With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting the entire globe, the world is not going to be the same. We can look upon as 2 different eras we have been in our lifetime: Pre COVID era which is over and now we are in the COVID era which is going to stay for some time now. The life of every individual personally and professionally is going to change permanently (probably a few things for good as well). The work culture, challenges, way of looking at things, and many other aspects are going to change.
The question here is: How to adapt to it effectively and efficiently to be successful with the new world arrangement and in particular corporate life. Another question is: Can we think of this problem as an opportunity in disguise?
To get to the answer to this query, we need to understand one thing: Survival of the fittest. After every downturn that has happened in the last few centuries, those who have been the best in what they do and were the fittest found it relatively easy to survive. The corporate approach will change and expectations from your professional life will become higher. Hence you need to compete now more strongly than before with your peers.
And in that to survive and excel, the suggestion is to take this 5 step process:
- Understand the need of your organization and your work
- Understand what they expect from you
- Identify your strengths and interests (Weaknesses and disinterests as well)
- Analyze what you can do towards your strengths & interests and try to reduce or shift based on your weaknesses and disinterests
- Take action to sustain initially, succeed and excel thereafter
It’s easy said than done. You might face resistance from within. No one can overcome that except you yourself. To make it a bit easier, let me take an example based on my expertise and explain how it can be implemented successfully. Assume you are involved in Project Management and in that context all the following steps need to be thought by you. So let’s discuss in that context. You can pick some other fields and do the same exercise in a different context altogether.
Step 1: Every organization will need high-value output for every payout they do going forward. Return on Investments expected will be higher. Employees will be paid and retained if they can add great value to the organization.
Step 2: If you are working on projects or your interest is in Project Management, understand what will your organization expect from you in that area?
Every organization in these unprecedented times will expect their employees associated with the projects to deliver exceptionally better in terms of every possible constraint (Scope, Time, Cost, Quality, Resources, Risks, Customer Satisfaction). That might be the new norm for survival.
Step 3: This is a self-evaluation step. You need to create 4 quadrants and analyze or brainstorm the 4 areas in each of these 4 quadrants with respect to Project Management. This deep self-analysis of each of these areas will help you identify your
- Strengths that you should be strengthening or utilizing to your benefits
- Weaknesses where you need to work upon or suppress
- Interest areas where you want to be
- Disinterests that you certainly do not want to do or be in
Step 4: Just knowing about these 4 areas is not enough. Now it’s time for you to think of how to utilize all these 4 areas to be successful. Planning for the future is the key to success. Based on the 4 quadrants, you might find a couple of strengths and interests where it might be needed to hone your skills. With skills up-gradation, all the 4 areas can be better handled. Along with just improving yourself, you also need to market yourself well. To create the credibility of yours in the market, you will need some recognized Project Management Certifications.
If you look out for Project Management skills related options available in the market, one of the best organizations globally recognized is the Project Management Institute. It offers quite a few Project Management Certification options to choose from. The most popular one and its flagship program are PMP Certification (PMP: Project Management Professional). The steps to go through for this, upgrade your skills, and get certified are:
- Check your eligibility
- Check the PMP Certification Cost and Effort involved
- Identify your options
- Research a bit on how to get it done (Which institute, what study materials, which trainer, etc.)
- Get enrolled with 1 good institute
- Follow the guidance from the institute
- Get Certified
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To make your life easier, the following are the details of a few of the steps above that will not change from individual to individual.
Check your eligibility:
To check your eligibility, you can use the following eligibility calculator. If you do not qualify for PMP, there is an alternative option available by PMI in Project Management as well – You can go for CAPM Certification (CAPM: Certified Associate in Project Management).
Check the PMP Certification Cost and Effort involved:
Total effort to get PMP certified professional, you need to put in an effort anywhere between 200 – 300 hours in the entire process. Working professionals can go in with a 3X3 formulae. If 3 hours are put in every day on an average, you can be certified in about 3 months. More the hours you put per day, earlier you can get certified.
Project Management Certification Costs associated with PMP are:
- PMI Membership: $ 129 (Annual membership fee) + 10 (One-time registration fee)
- PMP Exam Fee for Members: $ 405
- PMP Exam Fee for Non-Members: $555 (Does not make sense financially)
- The cost associated with institutes who train and prepare you for PMP will vary based on several factors (Institute, geography, mode of training, trainer, study materials, other offerings in the package etc).
Identify your options:
PMP Training programs offered by various institutes can vary in price anywhere between $100 – 400 depending upon the package that you pick. The items in the package can be:
- Mandatory 35 hours training (Ensure you take it from PMI Registered Education Providers)
- Study Materials (Rita Mulcahy Corporation is supposed to be one of the very good study materials for PMP)
- Application Support (This could be a roadblock in the entire process. Ensure you get this)
- Mock Exams
- Educational Support/ Post Workshop support from the trainer
- Live Classroom Training
- Highly Interactive
- Most Effective
- High Price
- Fixed times
- Fixed venues
- Live Online Training
- Medium Interactive
- Somewhat Effective
- Medium Price
- Fixed times
- Flexibility in terms of venue
- Self-Paced Online Training
- Least Interactive
- Least Effective
- Low Price
- Flexibility in terms of venue & time
- Self-paced learning or eLearning
In the Pre Covid era, all the 3 modes of PMP training were thriving based on the preferences of every individual. But with the social distancing norms and other constraints in place, Live Classroom Training are no more an option. Project Management Certification Online will be the new norm, be it Live or Self-Paced.
Step 5: Take Action.
This is an exercise done for those who want to excel in Project Management in the new emerging era. Similar exercise and steps can be applied to other areas to excel as well.
But be assured, it is going to be a competitive market, and “Survival of the fittest” will be the key to sustain initially and excel and succeed later.