Posts Tagged ‘board’

Introduction

Introduction 

The title of project manager (PM) is used to mean different things in different companies.  Fortunately there is a standards body called the Project Management Institute which provides excellent guidance around the role and function of a project manager.  

Some will disagree, but I don’t care if your project manager is PMI certified or not.  You need to care about having a project manager with the skill to carry out the role as the Institute defines it.  It’s your change management strategy, and it’s your reputation on the line. 

Finding a Project Manager 

Do you need a certified Project Management Professional (PMP)?  As I said above, I don’t care.  There are newly certified PMP’s who have taken their tests and gotten the certification, but they may not be battle tested.  There are veteran project managers who never got the fancy title, but they know how to manage projects.  And there is everything in between.  The track record is what you need to care about. 

Do you have a strong PM on your team now?  Is that person well respected, perhaps a key opinion leader in your organization?  Do they treat project management as a profession?  Then by all means use them.   

If, on the other hand, project manager has been a title used by junior, untrained people who walk around with a task list and a clip board, it’s time to bring on stronger talent. 

Your fastest route to a proven project manager will be a contract hire, either from a reputable firm or an independent.  There are many good ones out there.  Get and check references, and interview at least three.  Let your key opinion leaders and managers interview them as well.  Look for their track record and for good chemistry. 

Set the Project Manager Up for Success 

Simply put, everyone needs to understand that the project manager is your alter ego.  Everyone includes you. 

Your managers and project leaders must understand that they are accountable to the PM for providing all of their tasks, their dependencies on other tasks and other work units, their schedule commitments, and their resource requirements. 

They need to understand that the PM will review all of their information and look for problems.  These could include missed tasks, schedule inconsistencies, resource overloads, etc.  Often managers will tell the PM that they can handle some of these problems, by working people longer hours or by overlapping some tasks “by a day or two”.  A good project manager is going to challenge such claims, and you’ll need to stand behind the PM. 

The PM is going to hold everyone accountable for milestone deliverables.  In most projects, especially those that are complex, milestones are missed and contingency plans must be activated.  Again, you as the leader need to support the PM as they hold people accountable. 

Handling Conflicts 

It’s entirely possible that the PM will have conflicts with managers, team leads or others in the organization.  Make it safe for people to discuss and bring up such conflicts.  Just because the PM is your alter ego doesn’t make them right — any more than you are always right.  

Engage your key opinion leaders along with the project manager and others.  Find out the facts contributing to the conflict, and make the decisions necessary to get the change management strategy back on track. 

Change management strategies that fail often do so because of poor project management.  Don’t let that happen to you.

Do you ever panic or experience sleepless night thinking about the down economy

Do you ever panic or experience sleepless night thinking about the down economy?  Sure, economy depressions kill a lot of business.  One day you feel that you are on top of the world and some other times you’re so afraid to lose it all.  This new depression that we are in right now took a lot of people by surprise.  A lot of people are out of money, jobs, focus left with a shock not knowing what to do or think. 

Looking at this depression the people who are not in business were not focus.  We need to keep in mind that we must never ever let our guard down not even for one second.  Let me explain, we as humans we find a niche that we are good at, we are so good at that niche that anything we do for that niche it turns to gold.  We win every argument, make the most money or come on top first.  After this we start believing that we are the best in this area, we tend not to care, doing everything sloppy and even stop working so hard.  We place are guard down.

Remember we are in the big leagues, and we sometimes lose focus when we are on top of our game.  This is hard to believe but at this time we need to be the most focus.  If you want to be the person who touches everything and turns to gold, is amazing at their specific niche, and the one that come always on top.  You must grab your thoughts together and concentrate on one thing and FOCUS.  Focus, on the reason why you went on business in the first place.  Find that positive mind set of yours and focus on better times in the future.  Take all the negative thoughts in your mind, place them on an imaginary white board and erase them from your thought process. 

Stop everything you’re doing in this second and listen.  When you feel good you do good!  Get into a state of focus and take deep breaths over and over pushing every air of your lung out and replacing them with clean air.  Then clear your mind and think about a moment of your life that filled you with Positive, Electrifying, Tremendous Positive Emotions.  A moment that could be your wedding day, you got a promotion at work; you solved a big problem at work that no one else could.  Think about that moment RIGHT NOW and see how that feels.  It gives me chills just thinking about it!  I bet your could walk thru any problem right now and nothing is going to stop your emotions and good feelings.  This is how you get in a state of focus and all the energy is transformed into your mind, body and soul.

Keep this great exercise and use it every day of your life.  I was told something one day “Tough times don’t last, but tough people do”.  Transformed your problems in to positive thoughts and concentrate on new horizons and no matter what you do right now, know that your mind set is more powerful, stronger and electrifying and you are ready to handle bigger and tougher challenges.  Nothing can stop you!

