Talking the Talk – For Learning & Performance (Part 4)

From the Eye on the Workforce Blog
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Workforce management is a key part of project success, but project managers often find it difficult to get trustworthy information on what really works. From interpersonal interactions to big workforce issues we'll look the latest research and proven techniques to find the most effective solutions for your projects.

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Continuing from my last post…

 When you are successful at getting project workers to participate in an authentic conversation, most likely in some kind of corporate social media, you will naturally get incidents of unconstructive posts. To maintain Inclusion you must take quick, clear action to correct the violation. Be active in this effort because there is a difficult transition from regular social posting to corporate posting.

  • Enforce the etiquette rules established earlier by searching for posts that are not constructive, make personal attacks, or even indirectly question the skills of someone who posts.
  • Refer to etiquette rules to explain why there was a specific problem and why this will not be tolerated.
  • Especially in the early weeks and months, send general reminders around to remind participants of the etiquette rules.
  • To avoid appearing to be a school marm with a ruler, "like" those posts that are constructive, even if they challenge sacred cows.

 

Now it's time to look at the fourth of four factors contributing to real, honest and constructive project communications:  Intentionality .

This seems a little vague at first, but it is actually good practical advice. Your project has a charter, a direction, an objective. It supports a business strategy. You should make sure that the project communications align to all of this.

  • When posts get off track from the project, make posts or comment to these posts to bring the topic back to support of the project. For example, when a discussion degrades into complaining about the state of IT education in regional universities, you or your designee posts a re-directing post perhaps asking a question like, "OK, we can't fix that problem, but can we resolve the issue which started this discussion of having to wait for contingent workers to be hired for testing? As stated in a previous comment, we are trying to improve quality of our deliverables this year."

  • Allow interactions to proceed that are resolving complex issues by bring up outside-of-project solutions. These are not necessarily off-track and may be just be the authentic conversations that you are trying to support. For example, when a discussion post blames a project problem on lack of management attention to the project, don't shrink away. Pursue this further to get details. You want an open and honest conversation.

So it turns out that, for your project, there's not an "I" in team. There are four I's: Intimacy, Interactivity, Inclusion and Intentionality. You need to manage them all for ongoing effective communications and workforce just-in-time learning. You should utilize modern corporate social media and use the correct tactics. It's a new set of problems, but if you master the solutions, you will be setting yourself up for the new era in project management.

If you think abut it, this is not too much more than what a great project manager should be doing already: Setting the tone, laying the groundwork for good communications, enabling people to perform better, ensuring appropriate learning gets done.

But doing this using your new knowledge of tactics based on Intimacy, Interactivity, Inclusion and Intentionality, will allow you to surpass those who, for whatever reason, choose not to embrace the inevitable. You will set yourself apart as a leader in communication and workforce learning and performance. You will be appreciated by project participants and enable those who are gatekeepers for your next career move to see that you should motor through.

Posted on: December 20, 2012 08:03 PM | Permalink

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