Extraordinary Leader

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Recent Posts

Are Your Minding Your Emotional Intelligence (EQ)?

Stakeholder Engagement

Silver Bullet to Project Success - Sponsor, PM and BA

Women in Leadership

Leveraging Your Leadership

Are Your Minding Your Emotional Intelligence (EQ)?

As project and program managers you have plenty of obstacles in your way — don’t become another one. Have you assessed your emotional intelligence skill set to leverage your strengths and close the gaps? You can read about these six competencies that can propel your leadership and initiatives forward at my latest article on ProjectsatWork and attend PMXPO 2017 to listen to my in depth presentation on  this topic and stay afterwards to participate in a  live question and answer session facilitated at the end of my session.


Graphic: Weebly 

Published originally at ProjectsatWork

Posted on: April 20, 2017 02:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (11)

Stakeholder Engagement

Stakeholder engagement is a key topic that many project managers are either struggling with or are challenged developing key partnerships.

Recently, I was interviewed by Elise Stevens from FixMyProjectChaos and here are the three tips I had to share:

Click here to read article.


Graphic:  Weebly

Posted on: April 14, 2017 02:59 PM | Permalink | Comments (8)

Silver Bullet to Project Success - Sponsor, PM and BA

Categories: BA, PMP, Project Manager, Sponsor

Is your organization looking for that silver bullet; a fail-safe solution to avoid another project failure?  Project success should not be elusive if you have an executive sponsor, project manager and business analyst: 1) identified at the beginning of your project, 2) filled with competent trained staff, and 3) engaged with internal and external stakeholders throughout the project. In fact, these roles could be the remedy to cure major prevailing problems in your organization.  i.e.: poor project performance, over budget, solutions not meeting stakeholder needs/expectations. 

Let’s look at a snapshot of each role to better understand how the role and key behaviors/skillsets help sets the stage for project success.


Key Behaviors/Skillsets

  • Executive Sponsor: Your role is a key role for project success; it’s time to elevate your commitment to provide necessary guidance for the project manager and business analyst.
  • Support, coach/mentor, communicates with stakeholders, escalates issues to senior management, remove barriers and approves resources for the project
  • Project Manager: (PM) Your role is shifting from project management to project leadership.  It’s time to step out of your comfort zone to coach sponsors, lead change, effectively manage your projects through the entire lifecycle and lead distributed global teams.
  • Leadership, coach/mentor, define project scope, communication with project team, stakeholders and sponsor, stakeholder expectation management, goal-driven, builds trust, results-oriented
  • Business Analyst: (BA) Your role is taking a front row seat where you belong alongside your business partner; the project manager.  BAs can really help move the needle forward to align projects for success.


  • Engagement with business, business analysis tasks i.e.: define solution scope and business requirements for alignment with business and project objectives, communicate concepts and details with diagrams and models

In a nutshell, the executive sponsor, PM and BA; all play leadership roles;

  • The Executive Sponsor owns the project and is responsible for benefits realization to create value for the business case,
  •  The PM leads the team and delivers the solution and
  • The BA ensures that the solution meets the business need and aligns with business and project objectives.

Reduce your risk of another project failure in your organization; enhance the collaboration of these key leaders to increase the likelihood your projects will be successful throughout their project lifecycle.

Originally published at ProjectWorld.com and KellyProjectSolutions

Graphic: Weebly


Posted on: April 14, 2017 01:43 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)

Women in Leadership

March is Women's History Month; I'll kickoff posting for 2017 an excerpt from an interview I did a few years ago as blogger at ProjectWorld with the keynote speaker,  Jo Miller, CEO Women’s Leadership Coaching Inc.

Jo Millers' advice for women is as relevant today as it was a few years ago.


Today, women makeup over 50% of the workforce, are entrepreneurs, hold key leadership positions and serve on board of directors.  Miller will give us her insight into the challenges women face in the workplace, how to overcome these obstacles and become a person of influence.

Check out what Miller had to say:

Naomi: Jo, exciting to have you at ProjectWorld! How would you define a person of influence in today’s organization?

Jo:  An influencer is someone who has a goal or a vision that they’d like to achieve that is bigger than they can accomplish alone — meaning they must engage, motivate and inspire others to collaborate and help out in order for that goal to be achieved. To be an influencer you don’t need a leadership job title or a team who report to you, in fact, I would volunteer that no-one gets promoted into leadership without first showing that they can positively influence others.

