Personal Development Planning Essays

Introduction

A personal development plan is one of the most effective tools for students and professionals who want to achieve excellence in their respective fields. It utilizes the concept of reflection to enable one keep track of the steps they have made to acquire skills and knowledge. It enables one to keep track of the changes required in their life and the weak spots requiring improvement. The plan provides a gauge for a person to see their progress, and determine the skills to be achieved in the future. It aids in the achievement of personal and professional development goals. This is because success requires planning and goal setting. The goals set in the plan have to be clear and measurable.

Review of the initial PDP

According to my initial PDP, communication and social skills acquisition was the main goal for the semester. I had planned to communicate more with my instructors in the areas of my weaknesses. The utilization of the instructors’ office hours and the taking of extra time to get in touch with them enabled deeper understanding of the concepts taught in class. This was the main change that I had to make. During this semester, I have been able to increase the amount of time spent with instructors on learning after classes and ensured that I go over everything I learned in class. If there was a point or an idea that needed clarification, I have been leaving it to myself to talk to the teacher in order to understand the concept before the next class.

Interpersonal skills

Social development was also a significant part of my PDP; I discovered that I lack soft skills in relation to other people. The importance of these skills in the work place is significant, and I required developing them in order to avoid the skill mismatch in the workplace (Zenger and Folkman, 2009, p. 137). The improvement of interaction with other people was one of the main goals of my PDP. During this semester, I have changed how I relate with people by leaving more time for the interaction with them. I was able to achieve this by seeking an elective post as a representative in one of the professional clubs at the school. Acquiring this leadership position was important for my development of leadership skills. The acquisition of this post has also helped me develop communication skills since I had to communicate the needs and issues of the club members to the club leaders. It has also made me a good listener and a more focused person due to having other responsibilities besides schoolwork.

Extra-curricular activities

I also intended to improve my social interactions inside and outside the campus. One effective way that I chose to achieve this goal was getting involved in extra-curricular activities. Choosing a sport or a club was not easy because I am not too athletic. However, I knew the importance of this and thus decided to join the badminton team and have become an active and competent badminton player over time. Having an extra-curricular activity and a social group outside of classroom has enabled me to deal with stress more effectively. It has also allowed me to relax actively and to live a more productive life. Joining the badminton team has proved to be helpful and beneficial in many ways.

Time management

On the issue of time management, I planned a weekly schedule of the things I would be doing every week in order to make sure that I was not falling behind on time. The weekly schedules have been effective but I have had problems achieving some of the overall goals set for the semester. The time schedule has been a difficult one to follow due to overcrowding and poor execution. Some of the milestones that had to be achieved by the end of the semester such as reading inspirational books have not been completed. The schedule made for the reading of inspirational literature has been too overcrowded, and I have only achieved half of what I had planned. According to Zenger and Folkman (2009), Inspirational literature is very important for motivation (p. 24). My inability to finish the reading plan is bothering and discouraging. This highlights a time management problem that I have to take into account in the next personal development plan.

A reflection on my performance

My academic performance during the semester has been at par with other semesters. There has not been any considerable difference in my performance, which is not satisfactory. I intended to improve my GPA performance every semester in order to graduate with honors. Therefore, more needs to be done and dedicating more time to studying is necessary. According to my PDP, I required to achieve an average of 70% in all the tests and assignments before the end of the semester. The more time spent consulting the lecturers and instructors has only had a marginal effect on my performance. This implies that more time should be spent on doing so in order to achieve the desired results. One of my instructors said that what I needed was more practice as opposed to theory. Changes in the amount of practice required have not been implemented effectively since the results have not been satisfactory.

Gaining hands-on experience in the field has been an important factor and determinant of success. I intended to work part time during my free time to gain experience and practice in the field to aid the theory learned in class. This step has only been partially achieved because I could not secure employment in my field of specialization. The job I acquired was in car sales, which is not what I consider perfect for the practicing of the skills learned in my course of study. I actually spent more time than the experience I gained was worth. Yet in my next PDP I will surely include more time for finding suitable work to ensure that experience is gained in the perfect field and the perfect job.

