Staff Development Cycle

Transforming your team's effectiveness and engagement in mission through three vital conversations.

People are valuable to us and to God and we desire to be good stewards of both people and our time. The Staff Development Cycle helps us do this with focused conversations between team leaders and team members.

The Staff Development Cycle (SDC) involves every team leader engaging every team member in three focused conversations—one at the beginning, middle, and end of each year—that give clear mission objectives, development, and feedback.

It takes just a few hours per year to ensure every team member feels valued, has a clear direction for their work, and knows where there are opportunities to grow and develop.

Conversation 1

[Re]focus
The initial focus conversation answers the headline question of “What are we going to do?”

Conversation 2

Refine
The refine conversation is the mid-year “checkpoint” and answers the headline question of “How is it going?”

Conversation 3

Review
The review conversation is the ‘grand finale’ to the year. It answers the headline question of “What has happened?” and lays the groundwork for “Where do we go from here?”

Intro

For many years, organizations have tracked employee engagement globally. They find that clear expectations and connection to mission have a profound impact on engagement and efficiency. It is essential to both team members and the organization that all get regular feedback on how they are doing, how they can grow and improve, and where their work is contributing to the overall goals. The Staff Development Cycle is our key process for meeting this need. 

These Staff Development Cycle resources provide direction and tools to ensure that all team leaders have at least three focused conversations with each team member every year to help strengthen team engagement, effectiveness and progress in the mission. 

View the Staff Development Cycle Overview

[Re]focus

The initial “Focus” conversation (or subsequent refocus conversations in the following years) is the “launch-pad” for the year. It answers the headline question of “What are we going to do?” both in terms of the priorities of your team member’s role and their development plans.

This conversation ideally has a number of different inputs to it, but can be done without these formally in place. As you prepare to have this conversation with your team member, it’s helpful to use whichever of these you have, to establish priorities:

  • Job Description: The first input is the team member’s Job Description – looking at the purpose of that person’s role, why it exists, and all the elements that are involved in it.
  • Strategic Plan: If your team or ministry has a strategic plan, then the team priorities and plans also have a significant impact on the team member’s Position Focus.
  • Personal Development Plan: If your team member already has a Personal Development Plan, it’s important to see what their current priorities for development are and what progress has been made.

The desired outcome of the refocus conversation is to establish an individual’s personal ministry and development plan for the year in the form of a “position Focus” (the Position Focus form can be downloaded from the ‘Tools’ tab or download here).

As you prepare for discussing a team member’s Position Focus, you will want to refer to the Position Focus form. It gives the categories the person needs to think through. As well as the inputs listed above, your own input as the team leader will be vital to establishing priorities in each of the sections.

Preparing for the Conversation

Whether the inputs listed above are available or not, you will want to think through the same sort of questions in preparation for having a [re]focus discussion with a team member. Here are a few suggestions:

    1. What is this person’s job?  Why does it exist?
    2. What are the key responsibilities for this role (JD)?
    3. What developmental steps are essential this year (PDP)?
    4. What progress needs to be made according to our team’s ministry plan this year?
    5. What progress needs to be made in the next 6-12 months? (This could be stated as Desired Results)?
    6. How will you measure progress?  Make sure these are concrete measures (you can find further information on SMART Goals here)

As the Team Leader, you need to think about these ahead of time so you can discuss them in the meeting. 

The Conversation

Before the meeting, you will need to give the team member a copy of the Position Focus Form (or get them to download it) and ask them to develop a first draft of the Position Focus and bring it with them to the meeting. They just complete the first two sections.

You and the team member then work through the initial draft together, one section at a time, discussing what the priorities are until you come to an agreement on a final Position Focus. It may take more than one draft. Working together with them provides some rich coaching opportunities!  For further resources on asking good questions go to www.leadingwithquestions.com.

Critical Mission Objectives

The Critical Mission Objectives will be drawn from a combination of the team member’s Job Description and the Strategic Plan. If neither of these are formalized, then it will be the combination of the team priorities as you see them and your joint understanding of the team member’s role. The Position Focus does not attempt to articulate every aspect of the team member’s role, but seeks to highlight the priority areas that need to be given particular focus this year by setting particular goals in these areas.

Many people find setting goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound the hardest part of this process, but it is essential to do this, as you will find when you come to review them!

