Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

Professional Development Success Plan (PDSP)

Main content start

Professional Development Philosophy at Stanford 

Stanford is committed to and invested in helping you be the best you can be in your current role and preparing you for your future here at Stanford or elsewhere. You plan your success and growth at Stanford, and we provide tools and resources to help. We believe that the diversity of our workforce is our strength and development opportunities should be transparent and open to all staff members.

Organization: Vision, Goals, Processes, Systems, and Culture; Professional Development Success Plan; Individual: Passion, Goals, Competencies, Personal Aspirations, and Motivators

What is a Professional Development Success Plan (PDSP)? 

The Professional Development Success Plan (PDSP) is a tool used to help you identify your professional goals and aspirations, strengths, and areas of opportunity, ultimately leading to the creation of a plan of action to prepare for your next role/opportunity. It also helps you align your role and professional goals with the objectives of the organization. A Professional Development Success Plan (PDSP) is an action plan with individual steps to reach the desired level of professional development. The PDSP helps to: 

  • Identify existing knowledge, skills, and abilities
  • Act as a “roadmap” to improve performance, sharpen professional competencies, and help to align with personal goals, such as wellness

The process starts with you taking the first step to reflect on your strengths and growth opportunities for your current and future roles. The self-reflection exercise is followed by a conversation with your manager regarding the topics covered in the PDSP. The result of this conversation is a completed Professional Development Success Plan; realistic steps you can take to build the desired skill, better use existing talents or prepare for a career goal. 

What is involved in completing a Professional Development Success Plan? 

The PDSP is a planning tool that encourages you to invest in yourself to thoughtfully identify growth opportunities in your current and plan for future professional development goals.

The PDSP is directed by you, the employee in close partnership with your manager to enhance professional growth by:

  • Setting goals for professional development.

  • Identifying ways to learn or improve in important competencies you will need now or in the future to achieve performance and/or stretch goals.

  • Identifying your strengths, talents, and passions and planning ways to use them on the job.

The PDSP will help you: 

  • Identify the professional goals that matter to you. 

  • Determine what experiences, skills, and behaviors will help to achieve your professional goals.

  • Create a plan of action to achieve the goals.

In addition to the initial PDSP conversation, regular check-ins with your manager will help create an increased level of accountability to your goals and track your progress. 

What are the steps to complete the PDSP? 

1. Capture your thoughts about your development

  • Reflect and capture your professional growth opportunities in your PDSP by completing parts 1 and 2 of the Self-reflection and Professional Development Success Plan

  • Use the Meeting Guide and Conversation Prep Tool for Employees as a step-by-step guide to complete your PDSP

Download the Self-reflection and Professional Development Success Plan document

2. Plan 

  • Meet with your Manager to refine your plan and discuss how they can support you through this process

  • Use the step-by-step guide and your PDSP to prepare for the conversation with your manager 

3. Act 

  • Based on the conversation with your manager, create a development goal(s)