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Analysis Of Personal And Professional Development Add in library

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Questions:

1. (a) Analyse and discuss the various approaches to self-managed learning and lifelong learning in relation to your own experience.
 
(b) Assess the benefits of self-managed learning to you and your organisation.

2. (a) Carry out an audit of your personal skills and competencies using the format and assess the skills needed to work professionally in an organizational setting.
 
(b) Analyse your personal SWOT factors and devise a personal and professional development plan with specific career development objectives.

3. (a) Critically examine how you would proceed to implement your personal and professional development plan by making reference to the process and key activities to be carried out.

(b) Critically evaluate the process of reflecting on the achievement against expected aims and objectives and discuss how you would review the plan based on the outcomes.

4. (a) Investigate and analyse one work-based problem in your work environment and suggest/recommend solutions using appropriate communication methods and styles at different level.

(b) Critically examine the application of effective time management approaches in various situations in your own context.
 
 

Answers:

Introduction

Personal and professional development is a continuous process which not only helps the individual but also the organisation (Throop & Castellucci, 2010). It involves processes of self-discover and self-examination wherein one analyses their own skills and potentials and plan improvements in order to attain desired future goals and career achievements (Carducci, 2009). This assignment aims at identifying and evaluating personal skills and developing a personal and professional development plan in order to minimise the gap between exiting skills and desired skills.

The author works as a HR administrator at the OCS Groups Ltd. As an HR administrator her role is a mix of HR and admin wherein she is the first point of contact for all HR related queries, he has to administer all HR related documents, assist in recruitment and selection process, conducting interviews and communicating with recruitment agencies and candidates (Armstrong, 2006).  Founded in year 2001 by Mark Tranfield, OCS Group Ltd provides their clients with premier services in technical training, inspection and commissioning (OCS Group, 2015). It is recognised for developing most innovative solutions in order to solve most complex problems of their clients.

 

1. Role of self-managed learning in enhancing lifelong learning

1.1  & 1.2 Various approaches to self-managed learning and lifelong learning

Self-managed learning also referred to as self-directed learning involves individuals taking self-initiative to analyse their own learning needs with or without the support of others (Aspin, 2008). Once the learning needs are identifies they define their learning goals, recognise input resources and evaluate the learning outcomes on a regular basis (Friedman, 2013). It encourages individuals to take complete responsibility of meeting their own learning needs in order to improve their existing skills up to desired level (Matthews, et al., 2009). Every individual has their own learning style and the self-motivation greatly influence what they learn (West & Turner, 2010). They primary self-managed learning theories are; reinforcement theory which suggests that behaviour of individuals change owing to their reaction to different situations, cognitive learning theory which considers learners as information processing machines, experimental learning theory which considers learners as active agents of their own learning and social learning theory wherein social interactions are considered as most effective pattern of learning (Boud, et al., 2006). With people becoming more and more tech savvy and active on social media, online platforms like social networking sites, e-books, forums and bulletin boards are gaining more attention from learners.

Learning styles refer to set of theories that evaluate the differences in one’s habitual and natural pattern of processing and absorbing knowledge in particular learning environment (Graves & Norman, 2013).

The Henry & Mumford learning style and Kolb’s learning style are the two common learning styles (Friedman, 2013). The Henry & Mumford learning style defines four types of learners as shown in figure below.

Fig.1. Source: Friedman (2013)

The author is an activist as she is passionate to learn new facts and face challenges. She is full of positive attitude and enthusiasm thus believes in active experimentation.

Enhancement of lifelong learning involves changing people’s perception and is concerned with accountability (Graves & Norman, 2013). It helps individuals in improving current skills and acquiring new skills. The process of lifelong learning involves two main steps namely; Accountability which involves making employees realise that they are responsible for their development and professional growth and also accountable for the growth of their employer (Aspin, 2008). The author has always been active in taking the ownership of work assigned to her as it makes enforcement of lifelong learning easier. Second step is goal setting which involves creating clear vision of what is accepted and how to go about to achieve it (Hellriegel & John W. Slocum, 2011). It is important that organisations give their employee ample opportunities to indulge in self-managed learning (Kitchin, 2010). They should encourage lifelong learning by providing options for on-job trainings, distance education and linking their higher education with the industry they serve (Mullins, 2011). The author has developed a clear vision of improving her existing skills in order to achieve desired career growth.

 

1.2  Benefits of self-managed learning

Self-managed learning turns out to be fruitful for both the individuals and the organisation they work for (Kee & Eraut, 2011). It helps individuals in minimising the gap between present potential and desired potential. It helps individuals in acquiring new skills so that they can meet the expectations of their employees and even capture new growth opportunities (Lauby, 2005). It makes an individual more confident, accountable and delivers self satisfaction. In case of the author self-managed learning has help her in identifying her strengthens and weakness by performing an audit of her personal skills. She has been able to realise her true potential and recognise her weak points which she will minimise by improving existing skills and acquiring new skills.