Overall, I have learned that I have potential I have not been utilizing. Previously, I could not find time to engage in other activities besides class work, yet I did not perform exceptionally well. I have discovered that I can live a more holistic life without compromising the time spent on studies. Planning has enabled me to visualize what needs to be achieved and decide how to achieve it. I learned that my poor performance in school has been the result of little or no practice. It has also shown me that personal skills are important, and they are not as difficult to learn as I thought earlier.

PDP for the next four semesters

My current performance level is average and needs to be improved by the end of the semester to ensure that I graduate with honors. Therefore, more time will have to be spent on activities that improve the amount of knowledge gained during class time and outside of class. Practice is also required; therefore, the time spent practicing the learned skills will have to be increased over the next four semesters. My academic performance is the most important aspect of my studies, thus more time will be dedicated to it alongside the inclusion of other activities such as sports. I will keep a record of the activities that I am involved in concerning work experience, personal character development, and other life experiences. The main aim of the plan will be to achieve the knowledge and skills that will match the market requirements (Fry, 2009, p. 120).

Personal development

The plan will also integrate academic development with personal development. Personal learning activities such as spending more time in the library conducting research on some important aspects of my professional field will also be considered. This means that I will require dedicating more time to find work that is in line with my field. This learning experience will be aimed at learning from other people and encompassing the learned ideas and methods into my skill set (Niven, 2006, p. 295). Developmental changes are necessary to ensure improvements in the overall well-being of my career prospects. I will undertake more involvement in social activities and situations to develop confidence. The goal is to attend at least one social event every two weeks. In addition, acquisition of leadership and interpersonal skills will be given proper attention since these skills are what the professional world requires.

Learning habits

Establishment of learning habits will become a major part of the plan since life is all about continuous learning (Fry, 2009, p. 124). Motivational literature will form a significant part of my learning culture and habits. I will improve my time management skills to ensure that I read two or more motivational books every month. In order to improve my employment prospects and recognize the weak points I need to work on, I will ask one teacher to become my mentor. I will then make sure that I meet with the teacher at least once a semester. During these meetings with the teacher, I will ask for feedback on my career prospects in the field and the type of skills I need to work on. I will also ensure that the teacher gets a chance to criticize my efforts and improvements, and suggest areas for improvement.

Financial independence

Another important aspect of life that has to be included in the development plan is the achievement of financial goals. This is one of my main weaknesses and it was not included in the previous PDP. The goal is to achieve financial freedom and independence by the end of the four semesters. This will be achieved by ensuring that I obtain the habit of saving money. I will save half of the money that I earn during holidays. Doing so I aim to save at least $ 5,000 every year. These savings will be used to cover living expenses upon completion of my course of study until I get a permanent job. This goal will be achieved by ensuring that I change my spending habits to only spend on the necessary things. Avoidance of unnecessary and non-value adding activities will be the main weapon against excessive expenditures.

Conclusion

The personal development plan is very important in enabling the tracking of developmental changes that are necessary for the achievement of set goals. Planning is very important since it provides a medium for a person to set goals and decide how they will have to be achieved. My personal development plan will…

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Learning Outcome:

1. Be able to asses personal and professional skills required to achieve strategic goals.
2. Be able to conduct a skills audit to identify learning style.
3. Be able to implement a personal development plan.

This assignment is based on my personal development plan that helps bridging the gap between where I am now and where I want to be in a certain period of time successfully.

At first, let’s find out what a Personal development plan is. Actually it is a career plan that contains employee’s goals and used to measure their performances. In detail, it is the process of creating an action plan based on awareness, values, reflection, goal-setting and planning for personal development within the context of a career, education, relationship or for self-improvement

A personal development plan is one of the most important tools for students and professionals who want to achieve success in different fields. It enables one to keep track of the changes required in their life and areas of weakness that require improvement. The plan provides a gauge for a person to see his or her development and progress and determine the skills required to achieve in the future. It aids in the achievement of goals for personal and professional development. This is because success requires planning and setting of goals. The goals set in the plan have to be clear and measurable.

