Planning Individual Development ActivitiesTo o l s , I d e a s a n d S u g g e s t i o n sUnited States Department of StateBureau of Human ResourcesReleased October 2006Printed in Washington D.C. A/IIS/MMS 2006-02699(200)
Table of ContentsDevelopmental Activities. 4 Introduction.4 What is a Developmental Activity?.4 Expectations.4Types of Developmental Activities. 6 Cross-Training.6Formal Training.6Matrix Teams.6Mentoring.6On-the-Job Training.7Position Enhancement.7Self-Directed Learning Projects.7Special Assignments.7Excursion Tours.7Developmental Assignments. 9 Types Of Developmental Assignments.9Benefits of a Developmental Assignment.9How to pursue a Developmental Assignment:.9Roadblocks to Developmental Assignments:.9Tips for persuading your supervisor.10Developing a formal written agreement.10Strategies and Ideas for Learning.13 Experiential Learning.13Teaching/Learning Moments.13Personal Best Experience.13Defining Moments.14Unlearning.14Learning from Mistakes.15Turning an Experience into a Developmental Activity.15Learning Styles.16Learning Journal.18Becoming a Sage: The Keys to Life-long Self-Development.20
Table of ContentsGetting Started on the Developmental Process.23 Self-Assessment.23Position Competencies.28Benchmarking Performance.32Gather Feedback from Others.34Organizational Assessment.37Identifying Your Goals.38Creating an Individual Development Plan.40Networking.43Developmental Tools.43 Informational Interviews.45Job Shadowing.48Feedback.49Storytelling.51Active Listening.55Coaching.57Learners – What to do After Learning.58Supervisors- What to do After Learning.58Learning Transfer.58 Evaluation.60 Ten Tips to Make Training and Development Work . .62 Building Your Personal Learning Network .63Appendix A: Competency Development.67Appendix B: Guide to Training at FSI.96 Cross-Training Record Sheet .107Appendix C: Worksheets. 107 Learning Journal . .109Self-Assessment Worksheet .112Job Competency Profile .117Feedback Form . .127Training Evaluation & Feedback .130Learning Contract . .131Appendix D: Development Self-Study Activity. 132Appendix D: CDRC Resources. 144
Developmental ActivitiesIntroductionOur most valuable resource is our people. By encouraging developmental activities for individual employees,the State Department as a whole will benefit from increased motivation, morale and capacity for service.Approved activities may be directly or indirectly job or career related. This could include any activity, whichwould enable staff to become more effective in their current position; would prepare them for advancementwithin the Department or would enhance personal development and lifelong learning. The relevance,desirability and timing of participation in developmental activities are determined through work planningand goal setting discussions between an employee and his/her supervisor, with the supervisor having the finalapproval.This toolkit provides guidance, tools and suggestions on how to go about designing developmental activities inthe workplace.What is a Developmental Activity?Not all training and development takes place in a classroom. A developmental activity or assignment providesemployees with an alternative work experience that allows for ongoing experiential learning. This experienceenhances an employee’s knowledge and skills and can range from on-the-job training to details or rotationsoutside an organization.Growth and development are key motivators for employees. Encouraging and fostering ongoing developmentalactivities in the workplace will benefit both the employee and the organization.In a nutshell, expanding opportunities for employee growth through job enhancement and enrichment can adddepth and breadth to the skills and abilities of your organization. The assignment of additional responsibilities,a commitment to skill development, delegation of new tasks, an opportunity for more authority and autonomycreate an engaged and valued workforce.Employee development is a collaborative effort between the supervisor and the employee. It balances theemployee’s needs and interests with the organization’s goals and objectives - a win-win situation for both. Inthe following pages you will find step-by-step guidance and worksheets to get you started on an employeedevelopment plan. You can use as much or as little of the information provided to tailor your developmentalaction plan to reflect the realities and constraints of your workplace. The important thing is to just get started.Even small changes can have a big impact. Consider the following.ExpectationsA supervisor’s expectations of their employees (Pygmalion effect) and the employee’s expectations ofthemselves (Galatea effect) are key factors in how well people perform at work.According to Susan Heathfield, a management and organization development consultant, there are fundamentalprinciples you can apply to performance expectations and potential performance improvement at work.To summarize the Pygmalion effect, often known as the power of expectations, consider: Every supervisor has expectations of the people who report to him. Supervisors communicate these expectations consciously or unconsciously. People pick up on, or consciously or unconsciously read, these expectations from their supervisor. People perform in ways that are consistent with the expectations they have picked up on from thesupervisor.The Pygmalion effect was described by J. Sterling Livingston in the September/October, 1988 HarvardBusiness Review. “The way managers treat their subordinates is subtly influenced by what they expect ofthem,” Livingston said in his article, Pygmalion in Management.
