There may be vestiges of work that still exist in an industrial model format. For the rest of us, we are in the project business. We work on gigs that have to meet a goal. The teams, tools and tactics maybe be different for each project. Our ability to work fluidly between projects is necessary to win at the game of business today. That is the reality of today’s economy.
If you are like me and have to navigate the peculiarities and demands of many and varied projects, then these tips should help you thrive in an otherwise chaotic world:
- Lead towards action. Often times, dialogue creates ideas. Then usually there is a vague span of time where you and others have agreed to some kind of next step or action. This is the time to take leadership and set up a project area where dialogue can continue, ideas can get clarified and you can focus on action. When I sense that an idea has moved into something real, then I set up a project immediately and move everyone involved into the project area. It formalizes and focuses the conceptual into something concrete.
- Set deadlines. A great way to drive commitment to something is to have firm milestones and deadlines. You can do this with your project participants by ensuring that each project member personally agrees to a deadline. Upon the deadline, have each person present the work to date. This will create personal responsibility to ensure the work gets done.
- Drive clarity. The hardest part of project work is that there are unclear expectations, requirements or goals. At appropriate times, it is important to help people understand the context of their deliverables and communicate the why of what they are doing. It not only provides motivation, but it also ensures that what you are thinking and what others are thinking are aligned.
- Recruit the best. If you have weak players in a project, it will jeopardize success. It is a complete drag to have to pull people who are either not talented or lazy. Be sure the competence and self-motivation is high for each person who is responsible for deliverables. It is far less work in the long run, and it fills in the gaps where ambiguity occurs.
Projects are going to come and go frequently in our accelerated economy that no longer depends on geography to get things done. Recognizing that you are in the project business and leading when ideas need to turn to action is a practice that will continue relentlessly.
How are you going to lead?