If you’ve looked through the Annual Business Plan, you may have seen one activity is to create a professional development plan. So you might be wondering: what is a professional development plan? Great question! It’s a plan for how to develop your team as leaders. That may be vague, but that’s really all it takes. In my opinion, every officer team should have a professional development plan, formal or informal, to help improve their officers.
To help you out, I’ll walk you through how I developed a professional development plan for the officers this year. First of all, you need to know what they need help with. Whether they aren’t good at public speaking, communicating with businesses, managing social media, or anything in between, providing opportunities to experience these things will help them grow as leaders. So, once you find out what they consider to be their weaknesses, expose them to those things. It can be as simple as that In my experience, the most growth has come from the most trying times. By finding ways for them to go out of their comfort zone throughout their term, they’ll be much better for it.
The Annual Business Plan requires an outline of the professional development plan you used. The easiest way to arrange this is by separating each individual’s name, weakness(es), opportunities he or she had to overcome the weakness(es), and how successful it was. For example, if there was an officer named Sarah who wasn’t confident in public speaking, and was given the opportunity to speak at chapter meetings, helping her no longer fear public speaking, you could list all of that information. Then, repeat that process for all of your officers. Keep in mind that this only addressed a single weakness, but it’s likely that many of your officers will have many. I’d recommend working with as many weaknesses as possible so your officers can make the most of their time in DECA.
A professional development plan is one of the things in DECA that is easily overlooked, but is extremely valuable. As you can tell, it’s fairly simple to put one together, and your officers will benefit greatly. Professional development plans truly can have a lifelong impact on the members who are involved in your chapter, and I’d greatly recommend you taking advantage of the opportunity to put one into place.