Developmental ActivitiesHeathfield states, “The Pygmalion effect enables staff to excel in response to the manager’s message that theyare capable of success and expected to succeed. The Pygmalion effect can also undermine staff performancewhen the subtle communication from the manager tells them the opposite. These cues are often subtle. As anexample, the supervisor fails to praise a staff person’s performance as frequently as he praises others. Thesupervisor talks less to a particular employee.”Livingston says about the supervisor, “If he is unskilled, he leaves scars on the careers of the young men (andwomen), cuts deeply into their self-esteem and distorts their image of themselves as human beings. But if heis skillful and has high expectations of his subordinates, their self-confidence will grow, their capabilities willdevelop and their productivity will be high. More often than he realizes, the manager is Pygmalion.”The power of positive thinking should not be underestimated. Expecting and believing that employees canpositively contribute can have a significant impact. Holding a “big-picture” view of employees improves theirself-esteem and as a result their own belief that they can succeed translates into a rise in performance thatmeets the level of their own expectations (the Galatea effect).According to Heathfield, “the individual’s opinion about his ability and his self-expectations about hisperformance largely determine his performance. If an employee thinks she can succeed, she will likely succeed.Consequently, any actions the supervisor can take that increase the employee’s feelings of positive self-worthwill help the employee’s performance improve”.She recommends the following ideas as a way in which to encourage positive, powerful self-expectations inemployees. Provide opportunities for the employee to experience increasingly challenging assignments. Make sureshe succeeds at each level before moving forward. Enable the employee to participate in potentially successful projects that bring continuous improvement tothe workplace. Provide one-to-one coaching with the employee. This coaching should emphasize improving what theemployee does well rather than focusing on the employee's weaknesses. Provide developmental opportunities that reflect what the employee is interested in learning. Assign a successful senior employee to play a developmental mentoring role with the employee. Hold frequent, positive verbal interactions with the employee and communicate consistently your firmbelief in the employee's ability to perform the job. Keep feedback positive and developmental wherepossible. Make sure the employee is receiving consistent messages from other supervisory personnel. How youspeak to others about employees powerfully molds their opinions. Project your sincere commitment to the employee's success and ongoing development.Harness the power of the employee’s self-expectations to ensure powerful, productive, improving, successfulwork performance.Performance Improvement Functions: Performance analysis Exemplary practice identification Developing more optimal performance environment for workers on the job Increasing the effectiveness of training, for example by improving needs assessment and evaluation. Expectation Clarification Performance support tools and resources Communications enhancement Improving feedback and recognition systems
Types of Developmental ActivitiesCross-TrainingCross training is training someone in another activity that is related to their current work. The name comes from thefact that you are training them across a broader spectrum of the organization’s work. It provides more flexibility inmanaging the workforce to get the job done and it is good for employees too. It lets them learn new skills, makes themmore valuable, and can combat worker boredom. See appendix C for a Cross Training Record Sheet.Formal TrainingFormal classroom training is the first thing that comes to mind when people think of employee development. This isjust one small component of the larger developmental plan.All employees are encouraged to take advantage of the training opportunities available internally and externally toenhance their support of bureau goals and their own professional development.Internal TrainingFSI’s internet site: http://fsiweb.fsi.state.gov/ contains information about their course offerings and schedules. Seeappendix B for additional information on how to apply for training.External TrainingDepartment of State employees may also take advantage of training opportunities provided by other governmentagencies or domestic training institutions, colleges and universities, and private vendors. The FSI Office of theRegistrar manages the Department of State’s External Training Program, reviewing and approving all requests forexternal training including conferences and seminars, for Department of State employees, and maintaining externaltraining records. External training may be bureau-funded or FSI-funded, subject to funds availability.Matrix TeamsMatrix teams include work groups, cross functional teams, task forces, problem solving teams, committees, SpecialProject teams, etc. They are normally composed of a small number of people from different departments, functions, ororganizations, who have banded together to solve a common problem or achieve a goal through collaboration and thesharing of their knowledge and skills.MentoringThere are many definitions of mentoring. In its simplest form, mentoring is the process of one person helping anotherto grow and develop. Mentoring occurs in several forms. However, all mentoring relationships fall into one of twocategories: formal or informal.Formal MentoringA formal mentoring relationship is characterized by three traits:1. An explicit agreement between mentor and protégé to engage in the mentoring process.2. A specific set of developmental goals.3. A structured process for the mentoring to take place (e.g., a formalized meeting schedule, an explicit agreementon roles and expectations, etc.).Formal mentoring can occur within the context of a structured, office-sponsored program, or it can be self-initiated bythe individual mentor or protégé. Annually, the Department runs a formal mentoring program.Informal and Situational MentoringThis type of mentoring relationship is characterized by a looser structure and less explicit agreement. Informalmentoring is almost always initiated by the individual mentor or protégé. An employee sees a quality in anotherperson that they admire and would like to develop. Or a mentor sees something in another person that reminds themof themselves. If you have ever been “taken under someone’s wing,” that has most likely been an informal mentoringrelationship. In these cases, the relationship may have happened without the two partners ever negotiating specific
