ACMP News: CCMP Graduate Stories

Aldean Jakeman, CCMP™

Tuesday, October 10, 2017  
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Project Manager, ISC

Why did you decide to pursue the CCMP?

CCMP certification is a great way to show my value in change management. The marketability factor of certification lets others know what talents I can offer today and to any future role. The CCMP is a particularly unbiased barometer of my skills and it shows that I am keeping my expertise current and up to date. It demonstrates my personal initiative because certifying is not required but I have continued to develop regardless. 

It raises management's confidence level that I have been independently recognized as capable for my current role and any new challenges. Most importantly, it separates me from my peers and gives me the personal satisfaction that my skills have been assessed and that I have passed the industry's measurement of knowledge based on their skill assessments of the role.

How did you prepare for the CCMP?

For the essay questions, I first selected the questions that excited me and related to my past experiences in the field. I set up blank pages for each essay question and began to draft a response to the question for which I had had the most ideas. As I began capturing my thoughts for a single essay, I would come up with ideas for other essays so I jotted these down on the separate blank pages for follow up. I initially wrote the essay response in full, imagining that I had no maximum word limit. As a final step, I edited down the final essay response to ensure that it met maximum word count and contained the most essential response elements. For the exam, I took advantage of the exam preparation tips on the ACMP website. I printed out the flash cards and a copy of The Standard for Change Management.

I read the standard and made my own notes to review, which I studied thoroughly leading up to the exam. The exam posed a couple of unique challenges for me to overcome. First, I was not accustomed to taking an exam where there are no pencils or scrap paper allowed at the desk.

The other challenge was a personal one. The exam centre location was formerly a hospital where my mother passed away when I was nine years old. I had not been in the building (now a technical education facility) since that moment in time. The building still, in many ways, resembles how it once looked as a hospital so it took some personal resolve to stay strong, stay grounded and press on by keeping my brain deeply focused on taking the exam.

How has earning the CCMP benefited you personally and professionally?

My career began in laboratory and office administration settings. With my particular educational background in science, I have often found it difficult to come across to others as having a balance between both technical skills and soft skills. One of my first post-university jobs was at a temporary employment agency as a customer representative, where I was expected to step into new roles with speed and agility on a daily basis. This experience taught me how to cope with volatility, uncertainty and ambiguity at a personal level. I have worked in many roles where successful change management was an integral part of the work such as facilities administration or process improvement. The roles that I have held were often viewed as solely technical in nature.

 In 2010, I completed Prosci certification and began to learn more about change management through my role as a process and change management analyst. I was ecstatic when I first read The Standard for Change and saw that it recognized change management as a complementary discipline to other professional disciplines like process design and improvement. It even included swim lane diagrams as appendices to the standard and was written with a process perspective in mind! My role at the time included process and change management but I had been thought of as a "process and controls geek" making maps and models. I seemed to be underestimated in terms of change management competency. The perception was that I had a major in process and a minor in change and that the two disciplines were entirely separate and opposite to one another with nothing in common in terms of key skills and abilities.

 I had a few early voices of encouragement to reinforce my belief in my change management talents, especially from those with an intimate understanding of my work. However, my overall personal brand seemed to solely portray me as a process practitioner. I wanted to expand my change management education and experience so I undertook a coaching certification and a certificate in organizational behaviour. I studied Prosci's Train-the-Trainer and taught employee change management. I studied about resilience and read as much suggested advanced change management literature as possible. Most importantly, while working on change initiatives, I continued to build up my applied knowledge and hone my skills.

Coaching others through personal transitions outside of my immediate work has increased my empathy and understanding of the other side of change management. Coaching has reinforced my need to make change management decisions and take actions based on the best interests of others. This experience has given me one of the missing puzzle pieces in order to become better at the change management discipline overall. The CCMP appeared to be the next logical step in my journey.

It was inspirational and reassuring to look up some of the CCMP “The First 500" names on LinkedIn to find out that they also had backgrounds in process improvement and/or science. Beyond CCMP, other change management gurus, such as Jeff Hiatt of ADKAR fame, also had backgrounds in scientific principles and research so I discovered that my background was not something that uniquely excluded me from working successfully in change management.

Achieving the CCMP makes me less compelled to justify how I have both a background in science/process as well as competence in change management. My greatest strength is my love of learning and the CCMP helps me to build on this strength by offering an avenue to pursue ongoing education, to share my knowledge with others and to advance the profession.

Professionally speaking, I now have credentials to highlight the work that I do. The CCMP demonstrates that I have an experience-based certification and helps to establish my credibility as a change professional when compared to uncertified change professionals. I have shared my designation on LinkedIn and am proud to be listed on the CCMP “The First 500" site among so many other names of accomplished change management professionals. Very inspirational!

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