14 May 2020 at 10:00AM
Amplify Your Impact
Focus on the Right Work
We can all get overwhelmed by the fast pace of our projects and the volume of work. So, we can’t afford to waste project resources on work that isn’t important. To keep your team moving as quickly as possible on the right work, the project leader needs a reasonable level of understanding of the work required and a clear picture of work priority. If you need the expertise of several people to document requirements, conduct a focused discussion that results in clear deliverables. Break work into manageable pieces and clearly articulate what you need done by whom and by when. Avoid open ended discussions and vague work expectations that allow team members to go in different directions or nowhere at all. Strive for clarity every day so your team is certain of your expectations.
Engage the Right People
The second area where you can amplify your impact is by recognizing the strengths of the people around you. Leaders know people across the organization and what they do well, whether they are part of their team or not. While its important to give people the opportunity to learn new things, its also important to know who can get a specific job done quickly and successfully.
One of my managers at Hewlett Packard was a master of knowing people and their strengths. Several times, he contacted me to partner on a project that needed to get finished rapidly. He knew that I had a specific strength in driving things to closure. He did this with many people and on a regular basis. In fact, if I was struggling to launch a program, he would partner me with someone skilled in that work. Two benefits, the work at hand was accomplished more quickly and secondly we all learned new skills from our ‘partners’. His leadership example has influenced me to do the same.
This last point is the simplest of all and I'm continually surprised and dismayed at the frequency that I see failure here. Answer your team member's emails!
Sometimes project leaders think their individual work is so important that they don’t have time for email. Insane! Every email you answer amplifies your productivity because other people are moving forward to accomplish the goals you gave them. At one point in my career, I had a team in the U.S., one in Singapore and one in Germany. It became obvious that if I failed to answer an email request in a timely way, I could waste two days of people’s time on the other side of the world. It was a valuable lesson. Take advantage of resources waiting to take action or someone else will use their time. Leaders that don’t respond in a timely way to email questions and requests are losing productivity and speed every minute of the day.
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Annette is a transformation consultant working with executives to create more effective operations and greater business value. Both vision and execution are key to motivate people to transform work. She guides leaders to develop transformation vision and strategy, establish program structure and oversight, and build and coach teams to be successful. She also shares tips, resources and leading practices as a project management mentor and through her Transformation Tips blog.