Skill development is an integral part of being successful. We all receive feedback about our natural talents and the areas that require additional effort. This feedback can come in the form of a performance appraisal, a psychometric assessment, a conversation with a co-worker, feedback from an interview, readings or self reflection. If you wish to become a top employee, YOU must play a pivotal role in your own development planning.

Development Planning – a Three-Step Process

Looking Inward
As a starting point, you should engage in a self-assessment to review the skills and competencies you have developed in each of your positions. This will enable you to determine your strengths and weaknesses. You may wish to consult your recent performance reviews, sign-up for a 360-degree feedback assessment or complete your own self-assessment questionnaire such as the “Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator” to better understand your personal interests and preferences.

Looking Outward
Once you have identified potential areas of growth, investigate the skill sets you will need to move into a new job. So by now you are asking: “How will I know what I need for a specific job?”. I have one word for you, COMPETENCIES. Competencies are defined as the skills, abilities and behaviours needed for success in a specific role. Some examples are: action oriented, approachability, conflict management, customer focus, directing and leading others, managing diversity, interpersonal savvy, listening skills, process orientation and organization skills to name a few.

If you work for a company that does not use competency models, you can interview senior management to assess the competencies that are desired for any position in the company. If each position has a competency model attached to it, they will be used to assess candidates for selection and promotion into this role. Ask your manager for his/her support in assessing you against these competencies.

Looking forward
The next step is crafting a development plan that will give you the training, exposure, skills and experiences needed to get you ready for that next role. Don’t wait for your manager to write it for you and even guide the way, it is your career, take charge of the process, research the best development activities and talk to people to get ideas.

A good development plan has a combination of traditional training, self directed learning activities (books, e-learning, DVD’s/workbooks, webinars, etc.), special projects, task forces, mentoring / networking and experiences. By writing a quality development plan, and following through on that plan, you will develop the necessary skills AND demonstrate your passion to move ahead in your career.

Take your career one step further and encourage your employer to invest in you. Bromelin’s The Performance Edge – High Impact Learning Programs – can take your performance to the next level and in turn, give your organization a competitive edge.


Shelley Brown, CHRE
Bromelin HR Consulting


About the Author:
Shelley Brown brings over 25 years of corporate experience in Human Resources in consumer products, high tech and pharmaceuticals. She is the founder and owner of Bromelin Human Resources Consulting Inc. Before starting Bromelin, she was Vice President, Human Resources at a top 10 Canadian pharmaceutical organization for 8 years. She brought this organization from post merger trauma to a top employer in Canada in 14 short months. She knows how to get the best out of people while making the company a top class work environment. This is the secret behind meeting and exceeding the business goals.