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Personal Development Planning

December 4, 2019


This week in MDP, in week 11, the focus is going to be Personal Development Planning. And I’m going to talk to you in the session today about what we mean as personal development planning here at Strathclyde, and specifically within the Business School and take you through the different stages involved in it. You’re going to engage in a number of tasks this week which are going to look at an individual level and then a team level, at how you’re going to engage in PDP. And you’re going to come up with a plan for yourself and for your group for the remainder of your first year, so for the next six months. So what is PDP? Well, PDP is an acronym generally taken to stand for Personal Development Planning. And it’s a very specific activity, but it’s not a one-off activity. So it’s an ongoing activity that you engage in where you look at your career and your development goals, and put in place a plan that will help you achieve what you need to in terms of your development. It’s a very broadly defined process, and anyone can engage in it, and it can be used in a number of different contexts. Specifically within the higher education context PDP has actually been a requirement for universities to provide an opportunity for you to do this at undergraduate level for a number of years now. So this is something that at Government level they require us to make sure that while you’re engaged in your studies at Strathclyde that you are actively participating in PDP. So you will hear more and more about this particular term and the activities surrounding it as you progress through different years in your academic studies. So what is PDP? What do we mean by PDP for you just now? Well, basically put simply, it’s a three stage process. So it’s about looking at what your overall goals and objectives are, deciding about where you want to get to, and actively considering what your long and medium term goals are. So you’re wanting to think about and to define your career and development goals. Once you’ve done that you know basically where you’re trying to get to. The next stage is about deciding where you are just now, And what’s involved in that is for you to evaluate your current position in terms of where you want to get to. The final stage is to then plan getting from where you are just now to where you want to be. And that plan has got to be fairly active, and there are a number of different elements involved in that planning process to make it explicit, to make sure that you actually do this. Now, one of the advantages and the key reasons that you do PDP is when people more explicitly manage their development they’re likely to achieve much more. So it’s a very important process for you to engage in as a professional, to make sure that you’re continually developing yourself, and mapping it into where you want to go in terms of your career and development overall. So what I’m going to do in this session is to consider these three stages. and what will be involved in each one of these. So, the first task is to decide what you wish to acheive in terms of both your personal and your professional development. So you have to decide on your goals, and these are longer term goals to begin with. So the first thing to think about is what do you want to achieve after university. For some of you, you may have already in mind a particular job in a particular sector that you might be interested in. You might have an idea of the kind of company or the kind of role that you would want to do. If you do you’re fairly unusual for someone who’s in first year in university. For most of you, you probably have more of a generic idea of what you want to do after you’ve finished university. And that might be to achieve a good degree, to get a job that’s well paid and that you enjoy. And that’s fine, these more generic ideas are what most people will have. Some of you at this point won’t actually be even sure what their principal subjects will be. So you don’t really know what you’ll be graduating with, what will be on your parchment. And that again is fine at this particular point. Because generally most people, the goals that you have to have are about what skills and experience you want to get. So they are much more tangible than your overarching goals. So what you can think of, what’s easier for most people, is what do you want to achieve at university. So when you get to the end of your degree where do you want to be as a person? What position do you want to be in when you’re actually looking at that next stage. We face different stages in our career, and while you’re at university that stage is to do with looking at where you want to be by the end of your studies. What do you want to gain from it? So you might have much more specific goals about your university career. You might have a goal in terms of the classification that you want to leave with. And that will as a result impact on the skills and the knowledge and the experience that you need to gain while you are here. So here are a number of different attributes that are generally put together to describe graduates. And I’m going to introduce you in a moment to a list that employers have presented as key graduate attributes that they’re looking for when they’re recruiting. But before I do that I want to introduce you to a model which has been developed here at Strathclyde. And this model seeks to present if you like what we believe a Strathclyde graduate will have, the specific attributes that you’ll gain while you are here. And as you can see there’s six different areas here. And they will map on roughly to the kind of things that you would expect from them. So there is an international aspect, and you’ll probably find that key for most employers these days. There’s being capable, understanding your knowledge if you like from your particular subject discipline. But also there are quite a few areas to do with more personality based aspects of it. So enquiring, so critical thinking and analytical skills, problem-solving, and that links directly into creativity. So the idea of being creative, contributing to solutions, to be proactive as an individual. They want people to be enterprising, and here at the Business School we’re the home of the Hunter Centre. So the idea of business enterprise will be threaded through many of your classes, not just those of you who choose to study business enterprise. And generally at Strathclyde we believe that our graduates should be enterprising in their nature. And finally ethical, something that is to be expected of any graduate of an institution. So these are what Strathclyde describe as our specific graduate attributes, and they are a way of thinking about how you develop your personality, your experience and your knowledge