Personal Development Plan

This section is not designed to replace a fuller Personal Development Plan (see the forms page or download here ) but, like the Ministry Objectives, it is a way of highlighting the most important areas for development. Different people take different approaches as to how much these areas of development need to be related to the actual Job Description. That will need to be decided by you or your wider organization.

Key Developmental Assignments 

Unlike the other sections where you both bring input, the Key Developmental Assignments (KDAs) are where you, as a team leader, take the initiative in asking the team member to undertake a specific assignment, for the sake of their ongoing development. 

Often we assign work to people and they grow as a result. Those assignments become developmental when there is a “stretch” or some challenge to the assignment along with feedback and coaching. This is where you, as a team leader, have a great opportunity to build leaders as you are accomplishing the mission in your location. When you think about creating a developmental assignment, here are some questions to consider.

    1. What is this person’s potential for leadership? 
    2. What experience should this person have this year in order to develop as a leader better?
    3. Which of the four roles of a leader (direction setting, leading change, building a team and serving as a spokesperson) is this person’s strength? What responsibilities could you give that would stretch this person in that strength area?
    4. If the person has the potential to lead a team, what work/projects/team could this person lead this year?
    5. What work on your strategic plan would give this person the opportunity to expand their personal and/or leadership capacity?
    6. How will you coach this person in this assignment?
    7. Not everyone requires the same level of support in a developmental assignment.  The more experienced and confident the person is the more your coaching is supportive. People who are doing things for the first time may need some initial instruction or clear expectations.
    8. Give this person feedback on their developmental assignment throughout the year and especially during the mid-year and end-of-year Position Focus Review conversations. This is what anchors the experience in the mind and heart of the person as developmental.

You can find out more about developing KDAs for your team members here

Refine

The refine conversation is the “checkpoint” at the mid-year point. It answers the headline question of “How is it going?”  — a chance to reflect on how far your team member has gotten with the goals and objectives that have been set and see what adjustments need to be made. Although we recommend this happens at the mid-point during the year, it can happen more frequently. You will be connecting with your team members on a regular basis to find out how things are going, but you probably don’t want to refine the Position Focus too often. If you find you need to (because items are completed) it may indicate the Position Focus has become too tactical – more of a “to-do list” than a statement of priorities for the next 6-12 months.

Although there will be evaluation involved, in the refine conversation, the team leader is primarily taking the role of “coach”. There are a number of benefits to both the refine and review conversations. Here are a few of them:

    • It promotes and provides for open communication.
    • Team members are encouraged and motivated by having their strengths affirmed, successes celebrated, growth acknowledged and their contributions to the ministry appreciated.
    • It increases the achievement of key ministry objectives.
    • It helps the team member and team leader to identify difficulties early. There could be unfulfilled responsibilities, lack of motivation/resources/training or an outside factor over which the team member has no control.

Before the Meeting:

The focus of the conversation is to look at what progress has been made regarding ministry priorities and development based on the Position Focus that was established at the beginning of the year. These conversations are to offer encouragement and evaluation so there can be a celebration and adjustment where needed. As such, it may not be essential to spend long preparing for the meeting (particularly if you are in close contact and are aware of progress being made), but it is helpful to re-familiarize yourself with your team member’s Position Focus. Do pray for insight, wisdom, grace, and truth as you meet together.

You will want to ask your team members to download (or they can send / share) the “Position Focus: Refine” form, (see the tools tab) and ask them to think, pray, and complete it ahead of your meeting time.

The additional resource, “Refine and Review Conversation” (also in the tools tab) provides helpful suggestions and a conversation flow format for conducting primarily a Review conversation, but it can be used as a basis for a Refine conversation also.

The Conversation

As we have said, the Refine conversation is an opportunity to reflect back on what has happened so far and make some mid-course adjustments to the priorities. It should take around 60 minutes, but if you take the opportunity to have a relaxed conversation, somewhere nice, over a cup of coffee perhaps, it may take a little longer (but it’s worth it!). Even in a coffee shop, it’s good to pray and ask God to bless your time together.

Hopefully, you will have brought a copy of the Position Focus and your team member will have brought both his original Position Focus and his “Refine” form.

Your role, primarily, is to hear the team member’s perspective on how things are going and only to add your input when you feel you have fully understood how they see their progress in their priorities and development. As you work through your team member’s completed “Position Focus: Refine” form, some of the questions you will want to consider to help you unpack the detail are:

    • What has gone well?
    • What has not gone so well?
    • What are you learning?
    • Where are you stuck?
    • What needs to change?
    • What do you need more of?  Less of?

