Category Archives for Leadership

8 Ways You Can Better Respond to Unrealistic Demands

This is a guest post from Colin Gautrey, an author, trainer and executive coach who has specialized in the field of power and influence for over ten years. He combines solid research with deep personal experience in corporate life to offer his audiences critical yet simple insights into how to achieve results with greater influence. He is the creator of the Stakeholder Influencing Masterclass

We’ve all been there. You get a call (or more likely an email) requesting that you do something immediately or within an impossibly short space of time. Alternatively, they may be asking for something that you simply do not have the resources to be able to deliver. Many times, these requests feel more like orders — people demanding that you do things without giving a thought to what else you have on your plate.

Responding to Unrealistic Demands

Courtesy of Adobe Stock

In these situations, it is all too easy to react emotionally — especially if the definition of “unrealistic” is stretched to the extreme. Your plans for the day are thrown off course, other people may be let down, and those people may be your loved ones. No surprise that you may feel angry or frustrated by the lack of consideration shown by the person making the demand.

If you’re struggling to respond to unrealistic demands:Continue reading

What Project Managers Need to Know About Stakeholder Management

Colin Gautrey

This is a guest post by Colin Gautrey from Learn to Influence. Colin is an author, trainer and executive coach who has specialized in the field of power and influence for over ten years. He combines solid research with deep personal experience in corporate life to offer his audiences critical yet simple insights into how to achieve results with greater influence.

In this article, my guest Colin Gautrey shares what you need to know about stakeholder management.

I first started out I worked for a branch of the intelligence services. Nothing terribly exciting, just a communications and IT specialist. Well okay, some of the time it was very exciting, but I can’t go into that.

Embedded in the culture was the concept of “need to know.” To minimize the risk that secrets would leak, you were only told things that were essential to perform your role. Nothing more, nothing less. For this to work, we all had to rely on someone at a more senior level making an accurate judgment about what we needed to know. Only they were allowed to see the bigger picture.

In fact, it was even a little risky asking questions lest suspicions were aroused. So generally people kept their heads down and did their job.

Why am I sharing this little snippet from my deep and distant past with you today?Continue reading

How to Be a Powerful Risk Management Evangelist

Mark Langley, President and CEO of the Project Management Institute (PMI), penned a great article entitled Using Project Management to Reduce Risk. While the article was written for Chief Financial Officers (CFOs), it’s a message that all leaders should read. Indeed, “high-performing companies manage risk in conjunction with projects and programs far more often than low performers do.”

How to Be a Powerful Risk Management Evangelist

Image courtesy of AdobeStock (edited in Canva)

If this is true, how can we help organizations adopt risk management?

Mr. Langley encourages us to play the role of both champion and sponsor of risk management. Why? The lack of senior management support is one of the primary barriers to effective organizational risk management. I believe it is also the primary barrier to effective project risk management.

Can project managers influence senior leaders to adopt risk management and reduce the barrier to risk management? Yes. Allow me to share seven ways:Continue reading

How to Be Smart in a Project with a Slack Team Member

Have you ever had problem team members? These individuals hide missed deadlines, possess bad attitudes, and criticize other team members. They seldom volunteer to help other team members or jump in to pick up the slack.

How to deal with a slack team member

Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock (edited in Canva)

[callout]Bonus: Keep an eye out for the FREE bonus at the end of this article.[/callout]

Project managers are more than managers – they are leaders. Team members watch project managers to see how they respond to problems. A project manager’s failure to confront and resolve poor attitudes, behavior, and actions can be costly on many levels.

“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.” -Babe RuthContinue reading

10 Things Successful Project Managers Never Tolerate

Project managers are not just managers. They’re leaders. Project managers shape and influence their project culture for good or bad.

Tolerance can be a great trait. However, project managers must be deliberate in what we will tolerate and what we will not tolerate. Project managers must refuse to tolerate things that cause disorder, degradation, and uncertainty.

picture of Harry Hall

As leaders, we must first walk the talk. Before addressing the intolerable things of others, let’s first make sure we’re living up to that standard…lead with integrity. Here are a few things that I find intolerable in myself and my projects.Continue reading

Project Leadership Matters

Every month or so, I like to provide you with a digest of featured articles on a particular topic. LEADERSHIP is this month’s topic.

Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Think you’re not a leader because you are not in senior management? Think again. Leaders are individuals who influence others, no matter where they are in an organization.

“Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” John C. Maxwell

How does leadership fit in the world of projects? The focus of project management is helping an organization achieve its project objectives. Leaders define and cast the vision, whether at an enterprise level, department level, or project team level. Leaders then support their teams to make the vision a reality.

Featured Articles

Question: What three words would you use to describe project leadership? 

