A personal development plan is an effective road map for any person intending to achieve excellent performance and personal growth. It is based on the concept of reflection that enables an individual to follow-up on the progress that has been made in the acquisition of skills and knowledge. A plan is essential in keeping track of an individual’s changes that are required in life and identifying the weak points that require additional effort for improvement. The plan acts as a gauge in which an individual will measure the level of success and determine skills that must be achieved in the future in order to attain the intended life goals.
I focused early school life on the acquisition of life and professional skills necessary for career development and progression. After completing the first degree, I was employed as a management trainee in product development and marketing department. I have been able to utilize the skill that I learned as well as striving learning more at the work place. I have interacted well with my fellow managers and other employees in the company.
My Professional Goal and Motivations
My career aspirations are to become a business executive and build a successful business enterprise where I will be responsible for the running and success of the business including planning, directing and coordination of business operations in the company. My career path has just begun and my ability to integrate with the business system and understand the underlying concepts and skill application is a big motivation for me. The future prospects are encouraging with open opportunities to progress in my career path. The current expansion of the company is opening doors for more employment opportunities as higher ranks.
My desire is to prepare and present myself as a potential senior manager in the organization through personal development. With my current duties as a management trainee in the organization, I have the opportunity to show the management that I am equal to the task by emerging the best amongst my colleagues. I have a chance of winning the confidence of my immediate supervisor in my abilities to offer management and leadership in the department. It will require hard work and determination to perfect the art of leadership and provide leadership that will be reflected on improved performance at my workplace.
I expect to work in the product development and marketing unit in the next five years and I intend to accomplish a lot during this time. The immediate aspiration is to get confirmed in the managerial position which will grant me the opportunity to demonstrate my abilities. I expect to use this time to acquire more skills, interact with higher levels of management and have a team to deliver the targets of the department. In regards to education, I plan to undertake a master degree in management from one of the leading universities. I will also undertake short courses to build my skills in public speaking, critical thinking, coordination, personnel resources management, management of financial resources, persuasion, systems analysis, monitoring and evaluation, social perceptiveness, writing, active learning, negotiation, management of material resources, operation’s analysis and learning strategies among others.
Skills and Competences
The jobs of management trainees are exciting and very demanding. The job calls for participation and activeness in order grasp everything that takes place in the department. As a learner, it is necessary to acquaint one with all the activities that take place in terms of procedures, decision making, business ethics and traditions among other lessons. Working as a management trainee is considered as a probationary period by which one is expected to learn on the job and be assessed on the suitability of the job. The work entails writing of product proposals, conducting research and business analysis, making reports and communications to both junior and a senior staff, and project presentation among other duties.
In order to succeed in this job, one has to understand the operations of the department and the market, posses’ analytical skills, and have the ability to conduct research and do research presentation. Innovation is also very necessary in the development of new products. Communication skill and knowledge in computer use are needed for the daily management of the department particularly in the current era whereby computerization is at its peak.
One of my strengths is my organizational skill that I obtained earlier in life during high school years where I was a school prefect holding a number of portfolios that called for planning and organization of events and general management of the school programs and activities. My interpersonal skills enable me to freely interact with all levels of staff. I am a team leader and can easily blend even in a completely new environment. I am disciplined and determined and can go the extra mile to achieve what I believe is the best for any given situation. Participation in sporting activities enhances my analytical and strategic skills that are essential in everyday living. I am patient and can easily influence others by offering support and being sensitive to their fears and concerns. My work ethics and values are very strong and I respect other people and their opinions. Dialogue is my way of solving issues and I am sensitive to others.
Multitasking is one of my weaknesses where I find it hard to engage in another activity before completing an ongoing task. I believe in working to the limit and this puts me at risk of burnout. The fact that I work for long hours makes me unpopular among those who keep strict working hours.
Setting My Personal Plan
In my professional life as a management trainee, I place more emphasis on the practical application and management of an organization’s operations. I feel the need for more development since I want to progress to the post of chief executive in the future.
Setting the Road Map
My current position is that of management trainee and my ultimate goal is to become the chief executive of the company. The way to achieve the dream is through a proper personal development plan.
What I am Good at
My knowledge of the department and the concepts of its operation is an advantage to me. I am conversant with computers and latest technologies. The last two years that I have worked, I have developed good relationship with customers and colleagues. I can do marketing very well as this has been my field. I am very good at persuasion and can convince anyone to buy our products. I appreciate each and every individual because they matter in one way or the other. I have confidence in myself and the organization.
