Creating A Personal Development Plan

We’ve looked at why it is important to your business success to have a personal development plan so the next step is creating one. So where do you start and what do you include?. If you’ve never had to do this before and feel daunted or even if you have and now consider it to be perhaps more effort than you feel like giving  it at the moment, given all the other things you have to get sorted – STOP! Take a deep breath. Help is at hand and once you’ve overcome any negative thinking you will most likely find that it is an enjoyable and fulfilling activity that you will want to return to again and again

The Right Mindset

Before going any further it is important to approach this task in the right frame of mind, ie where you feel empowered and confident that what you are doing is going to net you fabulous results AND you have all the skill necessary to produce the best personal development plan for your needs.

If you are feeling tired, bored or uninspired it is easy to move out of this state and into a positive one using a few simple techniques:

Take a few deep breaths and change the position you are in, i.e. if you are sitting, stand up. Now pull up your body to increase the height of your stature, as if you are a very important dignitary and move about with an air of power and grace.

Next think about the environment you are in – would putting on some music make it feel more creative, could you position yourself so you can see things that you find inspiring, e.g. pictures of loved ones.

Now think warm, positive thoughts. Remind yourself that you are doing this to enhance your skills, develop the knowledge and the know how that will hasten your success as a Tycoon Woman. Creating your personal development plan will allow you to take the right action and bring you a step closer to your dreams!


It is important that you write out your development plan either on paper or using a computer. Don’t do it in your head. It never works that way.


5 Steps To Creating Your Personal Development Plan

Step 1: A Personal SWOT Analysis – Discovering your strengths and weaknesses.

SWOT stands for Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats. Traditionally in this sort of analysis, Strengths and  Weaknesses are things that are internal to you and therefore you have more direct control over. Opportunities and Threats are external factors that you need to be aware of how they are impacting on you, as you may not have any control over them.

A good way to identify what you are good at (Strengths) and where you need improvement (Weaknesses) is to ask yourself what are called power questions. Power questions are the sorts of questions where the answers provide you with deeper insight into the problem or issue being asked about.

Power Questions

What could you talk about endlessly?

What did you want to do when you were a child?

In what or at what have I been most successful?

What do people normally ask for my help with or say are my strengths?

What can I do that nobody else can do just like me?

What are some of my good qualities/habits that I am aware of, or that people have mentioned?

What activities am I comfortable doing or can do effortlessly

What activities or in what areas do I frequently have difficulty and/or have had very limited or not success?

What do I do that other people find annoying?

When people complain about me what are their biggest gripes about me? ,

What things do I feel uncomfortable about doing? (Discomfort, when it’s not related to going against your core beliefs and values, can be an indication that we are less confident about the skills required to complete the task)

What would you like to be remembered for?

If  you could wave a magic wand that could solve one problem, what would it be?

Getting feedback from trusted friends and family can help you to see things that you are unaware of. This can also be powerful endorsement of your existing skills and qualities. Ask them what they think you are good at and what you’re not so good at.

Also, look for things that routinely happen in your life that may give you an indication of your strengths/weaknesses. Such as avoiding public speaking, losing your temper, making others feel comfortable around you etc.

Once you have completed the SWOT analysis of yourself, it is likely that you will have a pretty extensive list of things to consider. Consequently, you will need to prioritise the areas that you will work on initially or you run the risk of becoming overwhelmed. One method for prioritising is to identify the area which you would need to change the soonest and start work on your top 5.


Step 2: Goals And Reasons

Having prioritised the areas you are going to be working on, the next step is to be clear about your goals, i.e. what you are aiming to achieve in each of these areas.  What is the outcome or change you want to see?  Equally as important as the outcome, is being clear about the reason why you want it. This is because being clear about the reasons will be a powerful motivator to keep you focused on working to improve your skills in this area.

Make a list of your outcomes and reasons which is detailed and specific, very ambitious yet still realistic and within reach.

Answering the following power questions will help you complete this step of your personal development plan.

Why do I want to achieve this particular element?

How does it help me become a Tycoon Woman?

What specifically can it give me?

