The phrase CPD – continuous professional development has been around for a long time but do many organizations actually do it or do they practice CPM – Continuous professional maintenance – only doing enough to keep people at the same level, sure it may involve some learning but it is not about developing the person.

In some professions practitioners have to take annual or bi-annual assessments – not to show progress but to show that they have stayed still. Now in some areas I can understand this, for example in my voluntary work I am re-assessed for competence every 3 years – this is to check that the initial training has stuck and that I perform at least at a minimum level. On the other hand there are some professional qualifications that require people to stay at a level. Some of the ‘train the trainer’ qualifications for example – participants do not have to show progress against a previous identified gap – but to show that they still ‘conform’ to an arbitrary standard and not to have ‘progressed’.

So what do you want or expect your people to do – develop of maintain a minimum level… do you as an organization promote continuous development of skills maintenance?


Mike Morrison is director of RapidBI, an organizational effectiveness consultancy. He has been involved in HR, OD and strategic development for over 20 years. He can be contacted via www.rapidbi.com/

© This article is copyright RapidBI 2006, 2008 – it may be copied providing the authors are credited, and direct links maintained

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