Oct 28

Personal Development – You’re in Charge!

Considering personal development and the futureWhat does personal development mean to you? Every day, we all complete tasks on our projects or programs. How much time in the day was devoted to personal development? Staying in one position for an entire career isn’t an option. With the improving global economy, company mergers and acquisitions result in new ways to accomplish tasks. What are you doing to ensure your skills are in demand tomorrow? Next year? And, what does that mean for project managers? What should we do to prepare for the next 15 years?

Where to Start: What do you want to contribute?

Confession time: We are all guilty of postponing training and development. There is always a fire drill or emergency that could derail the latest project stopping your best intentions to attend that industry conference or training seminar.  To combat this, try mapping out when most of the crises hit.  For example, maybe it’s every Monday. Or it could be the last week of the month and the last two weeks of a quarter. Try planning all of your conferences and classes around this schedule. By planning for the known unknowns, you may not have to cancel your development times. Once again, using project Project risk management skills, you will be able to accomplish your goals.  Trying to map out the unexpected requires information on the past. It may not be perfect, but it is better than scheduling over a time that is known to be a problem.

It’s the end of the year.  Where Is Your Personal Development?

Don't wait to the last minute to develop your skills!Open that binder or file. Look at the personal development plan drafted at the beginning of the year. Dust it off and see what your best intentions were and what is left to do. There’s still time. You don’t have a plan? No problem! Look at your calendar and see what you have worked the most on during the year. Brainstorm! Write down ideas on topics you want to learn more. Don’t go over the top.  Keep the goals achievable. This goal is for you. Nobody manages your career for you. What do you need to do to be the #1 choice for that next juicy project?

Projects are going Global. What Can I Do?

As a project manager, you have options for personal development. Choosing the right skills to keep a long and successful career. Knowing that the source of projects may change in the future helps in career growth and planning.

  • Personal development: Prepare for the future and keep yourself marketable.
  • Find a nicheIf you want to stay in a local market, keep looking at the niches that need filling. Growth doesn’t mean the old markets will disappear. It means niche players will win.
  • Practicality: The hot projects will be in different markets in the future. Keep your passport and visas updated.
  • Networking Broaden who to include in your social networks. It takes time to make connections and communicate. Especially if the connection is 12 time zones away.
  • Project Selection: If you have a choice of projects and are able to travel, consider a project in one of the growth cities.It’s a nice line on the resume.

Personal Growth Challenge: Develop your Network!

Find out how many of your current contacts (friends, high school classmates, LinkedIn colleagues, neighbors, parents at school) have links to the top ten cities. I bet you’ll be shocked. My neighbor goes to China every month to manage a new manufacturing project. One of my former work colleagues is from Chongqing. Ask! They might surprise you.Every week, discover one new fact on one of your network members that meets your needs to strengthen your niche knowledge or give you connections to a future fast growing city / market.

Why Cities? More Opportunities!

Pursuing career development

McKinsey published the report Urban World: Mapping the Economic Power of Cities March 2011. Eighty percent of the gross domestic product of the planet resides in cities. The 600 largest cities house 60 percent of earth’s gross domestic product. While this concentration will remain about the same in 15 years, the cities in the list will change. Projects come together through people, resources and customers. Find where the customers live, where the resources live, and where the talent wants to go and you’ll find the future of project management. In 2025, it won’t be the colossal mega-cities, but the maller cities that will be growing the fastest in their contribution to GDP.Top 10 Total GDP and GDP Growth Cities According to McKinsey

Keeping on track

Personal development isn’t a ‘one-and-done’ project. It is a process that takes time and attention. Use the next few weeks to consider realistic goals. Unlike corporate personal development plans, your own plan should span years.  Change it as your career evolves.


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