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How to Effectively Tackle a Self Study Program

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The foundation of my self-assessment was constructed on the answer to the question “why?” Why pursue the CM certification? Prior to enrolling into the CM certification program, I was fortunate enough to already have both a BS in Management, as well as an MBA. But there was something missing. I needed more.

When I worked as a clinic manager for a military refractive surgery department (prior to my MBA), I discovered that my managerial skills were somewhat lopsided. Even though I was working on my graduate degree at the time, the combined experiences of education and actual experience were still leaving some gaps in my managerial skill set.  After doing a self-analysis, I came to the conclusion that my education alone concentrated on selected specific areas. And with regards to my actual on- the-job experience, I often found myself dropping the ball because I was failing to see the big “managerial” picture. As a result, I began to develop blind spots to the additional, significant components that make up the entire managerial experience.

With the “why” answered, I was then ready to search for a way to implement the answer.  After much research, I chose ICPM, because I believed (which turned out being correct) they could take away those blind spots.

Environmental Assessment

After being accepted into the CM program, I had to take (what I like to call) a “time inventory”. Based upon my environment (i.e. wife, kids, work, family time, etc.), I had to make (what I also like to call) a “time map”.  I had to incorporate a study schedule, not around my environment, but into my environment. I studied, either on the computer or with the manuals a minimum of 2 hours a day. That, of course, added up to 14 hours a week! To begin my assessment, I spoke with my wife about how realistic or unrealistic my goals were pertaining to completing the program, and I solicited her advice on how to obtain them. Note: It’s always good to get input from all individuals who will somehow be affected by your study plan since they are the primary sources of any possible distractions or interruptions.

Goal Assessment

I knew that I wanted to finish the program in three or four months. I also knew in order to do this I had to set time goals to help keep me on track. The key element that helped me to stay on course was being FOCUSED. With a realistic environmental assessment, along with a disciplined focus, meeting time goals was attainable. My journey through the CM program has helped me hone the managerial skills that I already possessed, adopt the pertinent skills that I was void of having, and prepared me for the future challenges that I’m sure to encounter, as I progress both as a manager and as a leader.


If you are considering a self-study program to develop and hone your skills, here are a few takeaways:

  • Ask yourself why.  Why are you pursuing a self-study program? Will it fulfill your intended goal?
  • Conduct a time-inventory.  Do you have the time and support to successfully study on your own?
  • Assess your FOCUS.  Do you possess the discipline to see the program through to the end?

The answers to these questions will help you to decide if a self-study program is the right option for you. 


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