United States
              Environmental Protection
              Administration And
              Resources Management
EPA 21O-K-94-002
April 1994
                                       Printed with Soy/Canda Ink on paper that
                                       contains at toast 50% recycled fiber


      The primary purpose of this guidance is to provide assistance
in establishing an Individual Development Plan (IDP).  The IDP is
both a valuable planning process and an excellent communication tool.
The process helps individuals identify short-term needs for improving
current job performance and long term  career  aspirations.  As a
result, both the individual and the organization  benefit from  the
opportunity to exchange ideas, concerns, and important developmental

      The target audience for this guidance is EPA managers. They
are expected to implement an annual IDP which reflects a minimum
of 40 hours of management development.  Due to numerous requests
and inquiries from non-management employees for IDP guidance, this
guide has been updated to facilitate use by all EPA employees. Non-
management employees should consult their supervisors for policy and
guidance regarding IDP's in their specific organization.

      It is the responsibility of the organization, the supervisor and
the individual to ensure that the IDP is established, revised as needed,
and completed within the year. Managers who have questions or need
help,  should  contact their Human  Resources Officer, Program
Management Officer or the Office of Human Resources Management,
Management Assessment Services staff at (202) 260-8830.
                                                       Apnl 1994


                      Table of Contents

Introduction	1

The Individual Development Plan Process	2

Step 1: Conduct Self Assessment	3

Step 2:  Obtain Others' Assessment	6

Step 3:  Survey Environment	7

Step 4:  Take Action	8

Choosing Developmental Opportunities	11

Optional IDP Format	13


           Individual  Development Plans (IDP's) provide the individual
with a planning process that identifies both developmental needs and career
objectives.  Furthermore, IDP's serve as a  communication tool between
employees and their managers.

     The goals of the IDP process are to help individuals identify:

         Short-term needs for improving current job performance.

         Long-term career opportunities  and options  they  want to

     Some very specific benefits of the IDP process are:

     ~  Organizations benefit by having motivated employees who have
     good skills, high morale and job satisfaction. These factors contribute
     to the organization by creating a more efficient, productive work

     --  Supervisors benefit from understanding the strengths and career
     aspirations of  their employees.  The  process encourages them to
     readily  and openly discuss  developmental  objectives with  their

       Individuals benefit when they can  communicate their goals and
     developmental  objectives to their managers and focus on  achieving
     their career aspirations.


STEP 1: Conduct Self-Assessment

         Examine your interests and values
         Assess your skill strengths and limitations
         Establish long-range (3-5  years) and short-range (1-2 years)
          career goals
         Examine management priorities
         Rank developmental areas

STEP 2: Obtain Others' Assessment

         Obtain  objective  assessment  of  performance  from
          supervisors, employees, peers and customers
         Obtain others' perception of potential

STEP 3: Survey Environment

         Identify job options and developmental opportunities
         Consider constraints: time, money and personal responsibilities
         Adjust ranking of top three strengths and limitations

STEP 4: Take Action

          Commit your plan to paper
          Discuss it with your supervisor
          Revise and modify as needed
          Begin again


    Examine Your Interests and Values

    -- Interests and values determine how satisfied you will be in
    your career.   To  identify  interests  and values,  start by
    examining what you like and don't like about your present job,
    such as:
          - Work setting
          - Relationships with co-workers
          - Supervision received
          - The work itself
          - Compensation
          - Ability to balance job and personal responsibilities

     Next, think back to your earlier jobs, and identify the most
    satisfactory  and the least satisfactory  ones.   Look for any
    patterns in your likes and dislikes.

    -- Finally, consider elements you find desirable in jobs held by
    others. Recall occupations you have always been interested in
    learning or doing.

    This exercise will give you an idea of your interests and values.

>    Assess Your Skill Strengths and Developmental Areas
    -- A critical part of career planning is taking a realistic look at
    your current abilities. Use assessment tools to examine what is
    needed  to improve present job performance or meet  the
    requirements of a promotion or career change.