By the end of the conversation, you will need to have agreed on what changes need to be made to the Position Focus form. In particular, you will want to consider:

    • What needs to continue as a priority?
    • What needs adjusting in some way?
    • What needs to be replaced? (because it is completed, no longer relevant or it has become evident that it is not achievable)

Finish your time by praying and thanking the Lord for the things that have happened and for His wisdom that has guided you both through this time. To help ownership, it’s helpful for your team member to then take the information away, amend the Position Focus form, and agree a time to send you a copy.

Review

The review conversation is the ‘grand finale’ to the year. It answers the headline question of “What has happened?” and lays the groundwork for “Where do we go from here?”. It is a chance to look back and reflect, to celebrate the things that have happened, the goals that have been achieved, and the areas of growth that God has been at work in.

There are many similarities between the core part of the review conversation and the refine conversation(s), in terms of the benefits and approaches, so do look at the refine conversation details again, if it’s been a while since you read through the details, and also the additional resource, “Refine and Review Conversation” (in the tools tab).

Before the Meeting:

The focus of the conversation is to evaluate and celebrate the things that have happened, so unlike the Refine conversation, you should take a good amount of time to think through what you believe about the team members performance and achievements this year, by working through their Position Focus form and the notes from the Refine conversation. Think through each of the elements of the Critical Mission Objectives and the Personal Development Plan priorities and make a mental note of how you would rate their performance on the Position Focus: Review form.

If the team member has a Job Description, you will probably also want to look through this to evaluate how the team member has done in light of their wider team and ministry responsibilities. We have attached some additional questions that you might want to use for “Role Review” in the Tools tab.

As with your previous preparation, continue to pray for insight, wisdom, grace, and truth as you meet with your team members.

It is helpful to have your team members download or share the “Position Focus: Review” form, and ask them to think through their own evaluation of the elements, but not complete the form as you will do that together.

Key Tools

The Review conversation is a longer conversation than the Refine one (around 90 minutes) as there are a couple of different elements that most people find helpful to cover. Both elements are more evaluative than the previous Refine conversation.

Hopefully, you will both have access to the Position Focus (amended since the Refine conversation) and any notes you made for the Review time. 

We have described the two elements of the conversation in this way:

Zoom-in

The zoom-in part of the conversation focuses on the elements of the Position Focus – How well have the priorities been achieved? Some people may find the rating system on the Review form uncomfortable: evaluating the team member’s performance as “satisfactory,” “outstanding,” or “needs improvement.” This is not essential (or another rating system may be appropriate), but it is essential for the team member to understand which areas they have done well in and which areas they need to continue to focus on. This will form the basis of the next conversation where you refocus and establish priorities for the coming year. Work through each of the areas of the Position Focus, (you might want to use some of the questions from the Refine discussion), evaluate the performance and then together start to work on the next steps as appropriate. Don’t feel you need to finalize all these. Sometimes further reflection is helpful before it is than finalized in the following Refocus conversation.

Zoom-out

The zoom-out part of the conversation puts the priorities of the Position Focus in the context of the team member’s wider role by looking at the individual’s Job Description (if available).  Whether it is formally written out as a Job Description (which we’d certainly recommend!), or whether you and your team member just know the other elements of their role, it’s important to work through the whole role, as well as the areas prioritized in the Position Focus. We have developed some questions that you may want to use to guide this part of the conversation. The Role review questions can be found in the tools tab.

Outcomes

By the end of the conversation, you and the team member should have agreed (or at least understand your points of differing perspective) the level of performance and to have started to make progress on what the next steps may be (to be finalized at the next [re]focus conversation).

There shouldn’t be any surprises for the team member, but it is the leader’s responsibility to complete the Position Focus: Review form.  

There will be a few things you’ll want to do with it:

  • Keep a copy for yourself. You’ll want to continue your thinking and refer back to the form when you have the [re]focus conversation.
  • Give a copy to your team members. It will encourage them in the things they have achieved and hopefully focus them and spur them on in the things God continues to call them to, as well as their own development.
  • Provide a copy to HR. If your ministry or organization has an HR department, it’s helpful to send them a copy of the review form as well. It will help them keep a record of development. Particularly, if the Role Review has uncovered aspirations for future roles, notifying HR and the organization’s leadership will be essential as they plan for the future.

