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Personal development action planning starts with the ӗhat?Ԡand ӗhy?Ԡbefore the ӈow?

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How many times have you been on a project where your customer or some other key stakeholder has prematurely tried to jump to a solution without having fully articulated their needs and wants? This behavior gives rise to many risks including wasted effort, the perceived loss of autonomy for delivery team members, and a loss of optionality.

So why should we consider our personal development to be any different?

Translating the vision for where we see ourselves in the future into reality meets the PMBOK® Guide’s definition of a project in that is a unique endeavor (there is only one “you”) and will definitely be temporary (until someone invents immortality).

Through online discussion groups and in the in-person interactions I’ve had with fellow practitioners, two of the more common questions I am asked are:

  • “I’ve just attained credential or certification X – what should I do next?”
  • “Should I pursue credential X or credential Y?”

A reasonable assumption is that I’m asked these questions because I do list a number of certifications after my name in my professional written communications.

In such situations, I’m often tempted to channel my internal Twisted Sister (I was heavily influenced by 80’s hair bands) and yell “What Do You Want To Do With Your Life!”. Before I can attempt to help the requestor, I need to understand what they are aspiring to be and why that’s important to them.

The same is true for those who aspire to a higher titled role within their companies. Is that a means to an end (and if so, the only means) or is it the end unto itself.

As with negotiations, let’s seek to understand interests before jumping to positions.

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