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Good leaders make people feel that they’re at the very heart of things, not at the periphery

“Good leaders make people feel that they’re at the very heart of things, not at the periphery. Everyone feels that he or she makes a difference to the success of the organization. When that happens people feel centered and that gives their work meaning.” – Warren Bennis

Whether you are a high powered executive, manager, entrepreneur, or president of a volunteer organization, your success will be defined by two things: 1) Letting people know they matter and 2) Setting clear expectations for them to follow. If you don’t have both of these 2 principles in place before your employees/volunteers start a project, I can guarantee you that you’ll soon hit a brick wail called “Lack of Communication.”

A lot of executives automatically ‘assume’ that their department heads or higher managers automatically know everything they need to know to carry out instructions without actually telling them what needs to be done. Well, we all know the outcome of how things will be if we use that lovely word ‘assume’, don’t we? Somebody is going to end up with egg on their face because a ball got dropped somewhere along the line!

You, as the person in charge, know what you want, but it’s up to you to clearly define your expectations to your team right from day one. The outcome may be crystal clear in your mind, but if not translated into clearly defined steps and written on paper, your message may be as muddy as the good ol’ Mississippi!

If you want to enroll others in your vision and get maximum participation, you have to write out the context of the steps for others to follow. There’s a reason why we call this a ‘clarity’ statement – it not only defines your desires, it also opens the door to another important step called ‘communication’.

Here are some steps that will help you ensure the teamwork, productivity, and positive end results you need to create success in your business.

1. You have to get real clear about where you’re going and what you want the final outcome to be before you ever present it to your team. If you’re not sure about where you are going, do you think they are going to follow you? I don’t think so Alice! Get the “W’s” down pat beforehand – Who will do what, when, and where and how it will all come together at the end.

2. Meet with your team to discuss your proposed new plan and tell them how it is going to work. Have a detailed agenda in place so as not to waste your time or theirs. Scheduling meetings with your key players creates a synergy and allows them to freely offer ideas and possibilities that you might very well not have thought of in your original concept. (There’s that word ‘communication’ explained.)

3. Be sure to set clear guidelines for who is responsible for doing what and when you expect it to be finished. Make sure that team members are clear about their roles so you won’t hear “I thought Mary was taking care of that!” when something doesn’t get finished.

4. Be sure you have a verbal commitment from your team that they’re on board for the project. Schedule follow-up meetings and weekly check-ins to keep the project on deadline. And speaking of deadlines, be specific about the date you expect to have everything completed by.

5. Lastly, offer your support and then get out of the way and let them do their stuff. No one likes to be micro-managed or feel as if their leader is breathing down their neck all the time! Words of encouragement go a long way to fostering good personal relations and they go down a heck of a lot easier than words of condemnation do. Remember, success is building relationships, not tearing them down.

All of the great leaders of our time had a clearly defined plan. In addition, they had an innate ability to communicate that plan to others in order to receive the results they desired. It just makes good business sense that you, as the leader, do the same.

Two recent occurrences – a trip to australia and my husband’s second knee replacement – have turned my thoughts lately from leadership to management

Two recent occurrences – a trip to Australia and my husband’s second knee replacement – have turned my thoughts lately from leadership to management.

I shake my head when I read the endless debates on discussion boards about leadership vs management.  They seem very convoluted and confusing and there always seems to be more questions than answers.   Here at the farm we have always had a pretty clear picture of management and leadership.

I handle most of the leadership responsibilities with the horses:  training, teaching solving behavioural issues etc.   My husband manages the herd’s day-to-day needs.   We don’t see our roles as mutually exclusive and we can easily step in for each other if need be.

I have to confess that I have always considered leadership of the herd to be more important than management.   Good leadership and training provides a safe learning environment for our clients and to me that is a top priority.   While daily care of the horses is obviously also important I am sorry to say that I have always considered it a secondary task.

I was very surprised when we came back from two weeks in Australia to a herd that was very unsettled and a little anxious.  I had left the horses in good hands with my son and some of my staff.  All of them know my horses and have worked with them for some time.  No one had taken care of them on a daily basis though, so I  knew things would be a bit different while we were away.   I expected there would be some minor slip-ups but I didn’t think it would be a big deal.  My horses obviously thought otherwise.

Three days after we returned my husband had knee surgery so I moved into (herd) management full time.  The first thing I noticed in my new position was that I had no time for my own job. It seemed as though there were hundreds of small details to be taken care of every day.    Anyone who uses the phrase “don’t sweat the small stuff” has never worked in management!

I found myself creating routines and systems to make the job more efficient.  In creating these systems I had to take into account the preferences, the needs and the idiosyncrasies of   the individual herd members while considering how to support the herd as a whole.   It was quite challenging balancing efficiency with empathy.

I will be glad to relinquish my position as herd manager as soon as my husband is back on his feet again.  I will go back to my job however with a new understanding and respect for the many skills required in his job.  I have learned that a team depends on top quality management for their emotional (and sometimes physical) well-being.   More importantly I now understand how much I depend on that same  quality management  to support my leadership.

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