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Professional development plan; leading, changing, and developing. In 5 minutes or less.

Updated: Oct 3, 2021

Dr. Lisa M. Coffey

July 11, 2021

Key Words: development, continual improvement plan, leadership, human capital, change


A crucial component of leadership success is a continuous improvement plan that requires self-assessments, ongoing learning, and improvement concepts. Leadership requires a diverse skill set to lead in challenging situations, changing climates, and within a distinct culture. As a leader, my goal is to inspire my group to action while building character, integrity and empowering other leaders to emerge. Throughout my leadership experiences, inspiring innovation can become overwhelming and lead to burn out, a loss of focus, and complacency. Therefore, the most significant concern for me as a leader is inspiring a shared vision, innovation, and risk-taking.

Areas of Improvement

I acknowledge that leadership is a process of continual improvement. My self-assessment indicated a need for development in the following areas:

  • Describing a compelling image of the future

  • Showing others how to reach their potential

  • Search outside of my organization for innovative ways to improve and expand.

Working in a family business is challenging due to age and generational differences. My image of the future is stifled because the "Baby Boomer" way of thinking is different from "Generation X." Generational differences arise due to a three-generation business that includes the millennial mindset and the imploding use of technology. However, as a leader, I have to find ways to capitalize on the differences within my family organization to build a better business model that sustains a competitive advantage and provides quality services to our clients. I have to find my voice and remain committed to bridging the gaps. The action items necessary to move this process forward are as follows:

  • Building a culture that embraces generational gaps through discussions to leverage the differences to gain a competitive advantage.

  • Build work teams that include all three generations to allow for a healthy exchange of ideas and enable the organization to build cohesion through dialogue.

  • Retire old routines and replace them with a new paradigm that encompasses new ideas, generational changes, and integrates technology. The changes can promote an inclusive culture and give everyone a voice.

  • Remain committed to bridging the generational gap regardless of the objection to change.

  • Implement change that offers a compelling look at the future, allows others to realize their potential, and promote innovation.

Measures of Success

Implementation of the changes will begin immediately. However, the measurable outcomes for the organization will take some time. Actions that show include observing visible generational concepts that add value to the organization in the newsletters, vision boards, and internal communications. Proven results from generational teams the embrace and utilize the differences. The support system needed to make this goal attainable is buy-in from the entire team. We cannot bridge the gaps without acceptance from everyone.


One of the critical attributes listed by Goleman of leaders is self-awareness. I am keenly aware that I can improve as a leader. In a family-owned business, sometimes you lose your voice for the sake of family, and sometimes complacency is common because why buck the system. However, as a leader, I am embracing every aspect of leadership. I am constructing a more decisive leader by implementing the action items above.

Key Takeaways

Your professional development plan will be ever changing and under constant self-surveillance. The idea is to recognize learning potential, learning opportunities, and to capitalize on the learning to improve your human capital. Learning is ongoing. In what ways are you engaging in professional development?


GOLEMAN, DANIEL. "What Makes a Leader?" Harvard Business Review, 1998, p. 93.

© 2021 Lisa M. Coffey

To learn more about my family business click the link below



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