Personal effectiveness and professional development
|Submission date:||As per key date schedule|
|Learning Outcomes Assessed:||All|
|Electronic copy available:||Student website|
- You are required to produce a Personal Development Plan which records and monitors your achievements and the acquisition and development of appropriate qualities, skills and behaviours. (1500 words)
- Using the data produced in Part One, above, as a basis you are required to write a reflective paper to support and clarify what is contained in your Personal Development Plan. (1500 words)
Your work will be presented in two distinct sections,
Part One will relate to Task One and will contain your Personal Development Plans together with any annexes that support those plans. Part Two will relate to Task Two and contain your Reflective Paper. The two parts are submitted together and should be bound as one piece of work.
1. Produce evidence of personal evaluation and analysis by using techniques to develop self awareness of strengths and areas for development.
2. Devise a personal development plan that shows the synthesis of theory into practice.
- Identify and evaluate learning from experience.
4. Use reflection and learning to support evaluation, action and planning.
Marking will be in accordance with the Assessment Criteria attached to this guide as Annex Five.
Electronic submission of assignments is mandatory. Please note that every assessment must be submitted clearly noting the student name and number. Work must be word-processed/typed. You are required to keep a copy of work handed in.
Late submission of work
It is essential that you submit your work, in order to be able to pass the module.
Full details of the regulations regarding late submission and applying for mitigation are available via the Student Handbook and website.
Academic Dishonesty Warning
Please note the regulations on academic dishonesty, in particular the inclusion in your assignments of un-attributed material taken from other sources. Be assured that every effort will be taken to deal with you fairly, but remember that there are strict rules concerning cheating.
Word Limits: The word limit does not include the reference list, computer programme code listings, tables, diagrams or reasonably short appendices, but will include quotations, citations and the captions to tables and diagrams. The following penalties can be applied to work which exceeds the stated word limit of 3000 words:
- Up to 10% over: no penalty
- 10% to 20% over: one grade point penalty (e.g. B+ to B)
- 20% to 30% over: two grade points penalty (e.g. B+ to B-)
- More than 30% over: three grade points penalty (e.g. B+ to C+
Notes about this pack
This pack contains guidance on how to complete the assessment task together with a number of templates to assist your self-analysis. The templates in this pack form a minimum requirement and must be submitted for assessment. The study guide for this module also contains a range of activities, each clearly marked as a PDP Activity, and you are urged to use some of these in order to deepen your self-analysis. If you do then these must also be included in your submission. Advice on the layout of your submission is included at the end of this pack.
Part One – Preparing your Personal Development Plan
Analysing Your Competence
A wide variety of formal and informal development opportunities exist, both within and outside of the workplace, and you need to be aware of these in order to identify the most appropriate opportunities to use in meeting your development goals. Personal development planning begins with detailed self analysis.
To develop potential, you need to know what stage of the development process has been reached — that is you need to analyse your current competence. The starting point is the identification of development needs. Initially, we encourage you to carry out this process on yourself; for self development, but you can apply the tools and techniques to anyone. Developing potential is all about helping people to move forwards. In terms of work, this implies moving from one level of performance to a new and higher level. Not only can individuals improve their skills and performance but the organisation will also benefit. During the development process, individuals pass through different stages of awareness, as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Stages of awareness during development
We can explain this by applying each of these stages to driving a car.
1 State of unconscious incompetence
As children, most of us are completely unaware of the skills or techniques needed for driving a car. We are not aware of the need for any competence.
2 State of conscious incompetence
It is probably at some point during our teens that we become aware of the need to pass a driving test, involving both knowledge and skill that we don’t yet possess. We are increasingly conscious of our incompetence.
3 State of conscious competence
We take driving lessons and, once we pass the test, we tend to drive relatively carefully, thinking about the rules and techniques that we have been taught. We are conscious of our competence!
4 State of unconscious competence
Before too long, we automatically drive to the standard required, giving it no great thought. This is unconscious competence.
Unfortunately, what happens then is that complacency can set in — in driving terms, we begin to learn bad habits and there is a risk of drifting back to ‘unconscious incompetence’!
In order to analyse your current level of competence, there are two areas that you need to consider.
- Job-related needs — what knowledge and skills do you possess at the moment, and what do you need in order to progress within your job?
- Learning needs — how are you most likely to acquire the knowledge and skills you need?
By working through this assessment pack you will be able to practise the skills of analysing information to help you identify development needs.
Personal profile (see template in Annex One)
A good starting point for any development programme is making an accurate assessment of what you have achieved to date.
Drawing up a personal profile provides a basis for a development programme. This activity encourages you to begin thinking about the value of your achievements to date, in the context of your work and ambition, by providing a systematic structure for recording information.
Read through the following ten steps and, as you do so, complete the personal profile in Annex One, recording what you have done, what you achieved and how the results were measured.
What educational/professional qualifications have you gained? Where did you obtain them and what standards, awards or certificates did you achieve?
What jobs have you done in your career? Give the starting and leaving dates. What were the main achievements and/or experiences you gained?
What professional training courses have you attended? When and where were they held? What knowledge, skills and experience did they give you?
