Personalize Your Professional Development: Leadership Scope and Sequence Planning

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

– Leonardo Da Vinci


Professional development is all about building new skills and gaining experience. Professional development helps in the growth of your career. This may apply to what you are doing currently in your job, or it may extend to the role you wish to pursue next. It can include taking classes or workshops, attending professional or industry conferences, or earning a certificate to expand your knowledge in your chosen field.


  • Professional development enables you to keep abreast with the latest trends and updates relevant to your industry, giving you an edge in your field of work. 
  • Actively pursuing professional development means staying relevant and up-to-date in your workplace and the outside competitive world. 
  • Professional development improves your confidence and adds to your credibility by learning new skills and attaining professional designations.
  • Continued professional development allows you to make more meaningful contributions to your team and to become more effective at your workplace. 
  • A focused approach towards pursuing professional development opens up doors for new possibilities, increases earning potential, and improves the scope to get hired.


  • Learn new skills
  • Boost confidence and credibility
  • Develop leadership skills
  • Build your network
  • Advance in your career


1. Get to know yourself

An individual development plan is only as valuable as it is honest. Start with a self-assessment of your critical skill and development needs. What professional skills do you have? What skills do you need to work on? What are your strengths? What type of feedback have you received at work? What skills do you need to succeed in your dream job?

2. Be realistic

An individual development plan should be attainable, yet sufficiently challenging for you to accomplish. It should include the right balance of training, on-the job application, and other assignments that involve higher level tasks and responsibilities.

3. Use defined timeframes

Create short-term goals and action items that can be achieved within weeks and months. It is great to think long-term and establish goals for the future (up to 5 years), but be prepared to alter those goals based on changing conditions and priorities. The key is to focus on the short-term goals and opportunities, and continue to build on them toward a longer-term goal.

4. Be specific and flexible

A well-written individual development plan is as specific as possible when defining the actions and behaviors that you are going to do to reach your goals. It is likely that you will learn more about yourself as you complete your action items because a key to goal achievement is reflecting on your experience. Reflect on what is and is not working for you. Take what you learn from your experiences and course correct, as necessary.

5. Track and measure outcomes

With any goal you need to be able to define success and failure. Sometimes there is not a clear metric to measure results, but it is still important that you define what success looks like upfront and evaluate your progress along the way. How will you know when you achieve the goal? What will it look like? What will be different?

6. Seek feedback

It is important to know how others perceive you. Share your goals and action items with your manager, or a trusted colleague or mentor. Solicit honest and constructive feedback from them. Give them permission to be real and honest with you and your opportunities. For many people, providing constructive feedback is harder than receiving it, so be open to their feedback and show appreciation for their input.

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