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Career Fitness for Project Managers in Turbulent Times. Ron Elsdon, Ph.D. Elsdon Organizational Renewal & New Beginnings Career and College Guidance, 925 586 9039 Outline. Environment Change and Transition Career Implications Path Forward.

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career fitness for project managers in turbulent times

Career Fitness for Project Managers inTurbulent Times

Ron Elsdon, Ph.D.

Elsdon Organizational Renewal &

New Beginnings Career and College Guidance, 925 586 9039

  • Environment
  • Change and Transition
  • Career Implications
  • Path Forward

How is the workforce changing?

changing nature of our work environment
Changing Nature of Our Work Environment
  • Younger to older
  • Same to different
  • Many to few
  • Local to global
  • Lifelong commitment to engagement for mutual benefit
  • Information deficit to data overload
  • Hierarchy to fluidity
  • Internal organization focus to external focus
  • External individual focus to internal focus
  • Police ourselves to Sarbanes-Oxley
  • Constant skills to constant learning
the emerging world of organizations and work
The Emerging World of Organizations and Work




Value creation

through people

Re-balancing of power between individuals and organizations

Need to re-define the relationship with individuals

Support performance and development equally

change and transition1
Change and Transition


  • A situational event
  • External
  • Often starts with a new beginning
  • A process over time
  • Internal
  • Must start with an ending
  • Transitions are key times in the natural process of self-renewal
    • e.g. from demonstrating competence to finding meaning
    • Rites of passage reflect basic need for regeneration
  • Types of change
    • Losses of relationships
    • Changes in home life
    • Personal changes
    • Financial changes
    • Inner changes
    • Job loss

William Bridges, Transitions

what we need during transitions
What We Need During Transitions
  • Structure
    • Temporary systems that shape new courses of action
  • Information
    • Knowledge that we can apply to navigate moving forward
  • Support
    • Understanding and a nurturing environment
a transition checklist
A Transition Checklist
  • Take your time
  • Arrange temporary structures
  • Don’t act for the sake of action
  • Recognize why you are uncomfortable
  • Take care of yourself in little ways
  • Explore the other side of the change
  • Get someone to talk to
  • Find out what is waiting in the wings of your life
  • Use this transition as the impetus to a new kind of learning
  • Recognize that transition has a characteristic shape
  • Rite of passage: lens through which to magnify the experience

William Bridges, Transitions

t s elliott little gidding
T.S. Elliott, Little Gidding

What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.

William Bridges, Transitions

so you think you have a job calvin associates from money 1994
So You Think You Have a Job?(Calvin Associates from Money, 1994)

“Nobody has a job anymore. All you have is an assignment. It’s like an actor who lands a part. You don’t know how long it may last. You are your own small business whether you like it or not.”

career implications of change
Career Implications of Change
  • Know Yourself
  • Keep Learning
  • Champion Change While Searching the Horizon
  • Stay Flexible for Transitions
  • Dare to Dream
know yourself
Know Yourself
  • What gives meaning and value to your life
    • “ … the spirit within us, found in the core of our own selves, that slowly and painfully weaves its way through anxiety, confusion, tension and conflict to hear the rhythm of our own personal tune made up of choices and values that are truly our own.” (Brewi and Brennan).
  • Values that you hold dear
  • Interests that you want to develop
  • Personality preferences and their fit
  • Skills to grow and develop
motivation and capability
Motivation and Capability















keep learning
Keep Learning
  • College 1998 (Tapscott)
    • 45% U.S. college students are 25 and over
    • Students 35 and older outnumber those who are 18 and 19
    • Over 55% women, 15% non-white
  • From 4 year degree to 40 year degree
champion change while searching the horizon the renewal cycle hudson and mclean
Champion Change While Searching the Horizon. The Renewal Cycle (Hudson and McLean)
  • Phase 1: Go for It
    • Positive, Goals, Committed
  • Phase 2: Stuck in the Doldrums
    • Negative, Reactive, Feel Trapped
  • Phase 3: Cocooning
    • Turns Inward, Taps Core Values, Awakens
  • Phase 4: Getting Ready for the Next Chapter
    • Explores, Networks, Trains
stay flexible for transitions betsy brewer
Stay Flexible for TransitionsBetsy Brewer
  • Four work relationships to the external world
    • Job: material rewards
    • Occupation: greater meaning, doing dominates
    • Career: personal initiative, collective approval
    • Vocation: call in service of greater good
  • “May you live all the days of your life”
    • Jonathan Swift
dare to dream martha graham
Dare to DreamMartha Graham

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action. And because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium ... the world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open, and to live it.

  • What metaphor comes to mind when you think of the patterns of your life?
    • For example: a richly woven fabric
arthur miller
Arthur Miller

The only time a human being experiences real joy or a sense of fulfillment or satisfaction is when the person is using or giving away what he or she has been given to give.

path forward1





Path Forward




And Exploration


Career Fitness


In New Situation

Direction and Decision


Your Own Portfolio


Favorable Entry

Process …

Re-assessing Strategy

Building Strategy

Self and

Significant Others

Executing Strategy

what are some steps you can take in preparation
What are some steps you can take in preparation …
  • Self-understanding?
  • Opportunity identification and exploration?
  • Direction and decision, communicating your own portfolio?
  • Maintaining career fitness?
preparing for transition while employed
Preparing for Transition While Employed
  • Use tools of self assessment to provide a foundation
  • Maintain an active network
    • Colleagues, Professional organizations
  • Stay current with external trends
  • Monitor signals of change in your organization
  • Keep your portfolio current
    • Resume, interviewing skills
  • Continue learning and developing
  • Begin now
considering options when in transition
Considering Options When in Transition






Most Difficult










personal action steps
Personal Action Steps
  • What are three specific actions that I will take in the next 60 days?
recommended references
Recommended References
  • Transitions by Bill Bridges
  • Lifelaunch by Frederic Hudson
  • Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer
  • Passion for Life by Anne Brennan and Janice Brewi
  • Power Networking by Donna Fisher and Sandy Vilas
  • The Ultimate Interview by John Caple
  • Affiliation in the Workplace by Ron Elsdon
  • Leadership Jazz by Max DePree
  • Leadership from the Inside Out by Kevin Cashman
  • The Heart Aroused by David Whyte