What I Need to Work On
My academic qualifications maybe a letdown and I must strive to achieve higher qualification in strategic management. I have to acquire a post graduate degree in strategic management. I have to improve my communication, decision making and other strategic leadership skills. Also, I need to increase my networking with chief executive officers who will offer invaluable information on strategic management skills.
What Could Be of Assistance
I will try and work more closely to the management including the chief executive officers and senior member of staff who will help me in getting practical experiences needed for my progression. Apart from that I can attend some crash courses or seminars on strategic leadership to gain the necessary skills.
What Might Stop Me
Lack of support by the chief executive officer and the management in general can really be a drawback. The position is very competitive where everybody wants to be there. Other managers at my level are also targeting the same post and some may be having higher qualifications in terms of academic papers. If resources permit, I will pursue a doctorate. I also need to develop the following skills.
Developing My Skills
The health of the body and mind are dependent on personal skills (Cloitre, Koenen, Cohen, & Han, 2002). They are the most basic skills required for self-preservation. Strategic managers and leaders do encounter myriads of situations that need energy and concentration. Without a healthy body and mind, they may not be able to deliver in their duties. Good personal skills enhance other skills such as interpersonal, presentation and leadership skills. There is a need, therefore, to acquire and develop such skills. Personal development is a way to realize and maximize one’s potential. These skills will help strategic managers to make relevant, positive choices and decisions currently and in the future. Some of the personal skills that need to be developed include carefulness, self-drive, creativity, cooperation, discipline, superior attitude, optimism, sociability, safe work performance and stability.
For an individual to perform better in an organization, professional skills are required (Lawler, 1994). These skills include interpersonal, organization, planning, supervision and management skills, problem solving, delegation, supervisory and management skills. The competitive business environment today, requires that strategic leaders to acquire these skills for better performance.
Leadership sees where you want to be and achieve the vision (Awamleh & Gardner, 1999). Strategic leaders must be able to offer good leadership that will support their strategic plans. The ability to lead effectively is pegged on skills that include making decisions, solving problems, communication, self motivation and time management among others. It involves dealing with people in such a way that they will be motivated, become enthusiastic and build respect.
Decision Making Skills
The process of choosing between two or more alternatives is what entails decision (Saaty, 1990). The process may not necessarily result in making the correct decision. That is occasioned by the process of people making choices depending on several factors which include having the right information. There is a need, therefore, to keep a record of all important decisions and justifications why such a decision is made. Strategic managers are tasked with making decisions that affect the whole company. They, therefore, should strive to gain and develop effective decision making skills.
Communication is primarily the art of transferring information from the originator to the intended recipient through a media (Bathelt, Malmberg, & Maskell, 2004). This can be achieved orally, by writing, visually and non-verbally. The efficiency and effectiveness of transmitting and receiving information is a measure of how good one’s communication skills are. Developing communication skills can help strategic managers in all aspects of their life from professional to social life.
Time Management Skills
Pareto’s law states that 80 percent of output is generated by 20 percent of our efforts Louridas, Spinellis, & Vlachos, 2008). Time management is important in achieving day to day activities. Any time spend on less important activities means that the strategic manager will not have sufficient time for the core issues of the business. It is, therefore, essential that the strategic leader carefully plans for his time and allocate quality time for what is considered important. This can be achieved through delegation. Lack of time management skill by a strategic manager can result in the overall downfall of the business.
Self Motivation Skills
Self-motivation is the driving force that propels one to do things (Carsrud, Br?nnback, Elfving, & Brandt, 2009). Self-motivation is an important skill in life that every strategic leader interested in personal development should think about. Motivation drives us to achieve goals, feel more fulfilled and improve overall quality of life. People who are self-motivated are more organized, have good time management skills, self-esteem and confidence. Through self-motivation, strategic managers can help the organization achieve its goals and objectives.
Problem Solving Skills
Businesses fail when problems are not resolved amicably. It occurs when problems are not recognized or are recognized but not solved appropriately. Small problems can grow into huge unprecedented problems requiring more time and resources to resolve. Strategic leaders should be skilled in problem identification and providing solutions, making and executing decisions and monitoring
Strategic managers ought to internalize the organizational structure and if one does not exist, the manager should establish one. They are responsible for duty or work assignment and make sure that the plans of the organization are implemented. They carry the overall responsibility on the performance of the group. They are the top administrators of the organization. Organizing skills are, therefore, important in their performance and by extension the overall performance of the business.
