by Cyndee Miller
I know it’s only November, but I’m done with 2020. Alas, I have not yet mastered time travel. So I headed to the latest PMI Virtual Experience Series: “A Deep Dive in Business Analysis: Drawing a Map to the Future.” Yup, sign me up. I am so ready to draw that map for me and my team. Now, admittedly I am not particularly sports-obsessed, but American football coach Katie Sowers and tennis analyst Craig O’Shannessy offered up some great stuff on resilience. Hint: It starts with purpose.
“No matter what it is that we do, if we don’t have a why, we’re not going to be the best version of ourselves,” said Sowers, the first woman and the first openly LGBT coach in the National Football League.
The trailblazing leader also recognized that although COVID has spurred insecurity, it’s also provided an unexpected push that may guide us along the right path. “As hard as these times have been, it’s led to more communication, better preparation, and an environment where we have to find that internal motivation, which is really more permanent than external motivation,” Sowers said.
For O’Shannessy, it’s about understanding yourself—and your opponents: “You’ve gotta conquer yourself. You’ve gotta conquer your demons and really bring it together.”
And O’Shannessy knows of what he speaks, having coached some of the best tennis players in the world, including Novak Djokovic and rising star Matteo Berrettini. Project leaders looking to keeping their own teams motivated should focus on positive reinforcement—backed by data. “I go to the analytics and look for red flags and green flags,” he said. “I always make short highlight videos of the player excelling in a specific area. I’m constantly delivering these videos showing them excelling. When they see themselves out there doing well, it really works.”
Pre-pandemic, resilience was all about looking at risk versus preparedness, but now it’s data driving the action, said FTI Consulting’s Caroline Das-Monfrais. “You cannot have a resilient organization without data.”
Yet processes and data can only take you so far, she said. “At the end of the day you need people. People are the critical enabler of resilience.”
And those people need to be more fearless about getting their POV across, said PMI’s Sunil Prashara. “Get it on the table and talk openly and equally.” Today’s ultra-VUCA world demands true changemakers, and it’s no longer enough for organizations and their project leaders to be agile—they have to be gymnastic.
Building resilience means people growing comfortable with uncertainty and focusing on “the little things they actually can control,” said journalist-turned-poker champ Maria Konnikova. Naturally, this is terrifying for most of us. Who wants to lose control? But when you trust the process, you can push forward and accomplish more. “You need to act, you need to actually take the plunge, knowing that you will never have perfect information,” she said.
Project leaders should “be curious about what you’re doing,” she said. You can’t manage a project well if it bores you or you’re checked out. “Find something in it that will actually engage you.”
Want more? Get ready for the next Experience PMI event, “Going the Distance: Forging Our Path Forward,” slated for 9 December: http://ow.ly/VCES50ChQg5.
How are you keeping your team motivated?