We’re now in the lazy days of summer and I’ve spent the last six months immersed in leadership learning. I’ve attended virtual leadership conferences/webinars/workshops (Leadercast, Milken Institute 2013, John Maxwell), partnered in my community to pilot a mentor program for STEM students, connected with my network via a Twitter chat called #PMChat and spent time reading, writing and reflecting during my weekends. It's a daily choice to invest in my leadership to support my goal to always pay it forward to advance the profession one project manager at a time and practice collaborative leadership.
Why is this important for project, program and portfolio managers who are leading projects in their organizations to take time out for these types of immersion activities? Seriously, there is so much to learn about success and failure and everything in between. If you want to go from a good to great leader you must invest in your leadership skills daily; it’s pretty simple. How do you do this? Set aside time to read, watch movies, go to the theatre, unplug and go for a hike, take a yoga class, connect in your community locally, regionally, globally, blog,or tweet.
Earlier this year, I bought a few new books recently released for summer reading, left a book/took a book from the neighborhood book library (www.littlefreelibrary.org) and was sent a few leadership books for review. Let me share a few tips from my reviews of my favorite books.
Often I get requests to review leadership books and I was honored to be provided an advance copy of Steven Snyder’s’ book for review. This book is very much like True North written by Bill George but better. First of all, Bill George, author of True North, wrote a compelling foreword and credits Steven Snyder for taking the same themes and diving deeper to provide each reader insight into the struggle lens. The book is broken out into three parts: Part 1: Become Grounded, Part II: Exploring New Pathways and Part III: Deepening Adaptive Energy. Snyder’s first story is about Steve Jobs; he shares that with any leader we’re not perfect so we struggle through failure and success. Snyder states that like Steve, all leaders can go through a “developmental metamorphosis… all we need to do is choose it.”
Reading through the book, soaking up each chapter of personal stories, strategies, techniques and exercises so much resonated with my personal struggles. Each story was a journey of leadership and validated the introspection necessary to become a better, more grounded leader. As a mentor; it's a book I'd recommend to a mentee as well as I highly recommend this book to any leader looking to continue their personal growth as a leader since it will help you in two ways:
1: Continue on the path to become a better “YOU” through organic introspection and renewal. 2: Allow you to look back to lead forward so you can to become a more fulfilled leader from the inside out.
In addtion, the special bonus of this book is to take this learning and apply it; Snyder Leadership Group offers tools on its website and provides a special offer for readers who purchase this book.
Earlier this year, Peter Taylor reached out to me to consider submitting a fun story for his book. Several months later; Peter self-published this book and released it in June 2013. Peter’s book is available on Amazon.com and it’s packed with fun experiences, jokes and “PM Celebrity Gossip” contributions from myself and a few of my PM collegues. It's a great gift, coffee table book and a fun read for your own library.
Project Sponsors are important to ensure more successful projects; just read any article on project management failure, governance and leadership. This book is a great guidebook for project managers and sponsors; our project management community has been anxiously waiting for this sponsor publication just released in June 2013. Every Project Management Office, consulting project manager and organization should order a copy of this book for their sponsors. The authors of this book share an afterword to extend the message through a “Campaign for Real Project Sponsors”. Visit the website www.strategies4sponsors.com; buy a book and contribute to help advance the profession through the education of the management team and C-Suite executives in organizations.
Every few weeks I get asked by a project manager for advice on how to get a job or how to navigate their career or how to get that next promotion. Although there is so much I could offer; I think I’ll just suggest to unplug and go take a hike (to reflect), meditate or go read a book. Invest in your leadership, make the commitment, shift your mindset, enjoy the journey and oh, keep smiling...