Category - Project-manager-characteristics

08.12 20120

All You Need is Love

As the holiday season approaches, our thoughts often times become nobler than they are during the rest of the year, and we turn our hearts and minds to the celebration of love and respect for fellow man.  Milton Mayeroff defined love on a personal level as  “the selfless promotion of the growth of the other.”  Mayeroff stated that “when you are able to help others grow to become the best people they can be, you are being loving---and you, too, grow.”  Showing love is critical to finding happiness in our personal lives; however, surprisingly to some, love also has tremendous significance in a business environment. This concept of love and business is detailed in a book I read a while ago that had a huge impact on my thoughts about business interactions.  The book, called “Love is the Killer Appby Tim Sanders, defines love in business terms and directs us to take the spirit of love into our everyday work lives. Sanders definition of “bizlove” states that it is “the act of intelligently and sensibly sharing your intangibles with your bizpartners.”  “Bizlove” is about creating value for your business partners, where “the value of you inside a situation is greater than the value without you.” Sanders promotes that the “bizlove” intangibles most valuable to your “bizpartners” include knowledge, networks, and compassion.  Sanders’ first intangible involves learning to not only “value-add,” but more specifically to “knowledge-add.”  Sanders defines knowledge as everything that you have learned and continue to learn while you are doing your job and all you have taught yourself by reading every moment you can find the time.  Sanders further details that knowledge is every piece of relevant data and information that you can accumulate through observation, experience and conversation; however, he points out that knowledge is most easily obtained through books.  A person who continues learning is growing in value in the marketplace and maintaining his or her relevance in the work environment. Sanders’ second valuable intangible is networks.  A person’s network includes his or her entire web of relationships.  Sanders notes that even if we accumulate all of the knowledge in the world, if we have no one to share it with, then it is of no value.   Our knowledge is only valuable when it is shared with our networks.  According to Sanders, if you organize and leverage your relationships as a network, you will generate long-lasting value beyond bank accounts.  The Law of Network Effects states that the value of a network explodes with membership and that explosion exponentially grows as new members are added.  The people we know lead us to new opportunities. Sanders’ third and final intangible is compassion.  While knowledge and networks are built over time, compassion is immediately open to all because everyone can share with others how much we care about them.  According to Sanders,   “the ability to involve ourselves emotionally in the support of another person’s growth” demonstrates our humanity.  Compassion entails celebrating people’s accomplishments and/or showing sympathy for someone’s problems.  Information, both positive and negative, about people can spread very quickly in today’s business environment. Others perceptions of us as human beings determine our success because people have choices about who they work for and about who they buy services from.  Sanders remarks that it is not always important what people think of you, but it is important how people feel about you.  People long for compassion, and the tougher times are, the more important that it becomes to show your humanity.  As the world becomes more competitive, we compete for people’s emotions along with their business. At this time of year, it is important to remember to nurture the business relationships around us—coworkers, customers, and business partners. When we fail to nurture the relationships around us, we miss the opportunity to prosper and to find contentment and joy in our work environments.  Tim Sanders believes that the “kill-or-be-killed” mentality does not take us far into today’s business environment.  The better approach is to spread love by using every available moment to increase your knowledge, to connect with people and to spread love with intelligent enthusiasm and compassion.   As we move forward into a season of celebration, I recently was reminded how important it is to be passionate about the present, hopeful for the future and forgetful of the past. “Bizlove” demonstrates such emotions through sharing---knowledge, networks and compassion with those around us.  The business world of today rewards “smart, generous and kind” coworkers, customers and business partners.  

read more
08.08 20120

In Search of Merlin

In the legend of King Arthur, Camelot is a symbol of ideal governance. Behind great leaders, such as King Arthur, usually there is a person who helps them along the way with their difficulties and troubles.  Merlin, a magician and prophet, was such a person for Arthur.  Executives often wish that they had the assistance of a wizard like Merlin, capable of magically transforming their organizations into a Camelot, a place of high ideals, excitement, purpose and culture; however, attempting to establish Camelot and locating a modern-day Merlin are very difficult tasks. What does Camelot look like for a modern organization?  In his book The Project Success Method, Clint Padgett offers some characteristics of successful companies.  A successful company is an organization that is more agile than its competition.  The organization can develop and launch new products, technologies, systems and strategic programs more quickly than its competitors.  The organization can open new facilities, complete mergers and acquisitions, develop marketing plans, and stage special events faster than the competition. According to Padgett, in order to establish an organization with such characteristics, companies need to develop the knowledge, skills, tools, and systems that are required to manage projects successfully.  The organization must be sharply focused on quality, time and cost.  The ability to execute projects more effectively, faster, and at a lower cost will allow the organization to be more responsive to customers and give an organization a distinct competitive advantage in a fast-moving global economy. Finding a person with great skill and cleverness running project organizations can be challenging.  All organizations want a person to offer wisdom… and a little magic does not hurt… when times get tough.  How do we know the right candidate to choose?  The right choice can mean we have a place where people come together to celebrate prosperity of wisdom, wealth and happiness, and the wrong choice can lead to tragic consequences for the organization.  When it is time to hire the person to run a very important project for our organization, we need to separate reality from myth. Myth 1: My candidate has taken a project management software course and has learned all that is necessary to serve as a project manager.  Superficial knowledge of project management software does not provide in-depth knowledge of project management processes.  As Padgett states in his book, a fine musical instrument does not make a great musician, but rather, it enhances the skills. Myth 2: My candidate has a project management degree and/or certification that means that the candidate has all the skills necessary to manage projects in my organization.  Applied knowledge is different than theoretical knowledge.  Padgett points out that degrees and certifications are great achievements, but do not insure that a candidate will properly apply the techniques that have been taught. Myth 3: My candidate has 10 years experience managing projects and will be capable of managing mission critical projects for my organization.  Padgett asserts that project managers tend to overvalue past project experience.  As Vince Lombardi expressed, experience is only a great teacher if you have been learning the right lessons. Myth 4: My candidate has technical expertise and will be a great lead for my technical project.  Project management is 90% communication.  The project manager must be the bridge between the organization’s strategic objectives and the tactical implementation of the technical team.  Highly technical project managers may become overly involved in technical wars about the appropriate technology to implement; they must be able to still see the forest in spite of all the trees. The ideal candidate is a good mixture of all of these characteristics.  Ideally, the person has some background that allows them to speak the technical language of the team, while not actually doing the technical work on the project.  Ideally, the person has experience managing projects of a similar size and complexity with a track record of success on these projects.  Ideally, the candidate has formal project management training in the form of a certification and/or degree in project management that gives them a background in best practices and the tools and techniques to use for project success.  Ideally, the candidate has some experience with a project management software tool that will allow them to quickly come up to speed in communicating with the team.  A good mix of all of these characteristics helps to create good project communication and establish processes that can create magic in your organization.

read more