Podcast 118 - The Value of Lifelong Professional Learning




In this episode of the Fix My Project Chaos podcast, Elise Stevens talks professional development with internationally-renowned business author and speaker, Mike Clayton.

 Mike is the author of 13 business books, and is regularly called upon by some of Britain’s largest public, private and not-for-profit organisations to deliver corporate training and conference keynotes. He is both an expert trainer and a passionate advocate for the benefits of ongoing professional skills’ development.

In their discussion, Elise and Mike talk about why project managers should take responsibility for their professional learning, how to develop a personalised ‘curriculum’ for skills’ development and the many benefits of lifelong learning.

“There comes a time when we have to take responsibility for our own education,” says Mike.

 “The choices that we make will dictate the outcomes that we get, and if we want to get better, more demanding jobs then we've got to get ourselves fit for that. If you want to be healthy, you have to eat well and exercise well. If you want to be a powerful professional, then you need to train yourself well. You need to get the experiences and the knowledge that you need.”

 Mike says there are many cost and time-effective ways for project managers to learn. Learning can be formal, such as through online and face-to-face training, or less formal, such as listening to podcasts, reading, and learning from others through work and social networks.

“I think my top tip would be to pick one or two online sources that you trust and enjoy, and dig deep into them,” advises Mike.


Points raised in this podcast


  • The importance of taking personal responsibility for ongoing skills’ development
  • Employers have their own agendas and needs, that influence how they choose to invest in individual employee’s professional development.
  • “The only person who really has nothing to lose and everything to gain by investing in your career is you, yourself,” says Mike.
  • Decreased corporate training budgets have increased the need for individuals to take responsibility for their own development, in order to stay professionally competitive.
  • No learning is ever wasted when you take responsibility for your own development. You never know when or where you’ll have the opportunity to apply it.
  • Learning should be regular, ongoing and require active engagement with the subject matter – whether that is a course or taking part in professional conversations in social media groups.


My Top 3 Resources for Project Managers – Elise Stevens


  • Wrike Blog – Great content rich site that provides tips and information about being a great project manager
  • Online PM Courses – a great range of online courses, blogs and other fantastic resources
  • Project Management Café – A closed facebook community for Project Managers.


About Mike

Mike Clayton is an in-demand project management and leadership consultant, who advises organisations large and small on productivity, project management and organisational change. He is a leading provider of online training for project managers, and can be found at Online PM Courses and Mike Clayton.co.uk.

Connect with Mike on LinkedIn.


Age Defying Careers Podcast - Felicity Dwyer




Felicity Dwyer is a careers coach, management consultant and trainer, based in Hampshire, England. In this interview, she talks about her own career journey and how it led to her starting two successful businesses aged in her 40s.

Felicity is the founder of Stepping Up, a UK leadership and management training consultancy. In her interview with Elise Stevens, Felicity talks about how she ‘blossomed’ while working for a voluntary sector infrastructure organisation in the early 2000s, who genuinely valued their employee’s professional and personal development. This organisation became Felicity’s first client when she began working for herself in 2003, and inspired her to obtain management qualifications herself. Stepping Up has now worked with hundreds of managers across the private and nonprofit sectors.

Felicity is also a career coach, who has worked with mid-life professionals for almost 15 years at The Heart of Work. She speaks with Elise about how to transition into a new career and the importance of investing your time in building skills.

“There’s a lot of information out there that is free and is of really good quality,” Felicity says.


One of the things I really encourage people to do is to develop their skills. If you feel like you have very good tech skills, very good people skills, a good breadth of knowledge and most importantly, the ability to learn, it will give you the confidence to think you can pick up new things … and have the capacity to learn, and act, and cope with whatever comes your way.”


In this podcast

  • The many reasons people change careers in their mid-lives
  • Appreciating how the ‘threads’ of our personal histories lead us to the careers we are meant to have
  • How once we find the career we truly want, everything seems to align for its success
  • How all of our professional and personal experiences contribute to a valuable skillset that can be applied elsewhere
  • The importance of management practices that value human resources
  • Why supportive professional networks are so valuable


 About Felicity

 Felicity Dwyer is a career coach. She specialises in working with mid-life professionals who want to change direction. Felicity helps her clients find clarity about their ideal career path and next steps. Her coaching practice is called The Heart of Work. Felicity also works in the field of management development, primarily in the arts and heritage sector. She is the co-founder of Stepping Up, which aims to empower leads and managers through training, coaching and qualifications. Felicity is particularly interested in facilitating development for first-line managers, and managers of volunteers. She can also be found at http://steppinguptraining.co.uk/

 Want more? Connect with women in similar situations and environments, with common goals and experiences. These women understand you and are there to support you. Are you a woman over 40 looking to boost your confidence, fire up your career and connect with people who simply get you? You’ve found your tribe. Join our Women Supporting Women Private Community on Facebook - it’s free to join. Conversation – Support – Expert Insights. 




