Webinar: Personalized Development Program


Empower your team members to take the lead on their own development.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to development. The guide below is intended to be modified to align with the needs and preferences of your team.

Step 1: Identify the needs of your team and/or organization.

Talent development programs must be designed with the needs of the organization in mind. Before launching personalized programs, you must first understand the goals of the organization and the goals of each specific team. From there, you team members and their managers will need to identify their own goals in order to push the organization forward.

Questions to consider:

  • What are the key indicators for success in your organization (i.e., revenue, expansion, retention of clients, etc.) ,

  • What are the organization’s (or team’s) goals in the next 12 to 24 months? What skills or experiences will improve the likeliness of accomplishing these goals?

  • Are there any gaps between where your team members are and where they want (or need) to be?

Step 2: Ensure each team member understands expectations for their performance and how that performance is intended to help the team achieve their overall goals.

In order to build a successful personalized development program, your team members must understand the goals of their team, as well as their own goals.

Questions to Consider:

  • What are each team member’s responsibilities?

  • What does success look like in their role?

  • What skills are they expected to have?

  • What performance targets are they intended to work toward?

  • Is their manager communicating these expectations (and any misalignment with these expectations) during regular 1-on-1s?

  • Have they received explicit communication around growth opportunities (either in 1-on-1s or in performance reviews)?

Step 3: Provide an opportunity for each individual team member to identify their own development goals.

  • Have they observed any skill gaps that are already impacting their performance?

  • What skills do they want to acquire?

  • Where do they want to be in the coming two years? What experiences do they hope to build in order to get there?

Step 4: Create an opportunity for the individual to sync with their manager on their development goals.

Once the individual has identified a few potential focus areas, encourage them to speak with their manager (note: in some cases, it will be helpful for the manager to take the lead here).

Questions for the manager to consider:

  • What skills or experiences does this individual need to develop in order to meet current performance expectations?

  • Where does this individual want to be in two years? Where is the organization going in two years? With this in mind, what skills or experiences will this individual need to develop in order to grow within the organization?

Step 5: Identify the 3 month, 6 month and 12 month plan.

Provide your team member with a template to outline their 3 month, 6 month, and 12 month development goals.


  • Specifically, which skills or experiences does this individual hope to acquire in the coming months?

  • Is the current plan realistic in terms of time commitments?

  • Which skills or experiences should be prioritized over others?


  • What resources does this individual need in order to acquire the necessary skills?

  • What actions will they take to be successful in executing this plan? (i.e., scheduling time each week to focus on development, finding an accountability partner, managing up to ensure their manager is providing enough support, etc.)

Measuring Success:

  • What will success look like? How will the individual know when they have accomplished their goal? What behaviors will have changed? What metrics or performance indicators will they reach?

Note - Communicate Your Team’s Portfolio of Resources:If your team does not already provide clear communication around your current portfolio of resources, consider creating a web page or PDF outlining all of the options. This might include a list of upcoming workshops, access to eLearning programs, a list of available coaches or coaching programs, access to an internal mentor, opportunities for peer-learning, etc.

Step 6: Communicate Expectations & Ownership

At this point, your team member understands what success looks like in their role, they understand their existing growth opportunities, and they have outlined a plan for acquiring any necessary skills or experiences. In order to ensure success, all stakeholders must know which parts they are responsible for.

  • What does success look like?

  • Who is responsible for what?

  • If the individual is blocked, how and when can they seek guidance?

  • How often is their manager able / willing to work with them on their development goals?

  • Do they have other resources at their disposal?

  • What will motivate this individual to stay focused?

  • What steps will you (or their manager) do to help them feel supported and motivated?

  • Who is responsible for tracking the progress of the individual in their development plan?

Step 7: Create a regular check-in cadence.  

Your team member should be meeting with their manager on a regular cadence (this is often what bi-weekly 1-on-1s are used for).

In this conversation, they should be discussing:

  • What they’ve accomplished since their last meeting

  • What they plan to accomplish between now and their next meeting

  • Any obstacles that are getting in their way

  • Any additional feedback around performance. (This is an opportunity for their manager to coach them in the right direction.)

Step 8: Accountability:

Even the most perfectly designed development plan will fail if mechanisms for accountability are missing.

  • To help your managers stay accountable, make sure to check in with them at a cadence that makes sense for you. Monthly or Bi-Monthly may be useful.

  • To help the individual stay accountable, check in with them at set points. Are they getting the support they need from their manager? Do they feel motivated? Do they have any barriers to success? You’re in a unique position to help them work more effectively with their manager.

Step 9: Evaluation & Refinement:

You have plenty of options for measuring the success of your program. Start by identifying what success would look like after the program. From here, take a lightweight approach (such as Kirkpatrick’s approach below) to identify and measure the metrics that are important to your team.

  • Kirkpatricks’s 4 Levels of Training Evaluation

    • Level One: Reaction

      • How did participants feel about the program?

      • Did they find this process relevant? useful?

    • Level Two: Learning

      • What was the increase of knowledge after the program compared to before the program?

      • Did they learn what they intended to learn?

    • Level Three: Behavior

      • The extent to which learnings were applied and behavior was changed.

      • Would they be able to teach someone else?

    • Level Four: Results

      • Results on the business as a result of the development of this individual -- “The Acid Test”