Living the Individual Development Plan, Part 1: Real-Life IDP with Josh
- An IDP, or Individual Development Plan, helps people find their passions in life and live happier.
- It can be helpful even from the first attempt and become increasingly helpful the more it’s used.
- Neel Sus developed the Susco IDP after intensely studying psychology, philosophy, neurology, business, and physiology.
I learned a little later in life that the changes I made in my mind and body also affected my work. When I fully understood the capabilities of IDPs and the part they play in the story of my career, I couldn’t wait to share it with my teammates and colleagues.
Of course, I had to tweak it a little and give it a little Susco style to ensure it could meet the demands of the heavy talent in my environment. My goal wasn’t just to help people see where they could be in five years but also to show them how strong their abilities are and all they have going for them right now.
Let’s take a look at why my IDP process is so effective and how it worked for our senior software engineer, Josh.
The Susco IDP
I designed the IDP in 2016, at age 39, after studying the most intriguing success stories I could for over a decade. Not just business success, however. I also studied success in areas such as psychology, philosophy, neurology, and physiology. The result is an IDP that reveals the most valuable personal information to improve business acumen in any industry.
The IDP process is intense. It can bring forth emotions, ideas, and reactions you never expected, and you may not initially feel entirely comfortable confronting.
What Josh had to say about the Susco IDP
One of the best parts about working with a team is learning from each other, so we’ve enlisted Josh’s help to learn more about how the IDP process helped him, asking him a few questions about his IDP experience at Susco.
Q. Have you participated in an IDP before?
A: This is my first time.
Q. What was your initial reaction to being offered an IDP?
A: Most companies don’t care about personal development; it’s unique from that approach. Personal growth is essential for Neel and Susco, though, and that was obvious from the beginning.
Q. How did you prepare for your IDP?
A: I found that the main thing is making sure you have specific goals like SMART goals in mind. For example, wanting to get to a target weight requires more focused goals, not just “lose weight” but having specific goals for realistic, achievable goals and something to focus on.
My career-related goals were to gain expertise in security/software development. Getting a CASP+ certification was an objective. I made sure to prepare for this through courses and practice tests to see areas that needed improvement.
Q. What benefits did you see from participating in an IDP?
A. My first impression was that it was all so new; I thought, why does this matter, why does Neel care so much about these things? I decided to go all in and be fully invested in the process.
After I was involved for a bit, I saw how having the focus of the goals with a timeline and accountability provided structure, so you don’t lose sight of them as easily. It provides a roadmap toward achieving the goals.
Q. What specific areas of your life did the IDP focus on?
A: Weight loss, security certification, leadership roles, and a few others. Neel wants you to have a minimum of five goals, so it’s more focused.
Q: How did you track progress toward your IDP goals?
A: Monthly employee check-ins with group leaders. They’ll ask how it’s going and if you’re on track, and they’ll provide support and personal experience in the areas you need it most.
Q: Were there any unexpected outcomes or benefits from your IDP?
A: Being accountable, having your goals out there so other people can see them is the biggest benefit. A fun example is Neel wearing a Superman shirt when he works out because he doesn’t want people to see him failing with his Superman shirt!
Q: Were there any aspects of your IDP you struggled with or found particularly challenging?
A: I quickly learned that you must have reasonable expectations for the best chance at success. I initially said I would overhaul my diet and go to the gym daily. When that wasn’t feasible, I had to focus on making more minor changes and being happy with those.
Creating the steps and structure to make sustainable changes to maintain over time is the key to making it all work. This IDP has action steps to achieve progress toward your goals. Getting perspective from someone else is super helpful to achieving goals in the long run. It helps you decide which actions are the most beneficial and appropriate at all stages.
Q: Do you think some people aren’t able to create or live by the IDP?
A: I think anyone can use this IDP, but part of that is finding out where you are in life, where you want to be, and finding the way to help you achieve it. A supportive environment is crucial.
Once you’ve taken an initial swipe at your IDP, evaluate whether you’ve achieved the goal. If not, figure out what you can do differently to meet those goals.
It’s crucial to go into your IDP with an open mind and a lot of curiosity. Understand from the beginning that this endeavor could take your career – and your personal life – to greater heights than you ever imagined…if you do the work. It’s up to you to decide if you have it in you to make it happen.
Let your talents set the world on fire
Very few things in this life get me as fired up as seeing people I care about reach their full potential. There is something so moving about witnessing someone realize their worth and see the world suddenly open before them.
Using your personal transformations to get ahead in business is a strategy many leaders overlook. My life’s purpose is to help people live more holistically and find their true power in personal transformation. Check out my LinkedIn and Twitter pages to learn more about IDPs and see what personal transformation can do for you!