Being a Project Manager is a little more involved than creating a project plan and asking for status. You have to understand your project and all its working pieces. I see a lot of project managers whose eyes glaze over when one of their team members explains their issues. Stop daydreaming about getting back in your MS Project plan and updating your tasks and LISTEN! In a conversation, when you are not talking, you should be listening. You shouldn’t be thinking about the next thing to say or going to your happy place. You have two ears and one mouth for a reason. If the only time you talk to your team is when you’re asking for status, they will treat you like you treated your younger brother in high school. They will talk to you enough to shut you up and that is all. They won’t talk about how things are going, what’s keeping them up at night, or risks that may rear their head in six months.
https://thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/logo.png00Mike Figliuolohttps://thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/logo.pngMike Figliuolo2009-03-18 12:16:002018-06-21 16:16:01Project Manager Doesn’t Mean Status Monkey
Things don’t always go perfectly. Sometimes they’re downright messed up. A differentiator of a leader is how they react during those crises. It’s easy to lead when things go according to plan but what do you do when it gets messy? Recognize that people will mess up (either like the guy I’ll affectionately refer to as Donnie the Mustard Man on the left or me when I got my tank stuck in the mud). Your reactions in that moment define you as a leader. So when in the middle of the lunch hour one of your key associates splatters mustard all over the place and customers are piling up at the register, what do you do? You can yell at Mustard Man. You can ignore Mustard Man. Or you can lead (both during the incident and thereafter). How can you lead through such a colossal mustard crisis, you ask? Good question. The three P’s… Offer Perspective In a crisis, people have a tendency to get pessimistic and view the situation as much worse than it actually is. As a leader, take a step back, have everyone catch their breath, and offer as factual an assessment of the situation as you can. “Hey folks… looks like Donnie dropped the mustard and spilled some pickles all over the floor. Nobody is hurt. We have some customers at the register who need help too.” See? Not as bad as it looks (despite the look on Donnie’s face).
I’m pleased to bring you another new voice: Ken Jacobs is our guest blogger today. Here’s Ken: Our economic environment has certainly changed – and not for the better – since I wrote the article “From Manager to Leader” which appeared in PRSA’s The Public Relations Strategist. In that article, I discussed nine action steps that effective leaders must employ: 1. Articulate the Values 2. Create a Vision 3. Build Trust 4. Provide Inspiration 5. Act Courageously 6. Share the Credit 7. Establish Empathy and Listen 8. Be Open and 9. Empower Your Followers I’ve been thinking a lot about which of these attributes is the most important for leaders to employ to get our organizations through this challenging economic environment. I believe it’s #5: Act Courageously.
There’s nothing more valuable than your network. It leads to sales, new partnerships, friendships, and career opportunities. For your network to be useful, however, you have to actively maintain it. There are plenty of expensive ways to do so (like buying a CRM system from a vendor who promises to double your sales) as well as manually intensive ways (like keeping stacks of business cards in your wallet so it resembles George Costanza’s on that episode of Seinfeld). Me? I like traveling light but I have a large network of clients, friends, partners, and contacts to keep up with. If I let my wallet get too fat with business cards, my sciatic nerve gets pinched and I’m laid up in bed for days. Fortunately I’ve found a solution. For your network to be useful, it has to be current, categorized, and connected (Wow! I’m using alliteration first thing on a Monday morning. My 12th grade English teacher Mrs. Morgan would be proud). Sorry. Enough rambling. On to how you can maintain your network and keep it healthy.
If you’ve read this blog for more than a week, you’ve probably figured out I’m usually jacked up and hyper-caffeinated. As Texas Ranger says in Talladega Nights “I’m all jacked up on Mountain Dew!” While it makes me more productive, it’s also a key to networking success. In my case it’s not Mountain Dew though – it’s coffee so I guess I’d have to say “I’m all jacked up on Caribou!” People sometimes overcomplicate networking or view it as something mysterious. It’s not. The best kind of networking is simple and personal. I won’t go into the value of networking (aside from pointing out the best business and career opportunities come from having a strong network). Instead, I’m going to elaborate on three simple networking tactics that can help you advance your business or career agenda. These ideas aren’t new. They’re not revolutionary. I’m going to ask you one question though: when is the last time you did these things? If the answer is “it’s been a while” then get cracking.