What are your current job responsibilities and key performance areas? If you have specific performance objectives list these, together with any recent achievements.
What do you think your general skills and abilities are at this stage of your career? Use the Skills and Abilities Checklist provided in the personal profile to help you think about this.
Have you taken any psychometric or other analytical tests which indicate what sort of performer you are or what references you have for working as an individual or team player? You might wish to find out your learning style, try the survey at
Reflect on the experiences you have had as a learner and note both the most successful and least successful What were the reasons?
What are your career plans over the next two years and how do they fit in with your ultimate career objective?
What non-work interests and activities do you have? Membership of a sports committee choral society or Parish Council for example will help illustrate what sort of person you are and what hidden talents and skills you may possess.
What are your lifestyle goals? What balance do you want to strike between time at work and time with the family? Are the pressures and stress of a high flying career an acceptable price you are willing to pay? It is helpful to separate lifestyle goals into short-, medium- and long term goals with definite timescales to each.
Now we need to assess the skills required for your current job.
Job-related competences (see template in Annex Two)
Most jobs these days have a description of the main areas of responsibility and accountability. Such a description usually specifies ‘key tasks’ or ‘key result areas’ or something similar, which not only indicates the results expected, but also states how performance will be measured.
Job-related competences, which are also known as ‘technical’ or ‘functional’ competences’, are often included along with job descriptions. Competences are statements of the specific skills, underpinning knowledge and associated – behaviour needed to perform tasks to the required standard. in some sectors of industry, these are laid down by representative bodies and form the basis for vocational qualifications, but additionally some employers have designed their own competences specifically for their own organisation.
Whatever the source, these competences are an essential guide to the standard of performance required for jobs, and they form the basis for this activity.
When thinking about the competences needed for your job you will inevitably reveal gaps in your own competences. This activity highlights areas of competence for future development by creating a list which can then be used as the basis for a development plan.
Use the template in Annex Two to note down the competences required in your job. If these competences are specified on your job description, then write those down. You may also be working to NVQ competences. Alternatively, try to identify for yourself the key competences that you need — the ability to produce a budget, the ability to use a spreadsheet, the recruitment and training of new team members and so on — and note them down on the form.
Then, for each key competence, make an assessment of whether or not you need further development. This is not as complicated as it sounds! Simply ask yourself if your current level of performance is adequate, or does it need improving? Write your answer in the ‘Development needed?’ column.
These job-related competences represent what you need to do to perform to the required standard in your job. However that is not the whole story. There are also competences that reflect how you need to perform, and these are known as ‘personal competences’.
Personal competences (see template in Annex Three)
While the job-related competences that you need may change as your job changes, personal competences stay with you (although, if you think back to the idea of ‘unconscious incompetence’, they may need renewing if they are not used regularly).
Personal competences are sometimes referred to as ‘transferable skills’, although there is likely to be a different emphasis from organisation to organisation (and from job to job). A variety of models for personal competences exists — many organisations have developed their own competency framework identifying the personal competences required by their managers.
As a generic model in this assessment pack we have grouped the personal competences into ten distinct areas.
1 Acting assertively
2 Acting strategically
3 Behaving ethically
4 Building teams
6 Focusing on results
7 Influencing others
8 Managing self
9 Searching for information
10 Thinking and taking decisions
In this activity, you use checklists to assess your current level of competence in each of these ten areas. You will find that the activity requires more thought about some aspects of competence than was necessary when completing the personal profile. The questionnaire is adapted from the list of personal competences developed by the Management Charter Initiative (MCI), an industry-led organisation which has identified key occupational standards for managers.
You have thought about development needs in relation to your current job. Now you will find it helpful to consider the personal competences that are relevant, and whether you need to develop them further.
This activity encourages greater awareness through self-assessment by highlighting areas of competence for future development.
Look at the checklists in Annex Three, and use them to assess current levels of competence. (If assessing yourself, it would help to discuss your assessment with your line manager.) You need to make two judgements.
Is the competence relevant to your current job? Tick Yes or No as appropriate.
Is your current level of performance adequate, or does it need improving? lf it needs improvement, put a tick in the ‘Development needed’ column.
By completing these checklists yourself you now have a wealth of information about your current attainments and ambition, your job-related competences and your personal competences. This information in itself would permit you to identify the ‘development gap’ — the areas in which you need to develop yourself because there is a shortfall either in the skills needed for your current job or because you need to acquire additional skills for the future.
Remember, though, that this is only half of the development picture. To develop your potential effectively, you need to be clear about how you learn, so that you can plan your learning and maximise its impact.
So far we have looked at how you can set about identifying your own development needs.
We’ve seen that the development process sees us going through different levels of awareness about our competence. To motivate people (including ourselves), to pursue a development programme, an awareness of the current situation is a crucial first step. We therefore introduced three tools to help with this important stage:
- a personal profile — recording what you have done and what you have achieved, as well as your career and lifestyle ambitions
- job-related competences — an assessment of what you need for your job, and whether you need to develop these competences further
- personal competences — a record of ‘transferable skills’ relevant to your current job and an assessment of whether your performance meets the required standard.
The completion and submission of these three tools is a mandatory requirement of the