Week 3: The PM As "Linchpin" - What Does It Mean? What Does It Take?
Homework announcement for this week:
Important: By Wednesday, please listen to this short clip, produced by INSEAD, a globally respected, international Business School, about working on diverse and/or global teams. (One of my former PM students is now based in London! While you might not move far away, you will likely work with team members of many cultures).
Don't let the cultural backgrounds of others, and any lack of understanding on your part, become an obstacle in moving a project forward. Note similarities between managing international teams, and what we have covered already in this class in terms of working with local (in our case, student) teams.
Finally, sometime this week, be sure to read this article about the most underrated technique in management - project or otherwise. This article aligns with an earlier lesson in this course, about the tendency to work too quickly on implementation, before one has a firm grasp of a project's purpose - and strong knowledge of the people involved.
This week we continue to examine the attributes of effective project managers. NOTE: FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO FEEL STRESS IN DECISION MAKING, OR RISK TAKING, I POSTED A HELPFUL MATRIX AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE.
One of the best things about PM is that, once trained, it is possible to bring those skills most anywhere you care to. You can even be a PM instructor. I've had project opportunities well outside my official domain (biotech/pharma) - in banking, publishing, university, research, journal production for SAGE, etc.
Monday we'll do a challenging role play designed to look at a common pitfall of even the most effective leaders. We'll cover typical blind spots and how to avoid them, sharpening our ability to be "leaders without formal authority" as most PMs are.
We'll look at a few specific ways that global companies train managers to aid teams to deliver high-stakes projects.
Hopefully we will have greater understanding of how to use team members of all capacities and gifts to their greatest advantage; in the process, we may come to appreciate our own. The less valued individuals feel, the less they are inclined to push the boundaries of their capacities...and projects suffer.
A POV Exercise: HermannGrid.pptx (46822) - think about optical illusions. People tend to see what isn't there, and they certainly have their own interpretations. Clarity is key, and bringing clarity to complex situationsis what PMs try hard to do.
The Strengths Finder Team Grid (We can practice with this idea in a "practicum" on Friday - TeamStrengthsGrid48916.xlsx (29,2 kB)
WISE DECISION MAKING - BOTTOM LINE: AS PM, SPEND TIME CONSIDERING THE ELEMENTS OF A RISKY DECISION. PEOPLE TEND TO MAKE DECISIONS ALOTTING THE SAME TIME TO THE CONSEQUENTIAL AS THEY DO THE INCONSEQUENTIAL. IF IT'S IMPORTANT, FOCUS, SPEND TIME DECIDING - DO PRO/CON ANALYSIS, FORCE FIELD ANALYSIS, ETC. WE'LL DISCUSS FURTHER IN THE COURSE.