If you are using an online system, such as the Google forms provided, this process is obviously much simpler as they can simply be shared.

We have said that celebration is a key part of this stage. How you go about doing this will vary greatly according to culture, but think through what would be appropriate, either individually or as part of a team get-together.

Continuing the Cycle

The richness of this cycle will really only emerge as you continue to go deeper. You may have found by this stage that the whole process would be even more effective when used together with some other tools and processes. The common ones are:

  • Strategic plan. There may have been some frustrations over expectations in the staff development cycle. This can sometimes be because the team was not clear on the strategic priorities of the ministry or team. This might be an area to re-visit.
  • Job description. When people do have job descriptions, they are often unused and therefore not reflective of the particular role. The process of developing or refining a job description can often seem an administrative burden, but can often solve a multitude of misunderstandings, conflicts, and frustrations before they start.
  • Personal Development Plan & Input. Although the Position Focus identifies a couple of areas for development, many people find gaining others’ input on their development, (using a tool such as a 360-degree feedback questionnaire) and then articulating more fully the plan for development (in a Personal Development Plan) really helpful. These two tools are available in the Forms section. We have suggested that sometime in the middle of the year (around the time of the Refine conversation) might be a good time to do this as well. 

Tools

Below is a set of forms and resources for Leadership Development and Human Resource leaders to help explain and implement the Staff Development Cycle. The resources can be downloaded and adapted to  ‘fit’ your organizational culture.

Using the Forms

You will find below  three forms you can use to record the three conversations in the Staff Development Cycle. The initial “Position Focus” form that your team member will draft ahead of the first conversation, the “Position Focus: Refine” form for mid-year adjustments and the “Position Focus: Review form for the end of year conversation.

Position Focus

Position Focus Refine

Position Focus Review

Role Review Questions

Personal Development Plan

Additional Resources 

Refine and Review Conversations

Background & Principles

Key Development Assignments

Definition of Terms

Team Leader Overview 

Team Member Guide

Sample PDFs

Position Focus

Refine

Review

Personal Development Plan

Intro

For many years, organizations have tracked employee engagement globally. They find that clear expectations and connection to mission have a profound impact on engagement and efficiency. It is essential to both team members and the organization that all get regular feedback on how they are doing, how they can grow and improve, and where their work is contributing to the overall goals. The Staff Development Cycle is our key process for meeting this need. 

These Staff Development Cycle resources provide direction and tools to ensure that all team leaders have at least three focused conversations with each team member every year to help strengthen team engagement, effectiveness and progress in the mission. 

View the Staff Development Cycle Overview

[Re]focus

The initial focus conversation (or subsequent refocus conversation in the following years) is the “launch-pad” for the year. It answers the headline question of “What are we going to do?” both in terms of the priorities of your team member’s role and their development plans.

This conversation ideally has a number of different inputs to it, but can be done without these formally in place. As you prepare to have this conversation with your team member, it’s helpful to use whichever of these you have, to establish priorities:

  • Job Description: The first input is the team member’s Job Description – looking at the purpose of that person’s role, why it exists, and all the elements that are involved in it.
  • Strategic Plan: If your team or ministry has a strategic plan, then the team priorities and plans also have a significant impact on the team member’s Position Focus.
  • Personal Development Plan: If your team member already has a Personal Development Plan, it’s important to see what their current priorities for development are and what progress has been made.

The desired outcome of the refocus conversation is to establish an individual’s personal ministry and development plan for the year in the form of a “position Focus” (the Position Focus form can be downloaded from the ‘Tools’ tab or download here).

As you prepare for discussing a team member’s Position Focus, you will want to refer to the Position Focus form. It gives the categories the person needs to think through. As well as the inputs listed above, your own input as the team leader will be vital to establishing priorities in each of the sections.

Preparing for the Conversation

Whether the inputs listed above are available or not, you will want to think through the same sort of questions in preparation for having a [re]focus discussion with a team member. Here are a few suggestions:

    1. What is this person’s job?  Why does it exist?
    2. What are the key responsibilities for this role (JD)?
    3. What developmental steps are essential this year (PDP)?
    4. What progress needs to be made according to our team’s ministry plan this year?
    5. What progress needs to be made in the next 6-12 months? (This could be stated as Desired Results)?
    6. How will you measure progress?  Make sure these are concrete measures (you can find further information on SMART Goals here)

As the Team Leader, you need to think about these ahead of time so you can discuss them in the meeting. 

