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Julie Winkle Giulioni


Seven Deadly Sins of Development Planning, Part 2

Take back your power to move business plans forward

Published: Monday, December 2, 2019 - 13:02

If you’re like many leaders, you are knee-deep in preparing strategies and tactics to drive success in the new fiscal year. And that prompted me, in the first part or this two-part series, to pose the question: “What if leaders brought the same thoughtfulness, rigor, and discipline that we apply to business planning to the employee-development planning process?”

People are the power source behind executing all plans. They are the driving force behind achieving all results. Their success goes hand in hand with organizational success. So perhaps it’s time to elevate individual development planning to the strategic level and importance it deserves.

But development planning is fraught with misconceptions, a lack of meaningful attention, and inertia. In part one of this series, seven deadly sins or bad leadership habits were introduced. The first four were:
1. Focus on the form
2. Conflate development with performance
3. Assume everyone has their sight set upward
4. Force it all into a single meeting

And there are three more that, if addressed, can unleash potential and the power to move even the most ambitious business plans forward.

Deadly sin No. 5: Insist that a detailed plan is the optimal outcome

The goal of development planning is less about delivering a comprehensive plan and more about alignment.

What’s documented can become obsolete even before it reaches the cloud, so what’s more important than the plan is shared understanding about high-value skills, abilities, and contributions. What’s more important than the form is communication and a common framework for thinking about the future, its challenges, and possible ways to position ourselves for success in multiple scenarios. What’s more important than an action plan is instilling a sense of agility—the ability to respond nimbly to changing conditions.

Deadly sin No. 6: Believe that you (the leader) must have all of the answers

At its core, development is about relationship and conversation. Leaders who are most effective at helping others grow are those who understand their role in the process. They understand that they are the spark that helps ignite insights in others. But those insights must come from the employee. Leaders can and should inspire curiosity, tap a sense of possibility, and promote opportunity-based thinking. The tools to make this happen are questions, and the answers rest with and within the employees whose growth the questions are supporting.

Deadly sin No. 7: Take responsibility for an employee’s next steps

This final deadly sin has contributed for years to many leaders’ sense of overwhelm and even a sense of failure when it comes to supporting the career development of their reports. For too long, leaders have held the mistaken belief that they are somehow responsible for the development of their employees. Many feel like it’s their job to put the employee on their backs and carry them across the career finish line.

This is exhausting and unrealistic. Employees must own their careers. Now, this doesn’t mean they are in it alone. Leaders have a critical role, but that role is to ask, facilitate, encourage, connect, brainstorm, and ultimately, let next steps and action live with employees.

Let’s face it. Development planning isn’t easy. And it’s quickly morphing in response to changing demographics, growth of the contingent workforce, and escalating organizational demands. But mastering the ability to help others grow is the key to being able to deliver on ambitious business plans.

First published Nov. 14, 2019, on the SmartBrief blog.


About The Author

Julie Winkle Giulioni’s picture

Julie Winkle Giulioni

Julie Winkle Giulioni, co-founder and principal of DesignArounds, a bi-coastal consulting, training, and development firm, committed to maximizing individual and organizational potential. Giulioni is the author of Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go: Career Conversations Employees Want with Bev Kaye. Giulioni has spent the past 25 years improving performance through learning. She consults with organizations to develop and deploy innovative instructional designs and training worldwide. You can learn more about her consulting, speaking and blog at JulieWinkleGiulioni.com.