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How well-defined are your people’s personal development plans for this year?


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from over 240,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

How well-defined are your people’s personal development plans for this year?​

  • Very: 17%
  • Somewhat: 31%
  • Not very: 35%
  • Not at all: 17%

How can they grow without a plan? A leader’s primary job is to build the next generation of leaders. If your people lack clarity on their development plans (52% of you said they do), how can you expect them to focus on building their skills? If we’re going to run around saying “our people are our most important resource” then it’s worth the time living up to that. And the good news is you don’t have to do all the work. Your people should own their own development but you need to hold them accountable for doing so. Assign them the homework of writing a development plan. Sit down and review it with them. Offer them ideas on ways they can develop defined skills. Point out blind spots. Help them think through measurement and goal attainment. If you don’t focus on developing your people, their performance will never change.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He’s the author of three leadership books: “One Piece of Paper,” “Lead Inside the Box” and “The Elegant Pitch.”