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Why You Need a Personal Path of Progress to Ensure You Reach Your Full Potential

By Alan Gehringer

    Fri, Dec 13, 2019 @ 12:06 PM Accountable Leaders & Teams

    I have made it a priority to be a lifelong path of progresslearner which aligns well with one of our company’s core values of “Keep Smart.” As an employee, it is your personal responsibility to continue to grow and gain new knowledge, skills and expertise. Just like a business, if you are not growing, you are in decline or becoming irrelevant.

    Each December, I create a personal path of progress for myself. In doing so, I evaluate where I am currently, what I accomplished for the year, and what I would like to focus on next year to grow and improve myself and my personal/professional performance. It is good to review your plan with others for perspective, guidance and inspiration. So, let’s look at 3 steps you can take to get started.

    Step 1: Reflect and Document Your Plan

    Assess how the year went and what you have accomplished. Ask yourself what went well, what did not and what you would like to improve on. Examine your career goals. Are you in the role you want to be in for the coming year, or do you have other career aspirations? If so, start assessing what it will take to prepare you for the next role. Is there specific training you need? Are their skills and knowledge you need to obtain? Are there any certifications required? Are there any learning programs you need to enroll in?

    Once you are ready to get started, here is a framework to consider using to create your own plan.

    2019 Year End Reflection and 2020 PPP (Peak Performance Plan)

    Reflect on the Current Year

    List My Top 3 Contributions / Victories

    1. _____________________

    2. _____________________

    3. _____________________

    Insights – what did you learn from the victories?

    I would have had an even stronger year if I were stronger in these areas: (Fill in below)

    · Leadership/Communication/People skills: _____________________

    · Job related skills: ________________________________

    · Other: ___________

    My Plan for 2020 (the Upcoming Year)

    My Top 3 Goals, the Desired Result of each (Green), and Why Each is Important:

    1. _____________________

    2. _____________________

    3. _____________________

    My PPP: Identify 1 leadership skill + 1 job related skill to work on in the next year

    Leadership Skill __________________

    Action/Learning Plan - First 3 steps and When I will take them

    1. _____________________

    2. _____________________

    3. _____________________

    Job Related Skill __________________

    Action/Learning Plan - First 3 steps and When I will take them

    1. _____________________

    2. _____________________

    3. _____________________

    How Can My Team Help?

    My manager can coach me by: _______________

    My Accountability Buddy is: ________________

    And I would like my Accountability Buddy to: _________

    Brief Vision for Myself over the Next 2 Years (By December 31, 2021)

    Please document what you would like to learn or achieve.

    There is great power in taking the time to think about what you would like to achieve or be doing at the end of 2 years.

    Step 2: Share Your Plan

    path of progress

    Share it with your direct supervisor or mentor for guidance and candid feedback. Discuss what your personal and professional goals are. Review what you created and ask if they feel you are focusing on the right things. Ask if there are other areas that they believe you need to work on and develop. Ask them to be brutally honest, as this is the only way you can truly grow. Ask if your goals are realistic based on where you are currently and where the company is heading. Sharing with someone else not only helps to develop your plan, it holds you more personally accountable for executing it.

    Step 3: Execute on the Plan

    Implement your plan and watch yourself grow. Work the plan throughout the year. Review it before the start of each quarter, assess your progress and create tangible priorities for yourself for the upcoming quarter to make sure you keep them front and center. Add clear success criteria to your priorities so you know exactly what you want to accomplish. You may want to also develop Key Performance Indicators for areas you are trying to improve on that are part of your regular day job activities. I am sure you have heard the saying, “What gets measured, gets improved.” If you get stuck, ask your supervisor or mentor for help to remove any roadblocks that are holding you back so that you continue making progress.

    It’s okay to include some personal goals on your plan as well if you are comfortable sharing these in your work environment. If not, you may want to develop a personal plan to use for your personal life. This plan may focus on things like health goals, family and friends, or spiritual activities.

    Having a personal path of progress can be an instrumental tool to help you grow and reach the next level. As Marshall Goldsmith says, “What got you here, won’t get you there.” I hope this gets you thinking and motivated to develop your own plan. Good luck, and I wish you the most successful year ever, full of personal and professional growth!

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    Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images

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