5 Tips on Creating Your IDP

It’s that time of the year – Individual Development Plan time. Your agency may not use that word but you probably do it. The time you require each individual to create their training plan they hope to accomplish in 2014.

So here’s my five tips to create a great training plan (individual development plan):

1) Make It About Your Office – It’s easy to make your IDP about you and your career. But in the end, you need to think through your boss’s lens – what does s/he care about? How is this training going to make this office better? A more productive employee for my boss?

2) Leverage Online Training – Times are tight. Training budgets are shrinking. It’s a great time to add free online training to your IDP mix. There’s plenty of online training that offers real CPE credits and tactically helps you do your job better. From our GovLoop training (yes biased – we offer lots of free training – check out here) to great training at Digital Government University or MOOCS like Coursera, make sure to add these to your IDP. These are real trainings that count.

3) Ask Your Peers – Ask your colleagues, friends, and bosses – what’s the most useful training you’ve ever been to? And add that to your IDP. It’s not complicated but often we fail to ask others. We all remember that one training experience you’d go back to in a heart beat – find which one that is amongst your peers.

4) Invest in the Best – I’m obviously a huge fan of online training but I admit, there’s nothing better than a world-class in-person event. With budgets tight, you shouldn’t be going to just “okay” in-person training that could be done online. You need that amazing experience – so find that one event for you that’s a must-have. If you are a rising leader, maybe that’s the Next Gen Training Summit. If a local webmaster, maybe it’s NAGW’s annual gathering.

5) Want more? Make sure to sign up for our free “How to Create an IDP Training”

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Picture courtesy of Flickr – Luke-rative

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Avatar photo Bill Brantley

I agree and disagree. Yes, it’s important to consider your office in your IDP but in today’s work environment, think about your profession rather than the current place you work. That’s why I wrote about my personal development exercise – the Five Days of Arete.

Eric Melton

Years ago as a Contractor, a supervisor advised me that in order to keep passing rigorous overseas status checks, it was in my interest to add to my resume’ every year in 3 basic categories:

1. Professional Development (Leadership, Management, Certifications, etc.)

2. Traditional (College/University courses, complete a degree, etc.)

3. Technical (IT, telecom courses – career-related things)

Doing so helped me pass all status hurdles and when I later became a Govvie I’ve tried to continue doing so.

(thanx for the reminder… time to get busy)… 😉

Martha Austin

Unless your intention as an employee is to sell your body to the highest bidder (there is another word for that that is inappropriate for this post), I would recommend focusing on what you intend for your profession and your career not what your boss or your office want. If you discover that what you intend for yourself is not in alignment with what your boss wants, you are in the wrong job. (That does NOT mean that there is anything wrong with you. It just means it’s a bad fit.) After 25 years in federal service and 10 years as an executive coach, I repeatedly see young officers ignore their personal development desires and needs in order to focus on what this boss thinks s/he wants this week. Five years down the road, those young officers are frustrated, exhausted, burned out, pissed off, and wondering how they can work so hard and accomplish so little. Officers usually come to Conscious Leadership Blueprint when they have reached this point of desperation and still want to create an awesome career in government service. Imagine the possibilities if they took that step BEFORE the burn out.

Bill Huddleston

In addition to leveraging online training, one of the best “practice fields” for developing your leadership, public speaking and project management skills is to be a volunteer in your agency’s CFC campaign. I developed an an Excel spreadsheet that maps more than 20 of various CFC campaign responsibilities to the ECQ (Executive Core Qualifications) for SES positions. If you would like a copy of that spreadsheet, please e-mail me at billhuddleston at verizon dot net with CFC ECQ in the subject line and I’ll be glad to send it to you.

This year, due to the government shutdown, the CFC has been extended to January 15, 2014 nationwide, so there are still many opportunities to benefit from the CFC as a leadership practice field.

Believe me, I do get the fact that between furlough days, the government shutdown and the uncertanily of January, that it’s easy for the CFC to not be anyone’s priority. For the CFC charities, the CFC is the single largest source of unrestricted funds, and because of the pledge structure it really does help them plan for the next year. Thanks in advance for your generosity.

One comment about the importance of having “the freedom to fail” as an important part of learning and the value of the CFC as a practice field, is precisely because it is not the primary mission of any agency. You can have an idea, try it out, and if works, great, if not, you’re not called into a Congressional hearing. Here’s one small example, I was in charge of my agency’s CFC campaign during the 2000 election season (long before the Supreme Court Case) and I thought it would be a good idea to have “CFC Ballot Boxes” Vote for Your Favorite Charity by putting your pledge card here! It was a miserable failure, I think we got two pledges in ballot boxes. Why? No face to face contact which was a valuable lesson and one I’ve forgotten since.

Regards, Bill Huddleston, The CFC Coach,

Email me at billhuddleston at verizon dot net with CFC ECQ in the subject line to get the leadership spreadsheet.


Eric – Love that framework of 3s (professional development, traditional, technical)

Bill – agree CFC is a great leadership opportunity. I highly recommend folks volunteer to lead any small projects at work – whether it is CFC or smaller like an office picnic or office CPR person.


Martha/Bill – agree that you need to focus on your professional path. Truth is probably in middle – at some point, I pursued training around SQL and internal auditing that were related to my job but not my professional path. But on other end, I’ve sometimes proposed training where boss would say – that sounds great for you but how does that relate to what you are doing now. So minimally you need to make sure you are selling it internally (it’s great you want us to pay for your MPA degree so you can get ahead and get a better job. But why do I want to pay for it as your boss with a limited budget?)

Avatar photo Bill Brantley

It’s been my experience that if you wait around for your training to be paid for, you may be waiting a while. Never be afraid to pay for your own training if you it will help you in your career path. Again, the focus should be on you first and then what your office needs.

Martha Austin

When you choose to invest in your own training, you choose your future. When you wait for someone else to pay, you allow someone else to choose your fate. No one can invest in you at a level higher than you are willing to invest in yourself.