14 Examples of Developmental Goals and Ways To Achieve Them | Zavvy (2023)

A successful career path requires self-reflection, an understanding of your strengths, weaknesses, and thorough planning of your developmental goals.

Think of professional goals as stepping stones to a successful career. They help employees acquire new skills, find happiness at work and add meaning to what they do.

Read on to see what developmental goals are, top examples, and how to get started at your company.

🎯 What Are Developmental Goals?

Developmental goals are objectives people plan for themselves to reach the next level in their careers. They're a great way to learn new skills, discover career ambitions, and improve character.

Developmental goals are the foundation on which people build their careers, preparing them for any unforeseen challenges. They're ideas that will invite new opportunities and put your career in proper perspective.

According toHBR, professional development takes three primary forms: learning, connecting and creating.

  • Learning:Identifying current skill gaps and finding efficient ways to fill them.
  • Connecting:Networking with the right people to help you achieve your goals. For example, Executive managers, Project managers, etc.
  • Creating:Taking action and getting insights from your peers, mentors, etc.

We will further discuss this in detail under the section: How to set professional goals.

❓ Why Are Developmental Goals Important?

There's a plethora of podcasts, TED Talks, and motivational books available on building a successful career.

But too often, they're all passive and everything but actionable.

This makes it more critical to plan and manage developmental goals. They're a faster, tangible, and actionable way to maximize people's potential and accelerate overall growth.

Let's look at some more reasons to plan developmental goals:

Know where you want to go

Having an individual developmental goal helps know how much time to dedicate to each task, identify what's essential for your growth, and focus on areas that need work.

Whether you're an intern or an executive, these goals form a strong foundation for building a successful career.

Enhances work relationships

Once someone is on a path to achieving developmental goals, it will enable them to understand different work areas.

For instance, as people learn new skills, they will be able to participate in various projects, have more responsibilities, and become key players in their team.

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Helps people to recognize strengths and weaknesses

Once you create a roadmap, a.k.a, a development plan, you will better understand your skill gaps and how to fulfill and ace them. In addition, they encourage you to take actionable steps to play to your strengths.

Increased productivity

This is based on a simple principle:

The better people get at their work, the more productive they will be. In addition, they will be recognized and rewarded for their efforts, motivating them to go the extra mile to achieve their goals.

Helps with a career shift

If you're early in your career, it's normal not to have clarity on where you see yourself growing. This is where developmental goals come into play. They encourage skill improvement and help you take small, actionable steps in the right direction.

🆚 Personal Goals Vs. Developmental Goals

Personal and Professional goals are two sides of the same coin– both helping you grow as an individual but in different areas of life.

For example:

  • Personal goalscould relate to your mental wellness
  • Whereasdevelopmental goalsare centered around your career aspirations.

A balance of both offers happiness and gratification, motivating you to continue pursuing them.

⏱ Short-Term Developmental Goals Vs. Long-Term Developmental Goals

If you are getting started with planning your developmental goals, dividing them between short-term and long-term is an excellent way to start. It will provide you with some clarity regarding what to prioritize.

Let's understand the differences between the two:

A short-term developmental goalis one you see yourself achieving soon. They can take up to 1 week or three months to complete.

For example:Join a 3-month Bootcamp program on brand strategy. They are much easier to commit to and directly tied to one's effort.

Short-term developmental goals can also be stepping stones, culminating in achieving a long-term goal.

Long-term developmental goalsrequire a lot more planning. It can take as much as one year to see the results. For example, get promoted to a managerial position or start my own business.

One might/might not necessarily be able to achieve long-term goals, as they are also dependent on external factors like opportunities, management team, team structure, etc.

⚙️ How To Set Professional Development Goals? / How To Get Started?

Identity your From/To

Start writing down where you are and where you see yourself growing in the next 2 to 5 years. Once you have a list of things you want to achieve, shortlist them based on priority.

For instance:if you're expecting a promotion, you'd like to focus on improving your leadership skills than learning new technology.

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Here's an example of a great from/to statement:

From an individual contributor who is a key team player with expertise in UI/UX design to a people leader who can drive people to perform better and deliver successful results.