From an organisations point of view self managed learners are their most precious assets and are the main source behind innovative ideas (Anaya, 2012). Self-managed learners tend to perform better and in better coordination with each other. They help creating a knowledge sharing work culture which facilitate in effective team work (Shajahan, 2007). Self-managed learners are found to be comparatively more accountable and goal oriented thus they are concerned about their own growth as well as profitability and goals of the organisation.

2. Managing own personal and professional development

2.1 & 2.2 Audit of personal skills

An audit of personal skills and abilities help in identifying one’s strengthens and weaknesses based on which personal and professional development plan can be developed (Bolton, 2010). It will help her decising on activities that are to be untaken in order to minimise the gap between her existing skills and desired skills. The author has graded her skills on the scale range of 0-5.

Poor performance; 1- needs considerable improvement; 2- average performance; 3- above average performance; 4- good performance; 5- excellent performance

Audit of personal skills

Skills

Score

Written communication

4

Verbal communication

3

Multi tasking

2

People Management

3

Time Management

3

Knowledge of HR policies and procedures

4

Presentation skills

3

Problem solving

4

Team Player

4

Leadership and motivation skills

2

The outcome of personal skills audits reveal that the author has good command over her written communication skills however must work on her verbal communication skills which is very important as she is in a people management role. She has good knowledge of her area of business and is good team players. She needs to focus on her multi-tasking, time management, presentation skills, people management and leadership and motivation skills.

2.3 & 2.4 SWOT analysis of personal skills and development of personal and professional development plan

SWOT analysis is a strategic management tool that will help the author in identifying her internal strengths and weakness and analysing the external opportunities and treats (Strategic tools: SWOT and PESTLE, 2009).

SWOT Analysis

Strengths

Weaknesses

Degree in human resource management

Good Communication skills

Positive attitude and willingness to take initiatives

Good team player

Good knowledge of area of business

Friendly and full of enthusiasm

Good in people management

Good understanding of technology

Weak in multi-tasking activities

Average time management skills

Average presentation skills

Poor leadership, motivation and negotiation skills

Opportunities

Threats

A number of online and offline short term courses are available.

On-job training

Growing job opportunities in HR field

Companies prefer individuals with upgraded knowledge and presentation skills.

Organisations prefer individuals with multi-tasking capabilities that help them in reducing cost.

Current organisation prefer promoting people with good leadership and motivation skills

 

SWOT analysis helps the author in developing her personal and professional development plan which is shown in table below.

Personal Development Plan

Learning Needs

Priority

Activities to be undertaken

Resources required

Target deadline

Proof of achievement

People Management skills

High

10 weeks online course in people management

Finances and time

May 2015

Certificate of completion

Leadership, motivation and negotiation skills

High

Part time course from reputed institute

Finance and time

August 2015

Certificate of completion

Time Management

High

 On-job training of 2 days

Time and availability of training

March 2015

Certificate of completion

Multi-tasking

High

Taking up multiple projects

Current organisation projects

Continuous

Outcomes of projects undertaken

Presentation skills

Medium

On-job training of 1 week

Time and availability of training

April 2015

Certificate of completion

Upgrade knowledge of area of business

Medium

Online books, journals, HR communities and other resources available on internet

Time

Continuous

Continuous

The above development plan will help the author in improving her existing skills and acquiring new skills. It will help her in maximising her strengths to take advantage of opportunities present and minimise her weaknesses to avoid threats.

3. Implementation and review of personal and professional development plan

3.1 & 3.2 Implementing personal and professional development plan

Success of personal development plans depends on how dedication level of the learner and how religiously they follow the designated time frames (Schon, 2008). Implementation of personal development plan is a four step process as shown in figure below.

Personal Development Plan Cycle

Fig.2. Source: Steiner (2010)

First step of PDP cycle involves identifying personal learning needs (Armstrong, 2011). The author has performed an audit of personal skills and also performed SWOT analysis in order to identify her strengthens and weaknesses. This has helped help in realising that she must focus on her time management, multi-tasking, people management, leadership and motivation and presentation skills.

Second step is planning which involves goal setting, planning activities to be undertaken and defining definite time frame (Deb, 2006). The author has defined realistic goals, plan future activities and has allocated herself a time frame of six months to improve her existing skills and acquire some new skills.

Third step involves identifying resources that can help in achievement of desired learning goals (Carroll, 2013). The author has selected online and offline courses after enquiring about them from friends and checking online reviews. She has selected the on-job trainings for which she will enrol. She has selected various online books, journals and communities which she will use to further upgrade her knowledge of her area of business.