and proficiency in these different areas. But I think probably when you’re in first year in particular these aren’t really as meaningful as perhaps they will become as you get later on in your degree programme. So what I thought would be more effective is to introduce you to a number of different graduate attributes that employers themselves are looking for. So what I have here to present to you is a series of ten graduate skills. Now, these skills are ones that employers have suggested that they’re looking for when they’re involved in graduate recruitment. So these were put together by a graduate recruitment specialist; Target. And they identified these top ten graduates skills that in their experience employers are looking for. So the first one is commercial awareness or business acumen. Now this should mean a lot to you because it’s one of the key focuses of MDP1. What you’ve been doing all of this semester is trying to get yourself grounded in business and industry and how things work. So this is about knowing how a business or industry works and what makes a company tick. Showing that you have an understanding of what an organisation wants to acheive through its product and services, and how it competes in the marketplace. The second one is also one that’s probably fairly easy to guess that employers are looking for. And communication coves verbal and written communication and also listening. So it’s about being clear, concise and focused. And being able to tailor your message for the audience and listening to the views of others. The third area is teamwork, something that you’ve had a lot of experience already through the MDP Programme. You need to prove that you’re a team player but also have the ability to manage and delegate to others and to take on responsibility for yourself. So it’s about building positive working relationships that help everyone to achieve positive goals and business objectives. The fourth one is negotiation and persuasion skills. And this is about being able to put forward your way but also being able to understand where another person is coming from so that you can both get what you want or need, and feel positive about that experience. The fifth area is problem solving ability. You need to display an ability to take a logical and analytical approach to solving problems and resolving issues. It’s also good to show that you can approach problems from different angles, so creativity is important here, and that links into that Strathclyde graduate aspect of creativity. The sixth area is leadership. You’re not going to be a manager straight away when you leave Strathclyde or at least it’s unlikely. But graduates do need to show potential to motivate teams and other colleagues that work with them. It’s about assigning and delegating tasks well, setting deadlines and leading by good example. And this links into the seventh area of organisational skills. This is about showing that you can prioritise your work efficiently and productively, and manage your time well. It’s also good to be able to show employers how you decide what’s important to focus on and get done, and how you go about meeting deadlines. The eighth one struck me as something that’s not immediately obvious as an attribute that we tend to talk about in these terms, but is a very important one. And that’s perseverance and motivation. Employers want people to have a bit of get up and go. Working life presents many challenges, and you need to show employers that you’re the kind of person who will find a way through even when the going gets a bit tough. So it links into the ninth area which is that ability to work under pressure. So this is about keeping calm in a crisis and not becoming too overwhelmed or stressed. The final area is confidence. In the workplace you need to strike the balance of being confident in yourself but not arrogant. But also have confidence in your colleagues and the company that you work for. And that balance I think is probably key in this particular area. A sensible development goal would be to develop these ten areas and have evidence of your effectiveness that you can present to an employer. Most interviews are now competence based, so an employer will be expecting you to provide examples as evidence of your ability or that showcase your skills. Obviously graduation is far away for you, and it wouldn’t be sensible to only have long term goals. But it’s useful to give thought to long term goals within personal development planning as a starting point. So let’s think more then about the medium term goals. And these are the ones that are going to link directly to your PDP at this point. You need to think about shorter term. So a good way to phrase that at the moment is to think about what you want to achieve by the end of first year. You are nearly halfway through your first year studies, it’s only been just short of three months, but you’re already halfway through the academic year if you like. So you need to think about what you want to get out of that first year, and particularly what you want to achieve in that first year. So it might be within your classes and perhaps you want to achieve an exemption in all of your first year classes, which means you’re looking for a 60% or above average across every class that you do. So that is also going to help you achieve a merit for the year. So is that something that’s feasible for you? Do you think that’s a realistic expectation for you? These are the questions you need to think about when you’re setting your goals. You also might perhaps be thinking about something to do with the individual assignments or activities within the classes. So you want to improve on your assignment marks within a class to continue to increase the results that you’re getting, to make more active use of the feedback, to become more involved in different aspects of it. So within your classes but also within your professional development what do you want to get out of your first year beyond passing all of your classes? Are there other areas and aspects that you want to work on? So you also want to think about what barriers are there to you achieving these goals. So when you’re setting your goals and objectives for the next six months which is what we’re going to ask you to do during week 11, you need to be thinking about what’s going to stop you achieving those barriers. And it’s when you’re thinking about these goals that you should be looking at what’s going to help you acheive those goals and what’s going to stand in the way of you achieving those goals. Because then you can actively do something about those. What can you do to mitigate the impact of any barriers that are in place? So a key element within any process, and this actually extends into business management, is if you’re trying to put a plan in place to achieve something