This is the fourth in a series of posts based on the questions I ask project managers when we explore being a Project Motivator and the concepts of strengths-based project management. I ask these questions of my readers and workshop attendees, but I think it is important to be transparent, so I share my answers too...
This particular post is based on a case study about Maggie the Project Manager that I share with my groups. To see the case study go here: https://projectmotivator.com/chapter-2-seeing-is-believing-the-maggie-method/ using password Maggie2019
What were the key contributors to success in the story?
There are many possible answers to this question. My favorites are: Hope – Maggie and the team believe that good things are possible and they take steps to make them happen, Strength – they look for, call out and play to strengths, Brave – they experiment with new things and don’t avoid challenging conversations, Curious – they treat their experiments as a way to answer the questions of how do we get the team motivated and the project done?
What do you recognize in the story? What do you already do?
There is a LOT in the story. At various times I have used some or all of the practices described in the story. At the very least I have worked on my own strengths, and as far as possible I have worked with others on theirs too.
What practices did you read about that you think you can implement right away in a project you currently work on or are about to work on?
I have tried all these techniques LOL!
What practices would you add to this story to make it even better?
I would love to add some coaching practices to the story. When project managers coach their teams – and are coached themselves – performance soars! The ROI of coaching is huge. I would also add some material about decision making and steps to building an effective – and realistic – plan.
Feel free to let me know what YOU would add - message me through the platform.
Strategies for success
- Be hopeful: What did you observe from the story that will help your team in their daily interactions?
- Where do I start? The biggest thing is that Maggie puts others first, she pays attention to what they have to say, she gathers the perspective of many rather than just a few.
- Be strong: From your observations of your team, determine an action that you will take to build on helpful behavior.
- The biggest single thing that I practice is spotting and calling out strengths. It is a win-win for me as a project manager and my team members and quickly becomes a habit that takes no time and only a small amount of effort. Even when there is conflict or tension, sharing strengths observations helps to bring a more positive mindset into the conversation.
- Be brave: what is one tough conversation you will have to benefit the team?
- Highlighting where strengths use may not be working well is a tough conversation and yet it is so worthwhile and still easier to have than some other conflict conversations. I have found that people are much more open to a conversation about how their strength is uncomfortable for another person in a particular context. It is easier to be open to a discussion about something that is essentially a positive even when the specific conversation is about a negative!
- Be curious: Choose one person on the team whom you will meet with to find out more about his or her perspective.
- I love to pick people from the team and just sit down and ask them about their take on the project. Depending on the size of the team I may pick a different person each week or I may have less frequent meetings. But there are so many perspectives to be had and they all help to build a 3-D image of the project. This helps with estimating, planning and problem solving as the project progresses!