Types of Developmental Activitiesagreements on how they would work together or what they would work on. Nevertheless, the mentor was there toprovide the protégé with advice, insight, and supportive challenge.On-the-Job Training - Seizing opportunities in your own workplace.There are various developmental activities that can take place right in the workplace - from formal and structured onthe-job training to informal, reflective, self-directed activities. Appendix A offers ideas for development as they relateto the OPM Leadership Competencies.Training an employee in their own working environment has several advantages: Managers or supervisors can assess improvement and progress over a period of time, making it easier to identifyproblems and intervene and resolve them quickly.This type of training is also productive, as the employee is still working as they are learning.Training "on-the-job" provides an opportunity to get to know staff they might not normally interact with.Pitfalls Not everyone is a good teacher.The person training may not be given the time to spend with the employee to teach them properly, whichtranslates to substandard training and poor learning.The trainer may possess bad habits and pass these on to the employee being trained.We only get about 25% of what we use in our jobs through formal learning. The other 75% of learning happens as wecreatively adopt and adapt to ever changing circumstances. It happens when we ask a coworker a question and get ananswer or when we collaborate with members of our team on a project. Take advantage and foster opportunities forinformal learning through the use of mentors, coaches, subject-matter experts, etc.Position Enhancement - Job Enlargement & Job EnrichmentThis involves modifying an employee’s responsibilities to meet a personal development objective. Job responsibilitiesare stretched in some way. This can either be vertical or horizontal. These can be permanent or temporary.Job Enlargement is the horizontal expansion of a job. It involves the addition of tasks at the same level of skill andresponsibility. It is done to keep workers from getting bored.Job Enrichment is the addition to a job of tasks that increase the amount of employee control or responsibility. It isa vertical expansion of the job.Self-Directed Learning ProjectsAn employee is assigned or voluntarily undertakes a specific project that promotes the expansion of skills andknowledge through self-directed learning or research and produces a final product that contributes to organizationalobjectives. Self-directed learning may also include reading, self-study, FSI’s Distance Learning and FasTrac courses.For more information on these courses visit: http://fsi.state.gov/admin/reg/default.asp?cat Distance%20LearningSpecial AssignmentsA Special Assignment is a learning strategy in which the employee performs temporary duties on a full or part-timebasis. These duties may be performed within or outside the current organization. For example, the leader of a crossfunctional team, service on a task force, etc.Excursion ToursHR/CDA offers a limited number of opportunities for State Department Civil Service (CS) employees to bid onForeign Service (FS) Hard-to-Fill (HTF) positions. These positions are announced o/a March 1 every year.The CS to FS HTF Program is designed to help meet critical FS staffing needs while providing opportunities
Types of Developmental Activitiesfor CS career development. Employees will be selected to fill one or two-year assignments depending on thePost.CS applicants must be career employees with a tenure code of 21 and have served in permanent State positionsfor at least three years. In order to be eligible to apply for FS HTF positions with responsibilities to superviseAmerican staff overseas, CS employees must have completed their one-year supervisory probationary periodhere in the Department, and this includes writing EERs for career-conditional/career State employees.Selected employees will be required to have the appropriate medical and security clearances for the posts ofassignment prior to receiving travel authorization. HR/CDA will provide MED with the necessary authorizationfor the exam and will request the required clearances from DS. With the exception of IMS positions, applicantsmust hold at least Secret clearances. After selection, candidates with Secret clearances will be processed forTop Secret clearances before going to post. The process for upgrading clearances may take up to four monthsand cause delayed arrivals at post.Language training beyond a five-week familiarization course will not be authorized for CS applicants. Otherjob specific training (e.g. consular, public diplomacy, etc.) will be provided as needed to applicants selected forthese positions. Total training, however, cannot exceed eight weeks.A key requirement in the application package mandates that all CS applicants obtain Bureau-Specificreemployment rights as a precondition to applying for the Program. This will guarantee that applicants willbe placed into permanent CS positions following excursion tours. The reemployment rights memorandumgranting Bureau-Specific reemployment rights should be signed by the Executive Director (and cleared bythe supervisors) of the releasing bureau to the Director, HR/CDA. Please note that this does not precludeCS employees from applying for CS vacancy positions as they near the completion of their excursion tours.However, should new positions not be obtained by the date of return, CS LNAs will return directly to the losingbureaus. The 30-day grace period has been eliminated.
