Viewing Posts by Brantlee Underhill
PMI wrapped up the 2020 Virtual Experience Series this month. The VES is a new virtual event series that offered monthly virtual experiences from June – December this year. More information can be located at https://www.pmi.org/virtual-experience-series. You can still register for one of seven events or the entire on-demand series to gain access to all of the amazing speakers and content and up to 68 PDUs through 31 January 2021.
In the November program, I hosted sports strategists Katie Sowers and Craig O’Shannessy who discussed how they use data and insights to improve the play and outcomes of their athletes. By far, the number one takeaway of our virtual participants was the sharing of strategists’ “Why.” We received feedback such as:
It is interesting how the “Why” prompts a journey into who we are and what motivates us. Nowadays with our COVID-19 challenging work environments, and the push to build new capabilities and skills, those individuals and organizations who are guided by purpose are shown to be more resilient, have stronger well-being and are more engaged (McKinsey) . The list of benefits goes on.
“People don’t buy what you do. They buy WHY you do it.” ~ Simon Sinek
The “Why” is your purpose, cause, or belief. And it’s not new. Simon Sinek has been talking about “Why” for years. Remember this video? It’s hard to believe that Sinek’s groundbreaking Why video is now 10 years old!
“Inspired leaders and inspired organizations think and act from the inside out.” ~ Simon Sinek
A few years ago, the PMI leadership team performed an exercise to each identify their why, recorded their word and explanations, and posted it to our internal social media group for all staff to view. It was bold, vulnerable, and thought-provoking. My executive leader took his operating group through the exercise, inspiring thought, alignment and action. Every now and then, I’ll have a colleague update me on their “Why” as they clarify their purpose or even change it based upon a life event.
We are experiencing for the first time in history a movement whereby all generations are more likely to purchase from a purpose-driven company. If you are a leader in your organization, you need to clarify with your audiences your strategic vision, your purpose, and your values. Your #1 stakeholder group - your employees - want to understand your company’s mission for long-term value creation. Employees engaged in their company’s purpose and values are less likely to look for a different job. And you can help them by facilitating a workshop on finding their own “Why.” Linking employees' passion to the organization's purpose is bound to increase engagement in the workplace.
Discussion topic for readers: As a project leader, we need to possess the leadership skills to drive our projects and teams. How does your “Why” fuel your work? Or if you haven’t explored your “Why,” how might knowing your why, and the why of your team members, impact your approach to the way you work?
When PMI staff moved to remote working on 12 March 2020, it quickly became apparent that the planned 30-day remote work arrangement would extend into the future, and it did. One of the areas experiencing opportunity and disruption was our professional development group, and namely, the Live Learning area that hosts in-person events. Having to postpone, cancel or reinvent the remaining year’s events was no small feat. A bright spot soon emerged: the creation of the Virtual Experience Series, or VES, featuring a fantastic line-up of talent, hosted by TV personality Tamron Hall. These speakers have relayed how the work that they do translates within the Project Economy.
PMI has a track-record of hosting virtual conferences around topics such as organizational agility, business analysis and talent & technology. In November, we took the business analysis program and invited two sports coaches to talk to the PMI community. I interviewed San Francisco 49ers coach Katie Sowers and tennis analyst Craig O’Shannessy to discuss how they use data and insights to improve the play and outcomes of their athletes. This Virtual Experience Series event is free to PMI members and can be located here https://www.pmi.org/virtual-experience-series/registration. Just register for the event to gain free access and up to 7.75 PDUs through 31 January 2021.
The Project Economy is one in which individuals have the right skills and mindsets to turn ideas into reality, no matter what type of initiative they are working on. It’s where organization decision-makers understand how to staff teams with the right skills to deliver value and drive strategic outcomes. In research conducted for the 2020 Pulse of the Profession report on “Tomorrow’s Teams Today,” project professionals rank collaborative leadership and empathy for the voice of the customer as the most essential skills for project teams.
Listening to Craig & Katie talk about their experiences, it’s evident they are more than just coaches or analysts — they are strategists. They take the whole of their experiences and break them down into increments in order to analyze performance. They are reimagining how games get played and athletes develop, and in a time where fans are not physically present and future events are uncertain. As PMI’s research shows, “fast and flexible is the name of the game for teams in The Project Economy.”
How do you view project management as a life skill? What is one day you have incorporated PM into your lifestyle? Have you applied a PM approach to a sport that you play and what have you learned from it?
If you are interested in learning more about Katie & Craig, here are two podcasts that provide a view into their stories: