Article: Six Steps to D-E-S-I-G-N Career Development Plan


Six Steps to D-E-S-I-G-N Career Development Plan

It is the responsibility of the people leaders to guide, motivate and design career development plans of the employees.
Six Steps to D-E-S-I-G-N Career Development Plan

Developing people to perform better in their current roles and to prepare them to manage higher responsibilities and challenging assignments in future roles is very critical


As a people leader, it is your responsibility to have talented employees in your team to perform the task required to achieve business goals. You may hire best talent from outside or promote someone potential employee within organization but all team members may not have required knowledge, skill and abilities to meet future needs and demands of the organization. Therefore developing people to perform better in their current roles and to prepare them to manage higher responsibilities and challenging assignments in future roles is very critical. So it’s your responsibility to guide, encourage, motivate and design career development plan to your employees to handle greater responsibilities and help them to learn, to develop and to advance in their career. So let’s see below six steps to design career development plan to your employee for their growth and development.

1. Define Interest, Values and Aspirations

Once Katharine Whitehorn rightly remarked that “The best career advice to give to the young is, 'Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it." As a leader it’s your responsibilities to help your team to discover themselves to define their interest, values and aspirations in their professional life once they recognize and realize their passion they will enjoy their job. Once Confucius said “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” When interest, values and aspirations are clear it’s easy for individual and leader to guide and take decision to design a career development plan. Similarly Roy E. Disney said “When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier and Samuel Johnson, said “Our aspirations are our possibilities.” So first steps to design a career plan is to discover and define interest, values, and aspirations and desire once it’s finalized then you can work on next steps.

2. Evaluate Strengths and Development Gaps

Second step to design a career plan is to evaluate the strengths and development gaps. Evaluating real strength is the key to success as a leader you can help your team to know their strengths and areas for development. Once A. P. J. Abdul Kalam said “Climbing to the top demands strength, whether it is to the top of Mount Everest or to the top of your career”. Every individual is unique and talented only challenge is to recognizing strengths and working on development gaps is important to achieve success in professional life. This can be done as part of performance management process, monthly review meetings and regular scheduled feedback and coaching sessions.

3. Set Career Goals for Advancement

Third important step is to set career development goals to improve the performance in the current job or preparing someone for moving across or upward in the organization. Setting specific goals to acquire additional knowledge, skills, competencies required to perform higher level task. Once Tony Robbins said, “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” Goals will give sense of direction, purpose, motivation and stimulation more over addresses most important roles and responsibilities to achieve success in the career. As Bo Jackson said “Set your goals high, and don't stop till you get there” so set goals and achieve them for career advancement.

4. Identify suitable opportunities/positions

Fourth steps to design career development plan is to identify suitable opportunities, openings or higher positions which matches individual interest, desire ,aspirations and strengths to the perform the job effectively. Once Aristotle said, “Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work” So you may help your team to look for the job with in the function or process or cross functions or cross business so that they will have job satisfaction and success in their career. Important thing is that individual skill sets and competencies should be align with the job that they are applying and with the business needs. Give them challenging assignments or delegate projects to handle to learn and develop them. Once Thomas A. Edison said “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.

5. Give Experience/Exposure/Knowledge

Fifth step to design career development plan is to give them required knowledge, experience, exposure to the fill the gaps in development areas. The next level job which an individual is looking to take up requires addition knowledge, skills and competencies so gaining the knowledge and competencies will helps and makes easy to get higher positions. One cannot get experience, exposure and knowledge unless and until an individual work on it. In fact most of learning happens on the job rather than reading and learning from others so assign some meaningful projects and additional responsibilities to develop their competencies. This will not only helps them in gaining required experience but also build their confidence to advance in their career.  As a leader you need to give regular feedback and coaching to help the employee to learn and develop. Once Albert Einstein said “The only source of knowledge is experience.” and Benjamin Franklin said “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest” and Randeep Hooda once commented that “Knowledge is power. You can't begin a career, for that matter even a relationship, unless you know everything there is to know about it.

6. Navigate to next level

A last step in career development plan is to help the individual to navigate to next level and the road to success is not easy to navigate, but hard work, determination, commitment, integrity, drive and passion, belief and sincere actions can only help them to advance in career. Once Pablo Picasso said “Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” And similarly Reid Hoffman said “Everything in life has some risk, and what you have to actually learn to do is how to navigate it”. So individual has to take calculated risk to navigate to next level because risks carry rewards. As leader you need to help them to navigate in the right direction to reach their career goals.


Every individual is uniquely talented one has to discover their latent talent, develop their strength, create goals and work on them till one achieve success in their career. Once Larry Bird said “A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals” Once you follow six steps of design for career development and make best use of opportunities then definitely one will be the winner in their career. Benjamin Franklin also rightly said, “What is the recipe for successful achievement? To my mind there are just four essential ingredients: Choose a career you love, give it the best there is in you, seize your opportunities, and be a member of the team.” So enable your team to design their career plan, help them to work on it and support them to come through with flying colors.

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Topics: Leadership, Learning & Development

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