Companies recognize the need to develop their internal talent, but the personal development plans managers create for employees don’t always align with employees’ own goals for themselves. This lack of alignment can only lead to unmotivated employees and disappointed managers.

If you’re an employee whose talents aren’t being developed the way you’d like them to be, it’s time to take your personal development plan into your own hands. Here’s how to start:

Perform a SWOT Analysis 

First, take stock of your strengths (S). What are you really good at, and what do you want to keep doing?

Then, evaluate your weaknesses (W). In order to advance in your career, what do you need to get better at doing, and what should you try to stop doing?

Next, take a look at your opportunities (O). Can you join an ongoing project or initiate a new one that will help you develop some desired skills? Do you have contacts you can leverage to gain information? Do you know people who can serve as mentors?

Finally, identify the threats (T) that stand in your way. A threat can be anything from a new software you must learn to not having enough time to commit to your goals.

Plan Your Success

Following your SWOT analysis, it’s time to put some deadlines in place. What goals do you want to hit, and when do you want to reach them by?

Working backward from your deadlines, schedule dedicated time to commit to working on your personal development plan.

Deadlines are easy to overlook, but they are essential to your success. Knowing that your time is limited will keep you focused and motivated, paying dividends in the long run.

Re-Evaluate Regularly

Your personal development plan is based on the goals and aspirations you have today. Of course, things may change tomorrow. As you learn new information and gain more experience, your goals may change. It makes no sense to stick to a plan that no longer suits your needs.

Conduct a quarterly review to be sure your personal development plan is in line with your current aspirations. This will ensure you’re continually moving forward, and it can also save you lots of wasted time and energy.

A version of this article originally appeared on the Atrium Staffing blog.

Michele Mavi is Atrium Staffing‘s resident career expert.

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