Naomi: You’ve interviewed women worldwide; what do these up and coming leaders tell you are their top three leadership challenges in business?

Jo:  By far the biggest frustration that emerging leaders tell me they deal with is office politics. Most leadership books won’t tell you this, but it is one of the biggest career-killers if you don’t find a positively way to navigate it. Ignoring it is not an option, because you’ll get passed over for career opportunities if you don’t “play the game.”

Next, for women especially, making their value visible and not being the best kept secret in the organization. Women have a tendency to work hard, deliver outstanding work, then go on to the next task without pausing to make sure their work was visible to higher-ups.

And finally, in a world where promotions are increasingly rare and everyone needs to collaborate cross-functionally to get stuff done, I would say that influencing without authority is a big challenge many up and coming leaders need to figure out.

Naomi: What was the impetus for you to start your coaching business and focus specifically on women leaders?

Jo:   come from the corporate world, where I had tried unsuccessfully to find a roadmap or guide on how to advance up the corporate ladder, I knew there was a need. I also met too many women with leadership potential that outshone their current positions, and saw the talent pool that was not being tapped. I realized that companies would be better off if they had a way to connect with that untapped potential, so I started creating coaching programs and workshops that gave women a roadmap to break into management and leadership positions.

Naomi: Tell us about your new book “She’s Got Clout; How to Become a Rising Woman of Influence. How can we get a copy of your book?

Jo:   I’m still working on it! The book will focus on the topics I teach in my one-day Poised for Leadership workshop. It’s a set of core competencies for employees who want to break out and establish themselves as emerging leaders in their organizations. Topics include how to gain visibility and reward for your accomplishments, navigate organizational politics with savvy, and build a reputation as a leader or expert.

Naomi: Project Managers are making the shift to become project leaders leading global teams. What are your top three leadership tips for these project leaders?

Jo:  1. Don’t wait for positional authority: look for act under your own authority, identify leadership gaps, and take the lead.

2. If you want to increase your influence, start by building a network of relationships of people that support you in your career and leadership goals. When people know you and trust you, you don’t need to cajole or persuade them to help you out: they are happy to collaborate and help out a friend.

3. Enlist senior-level sponsors inside and outside your direct management chain. Sometimes all it takes to influence something is having a highly influential individual give it their blessing.

Naomi: Projects and politics are like oil and water; they don’t always mix. Give us a little insight on your workshop you’re facilitating at ProjectWorld about Office Politics.

Jo:  In my workshop, we will talk about why you should not ignore office politics (even though most people really, really don’t like it). There are some compelling career advantages enjoyed by people who have the skill of being “positively politically savvy”, like being more promotable and less likely to derail. I will define that skill, and share some very practical tools that help participants build their political savvy, from understanding the dynamics of power and influence in their organization to understanding the unwritten ‘rules of the game.’

Naomi: Women have the skill sets, integrity, character and experience to lead; what is holding some women back from breaking through the glass ceiling?

Jo:  That’s a big question! And perhaps one not answerable in a short blog post, but we are lucky to live in a time when a lot of research is being done. Why aren’t women breaking into leadership in larger numbers? For one, our corporate workplaces are rife with unconscious bias that sets women at a disadvantage. And our workplaces are not always female-friendly at that critical point when employees start getting promoted into management ranks, meanwhile their home lives become very complex. Thirdly, there are some simple, practical skills that don’t always come naturally, but that women can develop in order to make their value visible for consideration for higher-level assignments.

Naomi: What is the AHA moment for women after they take your training and use your leadership coaching system?

Jo:  One such aha moment is not to let their management make career choices for them! That they can be the driver of their career, and take charge of their career trajectory.

Naomi: What advice would you give to women who are looking to take the next step to advance in their careers? Are there networks or associations you would recommend women join to network and help gain an advantage to move forward in their careers?

Jo:  I recommend not just joining the relevant associations in your professional area, but being an active participant. Take a leadership role! You will get to meet and speak with the movers and shakers in your industry, and if you play your cards right, they will become your mentors, sponsors. You will develop a world-class personal board of directors.