Age Defying Careers Podcast - Paulette Oldfield



Today Paulette Oldfield shares her career story of becoming a change and agile specialist. 

Paulette is a Project Manager, Agile subject matter expert and Certified Scrum Master who specialises in Agile coaching, development and Change Management. A pragmatic approach with a ‘start it, finish it’ mindset who thrives on challenges and a passion for problem solving.


With a proven capability in building and nurturing relationships, Paulette has been involved in many projects across private and public sectors in large organisations over a range of industries including Finance, Government and Mining. She has worked with a range of people from Senior Politicians to staff at the coal face.


Paulette is accredited in Change, Agile, LEAN and Consulting with skills across facilitation, presentation and performance management, to name a few. From the implementation of a major procurement transformation into a complex environment, to the delivery of information and reporting systems within tight timeframes where others had failed to deliver, Paulette enjoys working in dynamic environments.


Points raised in this podcast:


  • How Paulette dealt with being the only female with over 120 males in a mining site to being a change and agile specialist with the Queensland Government
  • How embracing change has helped Paulette have a exciting and diverse career
  • How boredom and environment can help you to identify when it is time to change roles or organisations
  • The importance of networking and micro learning to build relationships and create your own opportunities
  • Being the right frame of mind to help remain relevant and to learn new things
  • How Paulette is transiting a government based department into a collaborative space with entrepreneurs and startups and the lessons learnt along the way
  • The importance of a close network of friends when dealing with adversity in life and at work
  • Using diplomacy and knowing when is the right time to communicate ideas and concerns
  • Why showing gratitude for the adversities in your life and career is so important
  • Surrounding yourself with mentors that allow you to learn and grow from

Stakeholder Engagement Part 18 - Nicole Nader



Nicole Nader is a board member of Australian Institute of Project Management and is professional project manager delivering organisational change and fostering professional corporate culture within large and diverse teams.

Engaging with and motivating teams is one of her strengths where she has delivered relevant and practical, strategically aligned solutions for over 12 years in the defence industry. 

She was appointed to the position of National Director of the Board in 2015, and has helped to further the interests of other professionals in the industry through her leadership of the Institute’s Governance and Ethics committee and the International Certification Body.

 Points raised in this podcast:

  • How mindfulness can help project managers to engage and enrich your relationships with your stakeholders
  • Why project managers need to put themselves in other people’s shoes and show empathy
  • How project managers need to be softer and more approachable
  • Why being authentic as a project manager is important when building trust with team members
  • How storytelling can help project managers build trust and empowerment within your team
  • Being clear and open with expectations and allowing team members to go about the projects it their own individual way to achieve the desired outcomes
  • Creating a safe environment for identifying improvements in the process
  • Having the right message and being upfront to build trust and relationships with key stakeholders
  • The only way a project can be successful is through being truthful in all stages of the project
  • How project managers can be more mindful and inclusive in their communication and the importance of using the right language when discussing changes and recommendations
  • The importance of regular stakeholder consultations for ongoing engagement when joining a new team or organisation
  • How over talking and poor listening can affect engagement with managers and team members



Age Defying Careers - Rayelne Preuss




In this latest Podcast Raylene Preuss shares her interesting career story and why enlisting the assistance of a mentor is so important. 


Age Defying Careers - Anastasia Dinos




In this latest Podcast Anastasia Dinos discusses her career story and how she embraced change by starting her own interior design company.


Age Defying Careers - Sue Mills



In this latest Podcast - Sue Mills shares her career story and why career change is healthy for us. 


Age Defying Careers - Kanchana Bishop




In this Podcast, Kanchana Bishop shares her career story. Kanchana commenced her career as a chemical engineer and is now a respected risk consultant. 


Age Defying Careers Podcast - Elissa Farrow




Thinking about a career transition can be terrifying. Taking a a methodical and targetd approach to your career transition can reduce the stress of your move.

Listen to Elissa Farrow as she tells her story of career transition and how set up up her strategy/organisational change management consultancy


Age Defying Careers Podcast - Chris Lawler



Careers and life are rarely linear. They take all kinds of unexpected twists and turns. One of the key things to embracing life is to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves to you.


In this Podcast Chris Lawler, a project management specialist, shares her career journey and why she embraces opportunities that present themselves to you.




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