Understand the current gaps in your skills/knowledge

Do a SWOT analysis, reference your latest performance review, and understand areas that need improvement. Then, ask yourself: Are there areas you're not sufficiently performing in your job?

You can also have a 1:1 with your mentor/manager, who can offer guidance and direction on ways you can achieve your goals.

Or even better, map out a skills matrix for yourself–here's afree template!

Follow the SMART goal method

Following the SMART method (Specific, Measurable, Relevant, and Time-bound goals

will allow you to determine what needs to be focused on, how much time, and what impact it will have on your performance.

They are a great way to stay focused and track the progress of your goal.

Write and share your developmental goals

Connect with influential people in your organization and share your developmental goals with them. Get some insights on how you can closely align your goals with those of an organization.

Alternatively, you can also look outside your organization. For example, connect with the best people in your field, request an interview, ask for insights.

Ask questions like: "What are some key challenges you faced in your position and how did you overcome them?" or "What qualities would stand out in a resume for someone applying for _______ job position."

Take action

Here, you need to develop a growth mindset and understand how to grow most successfully. It would be best to be more proactive with your approach rather than waiting for an opportunity to arrive.

Connect your goals with concrete actions in acareer development plan. This is your roadmap for achieving your goals.

🏁 14 Developmental Goal Examples

For leaders/entrepreneurs

14 Examples of Developmental Goals and Ways To Achieve Them |Zavvy (2)

1. 💬 Develop strong communication skills

If you're aspiring to become a team leader/manager, you'll face challenges like team conflicts, increased workload, miscommunication, etc.

Such situations will test your ability to manage people.

Learning to bring your team together is essential to ensure a smooth flow of communication at work. Get to know each one personally, understand your employees' needs and responsibilities, and build a system where they all can work in harmony towards a common goal.

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How to achieve this goal:
  • Engage in open and honest communication with your team members
  • Listen to them
  • Allow them to voice out their concerns without any judgment

2. 🔄 Be able to give valuable feedback

Employees look up to their leaders for guidance and credible feedback. Therefore, being an influential manager who can offer advice is critical in today's work environment.

How to achieve this goal:
  • Give honest feedback in an empathetic way.
  • Learn the rules of feedback giving.For example, don't make it too negative or vague, and strive to offer continuous feedback.

3. 🤯 Effectively lead the team through a crisis

Crisis management starts with prevention. Then, while one cannot foresee it, you can take steps to minimize its impact. Leading your team through crisis calls for making immediate choices, being present, and reallocating your resources.

How to achieve this goal:
  • List everything that could potentially attract a crisis. For example, sensitive data leaks, workplace accidents, and corrupted management.
  • Ask yourself what could be the potential consequences, how much budget you'll need to allocate, and what steps you can take to avoid its recurrence.

4. 👬 Develop inclusive leadership skills

"Leadership is using the greatness in you to achieve and sustain extraordinary outcomes by engaging the greatness in others."Susan L. Colantuono, founder of Leading Woman.

Today's leaders need to leverage their skills to engage and grow people around them in an inclusive way. You will then be able to build a workforce where everyone feels empowered, valued, and supported–vital elements of thriving work culture.

How to achieve this goal:
  • Be curious about your employees' personal experiences at your workplace.
  • Ask them questions, and understand their perspectives.
  • Involve people from all backgrounds in meetings, invite employees to shadow you.

5. 📚 Enroll in an executive program/course

Leadership is a continuous process that needs to be learned, practiced, and evolved with time. Enrolling in leadership programs like executive MBA prepares you for new challenges, builds a versatile network of professionals, and updates you with the latest trends.

How to achieve this goal:
  • Communicate with your organization's management and ask if they offer leadership training.
  • Get information about your company's budget for developmental programs and find a program to help your career advancement.

6. 🛠 Stay abreast with the latest technology

84% of executivesagree that innovation is essential to growing their companies. But,less than 10%know how to improve their innovation efforts, according to research fromMckinsey.

As a business leader, you need to prioritize keeping up with/updating their technology. Not only will this put your organization ahead of the competition, but it will also streamline your workflows.

How to achieve this goal:
  • Read articles fromTechCrunch, MIT, Technology Review,Mashable, etc.
  • Consider partnering with incubators and accelerators to learn more about tech startups.

