Project Management Central

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Topics: Leadership, Marketing and Sales, Strategy
How important do you find sales Skills in Project Management? Do you see a difference in influencing others vs. directing others?
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I truly believe that High Performing Organizations & Individuals are INFLUENCED based vs. Directional Based.

Sales and Influencing are extremely similar, if not the same. Leadership IS the ABILITY to influence individuals and organizations; and not simply anointed by an organization.

It takes courage to attain high performance and the proper kind of leadership:
1) Intellectual Courage
2) Emotional Courage
3) Physical Courage

Simply put - the human mind cannot distinguish between physical, intellectual or emotional fear. Fear and Danger are not the same thing - and to control fear is to accept it and do everything in your power to lower the responses.

What you show can and will inspire others - that has been my experience in managining teams projects and selling services.

What has your experience been?
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If influencing or directing is more suitable for the team depends on the team's maturity, but also on the complexity, and available project time - sometimes directing will just produce the required outcome in time. However, in complex environments directing will not facilitate team knowledge and dynamics. Moreover, also influencing stakeholders becomes more important the more unknown or volatile the environment is.
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In my experience, influence has always accomplished more good and create more successful projects than directing. Let me share a recent example: An executive told me a certain group of individuals was dysfunctional and had a reputation for not accomplishing tasks - he said "good luck, you are going to need it". We had a project and needed this team, we needed their skills and we needed them to function at a high level. In every interaction I had with that group, I found genuine opportunities to develop the team by consistently used wording that promoted the team and created camaraderie, by acknowledging any success and sharing it with leadership, by finding common interests and highlighting them, by encouraging them to grow and develop their skills and providing opportunities for learning. It wasn't long before this group really started performing. Now this group is noticed and excels. These were very simple techniques, every word was genuine and this was not hard to do - not expensive, not profound, but has gone a long way in developing this group of individuals. Coincidence? Maybe, but I think not. I believe our influence as project managers is real. We are leaders. Every day I learn from others what to be.....and what not to be. I choose to think about my influence and look for ways to make a positive difference.
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1 reply by William Washinski II
Dec 03, 2018 6:53 PM
William Washinski II
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I think that is right on -- communicated beautifully.
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Dec 03, 2018 6:43 PM
Replying to LORI WILSON
...
In my experience, influence has always accomplished more good and create more successful projects than directing. Let me share a recent example: An executive told me a certain group of individuals was dysfunctional and had a reputation for not accomplishing tasks - he said "good luck, you are going to need it". We had a project and needed this team, we needed their skills and we needed them to function at a high level. In every interaction I had with that group, I found genuine opportunities to develop the team by consistently used wording that promoted the team and created camaraderie, by acknowledging any success and sharing it with leadership, by finding common interests and highlighting them, by encouraging them to grow and develop their skills and providing opportunities for learning. It wasn't long before this group really started performing. Now this group is noticed and excels. These were very simple techniques, every word was genuine and this was not hard to do - not expensive, not profound, but has gone a long way in developing this group of individuals. Coincidence? Maybe, but I think not. I believe our influence as project managers is real. We are leaders. Every day I learn from others what to be.....and what not to be. I choose to think about my influence and look for ways to make a positive difference.
I think that is right on -- communicated beautifully.
Network:942



Influence is needed to lead people while directing is needed to manage people. Both are needed to coach and mentor people. As a PM you should be doing all of these things so I guess your ability to influence and direct people at the right time is important. Directing when you should be influencing and vice versa never turns out well.

You have better success selling anything by using influence.
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1 reply by William Washinski II
Dec 06, 2018 12:19 PM
William Washinski II
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In my experience- direction based only works so far. Maybe in basics but in grand scope, you’ll never be high performing team, organization, company etc by directing people.
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William good question, I believe it is very important specially if you are the one originating the business case you need to sell it to the stakeholders to get it implemented and you need to get all team members to buy in and support the quality of workmanship. so you are kinda like a salesperson but your sales here are intangible.
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Absolutely a difference b/t influencing and directing. The main being the ability to impress upon other individuals enough information to make quality decisions and/or the ability to garner the information to make those quality decisions without the need to 'tell' them. And like your analogy, in sales, you cannot simply tell the client to buy. The objective is to provide a story which is relatable and solves their need (or problem). So, there is a back and forth that needs to happen, a relationship building exercise to gain trust.
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1 reply by William Washinski II
Dec 06, 2018 12:15 PM
William Washinski II
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As in sales I knew there were 3 aspects to the brain:
1.Lizard (basic bodily functions like breathing, heartbeat)
2. NeoCortex - logic center (the strong belief system of your mind)
3. Limbic - where emotions are.

It’s that emotional center that is important to that person and their pain points. When you solve that, you bypass logic center because you helped solve their problem & motivated them. Hence you influenced them.

You get a lot further than being handed a job title and giving orders. That can bring opposite result.
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Not only sales skills are critical using a sales method is a must. I am saying this while I am too far to be a salesman but after working in presales area and being trained in sales methods I found them helping me a lot for example to perform elicitation. Methods I recommended to take a look are:
-Solution Selling or SPIN Selling
-Power Base Sellling
-LAMP (Large Account Management Process)
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My experience in sales was a very good one. If done correctly there is a professional process and approach to the work which really lends itself to project management. I treated each of my engagements in phases where I would try to help be an "assistant buyer" to the decision maker. Determining and helping the partner to see the value in a relationship moved the engagement from the prospect (initiation) to initial appointment (planning for the relationship) to the design of a solution (executing). Finally, I had to work with people on both sides of the relationship to ensure that we were still on track with the delivery timeline and scope (monitoring), and finally invoicing/demo/delivery (closing). I still incorporate elements of a sales process in my PM practices today whether that's internally to the organization or externally. You're always selling something as a PM--i.e. using influence to help people achieve their own objectives and that of the organization.
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Dec 04, 2018 7:56 AM
Replying to Andrew Craig
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Absolutely a difference b/t influencing and directing. The main being the ability to impress upon other individuals enough information to make quality decisions and/or the ability to garner the information to make those quality decisions without the need to 'tell' them. And like your analogy, in sales, you cannot simply tell the client to buy. The objective is to provide a story which is relatable and solves their need (or problem). So, there is a back and forth that needs to happen, a relationship building exercise to gain trust.
As in sales I knew there were 3 aspects to the brain:
1.Lizard (basic bodily functions like breathing, heartbeat)
2. NeoCortex - logic center (the strong belief system of your mind)
3. Limbic - where emotions are.

It’s that emotional center that is important to that person and their pain points. When you solve that, you bypass logic center because you helped solve their problem & motivated them. Hence you influenced them.

You get a lot further than being handed a job title and giving orders. That can bring opposite result.
Network:361



Dec 03, 2018 11:56 PM
Replying to Anton Oosthuizen
...
Influence is needed to lead people while directing is needed to manage people. Both are needed to coach and mentor people. As a PM you should be doing all of these things so I guess your ability to influence and direct people at the right time is important. Directing when you should be influencing and vice versa never turns out well.

You have better success selling anything by using influence.
In my experience- direction based only works so far. Maybe in basics but in grand scope, you’ll never be high performing team, organization, company etc by directing people.
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