Projects and Teams
Excellent project managers are relationship builder both with the project team and the stakeholders. You need to continually build those skills and build trust.
Leadership is an art. As a project manager you need to become a better leader. You will not find that in any single book or class. You need to learn, study and practice. It helps you develop tools to better understand the difficult situations you face daily.
Since its original publication in 2000, Leadership and Self-Deception has become a word-of-mouth phenomenon. Its sales continue to increase year after year, and the book ’s popularity has gone global, with editions now available in over twenty languages.
Through a story everyone can relate to about a man facing challenges on the job and in his family, the authors expose the fascinating ways that we can blind ourselves to our true motivations and unwittingly sabotage the effectiveness of our own efforts to achieve success and increase happiness.
Do you need to persuade someone that your project is worth doing? Maybe you are the CEO and need to sell a new vision and the project to go with it.. If so, you need to Start With Why. Too often your first reaction is to start with what and that will not inspire people to meet your dream.
Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty?
Projects drive change and you need to get people to switch to that change to make your project successful. Switch is a great book on how to help make that happen.
Why is it so hard to make lasting changes in our companies, in our communities, and in our own lives?
Walking onto red projects, anyone can see and feel the problems. The bedraggled team wears the pain with their long faces and the slumped shoulders. Knuckle draggers. They are carrying the weight of the world, or at least the project, on their shoulders. How can any project succeed with these demoralized, denigrated, and defeated folks? Their spirits are far from lifted with new project manager's enthusiastic optimism. It only irritates a team wallowing in their misery. Nothing is worse than a chipper cheerleader when you are absorbed in troubles. It is an ugly situation.
Objectivity is paramount. Above all Recovery Managers need to be honest brokers. They must look at every situation (before they become issues) and determine a fair and equitable approach. Allegiance to any party on the project is certain failure. Why? Recovery Managers are mediators in a negotiation process. Only fair and objective treatment of the project team, suppliers and customer will allow the recovery manager to reach an acceptable recovery goal.
The other day while preparing for an interview with Fortune Magazine, a junior colleague asked, "When recovering a failing project, what are the role differences for various people in the organization?" Great question! I had never sat down and captured that aspect of project recovery. After all, failed projects are a hodgepodge of lost leaders, perplexed project managers, and trampled team members. Without defining everyone's roles early and continually refining those roles, you will struggle establishing calm in what is otherwise a very stressful situation.
I have always enjoyed being part of team building exercises. The one where you close your eyes and fall backwards hoping that your team members catch you is my favorite. It reminds me of an amusement park ride. There is always the thought in the back of my mind that some trickster will let my head crack on the floor. I think it adds more excitement. However, team building exercises only go so far and normally fail to reach their objective. They are too transient. The event happens, the manager checks off the list to show the task is done and he or she goes back to managing the team with status reports, task assignments by email and visiting people only when something goes wrong.