The IDP, or individual development plan, is basically a development goal based on a skill, competence, value or behavior that will be the focus of your development effort over a specific period of time.

Ideally, an IDP has few areas of development at any given time. It is important to be focused and not lose effectiveness in efforts. Conceptually, these areas of development should arise from the interaction of two major forces that act on an individual in the company: their individual needs and the needs of the company.

The individual needs emerge from one’s interests (what they like), their career ambitions (where they want to go) and their current map of strengths and weaknesses (in what they ar better / worse).

A hypothetical employee (let's call him Hector) may:

● Be responsible today for financial models in spreadsheets

● Not have much patience for / not pay much attention to detail

● Be admittedly very good with people

● Have the ambition to become a Financial Director one day

Note that if Hector thinks only of his needs, he may well come to the conclusion that attention to detail is not his development priority now: he wants to become a Director, and for this managerial position, he needs to work on his relationship with people in order to improve his leadership and people management skills.

Now we focus on the need of the company where Heitor works:

● Some managers are ready to take on leadership positions and are waiting for a Senior Manager to be assigned to an expatriate program in Europe, which results in the opening of new positions in the organization chart

● A value of its culture that defends the importance of attention to detail at all levels and functions (it is a company that produces passenger jets - like Boeing - and where there is no margin for error)

● A potential mega merger with a competitor, which will bring great demand on the modeling team so that combined budget models can be built to finance the business (precisely Hector's current area of​​expertise)

This example may seem exaggerated, but it is the daily life of managers and companies around the world, who constantly need to understand and negotiate sometimes conflicting priorities in favor of a common goal.

So, have a conversation with your manager / team member and try to assess where, in the construction of your IDP, individual needs intersects with those of your company’s. That is exactly where both will find greater results.

[1] Different companies give different names to the IDP. So don't be alarmed if in your company it is called Career Plan, Development Goals, or any other similar name. The most important aspect is what it represents.

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