Developmental AssignmentsA Developmental Assignment is an economical and effective way to receive hands-on experience andopportunities to enhance skills, knowledge, and abilities. A developmental assignment can be arranged withinthe same organization, with another Agency or outside organization and usually is approved for a period of oneto three months. When working on a developmental assignment, the employee is still assigned to their regularduty station, but for a period of time, they will work for a different supervisor.During the assignment they will perform tasks assigned, based on the identified career goals and interests and/or the position they are filling. It can be a great learning experience and can assist the employee in their careergoals and help them determine if a particular job would be right for them. It broadens their knowledge of otherfunctions and departments and offers them different and challenging job experience.Types Of Developmental AssignmentsThere are generally two types of developmental assignments:Job RotationThis is a career development strategy that allows the employee to temporarily move info an established or“shadow” position either inside or outside the current organization. An employee could complete a series ofjob rotations. Two employees of similar grade and experience could also arrange a “job swap” to learn differentskills or about another organization.DetailA detail provides the employee with an alternative work experience generally in another part of the Departmentor another government organization. They could temporarily perform the duties of a vacant position or bedetailed to work on specific projects. This is negotiated between the two organizations.Benefits of a Developmental Assignment Broaden knowledge of other functions and departments in the organizationPrepare for career advancementSeek a different or more challenging job experienceEnhance knowledge or skills in a particular areaGet exposure to a different career fieldHow to pursue a Developmental Assignment: Conduct a Self-assessment: Identify your career goals and those skills and/or learning experiences youwould like to receive as a result of the assignment.Discuss with your supervisor: Describe how you and the organization will benefit from the experience.Identify and contact an organization or Agency that could provide you with a developmental assignment:Utilize your network contacts, conduct informational interviews and/or job shadowing.Develop a formal written agreement: Approving officials can discuss all logistics and determine if theycan enter into an agreement to provide you the opportunity.Roadblocks to Developmental Assignments: Discussions are held with your supervisor and he/she has determined that the assignment cannot beapproved (e.g., staff shortages, organizational needs, budgetary constraints). The organization/Agency to which you are requesting a developmental assignment, can not approve yourrequest (e.g., staff shortages, time constraints, lack of interest). An agreement between the approving officials could not be reached, based on established conditions forthe developmental assignment.There are lots of different approaches and circumstances involved in seeking a developmental assignment.Be creative in your discussions with your supervisor, identify a work place that can utilize and benefit fromsomeone with your skills and talents, and see if it can work out.
Developmental AssignmentsTips for persuading your supervisorPeople are persuaded by different things. Some people are impressed by a strong, logical argument, while othersare swayed by a forceful, impassioned explanation. To be most compelling, adapt your persuasive style to suit yoursupervisor. Consider the following: What is important to your supervisor? What will be his/her main concerns? How will this benefit the office and your supervisor? What will he/she get out of supporting this? Prepare your argument ahead of time. Jot down the three most important points you wish to make. Be ready toaddress the concerns you uncover during the investigation process. Give your perspective on why you believe this is a good idea. Sell it! Show enthusiasm. Clearly relate thebenefits of your proposal to his/her concerns. Run your ideas by a few trusted coworkers before presenting it to your supervisor. Get their input on itsfeasibility and ask them to challenge you on the various aspects of your proposal. Use this information to analyzethings you might not have considered. State positive expectations. Know what you want from three perspectives: 1) What is absolutely necessary; 2) What is ideal; 3) What youwould be willing to give up. Understand the needs of the organization vs your personal desires.In summary, be prepared; know your supervisor’s position and needs; be creative in coming up with alternativesolutions to any obstacles and most importantly know how your objectives will benefit your supervisor andyour office.Developing a formal written agreementA Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) needs to be drawn up between the two organizations. Certain detailsneed to be covered such as time and attendance, length of detail, etc. Be sure you include any information thegaining agency needs, such as security clearance. The following page contains a sample MOU. This samplecan be used as a guide when establishing a developmental assignment.10
Developmental AssignmentsMEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDINGBETWEEN(EMPLOYING DEPARTMENT)AND(GAINING DEPARTMENT)AND(EMPLOYEE)This Agreement between the United States Department of State and (gaining organization) is undertaken for thepurpose of detailing (employee name) from the Department of State to (gaining organization). The detail is voluntaryand at the employee’s request.1. The purpose of this document is to set forth the terms and conditions of an agreement pertaining to (employee’sname) developmental assignment as (working title) within the (office/organization). This Agreement is entered intounder the authority of 5 CFR 300.301 and the authority of the Agencies involved.2. The terms of the assignment shall commence on (date) and, subject to prior termination, shall continue to andexpire on (date). The terms of this agreement may be extended to a date mutually agreed upon by both parties. Shouldit be necessary to amend thi
United States Department of State Bureau of Human Resources Released October 2006 Printed in Washington D.C. A/IIS/MMS 2006-02699(200) Pl