Lead by example

Mutual trust and respect between leaders and employees is the foundation of success for thriving organizations. If you want to foster a culture of open communication and teamwork, you need to embody these values first.

Only then will your people be motivated to follow in your footsteps and imbibe similar traits.

"You should lead by example and not illustrate how turbulent times may be affecting you on a personal level." - Daniel Snow, CEO, and founder ofThe Snow Agency.

How to achieve this goal:

  • Be mindful of what you say, to whom, and under what circumstances.
  • Extend support to employees in need, be an active listener, and offer extra guidance to those in need.
  • Always leave the door open for open communication involve yourself in projects without micromanaging.

For beginners

14 Examples of Developmental Goals and Ways To Achieve Them |Zavvy (3)

1. 🕸️ Build professional relationships/networking

Having a robust professional network opens new opportunities for career advancement. Connecting with the right people also introduces you to new perspectives, ideas, skill development, and more.

How to achieve this goal:

  • Attend company-organized networking events, seminars, social events like happy hours and farewells
  • If you're working in a big organization, connect with different team leaders in your department
  • Put yourself out there on social media, share your achievements and aspirations

2. ⏱ Improve time management skills

Your first job comes with the excitement of participating in several projects and make a lasting first impression. This is especially the case for startups with dynamic work environments where they expect you to take responsibilities from the get-go.

This makes it crucial for you to master time management skills. Otherwise, it can lead to burnout, inefficiency, and anxiety if not practiced.

How to achieve this goal:
  • Realize are the essential tasks and how much time you should dedicate to them
  • Schedule your tasks, and put your most important tasks at the beginning of the day
  • Meanwhile, don't forget to take a breather
  • Use apps likeAsanafor productivity and time management

3. 💪 Find new challenges

Adopting a curious and growth mindset can lead the way to solving new challenges. This makes your job exciting and breaks the monotony of mundane tasks.

How to achieve this goal:

Take the initiative to talk to your boss about involving yourself in different projects, bringing new perspectives, or any other opportunity that could lead to career growth.

4. 📣 Be more proactive

Delivering and managing day-to-day work on time is an excellent trait to have. However, it could also put a setback on your career.

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For instance, you will be stuck with mundane tasks and fall into a routine. This might thwart your creativity, problem-solving skills, and excitement about your job.

Being proactive positively influences your productivity and success and will put you ahead of your colleagues.

How to achieve this goal:
  • Find gaps in your existing projects and brainstorm cost and time-efficient solutions.
  • Don't be afraid to present your ideas to your manager. For all you know, it's what exactly they needed!
  • If you're a client-facing client, do a strategic study/research on how you can better connect with their audience.
  • Ask yourself: What underlying problems need immediate attention? How can I creatively approach this problem?

5. 📊 Strive for efficiency

If you're at the beginning of your career, this is the time to make mistakes and learn from them. Striving for excellence should be practiced from the start, no matter the scale of your project.

How to achieve this goal:
  • There's no better teacher than your mistakes. So make the most of your time by practicing, making mistakes, getting feedback, and practicing again.
  • This continuous cycle will push you to perform better and deliver top-quality work.

6. ❄️ Work on your weaknesses

Turning your biggest weakness into a strength is one of the key abilities that impress employers. It shows that you are self-aware, resilient, and a committed employee.

How to achieve this goal:
  • You can start by doing a SWOT analysis or practicing​​self-awareness activities.
  • Get continuous, honest feedback from your colleagues/managers.
  • Keep track of your mistakes, and areas that need improvement, and ask for guidance.

7. 📈 Switch to a different career path

Many of us go through the dilemma of not knowing what the best career move is. There's no assurance that one will find happiness and gratification in their job unless they practice it in real life. If you've realized this early on, it's time to plan your career switch.

How to achieve this goal:
  • Talk to your colleagues from different departments, and learn more about their job, challenges, processes, and skills required.
  • Create a list of what makes you happy and what kind of projects excite you
  • Match those with a job that closely meets your interests.
  • Talk to professionals outside your organization, connect with them on LinkedIn, and write a brief message. They would love to answer your questions and offer some insights.

