Don’t Stagnate: Why Professional Development Is Vital For Career Progression

When we talk about the development of professionals, we refer to the on-going maintenance and enhancement of a personal skill set of experiences, knowledge and competencies.

This is often undertaken on a formal basis within companies, under a development cycle of  plan, do, review (which ties in with the IIP accreditation that many organisations are seeking to implement nowadays).

Certainly, for those who are serious about developing their careers and reaching the higher echelons of management and beyond, it is imperative to show commitment to personal development within the role, while extending knowledge to the wider company and other core functions. This positions the employee as a potential leader of the future and will often encourage the business to invest as strongly in the individual as the individual is prepared to invest in the business in which they work.


What Does the Process Involve?

Ongoing development requires people to reflect on their current performance, plan on how they wish to develop next and implement actions and activities to achieve their goals, which may be a mix of the short and long term. This progress will be recorded and reviewed, usually with the line manager and a training support team if available.

What’s the Difference between IPD and CPD?

IPD is the initial development that you go through upon entering the workplace and it’s anticipated to last for around the first four years within a role. After this, the individual should be in a position to apply for membership with certain professional bodies. From this point, skills, abilities and competencies will need to be maintained at the required professional level, which is where continuous professional development comes in. At this point, the individual will start to take part in activities at more senior grades and even work towards certain advanced membership grades of the professional bodies to which they belong.

The beauty of CPD is that it is both effective and flexible. Activities that count towards it include anything that is recognised as assisting development, competence, skills or knowledge in the workplace. It can include work-based learning, courses, distance learning, self-directed study, presentations and lecture delivery, monitoring, teaching, tutoring and coaching others, special projects and secondments, lecture and seminar attendance and even voluntary work that is considered relevant to the professional field.

What Will you Gain from Ongoing Development?

Those that commit to CPD will likely find themselves progressing up the career ladder smoothly and often more rapidly than those who don’t invest in their ongoing development. Standing still isn’t an option in modern business and others will bypass those who avoid furthering their skills and development.

Additionally, the recorded evidence and plans required by formal CPD demonstrate visibly the individual’s commitment to career development to a range of people – from their line manager through to the training and HR function and the other functional areas of the business that they may spend time with as part of their broadening development activities. So the visibility aspect often throws up opportunities for progression in itself, as do the networking opportunities that are a key part of the CPD programme.



  1. says

    What a great read.  There really is no greater roadblock than standing still.  People notice that very easily.  BTW I just wrote a blog post on managing job change.  It supports alot of what you talk about.  Let me know your thoughts.

    Looking forward to chatting.

    Jeff Funk

    • says

      Hi Jeff,

      True. I’ve learned that the only way to be where you always wanted to be is to leave where you are. It may not be an easy decision, it requires some courage but it’s always worth a fight.

      I love the tips you provided especially staying active in social channels (LinkedIn in particular) and even volunteering. It helps us to personally have a break from our usual pattern and learn lessons we couldn’t have learned in any other ways.



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