The Conversation

Before the meeting, you will need to give the team member a copy of the Position Focus Form (or get them to download it) and ask them to develop a first draft of the Position Focus and bring it with them to the meeting. They just complete the first two sections.

You and the team member then work through the initial draft together, one section at a time, discussing what the priorities are until you come to an agreement on a final Position Focus. It may take more than one draft. Working together with them provides some rich coaching opportunities!  For further resources on asking good questions go to www.leadingwithquestions.com.

Critical Mission Objectives

The Critical Mission Objectives will be drawn from a combination of the team member’s Job Description and the Strategic Plan. If neither of these are formalized, then it will be the combination of the team priorities as you see them and your joint understanding of the team member’s role. The Position Focus does not attempt to articulate every aspect of the team member’s role, but seeks to highlight the priority areas that need to be given particular focus this year by setting particular goals in these areas.

Many people find setting goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound the hardest part of this process, but it is essential to do this, as you will find when you come to review them!

Personal Development Plan

This section is not designed to replace a fuller Personal Development Plan (see the forms page or download here ) but, like the Ministry Objectives, it is a way of highlighting the most important areas for development. Different people take different approaches as to how much these areas of development need to be related to the actual Job Description. That will need to be decided by you or your wider organization.

Key Developmental Assignments 

Unlike the other sections where you both bring input, the Key Developmental Assignments (KDAs) are where you, as a team leader, take the initiative in asking the team member to undertake a specific assignment, for the sake of their ongoing development. 

Often we assign work to people and they grow as a result. Those assignments become developmental when there is a “stretch” or some challenge to the assignment along with feedback and coaching. This is where you, as a team leader, have a great opportunity to build leaders as you are accomplishing the mission in your location. When you think about creating a developmental assignment, here are some questions to consider.

    1. What is this person’s potential for leadership? 
    2. What experience should this person have this year in order to develop as a leader better?
    3. Which of the four roles of a leader (direction setting, leading change, building a team and serving as a spokesperson) is this person’s strength? What responsibilities could you give that would stretch this person in that strength area?
    4. If the person has the potential to lead a team, what work/projects/team could this person lead this year?
    5. What work on your strategic plan would give this person the opportunity to expand their personal and/or leadership capacity?
    6. How will you coach this person in this assignment?
    7. Not everyone requires the same level of support in a developmental assignment.  The more experienced and confident the person is the more your coaching is supportive. People who are doing things for the first time may need some initial instruction or clear expectations.
    8. Give this person feedback on their developmental assignment throughout the year and especially during the mid-year and end-of-year Position Focus Review conversations. This is what anchors the experience in the mind and heart of the person as developmental.

You can find out more about developing KDAs for your team members here

Refine

The refine conversation is the “checkpoint” at the mid-year point. It answers the headline question of “How is it going?”  — a chance to reflect on how far your team member has gotten with the goals and objectives that have been set and see what adjustments need to be made. Although we recommend this happens at the mid-point during the year, it can happen more frequently. You will be connecting with your team members on a regular basis to find out how things are going, but you probably don’t want to refine the Position Focus too often. If you find you need to (because items are completed) it may indicate the Position Focus has become too tactical – more of a “to-do list” than a statement of priorities for the next 6-12 months.

Although there will be evaluation involved, in the refine conversation, the team leader is primarily taking the role of “coach”. There are a number of benefits to both the refine and review conversations. Here are a few of them:

    • It promotes and provides for open communication.
    • Team members are encouraged and motivated by having their strengths affirmed, successes celebrated, growth acknowledged and their contributions to the ministry appreciated.
    • It increases the achievement of key ministry objectives.
    • It helps the team member and team leader to identify difficulties early. There could be unfulfilled responsibilities, lack of motivation/resources/training or an outside factor over which the team member has no control.

Before the Meeting:

The focus of the conversation is to look at what progress has been made regarding ministry priorities and development based on the Position Focus that was established at the beginning of the year. These conversations are to offer encouragement and evaluation so there can be a celebration and adjustment where needed. As such, it may not be essential to spend long preparing for the meeting (particularly if you are in close contact and are aware of progress being made), but it is helpful to re-familiarize yourself with your team member’s Position Focus. Do pray for insight, wisdom, grace, and truth as you meet together.