Believing in your employees' aspirations builds a positive impression, work culture, and a strong workforce. Here are some ways you can assist your people in achieving their goals:

  • Be flexible with an employee's working hours:some employees may work part-time if they decide to take up a course. Help them create a schedule through which they can balance work and training.
  • Readily offer necessary resources:This could include guest seminars on new technology trends, training sessions, enrolling employees in specialized courses, etc.
  • Encourage the employeewhen they decide to pursue their professional goals that align with your organization's.
  • Create/offer opportunitieswhere employees can practice their newly learned skills.

📝 HelpfulResource:Zavvy Development Plan Template

14 Examples of Developmental Goals and Ways To Achieve Them |Zavvy (4)

Thiseasy-to-use templatesaves you time setting up a development plan structure yourself.

Think of this as your blueprint for your developmental goals.

This development plan template includes your "from" and "to," an essential development framework, including focus areas, SMART goals, concrete actions, and deadlines.

➡️ Final Thoughts: Set employee development in motion with Zavvy

Intentional learning and development is about bringing more out of yourself.

Setting too many goals often leads to distraction and pressure and slows your progress. Reason why, we always recommend you to start small.

You can always build and evaluate your goals in the future. This makes it easier to achieve long-term goals without feeling overwhelmed.

For continuous development, you need a centralized platform where you can customize, plan, and track your goals.

14 Examples of Developmental Goals and Ways To Achieve Them |Zavvy (6)

We atZavvy are committed to propelling your growth through customized developmental plans, and templates likeskills matrix, andtraining needs assessment.

(Video) How to Create an Effective Action Plan | Brian Tracy

Curious about running a full-on development framework at your company?Talk to our experts for a quick demo!


What is an example of a development goal for work? ›

Here are some examples of workplace development goals that can help employees meet their professional goals: Learn a new skill that directly or indirectly relates to your current position. Increase sales or revenue by a certain percentage. Build a professional rapport with the members of your team.

What development goals should I set for myself? ›

Examples of development goals for work
  • Identifying and developing a new skill.
  • Applying for a new role.
  • Learning a new language.
  • Making meaningful connections within your industry.
  • Reading a new book every month.
  • Saying yes to new opportunities.
  • Developing healthy habits.
  • Being productive with your time.
Jan 2, 2023

What are some examples of development? ›

Examples of areas of development for employees
  • Goal-setting.
  • Communication.
  • Collaboration.
  • Listening.
  • Conflict resolution.
  • Adaptability.
  • Organization.
  • Accepting constructive feedback.
Feb 20, 2023

What are the 8 development goals? ›

United Nations Millenium Development Goals (UN MDG)
  • Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. ...
  • Achieve universal primary education. ...
  • Promote gender and equality and empower women. ...
  • Reduce child mortality. ...
  • Improve maternal health. ...
  • Combat HIV/AIDS malaria and other diseases. ...
  • Ensure environmental sustainability.

What are the most common development goals? ›

Consider choosing one of these common personal development goals:
  • Improve your time management.
  • Develop emotional intelligence.
  • Cultivate resilience.
  • Listen actively.
  • Develop a growth mindset.
  • Develop a reading habit.
  • Learn new things.
  • Improve your public speaking skills.
Feb 27, 2023

What are different types of development goals? ›

Other common developmental goals are Increase in income, equal treatment, freedom, security, end of discrimination, a decent standard of living.

What are the 5 smart goals examples for work? ›

Here are 12 examples of smart goals that will help you reach your goals and exceed expectations:
  • Take a course to sharpen your skills. ...
  • Improve your public speaking skills. ...
  • Research other departments. ...
  • Build your professional network. ...
  • Research a competitor. ...
  • Improve your time management capabilities. ...
  • Boost Leadership Skills.
Nov 18, 2022

How do you answer what goals do you have for your personal development? ›

6 tips for setting personal development goals at work
  • Begin by visualizing what you hope to achieve and how that makes you feel.
  • Establish a clear plan of action.
  • Set SMART goals that you know you can achieve.
  • Take note of your progress and evaluate yourself as you work.
  • Make sure your timeline for your goals is realistic.
Jun 28, 2022

What is a good personal development goal for work? ›

Three examples of personal development goal are improving your networking skills, learning a coding language, and waking up earlier. The benefits of setting personal development goals at work include increased motivation and more opportunities for advancement.

