Michelle LaBrosse, the CEO, founder and main evangelist of Cheetah Learning, is kind enough to answer a few questions about their offerings, their process and the guarantee that set them apart as a leader in an area where most of us are afraid to experience failure and therefore are looking for our best chance for success... and she is certain that is by following the Cheetah way...
Q: First off Michelle, I've worked with you long enough to gain an understanding of how passionate you are with Cheetah's process. Please tell us all more about the Cheetah way and how it's different.
A: It’s in how we design our courses. People love to learn, but they don’t enjoy being “taught.” This is why we are called Cheetah LEARNING as opposed to Cheetah TEACHING. We remove many barriers to learning so that Cheetah students are able to easily follow our processes to achieve the results they desire. One barrier that is quite common for many people with respect to learning new skills is anxiety. When people are anxious, their brain does not function well for learning. Many things contribute to anxiety – such as diet, past failures in school, or outside distractions. Cheetah students master well proven techniques to keep themselves in a state of calm, relaxed focus so they can achieve the best results possible with their learning efforts. Besides removing the barriers to learning, we develop and extensively test learning processes our Cheetah students can follow to achieve their learning goals. Every course we create goes through an extensive testing and validation phase to ensure every step a Cheetah student takes will ensure they achieve the learning results they desire.
What is different is most other companies do not follow this level of rigor in course development – instead teaching courses how they have been taught by using lecture, some case study, maybe a few interactive exercises. Cheetah staff who lead cheetah courses are called “coaches” rather than teachers, instructors or professors because they are the guides on the side rather than the sage on the stage helping the Cheetah student follow the well developed course process to achieve their desired learning result.
Q: I also know you are passionate about your own, more personal-based CCPM (Cheetah Certified Project Manager program. What is that about?
A: This is about helping people activate their innate genius to make a huge difference in the world. We each have specific gifts that can be used to learn faster, focus better, achieve goals quicker, and get along with others in a way that brings out the best of everyone. We created and extensively tested a way to help people fulfill their life purpose through what we call “personality based learning.” This goes beyond simply discovering the strengths and challenges of your unique personality type and what situations would be a better fit for you. This is where conventional personality testing takes you. We took it a step further and created a way to help people better leverage their innate strengths to pursue the right goals for them and to figure out the best way to do those goals. Every single person does projects – it’s how they achieve their goals. So we have people learn the best way for them to manage their projects. Every single person also negotiates with a wide range of people every day. There are ways that people can get along better with others when they learn how to align their natural style with other people’s natural styles. This is what Cheetah students learn as part of becoming a Cheetah Certified Project Manager. Whereas earning the PMP credential shows you know the globally recognized standard for Project Management, earning the CCPM, shows you know how to best manage you to create the best outcomes for everyone.
Q: The guarantee is intriguing. I like that one and it was an immediate draw for me when I was searching PMP training online. Tell us more about that – because everyone likes a guarantee.
A: Well the guarantee is actually part of the course design. A big barrier to learning as mentioned before is anxiety. Having a guarantee that shows we stand behind the rigor of the process we are asking students to follow helps reduce their anxiety. This helps improve their chances they will be able to stay in a state of calm, relaxed focus to more rapidly assimilate the material they need to know to pass the PMP exam. We have had companies ask us to change some part of our program and to remove the guarantee. We decline working with those clients because we know how important that guarantee is for Cheetah students’ success.
Q: Many see project management as a fairly static discipline. But those of us who have been in it awhile have seen many changes including all the different training and certification processes available today. What is the most innovative thing you've heard, read or thought about Project Management in the past year or so?
A: I am a huge fan of the Agile Project Management methods. Almost 20 years ago now, I developed Cheetah Project Management which has many agile principles. My main focus with that approach is using accelerated learning principles to help people launch and complete their projects very fast. While Agile (and other SCRUM) based approaches to project management have their own vernacular, many of the methods are very similar to what we developed in Cheetah Project Management using accelerated learning principles.
Q: If you weren't making people successful at managing projects, what would you see yourself doing?
A: I see Cheetah Learning more so helping people joyfully and skillfully achieving their dreams and goals at Cheetah speed. Right now my palate is project management. But if it weren’t called “project management” – I am sure I’d be doing something similar – it would just be branded under a different umbrella.
Q: How many project managers go through some sort of Cheetah training and certification in a given year?
A: It depends on which courses you’re looking at. We have up to 10,000 people taking Cheetah Learning courses in a year. We have over 50 courses and some years we have a course that really hits a chord. Like last year, we had a number of people take The Happiness Project class that helps people increase their overall satisfaction with life. I took that to be a sign of our times and the amount of discord we had in the country – people wanted to a way to regroup and find their way back to happy. Cheetah’s Accelerated PMP Exam Prep program has always been a solid performing course for us with several thousand students a year. Most people who enroll in that one do so because they were referred to Cheetah by a co-worker, friend or family member.
Want to know more about the Cheetah Learning process and the trainings available to you that come with that guarantee of success? Check out their site and contact a Cheetah expert who will be happy to answer any and all questions you might have.