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How to Write a Great Individual Development Plan (IDP)

How to Write a Great Individual Development Plan (IDP)

Dan McCarthy

March 12, 2009


2. Identify what you want to learn, or get better at

Identify the three most important competencies (skills, knowledge, attributes) that you want to work on in order to achieve your goal. If you’re new in a role, these will most likely be the unfamiliar functional areas that you’ve had little prior experience with. Or it may be getting to know your new organization or team. If you’re struggling in a role, these things may have been identified in your performance appraisal, a 360 leadership assessment, or feedback from your manager or a coach. In order to prepare for a new role, you’ll need to identify the required competencies for that new role that you don’t yet have.

For leadership development, having access to a leadership competency model can help you identify the leadership competencies your company has identified as critical for any leader. You can either assess yourself, ask your manager for feedback, or ask for a 360 assessment.

When I work with a leader, I’ll ask questions to get at the what and why. That helps me identify the competency, the reason, and the relative importance. People sometimes struggle to put a “label” on the need, so having that competency model helps us do that (“OK, so it sounds like you want to work on your leadership presence, or strategic thinking, or you need to improve your financial acumen – is that right?”).

You might also want to identify your strengths. Strengths can often be enhanced and also be leveraged in order to address development needs.


Poll: How do you feel about crying at work?

Poll: How do you feel about crying at work?