 

Last stage of PDP cycle involves reflecting on actions performed and gathering feedback for evaluating achievements and progress (Denicolo & Reeves, 2013). She can reach her supervisors and subordinates to evaluate her performance and provide her adequate feedback. Based on the feedbacks received she can review her PDP and make changes in it order to achieve desired results.

3.3 & 3.4 Reflecting on achievements and review of plan based on results

Reviewing a personal development plan needs same level of dedication and focus as was needed in its initial development (Ellis, 2005). Reflective practice needs individuals to evaluate and reflect on their own work in order to go ahead with the process of continuous learning (Luis, 2010). The author can rely on Schon, Kottkamp and Brookfield’s four lenses theory of reflection which is a strategy for professional development according to which individuals must focus on their behaviour and improve it accordingly to improve the quality of their overall performance (Department of Occupational Therapy, 2008). The author will have to review and evaluate the activities she has performed till dates to further incorporate changes in her personal development plan.

Development activities performed till date

Learning needs

Undertaken activities

People Management skills

Enrolled in an online course on people management

Leadership, motivation and negotiation skills

Enrolled in a part time course from a reputed institute

Time Management

Enrolled for an on-job training of 2 days to be held in first week of February

Multi-tasking

Have requested her supervisor to give her an opportunity to be involved in different projects

Presentation skills

Have enrolled in an on-job training of 1 week to be held on second week of march

Upgrade knowledge of area of business

Have gather number of online books, journals and other articles related to HR topics and have become member of HR online forums.

After reflecting on the activities performed till date the author can develop a revised personal development plan. Reflection of her own actions helped enhancing her self confidence and satisfaction. Author’s revised personal development plan is shown below.

Revised Personal Development Plan

Learning Needs

Priority

Activities to be undertaken

Resources required

Target deadline

Proof of achievement

People Management skills

High

Enrolled for the online course and putting efforts to gather maximum information from other resources

Finances and time

May 2015

Certificate of completion

Leadership, motivation and negotiation skills

High

Already enrolled, achieve merit result

Finance and time

August 2015

Certificate of completion

Time Management

High

 Attending the session to which she has enrolled

Time

February 2015

Certificate of completion

Multi-tasking

High

Waiting for supervisor to provide her different projects

Current organisation projects

Continuous

Outcomes of projects undertaken

Presentation skills

Medium

Attending the session to which she has enrolled

Time

March 2015

Certificate of completion

Upgrade knowledge of area of business

Medium

Reading gathered online books, journals and other articles on internet about HR topics.

Actively participating in HR forums which she has joined as a member

Time

Continuous

Continuous

The revised personal development plan will further help the author in achieving her learning needs and taking advantage of various career opportunities present in current organisation or in external market

4. Acquired interpersonal and transferable skills

4.1 & 4.2 Analysis of work-based problems and recommendations using various communication methods and styles at different level

Transferable skills are also referred to as essential skills or employment skills (Steiner, 2010). They comprise of aptitude and knowledge gained through personal life experiences like jobs, school, university, and hobby classes etc (O'Neill, 2011). These skills are representation of one’s personal effectiveness and include skills like communication skills which is ability to effectively communicate with others irrespective of their position, one’s willingness to take initiatives, reliability, self-discipline, problem solving skills and creativity (Adair, 2011). Author being a HR administrator has to face a number of work-based problems. She has identifies that her time management skills are not very strong and many times she faces problem in effective time management. She seldom faces problem when she has trainings and interviews scheduled and at the same time she has to respond to HR related queries of employees (Thompson, 2009). Job of an HR administrator is very tiring and effective time management skills are very essential for achieving desired career objectives (Cooper & Burke, 2011). The author can use problem solving cycle to solve her work-based problems as shown in figure below.

Problem Solving Cycle

Fig.3. Source: Thompson (2009)

Effective communication is an essential skill to attain desired career goals (Blundel & Ippolito, 2008). Communication is the process by which sender transmits desired message to receiver using various verbal and non-verbal means. Verbal communication is one in which speech is used to deliver desired messages (Blundel & Ippolito, 2008). Non-verbal communication is one in which written words or body gestures to deliver desired messages (Fielding, 2006). The behavioural grid identifies four communication style namely; Relator who are introverts and like staying confined to themselves, socialiser who are extroverts and like others company, directors who display a dominating personality and thinkers who are reserved and avoid sharing their thoughts (Fielding, 2006). Author being in a people management role need to focus on her written and verbal communication skills in order to communicate to individuals at all levels.

Communication Styles

Fig.4. Source: Blundel & Ippolito (2008)

Author being in a people management role need to focus on her written and verbal communication skills in order to communicate to individuals at all levels.

4.3 Approaches to effective time management

Effective time management is essential for implementation of personal development plan and achieving desired career growths (Forsyth, 2010). Effective time management involves following a five step process as described below:

Defining realistic goals: The most important step of effective time management involves defining realistic goals. Goals must be achievable and measurable. Author has defined realistic goals for herself also identifying her strengths and weaknesses.

