HUMAN NETWORK: Slowing Down for the Holidays

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For many businesses, winter is a busy and frenetic time of the year. It just so happens that the need for increased productivity — whether it’s to finish end-of-the-year projects, or adjusting to increased demand for your product — also coincides with fewer work days to do the work, since many holidays fall during this time. A good Project Manager has the time management, decision-making, and organizational skills to lead her team through this challenging time of the year. She also has another important quality that is too frequently overlooked when defining what makes an excellent Project Manager: patience.

As we head into the hectic final month at 2017, we at Cheetah Learning encourage Project Managers to slow down. Not in terms of productivity, but rather in how you think and approach your work. In this month’s Know How Network column we explore the benefits of showing patience as a Project Manager. We show how slowing down can help you and your team better realize your goals, assess potential risks, and set priorities.

1. Goal Realization
People who are impatient are often also impulsive. They set goals — usually big ones — but they don’t take the time to break down how they will pursue these goals into smaller, more attainable steps. Instead, they tend to jump right in — and before long, make mistakes that could have easily been prevented with a bit of planning.

Patient Project Managers take the time to work through the details in both project planning and negotiation preparation templates. They work efficiently, but they don’t cut corners. This early leg work can be tedious and cumbersome – they do it anyway. With this careful planning, they are able to keep the whole project team well-informed about the project timeline, anticipate and mitigate problems that arise, and create small successes at each step of the project. Here at Cheetah, we’ve learned that success breeds success — each small accomplishment energizes and inspires your project team to keep up the good work.

2. Risk Management
Impatient people, blinded by their optimism and enthusiasm, often do not fully think through the risks that could derail their projects. Skilled and patient Project Managers, in contrast, manage to hold onto that positivity and enthusiasm while still making decisions methodically, logically, and realistically. In the process of patiently reviewing what could go wrong and how they could prevent or mitigate challenges in their projects, they often create better approaches than if they had just rushed into the first approach that came to mind.

3. Priority Setting
Sometimes, in spite of their hasty approach, impatient Project Managers experience an early success. Inspired and energized by this accomplishment, they decide to reach even higher, expanding the goals they want to pursue. In Project Management language, this is known as scope creep.

Let’s say that you have started to remodel your bathroom because you need to replace failing older plumbing. Then once you get started, you think, “Wow, while we’re at it, wouldn’t it be nice to move the washer and dryer from the basement to the main floor?” You now have a new project with a substantially larger scope and budget, and which possibly exceeds the skills of the team you have in place to do the initial project. This new project has new risks and a great chance of failing if you do not revisit your initial priorities — which were to replace old plumbing.

Patient Project Managers may still be inspired during the course of their projects. The difference is that, unlike the bathroom remodeler, they have clearly defined their priorities in the project planning activities before starting the initial project. Then, when they’re struck by inspiration, they have the patience to look at the new ideas from many angles to assess if it really makes sense to pursue this new path.

Patience is an under-appreciated virtue that can improve a Project Manager’s ability to discern a better, easier, and faster path to success. People who become Cheetah Certified Project Managers master the techniques that bring out their best abilities with the patience to guide others to leverage their innate strengths, as well. They create an upward spiral of success for everyone around them. Register for the 60-hour online Cheetah Certified Project Manager program today and master the practices that bring out the power of patience. (visit http://www.cheetahlearning.com/certifiedprojectmanager/index.html)

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About Author

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP®, is the founder of Cheetah Learning, the author of the Cheetah Success Series, and a prolific blogger whose mission is to bring Project Management to the masses. Cheetah Learning was named Professional Development Provider of the Year at the 2008 Project Management Institute (PMI®) Global Congress. Michelle is recognized by PMI as one of the 25 Most Influential Women in Project Management in the world. For more information, visit www.cheetahlearning.com.

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