What can it prevent/stop?

How does it impact those around me?

How does the goal fit in to the bigger picture of my life?


Step 3: Setting The Time Frame

Once you have identified your goals in step 2, you should set a specific time frame for achieving each of them. 

One of the most important things that you can learn, which will help you become a successful Tycoon Woman, is that NOTHING gets done without taking ACTION.

Taking action begins with a clear timeframe as it is a lot easier to monitor how you are progressing if you are clear about when you should achieve things.

For example if you have identified that you need to develop business finance skills, the example below show you how it can be turned this into a measurable, actionable item:

Develop business financial skills = produce my basic12 month cash flow spreadsheet by [date]

The timeframe or achieving your outcomes will depend on whether they are short, medium or long term objectives.  Short term goals should be smaller action items that are steps to achieving your long term objectives.


Step 4: Resources

The next step is to identify what resources you need to achieve your goals. If it is something new that you need to learn, how best can you absorb this information?

A lot will depend on your preferred learning style. Some useful information on how to be more effective in your learning by understanding your preferred learning style can be found here.

Or is it a skill that you need to practice and if so what opportunities can you identifies within your networks for doing this. As always remember to focus on the action steps as well.

Using the example of developing business financial skills, here are some examples of identifying resources and action steps;

• Sign up for a business start up class

• Read books on basic business finance (specify specific book if possible)

• Join business networking groups to benefit for peer learning

• Get a coach/ mentor to help you develop your skills







5. Scheduling And Timeline

The final step in writing a personal development plan is scheduling time to do it. This will depend on your current life circumstances. Most plans fail because they are unrealistic in terms of the lifestyle of the owner. Obviously you will get more done if you can devote 1-2 hours a day to your personal development; however, if by setting this as a goal you end up disillusioned because after two days it proves impossible then there is no point in aiming high and failing. Better to be realistic. When my children were younger the only time I got to read was whilst I was in the bathroom! So I left my books in the magazine rack and read a little each time nature called!

Find something that works for you and commit to it. Remember that nothing is cast in stone and welcome any opportunities that arise that enable you to modify or improve on what you have already put in place.

Schedule your time for personal development in your calendar and remember to include any ad hoc opportunities you identify.  For example;

Tuesday evenings 8pm – 9pm: video course

Monday mornings 8am-10am: Business Breakfasts

Every Saturday 4pm – 6pm: 1 on 1 coaching session with coach/mentor

Daily at Lunchtime 12.30-1:30 pm:   reading

Then set the deadline for achieving your short and long term goals. Naturally, your schedule and the amount of time/effort put in every week should be set according your goal deadline.

Monitoring And Reviewing

Your personal development plan captures a moment in time. It reflects your current needs. Therefore it is important that you regularly review it in order to check on your progress and to update it as necessary. Try not to view your personal development plan as a finished product. Rather it is something that is always a work-in-progress and evolving for the better. A good idea would be to set periodic reviews on a weekly, fortnightly, or monthly basis.


As you work through your personal development plan build a library of information in the form of books, audios, videos, articles, reports etc as this will be a great source of reference material for you in the future.

Remember, true learning occurs when you write, teach or do. If all you do is read books and attend workshops or seminars, you may find that once completed you are none the wiser. Therefore it is just as important to find opportunities to teach what you are learning to others and practice the techniques by actually doing them – no matter how much of a stretch this is.


image credits: Books Key by renjith krishnan; Open Mind by Idea go; SWOT Analysis Signpost by scottchan; Wooden Steps by Michal Marcol; Time For Change by Salvatore Vuono; Woman Reading A Book by graur razvan; Achievement Road Sign by scottchan

About Ola Agbaimoni

Known as "The Business Detective" due to her "Sherlock Holmes" like problem solving abilities, Ola works in partnership with her sister Carole Pyke, The Business Bard. Together they run Eélan Media, a new type of Business growth agency offering a forensic approach to business and a creative approach to marketing. As well as being an expert in business planning, training and development, Ola is also a certified coach, NLP practitioner; an accomplished author, speaker and presenter.

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