Ever been in one of those situations where chaos springs forth and in the swirl of madness you look at everyone else’s face and see that blank look? That frozen look of “what do we do now?” Those situations get really unnerving when one of those clueless faces belongs to your supposed leader. Choices in moments like that are limited. It could be a project imploding, a meeting running off the rails, or a client deal exploding in your face. Normally we look to our leaders for direction in those moments. Unfortunately, they’re not always capable of leading us through those situations (and if you need confirmation of that, see the poll about how your skills compare to your boss’ at the bottom of this page). What then? What happens when it’s the “leader” who is freaking out? Your choices are pretty limited. You can either stand there frozen just like the rest of the team or you can act. Let’s discuss the latter – meet the situational leader. Many of you are probably too young to remember when Reagan was shot and Al Haig proclaimed “I am in control here.” The swirl of chaos of an assassination attempt had everyone scurrying. Haig tried to assuage concerns on the part of the public and the press by asserting “I am in control here.” Unfortunately his words were seen as overstepping his bounds and did little to calm those around him. Why? Why did Haig look like a buffoon in this situation? Probably because leaders are about action, not words. Perhaps had he spent more time driving tasks and organizing the government rather than asserting his position to the press, Haig would have been seen as a leader in the crisis. So when chaos strikes your team, how do you avoid […]
https://thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/logo.png00Mike Figliuolohttps://thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/logo.pngMike Figliuolo2009-02-23 06:04:002018-12-21 14:15:30Who put YOU in charge? You, of course!
That’s right – customer service is contagious like the common cold. It can spread faster than pink eye at a day care center. Improved customer service comes from spreading a passion for interactions with our customers. And in today’s hypercompetitive world, customer service can be a true point of competitive advantage (Mike writes about that point constantly). So how do you make service contagious? I didn’t catch it until I was 16. I was working in a real honest to goodness Mom & Pop store. Murray Logan and his wife Del were the founders of Logan & Sons, a small grocery store specializing in high quality meats and produce and delivering great customer service. If you are involved in managing customer service you know it gets infinitely more difficult to treat the customer the way they want to be treated when you add employees to your business model. When it’s your store and you are the workforce you don’t have to worry that the customers will get treated well. But from the moment you add your first employee, your work gets much more complicated. Now you have to define excellence, teach it, observe it and re-teach it constantly. How did the Logans do it? Simple.
I read a great article in Fortune a while back. Joanna Shields of Bebo.com quoted her dad: “Your career is long and the business world is small. Always act with integrity. Never take the last dollar off the table.” Fantastic advice. Unfortunately many of us never heed it. We get wrapped up in near term numbers, performance bonuses, and, yeah, I’m gonna say it, greed. In economic times like the present, these pressures are amplified. Many folks look at business as a competition. In many cases it is (duh, hence the term “competitors”). Sadly we sometimes extend the definition of competitor to include anyone sitting across the table from us. Quite often, that person across the table is supposed to be our partner but we engage in completely dysfunctional competitive or territorial behaviors. Then bad things happen. What kinds of bad things? You know I’m going to tell you. Shields’ father continues: “You can always do a slightly better deal, but that incremental dollar or windfall is not worth creating an imbalance that affects the relationship. You have to have the intuition to know when to say, ‘I’m going to make sure that we walk away feeling like we’ve both done well.’”
https://thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/logo.png00Mike Figliuolohttps://thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/logo.pngMike Figliuolo2009-02-16 06:03:002018-12-21 14:15:07Take A Dollar Today, Lose Ten Tomorrow - Negotiating 101