 

Sub diving complete process into small tasks: It is important to divide the learning process into small tasks so that they appear achievable.

Deciding Priority: Once the learning needs are identified it is essential to prioritise them based on their level of urgency.

Developing Schedule: It is important to develop a schedule with definite time frame allocated to each activity else the whole process will be a chaos.

Stay away from distraction and seek form expert help: In order to complete the tasks within specified time frame it is important to avoid all forms of distractions. The author has enrolled with various reputed institutes and is regularly asking her supervisor for adequate feedback.

Conclusion

Self-managed learning not only benefits individuals but also the organisation they work for. Skilled employees are considered as the most precious asset for an organisation and tend to perform better. It helps increase one self confidence and effectiveness thus opening doors for better opportunities and career growth. Self-managed learning has helped the author in identifying her learning needs and accordingly devises a personal development plan to achieve them. 

 

References

Adair, J., (2011) The John Adair Lexicon of Leadership: The Definitive Guide to Leadership Skills and Knowledge. London: Kogan Page Publishers.

Anaya, C. P., (2012) Knowledge Transfer: A Practical Approach. Bloomington: Xlibris Corporation.

Armstrong, M., (2006) A Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice. London: Kogan Page Publishers.

Armstrong, M., (2011) Armstrong's Handbook of Strategic Human Resource Management. London: Kogan Page Publishers.

Aspin, D. N., (2008) Philosophical Perspectives on Lifelong Learning. Hamburg: Springer Science & Business Media.

Blundel, R. & Ippolito, K., (2008) Effective Organisational Communication: Perspectives, Principles and Practices. London: FT Prentice Hall.

Bolton, G., (2010) Reflective Practice: Writing and Professional Developmen. London: SAGE.

Boud, D., Cressey, P. & Docherty, P., (2006) Productive Reflection at Work: Learning for Changing Organizations. New Jersey: Routledge.

Carducci, B. J., (2009) The Psychology of Personality: Viewpoints, Research, and Applications. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.

Carroll, D., (2013) Skills for Academic and Career Success. Melbourne: Pearson Higher Education AU.

Cooper, C. L. & Burke, R. J., (2011) Human Resource Management in Small Business: Achieving Peak Performance. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Deb, T., (2006) Strategic Approach to Human Resource Management. New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers & Dist.

Denicolo, P. & Reeves, J., (2013) Developing Transferable Skills: Enhancing Your Research and Employment Potential. London: SAGE.

Department of Occupational Therapy, (2008) Professional and Eductaional Conceptual Framework and Curriculum Philosophy.

Ellis, C. W., (2005) Management Skills for New Managers. New York: AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn.

Fielding, M., (2006) Effective Communication in Organisations. Cape Town: Juta and Company Ltd.

Forsyth, P., (2010) Successful Time Management. London: Kogan Page Publishers.

Friedman, A. L., (2013) Continuing Professional Development: Lifelong Learning of Millions. New Jersey: Routledge.

Graves & Norman, (2013) Learner Managed Learning: Practice, Theory and Policy. New Jersey: Routledge.

Hellriegel, D. & John W. Slocum, J., (2011) Organisational Behaviour. New York: Cengage Learning.

Kee, A. M. & Eraut, M., (2011) Learning Trajectories, Innovation and Identity for Professional Development. Hamburg: Springer Science & Business Media,.

Kitchin, D., (2010) An Introduction to Organisational Behaviour for Managers and Engineers. New Jersey: Routledge.

Lauby, S. J., (2005) Motivating Employees. New York: American Society for Training and Development.

Luis, R. V., (2010) Management skills and leadership techniques. London: Ideaspropias Editorial S.L..

Matthews, G., Deary, I. J. & Whiteman, M. C., (2009) Personality Traits. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Mullins, L. J., (2011) Essentials of Organisational Behaviour. London: Financial Times Prentice Hall.

O'Neill, A., (2011) Manager to Leader: Skills and Insights for a Successful Transition. Riverwoods: CCH Australia Limited.

Schon, D., (2008) The Reflective Practitioner: how professionals think in action. London: Temple Smith.

Shajahan, S., (2007) Organisation Behaviour. New Delhi: New Age International.

Steiner, G. A., (2010) Strategic Planning. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Strategic tools: SWOT and PESTLE, (2009) Strategic tools: SWOT and PESTLE.

Thompson, N., (2009) People Skills: Third Edition. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

Throop, R. K. & Castellucci, M., (2010) Reaching Your Potential: Personal and Professional Development. New York: Cengage Learning.

West, R. & Turner, L., (2010) Understanding Interpersonal Communication: Making Choices in Changing Times, Enhanced Edition. New York: Cengage Learning.

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