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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
Are you an accidental project manager, recently credentialed project or program manager or an entrepreneur looking to get back into the job market?
Earlier this year, I read an incredible post about a free self-study leadership development program for aspiring leaders. Normally, leadership programs are offered as on the job training or it's an individual career invesment to take a leadership program at a university, non-profit or online self study program.
I'm very excited that with permission of Dan McCarthy, that I can publish this article, "Becoming a Great Leader" to share with our community. Dan McCarthy is the author of the award winning leadership development blog “Great Leadership”, and an influential voice in social media.
Becoming a Great Leader
A self-study leadership development program for aspiring leaders
Designed by Dan McCarthy, author of Great Leadership
Are you able to consistently deliver projects that meet or exceed stakeholders' expectations on time and within budget? Today's organizations expect project managers to have a strong set of soft skills which are to compliment their use of innovative methodologies and project tools. Soft skills also know as interpersonal skills or people skills are behavioral competencies. Soft skills include proficiencies such as communication skills, conflict resolution and negotiation, personal effectiveness, creative problem solving, strategic thinking, team building, influencing skills and selling skills, to name a few.
Chief Information Officers (CIO) are influencing organizational strategies and initiatives in business today. Consolidation, cloud computing and network modernization are just a few hot topics. CIO’s are being consistently challenged with supporting growth while reducing cost and improving operational efficiency. Virtual teams, initiatives, standards, tools; these are all emerging trends that focus on the need for information technology (IT) project managers to improve, enhance and develop better soft skills. Project managers are leaders and valuable assets to any organization. Increasingly project managers in organizations across the globe manage the service delivery of innovative services to customers and stakeholders to achieve greater market share and return on investment.
The Project Management Institute (PMI) is a leader in promoting leadership as a competency for project managers in its standards and services. Leadership and the use of soft skills are attributes at the top of the list for high performing project managers. High performing project managers strive to focus the team on goals in order to achieve superior business results in the delivery of consistent repeatable best practices on projects within their organization.
What soft skills are necessary to be a top notch project manager? In an article written by Meredith Levinson of CIO magazine, she discusses her interview with Kumi Kondo managing director of Intellilink; a management and training company that specializes in technology implementations. “The more experienced project managers understand that if you don’t get the people side of project management, it does not matter how good your methodology or your tools are,” says Kondo. “If you’re not managing your users, sponsor or stakeholders you could deliver on budget, but you might not meets their needs; they’ll say their not satisfied.” Kondo analyzed the skills set of its own best project managers and those of its clients and came up with the following six attributes that are discussed below:
1. The gift of foresight. - Great project managers anticipate, head off problems well before they jeopardize deadlines, budgets and user acceptance. They always have the “big picture” in mind each step of the critical path.
2. They’re organized. - An organized project manager is one who stays focused on the big picture and prioritizes competing projects and other tasks. Prioritizing work for your team is a critical aspect of a project managers’ role.
3. They know how to lead. - Project managers have to interact and manage a variety of stakeholders including their project team and sponsors. Project manager have to influence and motivate resources in a matrix organization, negotiate and persuade stakeholders and sponsors to support their projects in the event a scope, timeline, or cost issue needs to be renegotiated or additional resources are required.
4. They’re good communicators. - Successful project managers use all tools available to them: email, meetings (face to face or virtual meetings), and performance reports to communicate their ideas, get decisions made and resolve problems. Project managers know their audience and deliver the right messages at the right time.
5. They’re pragmatic. - Great project managers are results oriented and practical; they don’t over analyze. They focus on getting work done with the resources available to them.
6. They’re empathetic. - Project managers rely on their teams to be successful. Project managers can’t influence individuals if they don’t know what motivates each team member and stakeholders. They are good listeners and can put solutions into action. Greate project managers who master good listening skills can focus on developing lasting relationships and partnerships with their customers.
Certainly, this in not an exhaustive list but through empirical data, Intellilink defined these as the top six attributes of successful project managers. Personal growth and development is key to your success as a project manager in today's global economy. Your next steps as a developing leader would be to put together a personal development plan to focus on daily improvement. I’ll discuss the detailed actions in my next post.