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Maintaining a focus on Professional
Development goals

Working with your staff to set goals for professional development sends a powerful message that you value your staff, and you are committed to their growth. An even stronger, negative message is sent if those goals are ignored until the annual performance appraisal time rolls around again. You create the impression that the goal setting exercise was something that “had” to be done, likely on direction of someone higher up the chain of command. Now that it is checked off your to-do list, you can get on with doing the really important tasks.

On the other hand, when you review your staff’s goals from time to time throughout the year, you reinforce the message that staff development is important to you and the organization. A commitment exists to each staff member’s growth.

Here is a simple, low tech way to maintain your focus on all staff members’ goals throughout the year. Write each staff member’s goals on a 5 X 8 index card. Place the cards in your top drawer or in some other convenient location. Make a commitment to yourself and to your staff members to meet with them individually once every four to eight weeks to discuss what they have done to meet their goals. Summarize the meetings on the card, noting the date prominently.

Whenever you have a moment in your day – waiting for a meeting to start, while on hold or as you pack up at the end of the day – shuffle through the cards. Is there someone with whom you have not discussed goals in the past month? Make a point to schedule time with that person.

This card system maintains your commitment to your staff’s development. Staff members will feel that you value them as employees and as a result will be more focused on their professional growth plans. Both the staff member and the organization benefit from your consistent involvement.


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© Nelson Scott.  All rights reserved.

A professional trainer, speaker, and consultant since 1995, Nelson Scott works with organizations that are committed to making the right hiring decisions, developing and retaining productive staff, and strengthening relationships with customers.  Learn more by visiting or e-mailing


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