Delegation is about assigning others some of your duties and accepting the responsibility for the outcome (Herman & Heimovics, 1994). The manager should determine who should be assigned what task for optimal performance within the time and resource constraints. It involves the formation of work groups, development of programs and assigning tasks. The manager must possess these skills that will assist in the determination of duties that can be delegated in order to create time and save energy for other duties.
Supervision and Management Skills
The fact that the top management may not be able to be at each functional unit of the organization calls for supervision and management skills. This will ensure that work is done to the expectations. Managers must determine policies and guideline against which the work must be carried out. The managers should give leadership and role modeling (Trevino, Hartman, & Brown, 2000). Supervision and management require other skills in areas such as decision making, conflict resolution, team building and performance evaluation.
Ways Develop Personal and Professional Skills
Success of any individual requires that the individuals learn new methods to improve their skills. Every employee and particularly those at a strategic level must be willing to develop their personal skills to match with the demands of the organization. Organizations that may be ready to support this course will assess the independence of the learner and self management. Most businesses are willing to develop professional skills of their workers to achieve the desired goals.
This is the ability for an employee to recognize and identify the knowledge gaps required by the organization. The employee will independently try to obtain the skills and continue to learn on his own. This calls for self motivation, personal learning styles and building a knowledge base. Employees should be encouraged to undertake studies that are related to the needs of the company.
Self management refers to the ability to control one’s personal response regarding challenges and responsibilities in the work environment of an organization. The challenges include time management, changing situations and environment that may affect the physical and mental state. This calls for self awareness and consciousness. Self management will always reflect on the performance of the individual. Self-managed individuals will always complete their assignments on or before the time and with perfection. It also reflects on the image of an individual and by extension that of the company. Time wastage is an indication that an individual lacks self control.
Strategic managers should have the ability to develop, plan for and achieve professional and personal goals. They should concentrate and prioritize the most important issues that will have a direct impact on the long and short term goals.
For chief executives to have followers who work towards achieving the objectives of the company, this calls for leadership skills. I have to win the employees to support me. I have to build a high level of confidence amongst staff members, and particularly those at operational level.
A chief executive must be able to communicate well and be understood. I will build my capacity in media relations to build my capacity to respond to any questions from members of press. I will practice question and answer sessions so as to build confidence. I have to work of my oratory skills also.
Apart from good communication skills a person has to be a keen listener in order to identify key elements that are being presented. I have to understand the informal communications that include behavioral so that I remain informed at all times.
Problem Solving Skills
A chief executive should be able to offer strategic solutions even in tough conditions. I will work on my capacity to solve problems that may arise. I will make sure I am informed at any given time of any developments within and out of the organization as a means of achieving assisting in decision making.
The experience by the chief executive officer to analyze situations and trends is necessary for making relevant decisions and changes. I will have to improve my financial analytical skills that are important in conveying the correct position of the company at any given time.
Leadership Theories and Models
I will use the various types of leadership as may be appropriate.
I find situational leadership as the most dynamic style of leadership. The fundamental concept about this leadership is that the decisions are based on the prevailing situation and the perception of the leader and those being determine the situation. This theory of leadership is about analyzing the prevailing situation and making the necessary decisions and calls for cohesiveness of the leader and the followers.
The theory looks at the relationship of the follower and the leader. Also, it proposes that the follower will reciprocate the action of the leader. When the leader is concerned with the people, then the reaction will be that the people will be concerned about the work.
Transformational Leadership Theory
The theory ascribes the leadership to how the leader manages to motivate the follower through appealing to their higher ideals and values. Transformational leadership is achieved through increasing the knowledge on the importance and value of the task making the followers focus on the goals of the team and activation of the followers’ higher-order need. Leaders model themselves to certain values that they use to attract followers to themselves.
Transactional Leadership Theory
The theory is based on the belief that people are motivated based on the punishment and reward. In this type of leadership, the follower does what the leader instructs with the leader ensuring that the follower have clear expectations of the leader. The responsibility for accomplishing the tasks assigned to the follower is with the follower and will be punished or rewarded accordingly.
In conclusion, I want to become an all round person who understands very well all functions of the organization and to be the best performing chief executive in the organization. This calls for hard work, dedication and sacrifice to which I am ready to do.