    --  Assessment tools  can be  formal  or informal.   Formal
    assessment tools are structured or systematic in nature.  They
    can include instruments such as assessment surveys, workshops
    or courses.  Informal assessment tools are unstructured.  They
    can be as simple as writing a checklist or asking the opinion of

Establish Goals

A goal describes a particular direction or outcome which an
individual wants to pursue.  For example:

I want to be a second level manager in the Air program in a
region. (Tangible)

I want to achieve a greater balance between my personal and
professional life. (Intangible)

~ Establish both long-term goals (3-5 years) and short-term
goals (1-2 years).  With clearly defined goals,  you  will be
ready for opportunities that come along.  Although goals can
change, they provide  a sense of direction and focus.

 Short-term goals will normally apply to what you can do in
your  current position; long-term goals may involve  several
options, including  a promotion, a career change outside of the
organization, or perhaps a  lateral  move  with a  new set of

~ To be effective  motivators goals  should have the following

            Challenging  and achievable
            Specific and measurable ( How will I  know when
            I get there ? )
            Reasonably controllable
            Compatible  with  your  values,  priorities,  and
            existing obligations
            Compatible with the organization's needs
            Build on  your interests  and values
            Time bound  ~ specific  start and target dates
            Format:   Concise, clear, simple,  short  (10-45

Examine Management Priorities

~  Another critical piece of information is determining
whether  your  goals   and  development  needs  are
compatible  with the  management priorities  in  your
organization.  If they are not, the challenge is to work
with  your  management  to   identify  developmental
activities which allow you to continue to contribute to the
organization's priorities while still moving toward your
long-term goal.

Rank Developmental Areas

 Prioritize those developmental areas to achieve the best
balance between your individual needs and the needs of
the organization.

 For example, although your long-term goal may point
to  a certain set of developmental areas, high priorities in
your organization may require focusing on  another set of
developmental areas to maintain an acceptable level of
performance in your current job.


    Obtain Objective Assessment of Your Performance

     ~ The act of assessment analyzes  and evaluates aspects of
     performance in order to determine  developmental needs and
     activities to improve them.   When analysis comes from a
     variety  of  sources,  it  provides  a  different  and  more
     comprehensive perspective.   Therefore,  a good  assessment
     should involve input from others, including  your  supervisor,
     employees, peers, customers, mentors, family and  friends.

     ~ How well you manage your personal relationships,  and your
     work is very important.  Career success is largely  determined
     by how well we serve our customers, work with peers, relate
     to employees, and deal with managers.

      Similarly, the reputation you create has a profound  affect on
     your  career.   How others  perceive you is  critical  to  your

     ~ Ask others what  they  think   are  your strengths  and
     developmental needs.  Seek suggestions on ways to  improve
     developmental areas.

    Obtain Others' Perception  of Your Potential

     ~ Get others' view on your future career progression.

     ~ Ask them what position they see you holding 5 or  more years
     from now.


 Identify Job Options and Developmental Opportunities

 ~ Now that you have decided on goals and identified priority
 developmental  areas, gather information  to  determine  their
 feasibility and appropriateness.  How well do your goals match
 the organization's goals and objectives?  Do the types  of jobs
 you are interested in exist in your organization; if not, where
 are they?  What  developmental opportunities  are available to

 -  Considerations  for  "Choosing  the  Most Appropriate
 Developmental Activity" are discussed on page 11.

 Consider   Constraints:   Time,   Cost   and    Personal

  Finally, be realistic about developmental areas that  can be
 addressed within  the effective dates  of your IDP.  Your  work
 schedule, budget  constraints or  family responsibilities  may
 influence the types of development opportunities that are  right
 for you at a particular point in time.

 Adjust Ranking  of Developmental  Areas

  The information you collect in this step may require that you
 adjust your  ranking  of development areas.   For  example,
 although your highest developmental need may be to broaden
 your perspective by taking on work in new areas, it may not be
 possible to address that need in the near-term because of the
 workload demanded by current projects.  Similarly, attempting
 to  address  all of  your developmental  needs at once is
 unrealistic.   Therefore, it is recommended that you focus on
 no more than your top three developmental areas within  a given


Commit Your Plan To Paper!

