I’ve just had a conversation with a colleague whom I worked with a few years ago. An exceptionally talented manager that, when I first got to know him, had been “dropped in at the deep end” by our employer.
He was an experienced business manager who had been given his first project. He was eager to get “stuck in” to project management, but managed the same way he had done in his previous role, an operational business area. Two months had disappeared and not a lot progress had been made. His project sponsor was unhappy and I got asked to assess the situation and take action to resolve it.
Having spent the last few years running another operational business unit, he is back managing a project and is having a few issues.
After digging into the issues, his main challenge appears to be around effective communication across the disparate stakeholders, especially the sponsor, business management and project team.
I offered him advice based on my experience. Some fundamental areas that he needs to factor in to his day to day dealings:
- Share information. Adopt an open communication policy and insist on honesty. Encourage others to share ideas.
- Don’t always take “Yes” or “No” for an answer. It is often beneficial to probe deeper and dig into the detail to get a clearer picture.
- When difficult or uncomfortable areas need tackling, fearlessly probe to uncover the answer, the truth or to get a clear understanding of what is happening so an informed decision can be made and risks can be assessed.
- Challenge others and be open to others’ challenges. Not everyone is right and good ideas are ignored at ones peril.