have to be prepared for the next punch, the next wave, the next rapid or the next life-threatening obstacle.

Thriving through an endless stream of “next normals” requires that organizations are tough enough to adapt regardless of how difficult the circumstances. Resilient organizations:

  • Have strong, consistent core values. Values like integrity, respect and trust provide stability amidst the upheaval and shape a culture that enables everyone to take action in an environment of uncertainty.
  • Generate trust. Leaders must believe and trust that everyone will act in the best interest of the organization, and team members must trust and believe in their leaders and the organization as a whole. This is critical to enabling the kind of dialogue necessary to lead through uncertain times. With trust, people closest to the challenges are given the responsibility and latitude to act without waiting for direction from above, where leaders often have less information about the conditions on the ground.
  • Constantly learn. Rapid change requires constant experimentation in how to adapt to that change. Instilling responsibility throughout the organization often results in mistakes and errors as people learn what works and what doesn’t. Resilient organizations have a “fail fast, learn fast” mentality that allows them to adapt to change faster than others.
  • Foster accountability. People perform their best in an environment in which results matter. Accountability reinforces whichever results matter. And, there must be accountability for playing within the core values of the organization, or people quickly learn that they don’t matter, which, in turn, erodes the fundamental trust necessary to create success.

Being prepared for the “next normal” requires building your balance sheet financially and with your team and your customers. To do so, you have to have a great plan for success, execute that plan effectively and constantly work to build a resilient organization. None of this is easy in a highly competitive, rapidly changing environment. But the reward for getting it close to right is earning the opportunity to adapt again when the next wave hits.


About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor |Sean RyanSean Ryan is a world-renowned business consultant, speaker, trainer and executive coach. As the founder of Whitewater International Consulting, he has worked internationally with companies such as Disney, Nucor Steel, FedEx and Nestle Waters of North America/Perrier Group of America. With more than two decades of industry experience, Sean is highly regarded for his ability to guide organizations through complex transformational change in what he describes as “a world of perpetual whitewater”. His new book is Get in Gear: Seven Gears that Drive Strategy to Results (Productivity Press, Aug. 20, 2020). Learn more at https://www.wwici.com/get-in-gear.

The Importance Of Staying In Your Lane As A Business Owner

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article |Staying in your lane|The Importance Of Staying In Your Lane As A Business Owner However, staying in your lane isn’t always an insult, and it can actually be very beneficial for your business.

What does staying in your lane mean?

Basically, it means that you don’t try and do things that you aren’t good at. Or, more accurately, you focus on your key strengths. Lots of business owners will try to tackle too many things, which means you end up exposing your biggest weaknesses.

As a business owner, you must realize the importance of staying in your lane, rather than attempting everything by yourself. It may seem like you’re lazy, but the following points do a great job of explaining why this is the best approach to management:

Everyone focuses on their strengths

If you stay in your lane, it means you focus on what you’re good at. You might be an exceptional salesperson who captures leads like no other. It’s what you built your whole career around, so it makes sense to devote your time to closing sales. If you don’t stay in your lane, you waste time doing things you’re not good at, meaning your business misses out on your sales skills.

The same goes for other aspects and individuals within your business. If your employees focus on their strengths, you will see an improvement in performance. This is why things like IT outsourcing services have become so popular in modern times. Business owners are starting to recognize that they’re not adept at dealing with technical IT issues all the time. Instead of wasting time trying to fix IT issues, they outsource to people who are actually good at it. Everyone stays in their lane, leading to a massive boost in productivity and efficiency.

Fewer mistakes and errors

If you were asked to translate something, with very little knowledge of the foreign language, what do you think would happen? You’d give it a go, but there’d be countless mistakes and errors. In fact, you’d continue making mistakes until, eventually, you get the translation right. By contrast, what if someone fluent in that language was asked to translate it? They’d get it right instantly, saving a lot of time and minimizing errors.

You can apply the same principle to your business. If you’re doing things that are out of your comfort zone, you’re bound to make mistakes. There’s no avoiding it as you aren’t experienced. But, if you stay in your lane and focus on your strengths, there will be fewer mistakes. It’s the same for everyone else in our company, meaning your business makes fewer mistakes and errors on the whole. Again, this translates into improved performance, but the lack of errors can also boost your customer service.

In conclusion, business owners should identify their key strengths and stick to them. If you’re not good at something, find others that can fill the void. When everyone stays in their lane, a business operates far more efficiently.