what you have to do is to put in measures. And performance measurement is an area of business, it’s a very key aspect of managing an organisation in achieving its goals. Now the same holds true to you individually. You need to have a way of measuring your success, and by measuring you usually will then turn those goals into something that is very much tangible to you. So this is about how you set tangible goals. For example, achieving exemption level. And that’s a way of then measuring how close to success you are, or how you’ve achieved it. Tangible measures are very useful in giving you a measure of your progress. So it also helps you from a motivational point of view because you can actually chart out how well you’re doing and achieving what you’re setting out to do. So that’s the first step in the PDP process. The idea of looking at your goals, examining what you want to do, where you’re trying to get to? The second stage is actually very challenging, and that’s about evaluating your current position. And I think this is probably the stage that people find the most difficulty with. It’s not something that necessarily is natural to us to do, to be reflective. So we’re looking at how your personal development becomes much more tangible. So rather than being better at teamwork you want to be good at teamwork, by trying to think about how you measure that and where you are at the moment, it becomes more real to you and it becomes more something that you can actually actively engage with. So what we’re going to ask you to do as part of the individual preparation for your group sessions for week 11 is to use the ten skills that I’ve just gone through as a framework to evaluate how you’ve got on over the last semester and where you are just now with regard to those. Now, this is easier said than done. So using a framework like this can be very helpful. So all I want you to do is to think about different questions. So how successful was your personal activity during the different situations you’ve been in over this semester? So think about the different situations that you’ve been in within MDP1 and perhaps elsewhere in your studies, and think about what happened during that activity. How successful was your personal activity? What were the relative strengths and weaknesses? Now you can use that ten step framework of graduate attributes to get you to think of different dimensions of the situations that you’ve been in and the project you’ve been involved in. What were the different strengths and weaknesses at the different points within that? And very importantly what evidence can you give or point to, to justify that assessment? Now relating back to what I mentioned about competence based interview, this is a key skill that you will develop through the Management Development Programme by linking into PDP or getting you to actually look for evidence. So saying that you think you got better at teamwork or you’re quite good at teamwork, is too airy fairy; it doesn’t really say anything. You need to be able to point to different activities, a particular situation that worked well, how your team achieved its goals, how consensus worked quite effectively. So you need to think about where you can show and point to different activities and different things that happened, that is evidence of your achievement, of your skills or knowledge, or indeed as evidence of an area that you need to put additional work into. So it’s about evaluating that evidence. And part of that is a process of reflection on your part, you need to think through the different aspects of the situation very carefully, and try and look for why and how things came out the way that they did. So in a particular teamwork situation which is something that’s very common over your first semester here, why certain situations and certain team meetings maybe worked very effectively and why others didn’t. What was actually going on in those? Did you use a structure or a different approach, or was someone behaving in a particular way and you dealt with it using a particular approach? So really getting you to analyse and being analytical about what happened, because this ultimately is your professional practice, it’s about how you go about things. At this point I also want you to dig something out from earlier on in the semester. I want you to look back at the five objectives that you set yourself at the beginning of the semester, and see how you’ve got on with those. Did you set them and never look at them or think about them again? Is it something that you’ve been aware of? How have you made progress within that particular area? What’s actually happened in terms of you achieving those five objectives? And that will link into the individual work that you’re going to be doing in preparation for the group session. So another key aspect of this self-reflection process is actually starting to learn and reflect about how you personally learn and develop most effectively. All of us learn best in a slightly different way; it’s a very individual thing. Some of us for example will learn far more easily about a particular subject by someone talking to us. So people like that when they’re listening for example to a presentation will absorb that information very effectively. Others prefer to read, they would prefer to have a written report to look through rather than to listen to someone talking about it. We have very different styles of learning. Now, there’s an area called meta cognition, which is basically about knowing how you learn, or knowing about knowing. And one of the key skills that you can develop during your time at university, and certainly that will help you be effective at university, is to gain insight into your own learning processes. How do you learn best? What is the best way for you to get to grips with a subject? What works well for you? And what circumstances for learning do not work as effectively? In general most people learn best by doing, and that’s true for most of us. And as a result of that that’s why you will spend so much time at university involved in actual projects, individual assignments, group projects, by actually being engaged in doing something, linked specifically to that particular model of learning; experiential learning. Some of you will take to that very well, others will find that more tricky and will have to develop your particular attributes in those areas. So learning and gaining insight into how you learn effectively is a really important thing for you to do during your studies. And you will continually develop that. Because once you leave as a graduate you will continue to have to learn things. There will be things that come up in your career that you need to find out about, new technologies, new areas; how are you going to do that when it’s entirely self-directed? So that kind of information