You will want to ask your team members to download (or they can send / share) the “Position Focus: Refine” form, (see the tools tab) and ask them to think, pray, and complete it ahead of your meeting time.

The additional resource, “Refine and Review Conversation” (also in the tools tab) provides helpful suggestions and a conversation flow format for conducting primarily a Review conversation, but it can be used as a basis for a Refine conversation also.

The Conversation

As we have said, the Refine conversation is an opportunity to reflect back on what has happened so far and make some mid-course adjustments to the priorities. It should take around 60 minutes, but if you take the opportunity to have a relaxed conversation, somewhere nice, over a cup of coffee perhaps, it may take a little longer (but it’s worth it!). Even in a coffee shop, it’s good to pray and ask God to bless your time together.

Hopefully, you will have brought a copy of the Position Focus and your team member will have brought both his original Position Focus and his “Refine” form.

Your role, primarily, is to hear the team member’s perspective on how things are going and only to add your input when you feel you have fully understood how they see their progress in their priorities and development. As you work through your team member’s completed “Position Focus: Refine” form, some of the questions you will want to consider to help you unpack the detail are:

    • What has gone well?
    • What has not gone so well?
    • What are you learning?
    • Where are you stuck?
    • What needs to change?
    • What do you need more of?  Less of?

By the end of the conversation, you will need to have agreed on what changes need to be made to the Position Focus form. In particular, you will want to consider:

    • What needs to continue as a priority?
    • What needs adjusting in some way?
    • What needs to be replaced? (because it is completed, no longer relevant or it has become evident that it is not achievable)

Finish your time by praying and thanking the Lord for the things that have happened and for His wisdom that has guided you both through this time. To help ownership, it’s helpful for your team member to then take the information away, amend the Position Focus form, and agree a time to send you a copy.

Review

The review conversation is the ‘grand finale’ to the year. It answers the headline question of “What has happened?” and lays the groundwork for “Where do we go from here?”. It is a chance to look back and reflect, to celebrate the things that have happened, the goals that have been achieved, and the areas of growth that God has been at work in.

There are many similarities between the core part of the review conversation and the refine conversation(s), in terms of the benefits and approaches, so do look at the refine conversation details again, if it’s been a while since you read through the details, and also the additional resource, “Refine and Review Conversation” (in the tools tab).

Before the Meeting:

The focus of the conversation is to evaluate and celebrate the things that have happened, so unlike the Refine conversation, you should take a good amount of time to think through what you believe about the team members performance and achievements this year, by working through their Position Focus form and the notes from the Refine conversation. Think through each of the elements of the Critical Mission Objectives and the Personal Development Plan priorities and make a mental note of how you would rate their performance on the Position Focus: Review form.

If the team member has a Job Description, you will probably also want to look through this to evaluate how the team member has done in light of their wider team and ministry responsibilities. We have attached some additional questions that you might want to use for “Role Review” in the Tools tab.

As with your previous preparation, continue to pray for insight, wisdom, grace, and truth as you meet with your team members.

It is helpful to have your team members download or share the “Position Focus: Review” form, and ask them to think through their own evaluation of the elements, but not complete the form as you will do that together.

Key Tools

    • Position Focus form (completed at the beginning of the cycle and amended during the Refine conversation
    • Position Focus: Review form (blank, but with notes that you and the team member have made)
    • Role Review Questions

The Review conversation is a longer conversation than the Refine one (around 90 minutes) as there are a couple of different elements that most people find helpful to cover. Both elements are more evaluative than the previous Refine conversation.

Hopefully, you will both have access to the Position Focus (amended since the Refine conversation) and any notes you made for the Review time. 

We have described the two elements of the conversation in this way:

Zoom-in

The zoom-in part of the conversation focuses on the elements of the Position Focus – How well have the priorities been achieved? Some people may find the rating system on the Review form uncomfortable: evaluating the team member’s performance as “satisfactory,” “outstanding,” or “needs improvement.” This is not essential (or another rating system may be appropriate), but it is essential for the team member to understand which areas they have done well in and which areas they need to continue to focus on. This will form the basis of the next conversation where you refocus and establish priorities for the coming year. Work through each of the areas of the Position Focus, (you might want to use some of the questions from the Refine discussion), evaluate the performance and then together start to work on the next steps as appropriate. Don’t feel you need to finalize all these. Sometimes further reflection is helpful before it is than finalized in the following Refocus conversation.

