Who remembers when Continuous Personal Development started as a formal record? The days when reading the “pinkies” could be included, and attending regular social gatherings, otherwise known as “provider events” got you a free lunch which also counted towards your total hours? Happy days.
The firm is responsible for setting and monitoring an individuals’ Personal Development Plan, whereas the individual is responsible for completing their own Continuous Personal Development
How much of that mentality towards Continuous Personal Development has changed today? Isn’t it often the case that individuals undertake Continuous Personal Development to tick a box by finding recordable activities that may or may not be particularly useful to their development, rather than embrace Continuous Personal Development and use it for the purpose intended? And does the individuals’ Personal Development Plan, link in with that individuals’ Continuous Personal Development? It should, but actually it also should be the other way round.
The firm is responsible for setting and monitoring an individuals’ Personal Development Plan, whereas the individual is responsible for completing their own Continuous Personal Development, but left to their own devices individuals may not focus on linking Continuous Personal Development to the right development areas, and may struggle to record Continuous Personal Development in a timely manner. So there’s a huge benefit to creating a partnership that manages what the firm wants the individual to develop, and what the individual themselves wants to develop.
Let’s start with Personal Development Plan. The firm may wish the individual to focus on or improve their knowledge for particular areas of business, for example an individual who has recently joined the firm from perhaps a predominately investment-focused background but is perhaps out of touch with retirement planning issues will require additional coaching or even examinations to get up to speed. The firm may also wish the individual to increase revenue, perhaps through seeing more potential clients or seeing clients with larger assets to manage. The T&C Supervisor may have areas of development from competency observations and file checks, for example clearer or fuller file notes, or perhaps not getting into too much detail too early in the first meeting. Then the individual themselves may have something they wish to develop, for example they may wish to get more involved in trusts, or perhaps Annual Allowance work. There could, therefore, be three different inputs feeding into an individuals’ development plan.
Now that the Personal Development Plan is set up to drive Continuous Personal Development, in other words the “what” and the “why”, the next stage is to drive the outcomes by setting up and agreeing the “how” the developments are going to be made and the “when” the developments should be accomplished by. There are any number of solutions as to how the developments can be made, and possibly not all will be recordable Continuous Personal Development, but when setting and agreeing the levels of structured and unstructured Continuous Personal Development must be taken into consideration. The “when” must also be carefully considered, and planned accordingly. Take account of busy business periods, for example the end of the tax year, known legislation announcements, personal holidays etc.
Some firms set new Personal Development Plans each year, but in doing so remember that a Personal Development Plan should never be set up at the beginning of the year; it should be set up before the end of the previous year so the individual hits the new business year running. The same should apply to the individuals’ business plan which may also have an impact through the firms’ input into the Personal Development Plan. But a better practice would be to set up the Personal Development Plan once, and make it a continuous document, so that it never “lapses”. As the individual should have a Personal Development Plan in place at all times. Review the Personal Development Plan at every supervisory meeting, as a minimum review it quarterly, check progress and update. Add new developments as they occur.
Whereas the above focuses on individuals who are giving advice, but the same equally applies to other individuals who are members of the T&C Scheme, such as the Supervisor, Para-Planners, and other specialists.
Linking an individuals’ Personal Development Plan to their Continuous Development Plan will help make this part of the T&C Supervisors’ work easier. Individuals will then focus on what they need to develop rather than just doing anything to meet the requirements. Plans are continually “live”, and most important of all, the firm remains continually in control.