--  Now  that you have both long-term and short-term goals,
write  them down  along  with  the  remaining  steps  outlined
below. Writing your goals down promotes clarity and indicates
a commitment to yourself.

-  An optional IDP format is provided on page 13.  You are
free to use other formats that you or your organization may
prefer as long as the same minimum information is recorded.
Those organizations that have automated IDP's are encouraged
to  use them.

 Establish Effective Dates

IDP's are established at the Midyear Performance Review and
cover one full year. Therefore, the effective dates should  be
May 1 of the  present year through April 30 of the next year.

 Identify Specific  Developmental Objectives

- Objectives are a group of intermediate actions  taken towards
a goal. They are shorter in time, more specific and immediate.

~ Draw your objectives from the developmental areas identified
earlier. Be specific about what you want to accomplish. Being
specific  will  help  you  figure  out  which  developmental
opportunities will help you the most.

~  Keep  in mind  the  difference  between  a  developmental
objective and  a goal. A developmental objective is a specific
knowledge, skill  or ability you want to improve to help you
achieve a goal, and a goal is where you want to be at some
future point in time.

 Define Developmental Activities and Time Frames

~ What specific activities will you be undertaking? What time
frames do they have?  How will you know  when you  have
succeeded in changing a developmental  need to a  strength?
Answering these questions helps both you and your supervisor
plan for the activities.

~ Refer to "Choosing the Most Appropriate Developmental
Activity"  on page  11.  Keep in mind that there is  more to
development than formal classroom training.

~ At a minimum, the developmental  activities must reflect 40
hours of management development  for executives, managers
and  supervisors.  Although technical development  should be
pursued if  needed,  it does not substitute  for the 40 hours
intended to  focus attention on managerial abilities.

Discuss the Completed IDP With Your  Supervisor and

~  Discuss  your plan  with your supervisor  and  reach an
agreement.   Both  of you  sign  the  completed document to
signify this agreement.  Documenting your agreement helps
ensure that you both understand what is  involved  in your

Implement Your Plan

 You've  made a good  start on your lifelong journey of
learning and development, now it is time to take action. Your
plan is just the beginning of your development and serves as the
road map to your success. Start acting on your plan today.

Revise and Modify Plan As Necessary

~ Remember that your plan is not cast in concrete; you  will
need to modify it as circumstances change. The challenge of
implementation is  to remain  flexible  and open to  change.
Continue discussions with your manager and  others who can
provide useful perspectives.

 Review your plan in six months to see if you are on track.
This will help keep  your development plan realistic and up-to-

 It is the responsibility of the organization, the supervisor and
the individual to ensure that the IDP is  established, revised as
needed, and completed within the year.

Begin Again


           There are a variety of ways to develop your competence in any
     given area.   They  are not limited to formal classroom training.
     Choosing an  effective developmental  activity involves more than
     checking to  see  what  courses are   available.    Actively  seek
     developmental opportunities and be creative.

     You should consider whether you need to:

         Build skills;
         Increase knowledge or understanding; or
         Gain experience.

     Developmental activities may include:

     Developmental assignments

     - On-the-job training
     - Rotations

     Formal training

     - Classroom training
     - Developmental programs
     - Workshops


     - Task forces
     - Professional associations
     - Reading/video tapes
Refer to current EPA Management Development Directory  for a list of
formal developmental opportunities

                      Environmental Protection Agency
                         Individual Development Plan
 Effective Dates:
   Long-Term GoalL
   Short-Term Goal:
               DcNclnpmcnt Ohjectixcs
Specific Deu'lopmcnt .\cli\ilies
Time Frame
                                                                     See reverse side for signatures
EPA Form 3140-31 (4/91)

                       I )t-\i-lop me lit Objectives
           Specific Development Acti\ ities
                                                    Time Frame
                                                                           Others, as appropriate:
     Employee Signature
AssblanI/Regional Administrator
     Manager Signature
Executive Resources Board
KPA Form 3140-31 (4/91)