Do you get tired of the same old approach to professional development every year? Do you sometimes wish for a list of suggestions to help you change it up? The Credentialing Program is self-directed, so ICMA can’t prescribe a list of activities for you, but we can give you some ideas on how to come up with your own activities.

Newly Credentialed Managers

Chances are that if you’re filling out your credentialing application or second year plan, you’re not quite sure which activities to choose, or which of the ICMA Practices for Effective Local Government Leadership to focus on.

First, remember that your professional development requirements can be fulfilled through a combination of conferences, workshops, seminars, university courses, or professional reading. Budget problems? No worries. Check out ICMA publications, or head on down to your local library. Set up book club discussions with colleagues. Don’t forget affiliate association meetings, webinars and webconferences. Check out Members' Top Picks Professional Development, which includes recommended reading and other activities from members.

Second, use your Management Assessment (formerly Applied Knowledge Assessment) results to identify development areas. Most Credentialed Managers choose two or three areas to focus on each year. If you only have one need area, great! Focus on that the first year and move on to areas important to your organization later. If you have five need areas, that’s even easier because it gives you a plan for two or three years.

Mid-career Credentialed Managers

Now that you’ve been credentialed for two or three years, you may be a little tired of working on your assessment practice areas. If so, that’s okay. Move on to areas that are important to your organization or that you know you need to work on. Consider attending the ICMA SEI Leadership Institute for a truly transformational experience.

At the five-year mark, you’ll be required to take a multi-rater assessment or pre-approved alternative. This will help you identify new areas to focus on for the next couple of years.

Senior Credentialed Managers

Congratulations! Can you believe you have been an ICMA Credentialed Manager for six or seven years? Maybe it's time to consider attending the unique and highly-rated ICMA Gettysburg Leadership Institute, ICMA Williamsburg Leadership Institute, or a local executive development program. Many universities and other organizations offer top-notch courses. Contact your state or affiliate association for ideas.

Also remember that up to half of the credentialing requirement can be fulfilled through formal mentoring programs. Consider joining the ICMA Legacy Leader Program to become a mentor for emerging leaders.

Additionally, think about teaching in local public administration and other college and university programs. Teaching does not count toward your 40 hours, but preparation (for example, reading or seminars) can if you learn something new.