makes you more efficient and effective in your future learning. So the third area and the final area for this session, is the endpoint of this. We’ve looked at what the goals are, what you’re trying to achieve where you want to get to. We’ve also looked at that reflective activity of evaluating it, analysing where you are just now. So you know where you are just now, you know where you’re trying to get to, the next stage is a plan. Now this is the final part of the process, is to come up with an action plan. But this is the point where I think a lot of people let themselves down, because they have gone through this process and have an idea of the areas that need development, but they don’t then turn that into concrete plans. And if you don’t you’re unlikely to do anything about it, apart from to vaguely think through things. So key to this stage is to be explicit in managing your own development, you want to define what you need to do. And right it down in as much detail as possible, tie down exactly what it is that you want to do, and then define when and how you will go about doing that. So how will you learn and improve your teamwork skills? How will you learn about leadership? How will you improve your organisational skills? Set yourself objectives within the timeframe that you’re looking at for doing different activities. Perhaps it’s something that you’re going to go and do research on or learn about, perhaps it’s an IT skill that you want to look at in more detail and develop. Or perhaps it’s something that you just want to be much more aware of as you’re going through the coming semester. So it might be to do with teamwork and about being very thoughtful and mindful about the way you act within a team and in particular situations. Perhaps you’re going to try to gain more clear consensus within your group when a decision is taken. And think about and observe the different processes that are going on to gain more insight into that aspect of team working. But be specific about it. Make clear any milestones that you want to place over the period that you’re planning for. Now, when you’re going to be doing it this week we’re going to ask you to plan to the end of first year, so you’re going to be coming up with a plan for about six months. So when are you going to do the different activities that you want to put together? You also need to put in review points, because the last thing you want to do is to come up with a plan for six months that you don’t then look at again for six months. By which point the opportunity has passed to do the different activities. So you need to set up a review plan and a review period, and actively managed your own development in this area. So a final area that’s worthwhile mentioning is another PDP. PDP is an acronym generally you will find and the university refers to Personal Development Planning. But it is also an acronym for personal development portfolios, which is not so much of a process as an actual mechanism for creating a portfolio which showcases your knowledge and experience and abilities. Now what that means for you, it’s used in many different ways, portfolios of this nature, but for you as a Business School student the main audience for this is likely to be employers. Now this isn’t something that we’re going to ask you to do just now in your studies, but it is something longer term that you should be thinking about. And it might be worthwhile for you to start to get into the habit of looking at what your performance is, and how that relates to your personal development. This will give you a body of evidence when you look at employment and careers and it will link very nicely into what you do in later years. So perhaps you might want to think about putting together a folder where you keep good examples of your work and achievements. Maybe assignments, it might be a group project, it might be a description of something that you’ve done. As well as whatever it is that you’ve produced that item that you’re going to place within your portfolio you also need to document what that actually demonstrates, what the strengths are, what it’s showing for you. Because while it’s very clear to you now what you think this is a good example of, in six months’ time you probably will forget it. So this development of a portfolio will give you a resource space for preparation when you come to employment. Because of the competence based nature of employment the employing process, you need to actually start to think about what evidence you’re going to present. And using a portfolio is a very good way of doing that. And we will come back to that later in your studies, although not in first year. So to summarise, you have a number of tasks for week 11. And what we’re going to ask you to do is to go through using the template provided steps one and two of the PDP process. And then start to think in development terms about activities that you’re going to do, and we’ll link that into the group activity that you’ll do this week. You’ll create a development plan for the rest of the year, and within that we want you to put in five development objectives. Now, these might be linked to the five development objectives that you set at the start of the year if you still feel these are valid. But what you will want to do is to give lots of detail. So going through that third step come up with all of the details of exactly what you’re going to do how you’re going to measure it, when you’re going to do it by and when you’re going to review that process. There is also an online personality questionnaire that we’ll ask you to complete before the group project. So once you’re in your groups in week 11 you’re going to be doing this from the point of view of a group and going through an evaluation process of how your group has performed this semester. And it’s that that will be the basis of the work that you submit for week 11 of semester.

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7 Comments

  • Reply Mitchel Stevens December 11, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Very nice.

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  • Reply Raul Gonsalvis February 7, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    I found this site  useful for personal development,
    http://www.knowledgeisgod.com/

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    Sex months ? I love your accent ..HOT !

  • Reply idouhcine mohamed December 22, 2015 at 6:01 am

    Thanks for yr excellent lecture , very simple

  • Reply TheSecretRevelations November 5, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    #Mitchel Stevens Sex months ? I love your accent ..HOT ! @Raul Gonsalvis

  • Reply edison romero November 25, 2019 at 8:56 pm

    A very helpful video for me. Thank you very much!

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