Networking – Project Management Style

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Networking – Project Management Style

Like This Blog 0 Steve Fullmer
Added by April 28, 2014

In a recent tweet, I stated “Nothing beats face to face. Go talk WITH someone.” Despite the wealth of social media opportunities including Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook we are losing the ability to enhance relationships or expand our networks. Although my list of Twitter followers, LinkedIn contacts, and Facebook friends continues to grow (with thanks to many blog readers), the wealth achieved through dialog tends to suffer.

We all need to learn to network better. Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos talks about the ‘C’s of his core values. I never get them all correct – creativity, culture, communication, community, collisions – probably added one or missed one – all come to mind when I think about Zappos. One ‘C’ is correct though, because it stands out for me as unique. Collisions. And the value of ‘collisions’ with other people. Ultimately it is the interactions with other people that inspire our lives, create lasting impressions, and help us to mobilize our greatest ideas and dreams. I believe that social media allows us to stay connected, maintaining the possibility for personal interaction, though social media also enables us to minimize rather than maximize our creative interaction with people. We stay connected for the opportunity to better our lives, and the lives of those about whom we care most. Though we rarely collide and interact. When do you have the time to respond immediately to a tweet or a status update? To share in the moment – to enhance it or learn from it – and more importantly to retain the lesson? Very few social networkers actually network.

At least we maintain a list of contacts. Our social media accounts usually contain our closest networks – or at least the ones with technical savvy. Social media broadens our reach … and thins our interactions. Whether you are a digital native or a digital immigrant technology is merely a tool, and not the path.

Take some time to find a leadership methodology that enables you to enhance your network. Then select the tool(s) that support the method. And schedule some time to practice them.

Project managers need to study successful leadership styles until they discover, adopt, and perfect the style that best suits their personality and development stage. As I relate in my PMPC course, the PMBOK® 4th Edition referenced the term leadership only once.  Evolution to the PMBOK® 5th edition more appropriately references a project manager’s role as leader, coach/mentor, and manager. We need to serve as leaders to others, and to seek leaders and mentors to guide us further on a path of successful project management.

As one studies for the PMPC® exam, you need to learn about Maslow, MacGregor, Herzberg and the five stages of team development. Lessons in motivation and team management. Yet, the focus of the PMBOK® remains decidedly management and task oriented. To expand your project management career, you need to consider additional mentoring and leadership examples. Sources beyond the PMBOK® 5th Edition.

Management by walking/wandering around was popularized in the 1970’s and referenced by Tom Peters and Robert H. Waterman in their book In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best Run Companies. Armand Feigenbaum, Joseph Juran, and W. Edwards Demming all relate the important of culture and emphasis on people as a means to achieve quality.  In The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson, M.D, they reference forms of one minute dialogs with team members as a powerful means to manage and lead. All of these leadership styles focus on interaction.

We need to discover more project management leadership tools.

One of my favorite reads, referenced in a prior video blog PMP Project Management and Tribal Leadership is Tribal Leadership by Dave Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright. Check out the blog and the book.

One of my favorite sources for powerful leadership examples is Success Magazine.(Print version and online). You can sign up for their free weekly email newsletter. In the December issue, Chris Brogan of Human Business Works shared “The Monchu Method of Networking”.

The Monchu Method article appeared as I was seeking. Panacea? Quick fix? It seemed too simple a solution, though I decided to give it a try.

I have been attempting to adopt Chris’ recommendations for the last two months. Admittedly, it has not been as easy as the short article implies, though it has provided me greater power and freedom to truly expand the value of my network.  With growing social media connections, an expanding list of former students, and hundreds of emails per day prioritization was leading to an increasing workload with unmeasured value and imperceptible personal return. Chris’ approach offers strong direction.

Project management offers several strong stakeholder management tools, though few leadership oriented filters. The challenge with a Stakeholder Register is listing every stakeholder, and keeping track of all the relationships. The challenge with a Responsibility Assignment Matrix is keeping track of accountability, responsibility, consulting, and information flow. The challenge with the newly included Stakeholder Engagement Assessment Matrix is determining an individual’s level of engagement relative to desired engagement. All of these tools are valuable for keeping track of stakeholders (aka contacts), though they manage rather than foster relationship.

I was able to better filter my network and contacts by using the three ‘family’ circles recommended by the model. I love providing service to others. Setting aside just twenty minutes a day to reach out in service to my network, to truly connect and dialog, creates richer relationships and generates recognizable personal return.

Read Chris’ article. Give it a try. Or find another network leadership model of your own.

Whatever method you adopt, remember that powerful communication requires dialog. Now get out there and talk WITH someone.

Steven Fullmer
Interface Technical Training Staff Instructor

Steve teaches PMP: Project Management Fundamentals and Professional Certification in Phoenix, Arizona.

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