Planning for your future in 2018
I have long been a user and proponent of keeping a development plan. I strongly believe that it is something very much underused in the security industry and that’s a problem we need to address. Every person who is serious about working in the industry should keep a development plan. For a long time most people simply coasted through their ‘job’ in the security industry with no thought of development or treating it as a career. As a young entrant to the industry I was the same and I wasted a number of years before I started considering my own development in the industry. In this article I want to help those of you considering making a career in this industry and give the FREE template that I use to this day to track my own development.
Why have a Development plan?
I’m a big believer in goal setting and a big believer in not just developing yourself but in helping to develop others. I’d like to think I’ve done a decent job of both in recent years but I wouldn’t be able to do either without having my goals and targets for where I want to be clearly set out. Otherwise I could spent lots of time endlessly taking courses and buying books without getting any real professional use from them. The first page of the development plan is the most important. Take some time and set out between 3 and 5 key things you wish to achieve by the end of the year. Most importantly think about what achieving these things will mean to you both personally and professionally. It could be something like “ I want to become a security manager ” as an objective and “It will give me financial freedom to look after my family and the validation of my ability to do the job” as the outcome of your objective.
Next list out the important steps to be taken to achieve your goal and give each step a timescale. Once you have your objectives down on paper you at least have a basic idea of where you want to get that you can look back on and plan towards for the year.
The next step is to look at yourself honestly and write down where you currently stand with your skill set. I generally break this into 2 areas, behavioural and technical skills. Look up what skills are needed to be successful in your objectives. You might use things like National occupational standards, best practice guides or just by talking to people who have done what you want to do. List the skills needed and rate yourself out of 10. Be honest and open about this and ask for feedback from others. Write out what strengths you currently have in each areas that you can leverage and the areas you need to improve in. Then list what steps you will take to address these areas. Now our plan is beginning to take shape a little.
Next begin to document what you do to achieve your goals. Record every course you take, webinar you log into, book you read and conference you attend. Also don’t be afraid to reach out and ask people more experienced than you. The industry is happy to help. When you do this then record it as well. Just as important as recording what you do is recording what you have learned from it and how you will apply this new knowledge in your professional life. No point in learning without application so apply what you learn. You will be amazed when you look back after a year at how much you have done and how much more you know than you did a year earlier.
The last step is chunking down your targets into bits you can achieve each month. The big grand objectives you set out to achieve at the start can look huge on their own. But when you break them down into smaller targets each month they become much easier to see. It also helps to track your successes and your stumbling blocks and give you an easy reference as the year goes on. For every objective you set you should look to do something each month to work towards the end goal. You will be amazed at how much you can achieve in a year.
1. Challenge yourself. Don’t set goals that are easy to achieve. They should be challenging. One of the biggest pitfalls I see in this industry is a lack of individual belief in ourselves.
2. Be realistic. If you know you are getting married in May and heading on honeymoon in June then reflect this in your plan.
3. Life happens. If you get the flu or fall off a ladder and dont hit February’s targets it’s not the end of the world. You can make it up later. Don’t just throw all of your toys out the window and give up on everything
4. Make yourself accountable. Easiest way to do this is to tell others what you plan to achieve. Now you have to do it. Also reward yourself when you have hit a big achievement. Another trait I see in the industry is this unwarranted shyness and embarrassment despite doing something great. Celebrate when you have a success
5. Ask for help. There are loads of people out there (including me) willing to give up their time and energy to help you if you ask.
The template I linked above and again in an MS Word version here. Download it and use it as you please. I’ve used it and altered it for myself over the years but it’s yours now to rip apart and make it suit you. Use what suits you and discard the rest. If you find something else that works please let me know. I find it useful and I hope it can help you achieve some or all of your goals this year and into the future as it has helped me.
Lastly feel free to get in touch if I can help you in any way. That’s how we make this industry better. If you are an individual operative share this to your colleagues. If you are a supervisor or manager then please use it yourself but also please put a plan in place for each of your team. They are a direct reflection on you and them being better makes you better.
Good luck and may you achieve all that makes you happy.