An Influential Project Manager

Today, more than ever, a project manager needs to be an influencer. The purpose of this blog is to stimulate your journey towards greater influence. With influence, you can overcome the roadblocks thrown in your way, overcome opposition, align stakeholders and, enjoy your role even more. However, since I know you are busy, the posts here will be short (about a minute), thought provoking and also drive you towards action. Feel free to connect with me, ask me questions, and share what's good here.

About this Blog


Recent Posts

Gravitas: It's Not What You Do...

Opportunity management is an unusual but fruitful activity for project managers

Influencing strategies don't need to be complicated, but they need to be carefully constructed

Scenario planning for political uncertainty

Project Politics and Pattern Recognition

Gravitas: It's Not What You Do...

Categories: impact, influence, influence, power

Nor is it the way that you do it.

Gravitas is what you are, at the deepest level, when you know that you can handle whatever comes at you, with ease.

Many believe that you can paper over the cracks. Put on a serious looking face. Tough it out. Well, perhaps you can, but many will notice that you are not as confident as you are pretending. People may even be amused by your charade.

And, this is where things start to deteriorate. Unexplained levels of confidence are met with suspicion. If trust is what you want (and it is what you ought to be aiming for), and you are hiding your real lack of confidence, you could be heading for trouble.

On the other side, if you display your lack of confidence, what then? You may appear authentic for sure, but will people take the action you want them to take? Or, maybe they will just sit there wondering why you lack the confidence in what you are saying.

Yet gravitas is what is needed, if you are to get on, become recognised in a positive light, and join the senior group. A person who has arrived.

Solving this dilemma, developing this sense of presence and poise, it what I'll be exploring with those attending my webinar here next week: Gravitas: Making a Powerful Impact  (August 15th).

As is usual in my webinars, I'll be getting everyone involved, sharing their experiences in the world of project management, and ensuring that you walk away with some tangible benefit that can help you to improve the impact you create around you and your work. 

See you then!


Posted on: August 08, 2017 08:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (6)

Opportunity management is an unusual but fruitful activity for project managers

Risks and opportunities are both events that could affect your progress towards the goal you are focusing on. Risks hinder, and opportunities help. By considering both, you can potentially find new ways to link your agenda to others, or detach it from those that don't help — if you can.

  • What is happening elsewhere in your organisation that could give your project or goal a major boost?
  • What is the most exciting thing going down currently? What part does your work play in it, or could play?
  • How is your work connected to the big problems in the organisation? Does it need to be that way?
  • What are the powerful people doing? Why should they be more interested in what you are doing?
  • What opportunities should you be attaching too?
  • What risks should you be trying to avoid or mitigate?


Posted on: June 14, 2017 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Influencing strategies don't need to be complicated, but they need to be carefully constructed

Think about your strategy in terms of the key things you need to influence to achieve your goal. These may be stepping stones of influence — achieve this, and then achieve that. Alternatively, your strategy could be to influence many different things which are independent of each other — getting 8/10 teams backing your proposal may be enough to achieve your goal.

As you think it through, consider all other analysis you have been doing:

  • The organisational strategy and political environment.
  • How your project/goal fits with other projects and goals.
  • The political agendas of the most powerful people around you.
  • The scenarios that could unfold over the next 6-12 months.

Then, answer these two questions:

  1. What influence needs occur to achieve your goal?
  2. What other influence would help your progress?

Then develop simple headlines for the sub-goals you need to deliver.



Posted on: May 31, 2017 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (6)

Scenario planning for political uncertainty

Unless you understand what is going on at a political level around your project, you are unlikely to be totally effective at making things happen in any reasonable sized organisation.

Each organisation is full of powerful and ambitious people with agendas. If you invest time on a regular basis deepening your knowledge of the way people are pursuing their objectives, you will be able to increasingly develop the most successful strategy for what you are doing.

You will also be in an extremely good position to defend yourself proactively. It is not necessary (or even desirable) to become Machiavelli, but you do need to learn what is really going on.

  • What problems and challenges is your organisation facing?
  • What strategy is it adopting to meet these?
  • Who are the key players involved in this strategy?
  • How do their agendas match and mismatch?
  • What will change in the next six or twelve months?
  • How does all of this affect your project?


Posted on: May 17, 2017 04:04 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)

Project Politics and Pattern Recognition

Interesting conversation today with an investment banker.

He is highly analytical, data specialist, concerned with advising IPO potentials. His specialism is finding the patterns in the data and extracting commercial value for his clients.

When it comes to politics, he is mystified, he cannot see the patterns. He thinks it chaotic.

Yet, with politics, the patterns are there, but unless you recognise them, they will do you head in, and frustrate your execution. Once you see the patterns, things become much clearer. Still, you may not be able to do anything about it, but the insight makes it easier to cope.

In fact, pattern recognition is one of the advanced capabilities I work with on my courses to master the politics. For this investment banker, it is about turning his analytical eye from the patterns in the data to the patterns in the social interactions.

Can you recognise the patterns?


PS: Delighted to see that my webinar How to Manage Project Politics has been fixed and restored to the OnDemand library here at the PMI.

Posted on: May 05, 2017 10:19 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

"I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

- Voltaire