Friday, November 4, 2016

Free Individual Development Plan (IDP) Template

The most popular post on this blog continues to be one of my first posts written in 2008 called How to Write a Great Individual Development Plan (IDP).

In one of the earlier versions of that post I had offered to send readers an IDP template. With the growth of my blog, the volume of requests got to be unmanageable so those requests now get an auto-response directing them to my eBook, which includes a copy of the template, along with a 9-Box Performance and Potential Grid.

For those of you that may have landed here as a result of a search, this post serves as another option for you. Consider it to be a menu of elements often found in IDPs and feel free to copy and paste it into your own template and adapt it as you please.

Individual Development Plan

Name: The employee’s name
Position: The employee’s current position
Department: The employee’s department, unit, or function
Location: City, country, building, etc…
Manager: The employee’s immediate manager
Time period: The development planning period, usually one year

Development Focus: Development in current role, preparation for a future role, or both

Potential Next Position(s): If applicable, list possible next positions, could be lateral or vertical

Top 3 Strengths: List the employee’s top 3 strengths, from last performance review or other assessments. It’s important to acknowledge strengths in a development discussion as they often can be used to help overcome development needs.

Top 3 Development Goals: Development goals are areas in which if strengthened, the employee’s performance would improve in their current role or they would help prepare the employee for potential future positions. They can come from performance reviews and/or other assessments. Organizations often use competency models and 360 assessments as a way to identity strengths and development needs.



See Top 12 Development Goals for Leaders for some examples.

Development Actions: This section is the heart of the development plan. It should include specific actions that will enable the employee to learn and practice skills related to their development goals or leverage their strength’s.
Development actions should include a combination of projects, assignments, courses, reading, learning from others, coaching, and mentoring.
Some development actions, like a stretch assignment, may end up addressing multiple development needs – in fact, they usually do.

Current Challenges: What challenges is the employee currently facing that would provide an opportunity to learn new skills tied to the development needs?

New Challenges: What new challenges will the employee be facing that would provide an opportunity to learn new skills tied to the development needs?

Ongoing Feedback: How can the employee receive ongoing feedback in order to check progress on development goals or identify new development needs?

Specific Tasks: Projects, stretch assignments, task forces, delegated responsibilities from the manager, etc…

Role Models, Coaches, and Mentors: Role models are other employees that the employee sees as highly skilled in the areas in which they to improve. Often, they may not be able to identify anyone, so the manager can be a resource in helping to identify subject matter experts.
Coaching can come from the manager, or an external executive coach.
Mentors are often other managers, sometimes 1-2 levels above the employee’s manager, who can provide career advice and assistance.



Timing: Start date for each action

Cost: cost, if any.

Desired results: List what will change or improve, and how the improvements will benefit the employee and the organization. When you take the time to discuss and document the benefits of development, it helps provide context and continuous motivation.

Notes on Progress, Lessons Learned: A development plan should be a living document that is discussed throughout the year and updated as needed. It’s important to track progress and adjust as needed. Use this space to make notes on progress or obstacles, and to reflect on lessons learned from completed development actions.

Start date of plan: when the first development action should start

Agreement — This plan is agreed to as indicated by the signatures below.

Plan Participant:                                 Date:   
Manager:                                             Date:

While it may seem overly formal, having the employee and manager sign the plan represents a two-way commitment.   

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