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Find Purpose to Unlock Exceptional Performance
By Peter Tarhanidis, MBA, PhD
There are three common maturity levels in developing project management leadership:
- In the first level, the project leader becomes familiar with PMI’s A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) and begins to implement the methods in their initiatives.
- In the intermediate level, project leaders broaden their abilities by implementing more complex projects and demonstrating a strategic use of the methodology.
- And in the most mature state, project leaders demonstrate high performance by using advanced project methodology and leadership competencies to take on an organization’s most critical initiatives.
It takes many years to cultivate the skills necessary to execute complex initiatives of all sizes and types. And project leaders may find gratification in the personal development to sustain their performance, as well as their project achievements.
However, over time, it’s not unusual to lose sight of that passion, excitement and engagement for executing initiatives. Instead, the project leader may default to simply providing the project management administrative activities of project execution. This reversal of development is a leadership pitfall and creates a chasm between high performance and exceptional performance.
One way to bridge the chasm is to be purpose-driven. A defined purpose distinguishes oneself as a distinctive as a brand. A brand is underpinned by one’s education, abilities and accomplishments. By identifying what is central to your interests and commitments, project leaders can re-engage with purpose and unlock exceptional performance. This can be broad or can be very specific in a subject expertise.
I have use the following method to find my brand and define my purpose:
- Develop a purpose statement—this is your elevator pitch that quickly and simply defines who you are and what you stand for as a project leader.
- Assign annual goals to achieve the purpose and watch your performance increase.
- Create a network of relationships that support your purpose and brand.
Having used this approach to define my purpose, I learned I enjoy the macro view of the firm. I regularly coach leaders and help them develop their teams. Therefore, I like to simultaneously drive toward exceptional performance to achieve a firm’s mission and to advance the needs of society.
Please share your purpose and any examples of exceptional performance you achieved toward that purpose.