Project Management

Unleashing the 'Pow!' in Power Skills

Southern Alberta Chapter

Mike Griffiths is an experienced project manager, author and consultant who works for PMI as a subject matter expert. Before joining PMI, Mike consulted and managed innovation and technology projects throughout Europe, North and South America for 30+ years. He was co-lead for the PMBOK Guideā€”Seventh Edition, lead for the Agile Practice Guide, and contributor to the PMI-ACP and PMP exam content outlines. Outside of PMI, Mike maintains the websites www.LeadingAnswers.com about leading teams and www.PMillustrated.com, which teaches project management for visual learners.

Paying a salary does not motivate someone. At best, it ensures they show up for work (remotely), but then how they perform is usually somewhere on a spectrum. This spectrum varies from being a net drain on the project because of undermining or resistance, all the way through to being a passionate contributor and innovator.

Figure 1: The Spectrum of net contribution people bring to a project

Looking at this range, we can probably recall working with someone from each portion of the spectrum: the saboteurs and downers who, consciously or unconsciously, suck productivity from the rest of the team through hostility or negativity (the team is better off the days those people are away!); all the way to the dynamos and bright lights who lift us and others to do our best work and make it fun in the process.

However, people are not predestined or stuck in one place on the range. The ability to shift teams to the right, toward higher levels of contribution and motivation, is what separates merely competent project managers from truly excellent ones.

Fortunately, this is not rocket science or innate charisma. Instead, it is the application of power skills, and they can be learned and developed. However, we are getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s step back and understand what power skills are (and for more, see PMI's Pulse of the Profession® 2023: Power …


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"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind."

- Rudyard Kipling

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