5 posts categorized "Leadership"


Experts: A Non-Technology Tool

IStock_000000548970_web I often times talk about project tools in the context of technology tools, such as project management software.  However, there are many tools that we can use that are not technical in nature (for example, see my last post on "The Detective's Notebook").  Another tool that we can and should utilize is an expert.

Elizabeth Harrin writes a blog called "A Girl's Guide to Project Management".  I just read her recent post on "Use your experts", in which Elizabeth suggests that we should use the experts that are around us.

It can be tempting, especially if you are "experienced", to believe that you are the expert on everything and simply have a knack for knowing everything.  I find that this generally happens before some humiliating event that proves that I am most certainly not the expert I thought that I was.  You know, "pride comes before a fall." 

The best project managers, and I would even say the best leaders, are not the most knowledgeable experts.  But they are really good at knowing they do not know something, not assuming they have all the answers, finding the right expert who does have the right answers, asking the right questions, placing the right people around them, and making sure they have the right information at all times to make good decisions.  They have a "knack" for getting things done, which really means that they can find out what the current situation is, and gather the right information to determine what needs to be done and how.

So...what experts are around you that you can utilize?  If there are no experts around you, first look again because more likely than not they are there and you just don't realize it.  Then expand on that to find and develop a connection with experts that you need to supplement your own expertise.

If you don't need any experts, good luck and watch out!


5 Principles For Project Teams To Work Better

I recently wrote a white paper on 5 Principles For Project Teams To Work Better.  One of the principles deals with automation so it is applicable to this blog on the implementation of project management software tools.  You can download the white paper at the URL below.  I would appreciate any thoughts or comments that you had!  You can comment or email blog@teaminteractions.com.

White Paper: 5 Principles For Project Teams To Work Better



Leadership vs. Positional Authority in Project Management

"Everything rises and falls with leadership", according to John Maxwell.  Does this include our projects?  Of course it does.  I would say it is especially important in project management.  Why?  Because project managers often do not have positional authority.  In other words, they are tasked with managing a project without a "position" that actually has authority over the people working on the project.  And yet it is vital that the people working on our projects follow us.  Say again??

What's the answer?  Leadership.  Leadership does not require a position.  It simply requires that you lead well and that people are following you.  If someone is not following you, you are not leading.

Here are some interesting points that John Maxwell made at the leadercast event I attended last week:

1.  When you lead because of your position, people will follow you only because they have to.  Even if you do have the right "position", you want to go beyond this...way beyond this.  Project managers rarely get this authoritative position anyway.

2.  When you develop relationships with people, they will follow you because they want to.  Sincerely building relationships with people, in my experience, is one of the best ways to begin to develop good leadership with your team.

3.  If you are achieving results and being productive, people will follow you for what you have done.  If you, as a project manager, are achieving things and helping the team win, people will follow you.

This is just barely scratching the surface.

When all is said and done, your position and level of authority in an organization does not matter.  What matters is your level of leadership.  Are you leading in a way that people will follow you?  Are you developing your leadership skills?  This is how you gain influence with those in your project organization.




I attended the Chick-Fil-A Leadercast last week.  It was a great time to indulge in the topic of leadership in our lives and our organizations.  Although this is a project "tools" blog, if you will permit me I will share something I gleaned from the event.

Frans Johansson spoke on the topic of innovation.  Innovation is tremendously important in today's organizations.  We must innovate or we fall behind.  It doesn't matter what our situation - whether we are responsible for developing products for external customers, or whether we are behind the scenes serving our "internal customers."  Even personally, we must continue to pursue innovative ideas and try innovative things.

One key point that Frans made was that many innovations are not brilliant ideas, but simply the result of trying more ideas. Why?  Because we are horrible at predicting which ideas will work.  People kept trying ideas until they found one that worked.  They didn't give up.  They persevered.  They didn't let failure stop them.  Examples abound of this tenacity, including Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, and many others.

It is easy for us to sit and be comfortable with the way things are in our project organizations.  Let me encourage you to pursue ideas.  Pursue ideas that can take you to new places as an organization, as a department, as a person.  And don't give up.  Make it a lifelong pursuit of pursuing new ideas.  And see what happens.



Are You Insane?

What is insanity?  What does that have to do with project management software tools?  According to dictionary.com, one of the definitions of insanity is "extreme folly; senselessness; foolhardiness."  A definition that I like better is "doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."  This has been misattributed to Benjamin Franklin, and it seems like no one knows exactly who said it.

Don't we do that - doing the same thing over and over?  What are you doing over and over and expecting a different result?  Or what new result do you need to achieve - and thus what do you need to do differently to achieve it?

Are you using the same old tools for project management and still fighting fires due to late or a lack of information?  Are there processes that are broken?

What can you change today to achieve a different result?



The EnterPlicity Project Tools blog covers all areas of effectively tracking, managing, and using your enterprise project data.


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