Kick-Start the New Year with Development Conversations

Have you already set too many targets for yourself this year?  Are you over-stretched with trying to improve your health, your performance, your career, your well-being?  Perhaps your team have overwhelmed themselves too – New Year resolutions can become a burden not a motivation. 

Why not take the time to think about development instead.    You may need to have goal setting conversations with your team, but if you focus on their development needs first, the goal setting will come naturally.

What development does each of your team need?  Perhaps they are just starting out and need some basic skills, or perhaps they are due to retire soon and would value a conversation about their legacy or their ‘third act’?  Many of us need to top up our digital skills, as the digital world moves faster than most of our careers, and others may want to think about preparing for promotion or taking on a new responsibility.

With development conversations, it helps to start with a simple time-frame:  What would be useful right now  – perhaps to make a task easier, improve confidence or just create some new energy?  Then look over the year, if you and your colleague are sitting here again in 12 months time, what would they like to be different?  What development will help that change happen?  Finally, do they have a longer term perspective – it’s not compulsory but it can help planning!  Thinking about longer term development can inform where you suggest they focus their energy right now, as well as enabling the two of you to think about how to achieve something that might seem far away at the moment.

As you have the development conversation, you can connect the development back to what you need them to deliver over the year. Making sure that someone understands fully what is expected of them will lead naturally into development needs, but will also make it much easier to define goals if necessary.

If you don’t need precise written goals, then make sure you check your colleague has fully understood what is expected of them as you draw the meeting to a close.  This is a great way to use a meaningful conversation about development to clarify performance requirements for the year.