The personal development plan for me is a chance to know myself better, I can realize what I want to achieve or where I want to go in the plan, in the short- or long-term, and also identifying the need for skills, knowledge or competence. It also helps me to define the appropriate development to meet those perceived needs. In this report, I am going to focusing on what my strengths are and where my Weaknesses are, also how to use my strengths in the field I will work into in the future, and how to develop my weaknesses to be my Strengths as well.

CAREER ASPIRATIONS
Chosen role

I would like to pursue a career as Stock Broker. A stock broker is commonly characterised as any competent and regulated professional who is involved in the buying and selling (trading) of shares or stocks. Also, a stock broker is an individual responsible for a business deal on a stock exchange. Usually, a negotiation is made between two authorised members of the exchange. For the purposes of convenience, an ordinary person is no longer needed to walk into the premises of any institution, for instance, the New York Stock Exchange, to enquire on the trade stock. This exchange is done through a broker. However, a stock broker is not just confined in such plain participation in a transaction as there are other stock broking opportunities such as execution-only, advisory dealing, and discretionary dealing, and other related services. Execution-only stock broker involves the implementation of the client’s instructions to buy or sell.

A stock broker who focuses on advisory dealing informs and gives important information to the client on which shares to buy and sell, but leaves the task of final decision-making to the jurisdiction of the investor. Meanwhile, a stock broker who is in-charge with discretionary dealing determines the client’s investment intentions and serves as the mainly involved person in all transactions and decision-making functions done on the client’s behalf. In general, stock brokers provide relevant and useful information on trading stocks, for instance on the cases of which stocks or mutual funds to be bought. To be a full-pledged stock broker, I must be involved in activities and related opportunities that will increase my competencies, particularly those that I need to be a successful stock broker. Of course, it is necessary to finish my studies first.

I will begin by providing assistance to a certified stock broker. This is my short term aspiration. By being an associate, I will have direct exposure to the business transactions that my employer deals with. Gaining experience is my key motivation. My medium aspiration is to get promoted or trusted with bigger responsibilities. For example, my employer will ask me to do things that are similar to his/her functions, allow me to decide on important things, expect me to be reliant to classified tasks, and the likes. After staying on this position for a significant period of time, I will try to evaluate myself if I am already capable of entering my long term aspiration – that is – being a stock broker. I will immediately take up the needed examinations and eligibility requirements.

Skills required for the chosen role

The chosen occupation entails the management functions including planning, organizing, directing/leading, coordinating and controlling. These functions are goal-directed, interrelated, and interdependent with each other. These are also needed in dealing with all elements of business – people, jobs or positions, technology, facilities and equipment, materials and supplies, information, and financial resources. Planning is very important. It is the most primary and basic process of formulating courses of action or organised behaviour ahead of particular time (Hitt, Ireland, and Hoskisson 2003; David 2002). It appears to be foundational aspect to effective career management (Blustein 1997; De Voe 1998; Kaye 1997; Moses 1995; Orpen 1994; Shahnasarian 1994). While it is true that many people do not always plan their actions, it is important for an aspiring stock broker – like me, to plan. Organisations pay particular importance to the planning ability of every employee.

However, whether dealing with the context by which planning is occurring or whether on the individual or organisational level, the process takes place according to the prevailing attitudes, beliefs, and goals that are involved. On this case, the presence of definite course of actions and organised behaviour is important in stock broking. Brokers have deliberate goals that needed immediate response in the most time- and cost-effective ways possible. When a stock broker is affiliated to any stock broker firm, the firm’s objectives should reflect standards of success in financial and competitive performance, as well as acceptable levels of risk and rates of long-term growth (Roney 2004). The broker then is expected to present plans and interventions on the tasks and the resources to be utilised in achieving the predetermined goals. The lack of formal planning or poor planning process and ability can decrease individual as well as organisational performance (Baird et al. 1993).

