We are social beings. So why is it so painful to collaborate in real life? Why does collaboration look so great in theory—and hurt so much in practice? How conflict is handled has a great deal to do with how groups do and don’t work.
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When a project team’s innovative solution to achieve its time-compressed goals was rejected by the sponsor, widespread resentment followed, a good project manager resigned, and the initiative faltered. Whether or not the idea would have worked, when leaders routinely stifle creativity the consequences can be dire and far-reaching.
Technology has brought tremendous advances in how we manage our projects, but in some areas it can hinder us. One area is communication, which has become increasingly a virtual activity. In pursuit of ease and volume, the quality of interactions is devalued, putting projects at greater risk.
Rigidity, late-blooming requirements conflicts, triangular relationships and simple geography conspired to deliver half of what a major technology project promised. On this effort, it seemed, you could change everything but the way the team worked.
Working closely with Bell Canada business units to deliver a complete communication network at the 2010 Winter Olympics, project manager Richard Brodowski established an “enabling, not inhibiting” approach that allowed his team to quickly learn from mistakes and make decision at the ground level, continuously moving the project forward.
Olympic-sized projects mean more potential communication problems with stakeholders who control workers in your project. Adopting a combination of routine and targeted tactics can keep the project humming.
We need individuals to have their own mind so that the team has the advantage of diverse thought. It takes tremendous patience to give individuals the room and time to contribute in their way--and persistence to continuously bring the team back together for what matters.
In our concluding installment, we look at the importance of understanding your existing organizational culture.
Establishing productive working relationships with your project team is as critical as building the plan, managing risk or reporting to stakeholders. It requires accessibility, adaptability and authenticity. Here are seven principles that can help you help your team members maximize their individual and collective value.
To overcome the conflict and distrust that often arises on cross-functional initiatives, project leaders should schedule one-on-one conversations with individual team members to understand their goals, concerns and solutions as they relate to the project objectives.