By: Tai Cochran
In the world of project management, where the ground shifts beneath you almost daily,
embodying change leadership is more than a nice-to-have—it's your survival kit. The key to
effectively navigating change often means embracing specific traits and behaviors that mobilize
your people to tackle challenges and thrive. Let's dive into three traits that every innovative
change leader should possess.
Our session will help project managers, sponsors, and executives identify and hone your skills
to lead innovative change initiatives. Embodying these traits and behaviors will make you an
innovative change leader and elevate your team and projects.
Trait 1: Don’t Be Afraid To Press Pause
No matter how big or small a project is, it's easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of deadlines
and deliverables. However, one of the most crucial traits of an effective change leader is the
ability to hit the “pause” button. Taking a step back allows you the space to reflect, assess, and
then proceed with a well-thought-out strategy. Whether it's a project hiccup or a team conflict,
sometimes slowing down to go fast is the most brilliant move you can make.
Imagine a project manager at a tech startup realizing that despite all team efforts, they were
continually missing deadlines. Imagine if, instead of pushing harder, she pressed pause and
assessed the root causes behind the missed deadlines. She might have learned the team was
stretched too thin across multiple projects. A brief halt and resource reallocation often improves
output and boosts team morale.
Trait 2: Engage The Right Early Adopters
The success of any change initiative often relies on how quickly it's adopted. Early adopters can
be your greatest allies, acting as catalysts to inspire others. Identifying and engaging these key
players can give a relatively low-risk early proof of concept.
Let’s consider a case like an organization-wide software migration. An innovative project
manager would choose early adopters from various departments, not just IT. Diversified
advocacy helps smooth the transition across different business functions, leading to better
Trait 3: Maintain Flexibility
Flexibility isn't about being wishy-washy; it's about being adaptable in the face of evolving
circumstances. The real trick lies in maintaining flexibility while still driving toward objectives.
Being rigid is like being brittle – you may break at the worst possible time. But what does it
mean to be truly flexible as a leader? It's not just about rolling with the punches; it's about
skillfully pivoting to find new ways to reach your objectives.
Start by identifying which trait or behavior you'd like to develop first. Practice makes perfect, and
in the case of project management, it could make the difference between project success and
failure. Remember, leading change is not about flipping a switch; it's a journey. Are you ready to
take the first step? If you want to learn more, join us at the PMI Global Summit 2023. We
present Friday, October 27th, at 1:00 p.m.