According to most authors (Roney 2004; Hitt, Ireland, and Hoskisson 2003; David 2002; Matthews and Scott 1995), managerial strategic planning minimises the potential negative consequences of lack of formal planning or poor planning (i.e. uncertainty). The success of several organisations and people rely on the outstanding ability to plan, evaluate and materialise arrangement in connection to the achievement of goals. Organising is the ability of putting similar elements following one or more rules (Morgenstern 1998). Generally, it includes the specification and distribution of tasks to appropriate components (e.g. people, departments, etc). It is also the assignment of authority and allocation of resources. The practice of organising is crucial in developing inputs to planning, making planning decisions, and implementing strategy.

To be effective, however, comprehensive management function in the business must be done in a continuous pattern (Hornsby and Kuratko 2005; Roney 2004). Yet, it is argued that the organising process that is to be conducted within the firm or among the individual is dependent on the plans that must be implemented. On the case of a stock broker, organising includes the development of coordinated efforts and interventions especially in the performance of prescribed duties and eventual achievement of deliberate goals set ahead of time. This is highly needed to cope up with the soaring demand of clients and the industry itself. Directing or leading involves the execution of planned and organised activities and interventions for the achievement of predetermined goals (Hitt, Ireland, and Hoskisson 2003; David 2002).

The task of directing or leading is also connected to other organisational factors such as the clients, the firm’s budget and assets, and all other firm’s resources (Roney 2004). Furthermore, it is encouraged to adapt participative approaches to directing/leading in order to elicit useful characteristics and elements that are useful for the individual’s and firm’s success level. Also, the development and execution of appropriate leadership style is a vital determinant of effective directing or leading process. In the stock broking industry, it is still fundamental to study the practicable directing or leading applications to be implemented in accordance to the achievement of individual’s and organisation’s most important motives. Coordinating is the regulation of all the various elements needed in the achievement of set goals. It is the integrating and establishing of linkages to diverse elements in order to accomplish harmonious operations and execution of plans (Hitt, Ireland, and Hoskisson 2003; David 2002).

Coordinating includes the effective flow of communication. Communication is the link to successful execution of plans and achievement of objectives because it serves a number of fundamental functions (Brown 2001). Among these functions include the management of data and information, its flow, and so on. Surveys focusing on areas of improvement among corporations state that communication usually ranked as key element within the organization (Harris 1993). Eckhouse (1994) suggested that communication serves four major functions within a group or organization including control, motivation, emotional expression, and information. Communication is needed in a stock broker career because of the presence of constant meetings and appointments with different groups and types of people.

Controlling is the task of management in the course of providing positive controls on the efforts of various elements of the organisation such as people and financial resources (Witzel 2003). It has been demonstrated that the emphasis in successful management lies on the man, not on the work (Gilbreth 1914 cited in Witzel 2003). According to Gilbreth, the man’s mind is a controlling factor in efficiency, and has, by teaching, enabled the man to make the most of his powers. A stock broker must be able to control the future of every transaction so as to uphold the premeditated individual as well as organisational goals. Every action is planned, organised, directed, and coordinated towards a general consensus. The future of every business deal is reliant on the ability of the stock broker to minimise potential hazards and increase productivity. Thus, controlling and all the other management functions mentioned above are relatively important.

Strength

I recognised myself as someone who possesses the strength of the task of coordinating particularly on the case of communication. Petit, Goris and Vaught (1997) noted communication’s function is essential for cases like allowing employees to conduct meetings, make memos, provide feedback and share corporate-wide information. I believed that the previous exposures and experiences that I gained help me acquired this core competency. Good communication skill was gained from giving presentations at seminars, supplier and customer service transactions (e.g. issuing clear and concise instructions, advising and assisting customers, etc). I am also used at working on team projects particularly during my course.

