How to Create a Development Action Plan — Part 3 of 3

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What is a Development Action Plan?

It’s a document designed specifically to provide a framework for setting and for achieving a goal to continue building your knowledge and skills.

It’s an effective planning template that will guide you through important preparations that will help you to build and sustain momentum throughout the creation and execution of your plan. Our template provides you with a process to prepare your own plan, that includes taking time to think through key details in advance. It’s a time-saver that also enables successful goal achievement.

7 Ingredients of an Effective Development Action Plan

  1. You’re “Why” and Goal Statement
  2. Desired Outcomes
  3. Required Resources
  4. Anticipated Obstacles and Solutions
  5. All Actions required to achieve your Goal
  6. A Start Date and Completion Date for each Action
  7. Tools to Monitor Progress during Plan Execution and Review Results Post-Execution

Scroll down to download and review our Development Action Plan template to see how it corresponds with the 7 ingredients above, and the 10 steps below.

First: Your Pre-Work Assignment

Identify Your “Why.” When you decided to focus specially on learning and development, you had one or more reasons in mind for investing your time and energy in this effort. The purpose behind your decision to build your knowledge and skill is what drives your desire to pursue learning and development. It’s what is motivating you.

To determine your “Why” requires some self reflection, and a good way to begin is by asking yourself some questions:

  • Why do I want to focus more on building knowledge and skills?
  • What do I gain by doing it?
  • What if I did nothing?
  • What do I lose by doing it?
  • What if I succeed?

These questions can lead to more questions and to answers. Once you’re satisfied you’ve identified the powerful “Why” write it down on the Development Action Plan template.

Then, you’re ready to begin to create your plan following the steps below.

10 Steps to Create an Effective Development Action Plan

The keystone of your plan is the goal statement. Your goal defines a project or action required to achieve your Why. Using the S.M.A.R.T. model below provides the details that will define success.

The S.M.A.R.T. Goals model is a tool to help you to write a specific goal statement that clarifies exactly what you intend to do, the measures that will define successful outcomes, how you’ll do it and when you’ll do it. We believe you’ll find that even though the S.M.A.R.T. method and our planning template are separate, effective tools, they can be adapted and used together to create your Development Action Plan.

You can download our Development Action Plan template. Just scroll down and choose either the Microsoft Word or the PowerPoint version. Review it as you follow the S.M.A.R.T. Goals model we’ve adjusted and tailored to align well with creating an action plan for development:

SSpecific1. Write your goal statement in the space provided adjacent to your “Why” on the planning template, to describe exactly what you intend to accomplish, how and when. Sample: By March 31, 2022, lose 5 pounds and build a foundation for fitness in running a 5K, through healthy diet and exercise.
MMeasurable2. List measures that describe what will constitute success. These are your Desired Outcomes.

Sample: Target weight: 110 lbs Fitness: Able to run a 5K in 30 minutes or less
AAchievable3. List all actions required to achieve your goal. Put them in chronological order, and set a Start Date and a Completion Date for each action.

4. List the Resources that will be needed to complete your plan. Obtaining these Resources should be listed as actions, in in the appropriate places among the other actions where they fit chronologically, with Start Dates and Completion Dates.

5. Identify Obstacles that anticipate may hinder your achievement of the goal, and at least 1 possible Solution for each Obstacle.

6. Write down how and when you will monitor progress throughout plan execution.

7. Set a date to evaluate your performance on the plan, post-implementation, so you can learn what went well, what could be improved, and what you’ll do differently in the future.

RRelevant8. Write down your “Why” with a note as to how the Goal aligns with it.
TTimely9. Review and finalize the goal date and all of the start and completion dates of the actions.

10. Tweak these until you are confident that all of the necessary actions have been identified, that the start and completion dates on them will lead you to success meeting the goal date, and that the plan is doable.

Another Tool for Your Success

Executing a Development Action Plan typically requires adding new behaviors into each day or week. Our 5-Part Series of articles on managing behavior and habits provides knowledge that can give you leverage in making your Development Action Plan a successful effort.

The 5 mini-segments can be applied to making your plan easy to do and rewarding, infusing fun and momentum into the implementation process.

Download our Development Action Planning Template here!

We offer two versions:

  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft PowerPoint

Our guide to help with identifying knowledge and skill areas for your development – LINK:

Links to our 5-part series on Behavior Management:

Mini-Segment #1 on Behavior Management — LINK:

Mini-Segment #2 on Behavior Management — LINK:

Mini-Segment #3 on Behavior Management — LINK:

Mini-Segment #4 on Behavior Management — LINK:

Mini-Segment #5 on Behavior Management — LINK:

Are you interested in finding out about our coaching services?

A professional coach is a resource to focus on your goals and development. A coach, particularly one who specializes in elevating job performance, can provide guidance and related training. A skilled coach can support you in self-reflection and self-assessment, generating insights and increased self-awareness you can use to establish your direction, priorities and goals. Further, the support doesn’t stop there, but can go on to help you anticipate potential obstacles, identify alternative solutions and, ultimately, succeed in achieving your goals.

Contact Us:


Telephone: 603-801-2416

Join our new Facebook Group, Friends of Nadeau Coaching – LINK:



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