What are your 8 personal goals you would like to improve yourself? ›

  • Improve your growth mindset. ...
  • Be more proactive. ...
  • Learn to understand yourself. ...
  • Be persistent despite obstacles. ...
  • Learn to accept your limits. ...
  • Learn how to make effective decisions. ...
  • Practice gratitude. ...
  • Stay open-minded to new opportunities.
Feb 27, 2023

What are the 5 developments? ›

The Five Areas of Development is a holistic approach to learning for Cerebral, Emotional, Physical, Social and Spiritual development.

What are 5 basic developments? ›

The 5 Stages of Child Development are Newborn Development, Infant Development, Toddler Development, Preschooler Development, and School-Age Development.

What is the 14th Sustainable Development Goals? ›

Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources. Goal 14 is about conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas and marine resources. Healthy oceans and seas are essential to human existence and life on Earth.

What is the 13th goal of sustainable development? ›

Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

What is the 7th Sustainable Development Goals? ›

Goal 7 is about ensuring access to clean and affordable energy, which is key to the development of agriculture, business, communications, education, healthcare and transportation. The lack of access to energy hinders economic and human development.

What are 5 example of Millennium Development Goals target for 2015? ›

Introduction, 2000-2015

Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. Achieve universal primary education. Promote gender equality and empower women. Reduce child mortality.

What are the three major goals of development? ›

Goal 1: No Poverty: End poverty in all its forms everywhere. Goal 2: Zero Hunger: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. Goal 3: Good Health and Well-being: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.

How many development goals should you have? ›

Work out the relative importance of everything that you want to accomplish over the next six to twelve months. Then pick no more than, say, three goals to focus on. Remember, the success of your work towards a goal rests on focusing on just a few things at a time.

Which is one common development goal for all? ›

Besides seeking more income, one- way or the other, people also seek things like equal treatment, freedom, security, and respect of others. They resent discrimination. All these are important goals.

What are personal goals examples? ›

27 More Examples of Personal Goals
  • Find a career that you love.
  • Find a life partner.
  • Become an expert or leader in your field.
  • Go for a walk every day.
  • Become a better listener.
  • Buy your first home.
  • Save X number of dollars for retirement.
  • Give back to your community in ways that matter to you.

What are the 6 types of goals? ›

Let's review each of the categories below — plus several others — and learn why it's important to set all types of goals.
  • Process-based goals. ...
  • Outcome-based goals. ...
  • Learning-based goals. ...
  • Quantitative-based goals. ...
  • Qualitative-based goals. ...
  • Time-based goals. ...
  • Collaboration-based goals.
Feb 7, 2023

What are the 3 types of goals examples? ›

There are three types of goals- process, performance, and outcome goals.
  • Process goals are specific actions or 'processes' of performing. For example, aiming to study for 2 hours after dinner every day . ...
  • Performance goals are based on personal standard. ...
  • Outcome goals are based on winning.

What are 3 good goals for work? ›

10 Examples of Professional Goals For Work in 2023
  • Take a course to sharpen your skills.
  • Learn a new tool (or 5)
  • Improve your public speaking and presentations.
  • Research other departments.
  • Improve team collaboration and communication skills.
  • Build your network.
  • Research a competitor.
  • Get better at time management.
Dec 19, 2022

What is an example of a SMART development goal? ›

I will commit to delegating more tasks to my team to free up time in my day to focus on other projects. I will limit checking my emails to 5x day and only spend 30 minutes/day on social media platforms. I will find a mentor by the end of Q1 who can provide coaching and guidance to support my career development.

What is an example of a professional development SMART goal? ›

Professional Development Examples

Take a XX course to improve the knowledge of XX in the next quarter. Attend 3 industry events per month focused on XX to develop knowledge of XX in 2020. Learn a new tool; XX, to improve the processes of XX and improve productivity by XX % by the end of 2020.

What are the 3 most important areas of development for you professionally? ›

7 Key employee development areas
  • Flexibility.
  • Communication skills.
  • Bonus: Conflict Resolution, Tactfulness, Work ethic.
  • Leadership Skills.
  • Organizational Skills.
  • Creativity Skills.
  • Bonus: Stress Management.
Dec 30, 2021


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