This animated gif sums up how I feel having passed the CPLP. Whew. Just made it!
It is important for you to understand something about my psychology. This will help you understand why me obtaining—much less attempting to get the Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP)—is a big deal for me.
I actually believe that many institutes of “higher learning” do a great disservice to their students. Upon leaving school, I have seen dozens of students ill-prepared for joining the workforce. Many times, graduate résumés are barely legible and the newbies have little interviewing skills. (Why universities don’t make resume building and interviewing required courses is beyond me.) Oh, graduates do get a lot of awesome debt, though.
So, yeah. I have a bit of trepidation about jumping into a learning course unless I know there is going to be a big pay-off.
The Path To A Good Decision
I can honestly say with 100% certitude, that obtaining the CPLP was one of the wisest decisions I ever made, especially given the circumstances I found myself thrown into at the quickly expanding company for which I work.
You see, in 2014 I led the charge on forming the company’s first-ever Talent Development Department. The goal was to align the workforce with the company’s strategic plan to ensure we succeed in achieving our organizational goals. The company had grown by 30% in 2009 and another 30% in 2013. We had nearly 400 employees to mobilize into action. Associates were geographically dispersed all over California in 15 counties. How could we create an equitable talent development structure that would help achieve our business goals?
A colleague in the real estate industry recommended that I join ATD. Not knowing what I was getting into, I dipped my toe in the water by getting credentialed as a Master Trainer and Instructional Designer. I also grabbed up my Coaching, Project Management, and Gamification certificates. I attended three consecutive ATD Conferences and heard about the CPLP.
I was now convinced that the education ATD provides was powerful. I had been able to put into action the afore-mentioned credentials and certificates in a truly impactful way at our organization. We deftly selected a learning management system. The workforce was analyzed to align with the strategic plan and organizational goals. We continually evaluate program success. ATD had provided me tried and tested models and methodologies to employ that took the fear out of project implementation.
Having experienced all this TD goodness, I knew I should go for the CPLP.
The study was intense. I even designed my own learning course in Axonify to shoot out daily questions to test my knowledge on the 10 areas of expertise (AOEs). I followed the suggestions in prepping for the test including doing the online assessment, developing a study plan, and attending a CPLP Prep course. As the day of testing approached, to say I was nervous is an understatement. Ask my coworkers. I was quite the pill.
The Impact of the CPLP
In the end, pursuing the CPLP had a drastic effect on my confidence level when presenting solutions to company leaders. I now have access to a plethora of resources to help me advise my organization about performance improvement. I have been connected with colleagues who have fought many of the battles I have yet to fight; colleagues willing to share best practices.
I have been tasked with doing a task analysis on all job roles, aiding my company build its first-ever succession plan, and expanding our department to meet the needs of an organization that will soon be 500+ employees. Obtaining the CPLP has paid (will pay) off in big dividends now that I feel more equipped to do my job.
Worth it? Definitely.