How to Complete Your Development Plan


After completing a SWOT analysis and identifying your soft and hard skills, you should now be in a position to write up a training development plan. The development plan is your blueprint that establishes the right type of training course you need for your dream job.

Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan offers vital advice regarding business, life and diplomacy. “Knowledge is power,” he reminds us. “Information is liberating. Education is the promise of progress in every situation, in every family”. He understood that leadership arises not from our position, but from our actions. We must proactively identify problems and find solutions using our planning and foresight on a professional and personal level. That is why creating a personal development plan is essential for growing your leadership skills.

Your plan will help you to understand exactly where to focus your energy, and how to take corrective steps when something is out of balance.

In order to write your development plan, it is important that you complete the following exercises first which can be found on pages 34-57 of the Diplomatic Planner or downloaded from the Online Academy:

  • SWOT Analysis

  • SWOT Action Plan

  • Hard Skills Inventory

  • Soft Skills Audit

Looking back at your weakest skills from the exercises above, use the development plan as a roadmap to acquire new knowledge to help you move forward towards your ultimate goal.

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STEP ONE: Write your personal statement

Remind yourself of what your mission and sense of purpose is. This may seem like a daunting task but think about why you want a career in international relations and how you want to live your life. You don’t have to write something ornate. A simple sentence about your personal motivation is all you need to stay grounded.

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STEP TWO: Setting out your objectives

What knowledge of skills do you need to develop? Your objective is your mission. Ask yourself why you need to develop these skills and for what purpose. Providing a justification will give you the motivation to get this objective complete.

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STEP THREE: Identify the right activity

If you want to learn a language, start to identify how to plan to pick up this skill. Will you hire a tutor? Practise with an Arab-speaking friend? Listen to Arabic music or radio shows? Don’t overthink it. Pick something that will not be difficult for you to achieve.

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STEP FOUR: Gather the right resource

This section is about the tool you need to start your training. Do you need expert help or are you able to get by as an independent learner?

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STEP FIVE: Acknowledge small wins

Be sure to reward yourself when you are doing well in your training and recognising when things are not working. How will you know you are successful in achieving your objective? Be clear on what this means to you.

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STEP SIX: Being clear on deadlines

Having a goal is no good when there is no set deadline. Be clear but realistic when setting your target goal. To help you be accountable to your objective, add reminders in your Weekly Actions to practise on your new skill.  

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Repeat this process for each new skill you want to learn. We recommend you read the article “20 Hours” to manage how to productively pick up new skills in short time.