Hopefully, this advice will resonant with many women who are looking to make big changes or transitions in their career this year.  


Photo: Weebly.com

Original post appeared at http://pwwbcablog.iirusa.com.

Posted on: March 10, 2017 03:09 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Leveraging Your Leadership

We’re now in the lazy days of summer and I’ve spent the last six months immersed in leadership learning.  I’ve attended virtual leadership conferences/webinars/workshops (Leadercast, Milken Institute 2013, John Maxwell), partnered in my community to pilot a mentor program for STEM students, connected with my network via a Twitter chat called #PMChat and spent time reading, writing and reflecting during my weekends.  It's a daily choice to invest in my leadership to support my goal to always pay it forward to advance the profession one project manager at a time and practice collaborative leadership.

Why is this important for project, program and portfolio managers who are leading projects in their organizations to take time out for these types of immersion activities?   Seriously, there is so much to learn about success and failure and everything in between.  If you want to go from a good to great leader you must invest in your leadership skills daily; it’s pretty simple.  How do you do this?  Set aside time to  read, watch movies, go to the theatre, unplug and go for a hike, take a yoga class, connect in your community locally, regionally, globally, blog,or tweet. 

Earlier this year, I bought a few new books recently released for summer reading, left a book/took a book from the neighborhood book library (www.littlefreelibrary.org) and was sent a few leadership books for review.   Let me share a few tips from my reviews of my favorite books.

“Leadership and the Art of Struggle” – Steven Snyder

Often I get requests to review leadership books and I was honored to be provided an advance copy of Steven Snyder’s’ book for review.  This book is very much like True North written by Bill George but better.  First of all, Bill George, author of True North, wrote a compelling foreword and credits Steven Snyder for taking the same themes and diving deeper to provide each reader insight into the struggle lens.  The book is broken out into three parts: Part 1: Become Grounded, Part II: Exploring New Pathways and Part III: Deepening Adaptive Energy.  Snyder’s first story is about Steve Jobs; he shares that with any leader we’re not perfect so we struggle through failure and success.  Snyder states that like Steve, all leaders can go through a “developmental metamorphosis… all we need to do is choose it.”

Reading through the book, soaking up each chapter of personal stories, strategies, techniques and exercises so much resonated with my personal struggles.  Each story was a journey of leadership and validated the introspection necessary to become a better, more grounded leader.  As a mentor; it's a book I'd recommend to a mentee as well as I highly recommend this book to any leader looking to continue their personal growth as a leader since it will help you in two ways:

1: Continue on the path to become a better “YOU” through organic introspection and renewal. 2:  Allow you to look back to lead forward so you can to become a more fulfilled leader from the inside out.

In addtion, the special bonus of this book is to take this learning and apply it; Snyder Leadership Group offers tools on its website and provides a special offer for readers who purchase this book. 

"The Project Manager Who Smiled " - Peter Taylor

Earlier this year, Peter Taylor reached out to me to consider submitting a fun story for his book.  Several months later; Peter self-published this book and released it in June 2013.  Peter’s book is available on Amazon.com and it’s packed with fun experiences, jokes and “PM Celebrity Gossip” contributions from myself and a few of my PM collegues.  It's a great gift, coffee table book and a fun read for your own library.

"Strategies for Project Sponsorship" – James, Rosenhead, Taylor

Project Sponsors are important to ensure more successful projects; just read any article on project management failure, governance and leadership.  This book is a great guidebook for project managers and sponsors;  our project management community has been anxiously waiting for this sponsor publication just released in June 2013. Every Project Management Office, consulting project manager and organization should order a copy of this book for their sponsors.  The authors of this book share an afterword to extend the message through a “Campaign for Real Project Sponsors”.  Visit the website www.strategies4sponsors.com; buy a book and contribute to help advance the profession through the education of the management team and C-Suite executives in organizations.

Every few weeks I get asked by a project manager for advice on how to get a job or  how to navigate their career or how to get that next promotion.  Although there is so much I could offer; I think I’ll just suggest to unplug and go take a hike (to reflect), meditate or go read a book.  Invest in your leadership, make the commitment, shift your mindset, enjoy the journey and oh, keep smiling...

Posted on: July 25, 2013 07:23 PM | Permalink | Comments (20)

"The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made."

- Groucho Marx