Zoom-out

The zoom-out part of the conversation puts the priorities of the Position Focus in the context of the team member’s wider role by looking at the individual’s Job Description (if available).  Whether it is formally written out as a Job Description (which we’d certainly recommend!), or whether you and your team member just know the other elements of their role, it’s important to work through the whole role, as well as the areas prioritized in the Position Focus. We have developed some questions that you may want to use to guide this part of the conversation. The Role review questions can be found in the tools tab.

Outcomes

By the end of the conversation, you and the team member should have agreed (or at least understand your points of differing perspective) the level of performance and to have started to make progress on what the next steps may be (to be finalized at the next [re]focus conversation).

There shouldn’t be any surprises for the team member, but it is the leader’s responsibility to complete the Position Focus: Review form.  

There will be a few things you’ll want to do with it:

    • Keep a copy for yourself. You’ll want to continue your thinking and refer back to the form when you have the [re]focus conversation.
    • Give a copy to your team members. It will encourage them in the things they have achieved and hopefully focus them and spur them on in the things God continues to call them to, as well as their own development.
    • Provide a copy to HR. If your ministry or organization has an HR department, it’s helpful to send them a copy of the review form as well. It will help them keep a record of development. Particularly, if the Role Review has uncovered aspirations for future roles, notifying HR and the organization’s leadership will be essential as they plan for the future.

If you are using an online system, such as the Google forms provided, this process is obviously much simpler as they can simply be shared.

We have said that celebration is a key part of this stage. How you go about doing this will vary greatly according to culture, but think through what would be appropriate, either individually or as part of a team get-together.

Continuing the Cycle

The richness of this cycle will really only emerge as you continue to go deeper. You may have found by this stage that the whole process would be even more effective when used together with some other tools and processes. The common ones are:

    • Strategic plan. There may have been some frustrations over expectations in the staff development cycle. This can sometimes be because the team was not clear on the strategic priorities of the ministry or team. This might be an area to re-visit.
    • Job description. When people do have job descriptions, they are often unused and therefore not reflective of the particular role. The process of developing or refining a job description can often seem an administrative burden, but can often solve a multitude of misunderstandings, conflicts, and frustrations before they start.
    • Personal Development Plan & Input. Although the Position Focus identifies a couple of areas for development, many people find gaining others’ input on their development, (using a tool such as a 360-degree feedback questionnaire) and then articulating more fully the plan for development (in a Personal Development Plan) really helpful. These two tools are available in the Forms section. We have suggested that sometime in the middle of the year (around the time of the Refine conversation) might be a good time to do this as well. 

Tools

Below is a set of forms and resources for Leadership Development and Human Resource leaders to help explain and implement the Staff Development Cycle. The resources can be downloaded and adapted to  ‘fit’ your organizational culture.

Using the Forms

You will find below  three forms you can use to record the three conversations in the Staff Development Cycle. The initial “Position Focus” form that your team member will draft ahead of the first conversation, the “Position Focus: Refine” form for mid-year adjustments and the “Position Focus: Review form for the end of year conversation.

Using the Forms

You will find below the three key forms you will probably want to use to agree and record the 3 conversations in the Staff Development Cycle. The initial “Position Focus form” that your team member will draft ahead of the first conversation, the “Position Focus: refine form” for the mid-year adjustments that need to be made and the “Position Focus: review form” for the end of year assessment.

Position Focus

Position Focus Refine

Position Focus Review

Role Review Questions

Personal Development Plan

Additional Resources 

Refine and Review Conversations

Background & Principles

Key Development Assignments

Definition of Terms

Team Leader Overview 

Team Member Guide

Sample PDFs

Position Focus

Refine

Review

Personal Development Plan

Related Resources

Not sure where to go from here? Take a look at some of the other Care Resources that are available to you. 

Member Care

Member Care Excellent member care is essential for our people. This course provides a framework and mindset for member care at every level in our

explore resource »

Featured Tools

Equipping you with the tools you will need to care for all future leaders.

31 Days of Unhurried Living

Dedicate a month to reading daily encouragement, reflection, and tips for living an unhurried life, or just dip in and out

Self-Care

This resource forms part of our Member Care course which demonstrates our calling to care for one another requires us to also be caring for ourselves

An Introduction to Spiritual Formation

Spiritual Formation is about learning to walk moment by moment in the power of the Spirit and being conformed/transformed into the image of Christ

Scroll to Top