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An Equation for Success: A Personal Perspective on Professional Development

Posted by Deborah Bigelow Crawford

Deborah Bigelow Crawford has more than 20 years of experience in business management and handles the operational and administrative functions of PM Solutions. Ms. Bigelow Crawford also serves as Co-CEO of the PM College®, PM Solutions' training division, where she is responsible for the fiscal management and quality assurance of all training and professional development programs. Prior to joining PM Solutions, she served as the Executive Director of the Project Management Institute (PMI), and was instrumental in providing the foundation and infrastructure for the exponential growth that the Institute has maintained over the last 10 years. In addition, she served as the Executive Director of the PMI Educational Foundation. Over the last decade, she has authored numerous articles in PM Network, Chief Project Officer, and Optimize magazines. Ms. Bigelow Crawford is also co-author of the book Project Management Essentials. She has presented a variety of papers as a speaker at international symposia and conferences, and is a member of the National Association of Female Executives and the Project Management Institute.

When you are at a certain point … nearing the end … of your career, you begin to see things differently.  The confidence you fought for and gained over the 30+ years in your business is at its peak.  For me, it’s a bittersweet time.  I love that reviewing contracts, which used to take me 3 or 4 hours, I can now nail in 1 or 2 hours.  I spy company politics in no time and know how to squash them just as fast.  I have learned to truly value those people who care about how they do their jobs.  At the same time, when I think that it has taken me so long to know it was okay to take that call from my kids … that leaving early to make the championship game would have been fine … I wish I could have those opportunities back again, knowing what I now know. 

The pressure so many feel when they are “climbing the ladder” is tough; and it’s real.

I try to use my experience to help those with whom I work to remember that there’s no professional development without personal development. Yes, you should work hard.  You should be loyal and dependable, and care about not only your colleagues, but your company.  But, there is a balance.  Don’t let work take priority over your family.  Family needs you more.  If you need to have some special time for that championship game, or the annual play, take it.  If there is something pressing at work, do it, but figure out a way to do it so that you can balance your family priorities, too.

I hear the stress in my children’s voices now; both my sons and daughters.  They want to be at that game.  They want to be home to play more than 15 minutes before their babies have to go to bed.  They feel guilty because they don’t have time to make balanced meals or go on the field trips.  My advice to them, and to all of you is just find a way to balance.  It may mean changing jobs … but if you don’t, your stress will continue, and you will not find the peace you need to appreciate even the little things.

Organizations, this is a shout out to you as well!  If you value your employees, make it easier for them.  Don’t create a culture that makes employees fearful of taking time for family.  If they are good, and I am sure most are, they will make sure they get their job done.  And they will be so grateful for the flexibility, they will do an even better job than you had hoped.

As an owner of a small company, I’ve had the ambition, the work ethic, the push, the pull, and the drive to do what it takes to be successful.  Now, I have the flexibility to “smell the roses.”.  I wish I would have allowed myself the flexibility years before.  I intend to let those who work for our company have it now. I now understand, after all this time, what the equation for success is:

Hard work + flexibility and balance = happy employees and successful organizations

It’s an equation that requires trust and communication from both the employee and the organization.  It is essential for this generation …. and for those companies who want the best employees to ensure success!

Bob Flounders says:

Very well said!

Posted on June 2, 2018 at 8:36 am

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