Leaders should have development action plans, and they should be readily accessible to change with new insights. This isn’t a new idea, but few leaders actually think having a leadership development action plan is either worthwhile or necessary.
Boy, are they wrong.
In my more than 15 years of working with developing leaders, what glaringly evident in those who fail is a lack accountability. A leadership development action plan is the first step in holding yourself accountable as a leader for your personal and professional growth. One thing is certain: change is constant. And effective leaders grow and change right alongside the whirlwinds around them.
It is critical that leaders know their own strengths and weaknesses, as well as how others see them. For this reason, we recommend leaders take the Hogan Assessment Lead Series to determine how they interact on a day-to-day basis at work (HPI), perform under pressure (HDS) and what values get them up in the morning (MVPI).
Leadership development action plans don’t have to be perfect or complicated. Every leader should identify and work on at least two items of personal and professional development on a monthly basis. Our sample leadership development action plan, which we send to new leaders and use in coaching following review of their Hogan Assessments contains just three columns:
1. What you are working on?
2. How you will work on it?
3. How will you hold yourself accountable and know when you are successful?
In addition, we advise leaders to review leadership development action plans on a monthly basis with someone to whom they report or trust within the organization.
Leadership development action plans must have a strategic time frame. And they must be written down.
You know that great idea you had at the end of last quarter, the one you can’t remember just now? Writing forces prioritization and keeps things in focus.
Leadership development plans ideally should also address both long and short-term issues. For instance, make a list of all the things you want to do to develop as a leader this year. Now, make a list of what you should be working on right now. See the difference? Mix these priorities in your leadership development action plan.
The most obvious benefit of a leadership development plan is that it engages your most valuable tool: your brain. Contemplation is more than useful to a leader, it is essential to success. Marry contemplation with action in your plan. Identify developing new skills or eradicating old habits that may actually block your success.
It’s a new year. Turn resolutions into a plan for action.
~ Darrell L. Browning