Personal development plans for managers
Companies and organizations have an increasing interest in the ‘appreciative approach’. Contrary to popular existing HR-systems such as performance management and competence management, the ‘appreciative approach’ is much more focused on identifying and making good use of the existing strengths, qualities and talents of the employees.
The appreciative approach doesn’t take the company or organization as the starting point. It starts with the individual employee. Which talents do you have as an individual and how can we exert these to make our organization successful ? What a change !
A structural approach to this is what we call ‘talent management’. ‘Talent management’ is complementary to competence management. It is not it’s replacement.
When applying talent management, a personal development plan is no longer a list with competencies that the employee has to improve upon. The personal development plan now also covers the existing talents of the person.
The approach doesn’t need to be complex. Companies working with competence management typically have lists describing the company competencies. You can ask an employee to indicate his ‘talent areas’ and ‘attention areas’ on this list. A ‘talent area’ is a competence that appeals to your talents. When you invest in these area’s you will have guaranteed the highest return on investment. An ‘attention area’ is a competence that goes against your talents. When you invest in these areas you will have guaranteed the lowest return on investment.
When companies only invest in improving their weaknesses (the ‘attention areas’ of the employees) they risk getting stuck in the average. “Who jumps from a step will in any case jump further than the one who jumps out of a pit.” We will have a much bigger gain when developing talents compared to remedying failing competencies.
What is real life practice showing us ? It’s not that hard to work with talents in personal development plans. The tough part is to discover the existing talents. What makes it that hard ? Very often employees themselves are not aware of their own talents. Talents can’t be detected as such by others (the direct team leader for example) simply through observation.
Talent = passion + aptitude (passion combined with aptitude)
You are passionate about something, when you have a significantly stronger motivation for it than the ‘average’ person. Having a talent for something means therefore that you really desire to do it and have a strong drive for it.
You have an aptitude for something, when this appeals to your preferred ways of working. A preferred way of working is a way of working that is easier and smoother for you than another way of working. You can have, for example, a preference for ‘abstract thinking’ or conversely, a preference for ‘concrete thinking’. Having a talent for something implies that you have an aptitude for it.
Thus a combination of a ‘passion to steer’ and an aptitude for ‘abstract thinking’ constitutes a talent for ‘steering on an abstract level’.
A combination of a ‘passion to understand’ and an aptitude for ‘concrete thinking’ constitutes a talent for ‘learning by doing’.