[callout]My favorite leadership podcasts include Michael Hyatt’s This Is Your Life and Andy Stanley’s podcast.[/callout]

8 Things Great Project Managers Say Every Day

Stop and consider the words you’ve spoken recently to your project teams. How would you characterize them? Are you speaking words that bring clarity, courage, and confidence to your teams? Are you asking the right questions to keep your team focused?

Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com (edited in Canva)

Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com (edited in Canva)

Never forget – you are working with human beings who need clarity and who have emotional needs. Your words matter. Before meeting one-on-one with team members or as a team, THINK about your words. Consistently use the phrases and questions below:Continue reading

What’s Your Favorite Project Management Book?

Project managers have the opportunity to learn from the best. Reading books is like sitting down with an author, having a cup of coffee, and listening to their distilled insights.

Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com (edited in Canva)

Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com (edited in Canva)

What have you been reading lately? If you are preparing for the Project Management Professional (PMP) exam, you’ve likely spent a lot of time in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). That’s great, but project managers today need more than technical knowledge.

The ideal skill set – the Talent Triangle – is a combination of technical, leadership and strategic and business management expertise. The list of books below provides resources for the different aspects of the Talent Triangle.Continue reading

The Curse of Project Management Knowledge

Can I be painfully honest with you for a minute?

What I am about to say may not feel good. In fact, I am certain that you will NOT enjoy it.

Photo courtesy of iStock.com.

Photo courtesy of iStock.com.

I have been hoping someone else would do the dirty work. But no one has stepped forward (at least that I know of).

You know how you’ve been struggling with your projects? Are you tired feeling like you live on another planet, and no one understands you.

Well, it’s not because you aren’t trying. It’s not because you don’t follow the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). After all, you have your Project Management Professional (PMP) credential. You are a cut above the rest in your knowledge of project management.

So here it is.

Continue reading

40 Reasons PMOs Fail

I’ve been managing projects and programs for more than 15 years. I’ve seen a little bit of everything. I’ve also had the joy and the pain of implementing two Project Management Offices (PMOs), one in an Information Technology Department and one Enterprise PMO.

Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com (edited in Canva)

Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com (edited in Canva)

Through the years, I’ve noted many reasons that PMOs fail or struggle. It’s rarely just one thing; it’s usually a combination of things. Here is a list of causal factors. I hope the list helps you find success.

  1. No project sponsor or project charter for the implementation of the PMO
  2. Failure to define the “P” in PMO (Project Management Office or Program Management Office)
  3. Failure to place the PMO at the right level of the organization (e.g., Enterprise PMO, IT PMO) based on the real problems of the organization
  4. Inability of the PMO to deal with institutional politics
  5. Passive-aggressive behavior of stakeholders
  6. Communicating to all the stakeholders in the same manner with the same level of detail
  7. Staffing of the PMO with technical project managers that lack leadership and strategic and business management skills
  8. The PMO requires that ALL project managers to adopt templates, forms, and strict methods
  9. The organization only wants window dressing rather than real change
  10. Showy Batman heroics of the PMO rather than day-to-day servant leadership
  11. Changes in executive leadership (out goes the individual who supported the PMO and in comes a person who does not favor PMOs)
  12. The lack of project management maturity of its business leaders
  13. The lack of in-depth project management experience in the PMO
  14. The lack of collaboration between the PMO and its stakeholders
  15. The lack of rewards and recognition when good things happen
  16. The lack of project management training
  17. The lack of business analysis skills in the PMO
  18. The lack of periodic assessments of the PMO
  19. The clashing of beliefs in traditional and agile life cycles
  20. Functional managers want complete control of the organizational projects that impact them
  21. Jealousy
  22. Power struggles
  23. The tendency of the organization to regress to bad behavior
  24. Embarking on large, complex programs immediately after or during the implementation of the PMO
  25. The unwillingness of senior management to make the investment of time to improve the project culture over the long haul
  26. The PMO lacks an understanding the organization’s problems
  27. Poor definition of the PMO success criteria
  28. The PMO doesn’t understand the organization’s culture
  29. The PMO doesn’t understand the stakeholder’s needs and expectations
  30. Not implementing the right type of PMO/degree of control (e.g., supportive/low control, controlling/moderate control, directive/high control)
  31. Thinking that PMOs can only bring value for mammoth programs
  32. The PMO is bureaucratic
  33. Failure to highlight early successes
  34. The PMO loses wind after the initial gains
  35. The PMO is seen as the process police/box checkers
  36. Too many meetings with too little to show
  37. The PMO lacks an understanding of the organization’s strategic plan and fails to align itself with the strategy
  38. Thinking that what worked at one company will work at another company
  39. Individuals craving the desire for former positions or status before the implementation of the PMO
  40. Expecting huge results in a short period of time

Homework

Are you planning to implement a PMO? Take the time to review this list; use it as a checklist in your planning and implementation. If you’ve already implemented a PMO, review the list to see where you might need to make some changes in your approach. I would love to hear about your success and pain points. Best wishes!

Question: What would you add to this list?