This involved different roles, which have developed my impeccable negotiation and persuasion skills. Considering the significant role of communication in stock broking, coordinating is among the basic ingredients of my professional success. I also believed to the spill over effects of effective coordinating function like the development of teamwork and successful working relationship. Teamwork is also attributed to the positive effects upon the psychological health and well-being of organisations member (Carter and West 1999). Through effective communication, people are motivated to work in unity and towards the achievement of individual and organisational goals alike.

Weakness

Firstly, it is in depth knowledge which I think I don’t have right now. I do have the knowledge of a stock broker but I am not a specialist. Secondly, I tend to be little autocratic sometimes. So, this kind of attitude reflects as my weakness in terms of directing or leading. Leadership is an important aspect of management. As stated by a few authors (e.g. Cohen and Brand 1993; Hyde 1992), management requires leader’s full participation and involvement instead of designating individual groups who will shoulder all the responsibilities. Furthermore, this also helps in creating a sense of commitment and loyalty (Hill 1991).

I presumed that I am the opposite of a favoured leader. I am autocratic which means I tend to be overly manipulative and domineering. I was engaged in an argument in my previous job placement out of my domineering attitude. This attitude hinders the development of harmonious relationship or esprit de corps among colleagues and most importantly on the part of potential clients. I recognised the need to learn a leadership style that will be instrumental on the achievement of my intended career role as well as the development of other important values useful in my future as stock broker and person as whole.

Opportunities

I have plenty of opportunities in this specific subject. In fact I have the world. The scope of learning here in United Kingdom is better than my home country. I am also active in this business right now and dealing with one of the biggest stock brokerage firm in Europe which I think that is one of the most learning experience I am having in this business ever.

Threats
The most common and important threats in this business are the uncertainties, competitors and future world situations.

REFLECTION ON MY SKILLS DEVELOPMENT

We all know that fact that knowledge is power. So I think that I have to study more and more about the subject to gain more knowledge so that I can handle all the situations happens there in a stock exchange individually. While I recognise my limitation of being an autocratic leader, I learned to lessen my domineering attitude and improved my leadership style. ‘In the business point of view, good leadership proves to be quite beneficial as aids in effectively meeting job-related demands, creating higher-performing teams, fostering renewed loyalty and commitment, increasing motivational level, and reducing absenteeism and turnover of employees’ (Drucker 1995). From the last incident which I had in my last job with one of my subordinate, I considered having a reality check on my leadership skills – from autocratic to democratic or being friendlier.

I gradually changed from domineering to accommodating leader. By doing so, I am able to listen on other people’s voices and study the situation before giving my personal judgments. I should have been more lenient to the new employee. With this experience, I learned that autocratic attitude is not actually relevant particularly in working with teams because it hinders the development of teamwork among team mates. Thus, I needed to reconsider other leadership style as option. Now, I will take all the opportunities whatever comes to my way.

As my knowledge is growing day by day regarding this business, I think that I can make the best use of my opportunities. I hope, I can handle the threats as well. In this case, I should have proper knowledge about my competitors; I should be more analytical while predicting the future business situations. So, from the above discussion, it is clear that what a personal development plan is and how to develop it. SWOT analysis is a vital exercise for personal development plan. The examples given here in this assignment are based on my own life experiences and future plan.

References:

Baird, I. S., Kuratko, D. F., Lules, M. A. & Orris, B. B. (1993) “Formalized Planning in Small Business: Increasing Strategic Choices”, Journal of Small Business Management, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 38-50. Blustein, D. L. (1997) “A context-rich perspective of career exploration across the life roles”, Career Development Quarterly, no. 45, pp. 260-274. Brown, A. D. (2001) “Organization studies and identity: Towards a research agenda”, Human Relations, vol. 54, no. 1, pp. 113-121. Cohen, S. & Brand, R. (1993) “Total Quality Management in Government,” San Francisco, CA, Jossey-Bass, Inc. David, F. R. (2003) “Strategic management: Concepts and cases”, New Jersey, Pearson Education Inc. DeVoe, D. (1998) “Plans are key to success”,
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