Project Management

Can You Relate?

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at [email protected] Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

When you find yourself working with team members whose perspectives, motivations and approaches are different than yours, you must walk a fine line. You can’t abandon what has worked for you in the past, but you need to relate and adjust to the new dynamics — or risk resentment and failure. Here are some suggestions.

I recently heard from a project manager who had taken on a project in a completely new industry. Not only was he having to learn the way that the industry and organization worked, he found himself working with people who had a very different work ethic and approach than his own. He was unable to relate to the team members or the work, and didn’t know how to go forward in order to succeed.

It’s not unusual for project managers to switch industries or to move into different work environments. The role exposes us to different types of people, not all of whom will share out approach to work. Unless we can adapt to these environments we will increase our personal frustration and resent the work we are doing. That doesn’t mean we should give up on practices that have succeeded in the past, but it does require us to adapt to our environments and to learn to relate to our team members.

Avoid being judgmental

One of the biggest challenges that this project manager faced was a level of frustration with what he perceived to be a lack of …

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"A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject."

- Winston Churchill