Build Your Leadership Confidence

Build Your Leadership Confidence

As a leader it’s not always easy to understand what makes you a good leader or have the confidence to do the things you know you should, how would you rate your leadership confidence?

  • I wish I had some
  • I am okay, but would like to be more confident
  • I am in total control!

While you maybe are quite capable, do you seem unable to achieve all that you desire because of a lack of the very necessary attribute of confidence?

Here are a few tips that can elevate your confidence and turn you into the CONFIDENT LEADER you are meant to be.

  1. Increase your competence.You can do this by reading and learning everything you can get your hands on that is relevant to your industry or specialty. Years ago when in university while researching for a masters in project management I learned that if I read just one hour a day about something related to my specific are of interest, I would very soon become an expert in this area. I cannot tell you how important this advice was for me. Reading increases one’s knowledge, knowledge increases one’s competence; and competence increases one’s confidence! Great authors like Robins, Covey, Cranfield and the list goes on to support this – put this into action and it really does work.
  2. Teach what you learn.Find someone who is interested or needs to know what you have just learned. It is a fact that when you teach what you have learned with 24-48 hours you retain significantly more of what you have read over the long-term (Find out more in the great read – 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Covey). Find a way or make a way to teach what you learn as soon as possible. You won’t believe the difference it will make to you and how it will increase your confidence level.
  3. Find opportunities to speak in public.Maybe you aren’t quite ready for the big stage, but you do have opportunities to sit on boards or committees. Take these opportunities whenever you can, but don’t just sit there. Speak up when you have something relevant to offer. Start by asking questions, and then move into offering solutions (Principle 5, first seek to understand before being understood, Covey). You will soon become a most valuable member of the group; you will gain respect from other members and increase your leadership confidence!
  4. Join Toastmasters. Toastmasters International is a world leader in communication and leadership development with over 300,000 members worldwide. This membership will not only help you become a good public speaker, it will train you to have confidence to speak about just about any topic quickly and effectively. The Toastmaster exercises will help you become “quick on your feet!” You will also build up your confidence in a way that you cannot yet imagine. Just do it!
  5. Be willing to step out of your comfort zone.Understand that everyone has a comfort zone. The only difference between you and a highly recognised leader – someone you want to emulate – is the broadness of the comfort zone. Confident Leaders are forever growing and expanding their skills and knowledge.

Become the person who is always on the “grow.” Read daily, Teach what you learn quickly. Speak in public and step out of your comfort zone. Increase your competence, improve your confidence and elevate the impact you have on others.

I work with innovators, entrepreneurs, business executives, leaders and emerging leaders. Most of my clients are looking for ways to improve both productivity and their bottom line. I help businesses increase profits by moving the comfort zones in a supportive manner, expanding the possibilities available to clients and improving understanding, easily and effectively. My strategies have a significant impact on redirecting the focus of organisations toward positive outcomes rather than negative expectations.

Thanks for reading.

Contact: stephen.paxton@proddio.com

Are you REALLY in control?

Are you REALLY in control?

Rarely do projects, programmes or portfolios go wrong overnight, but rather they tend to gradually go off plan and bleed time through inadequate planning and poor communication!

We find that causes are rooted in uncertain or ill-defined requirements, delays in clearing burning issues which, in turn, forces work to be revisited or introduces more changes. Rework, we suggest, is caused by delayed decision making or lack of understanding on how the project, programme or portfolio of work is connected to your business, your people and the needs of your clients.  This is a scenario that occurs all too often, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

The tools for driving out uncertainty, and for providing a platform for clear decision making are well understood in the project management community, but rarely are they connected in a closed loop system to help stop information and communications getting lost or misunderstood.   At PRODDIO we find that connecting three core disciplines together drives better certainty into the challenge ahead and provides a model that produces data for clear decision making against a range of options.

We call the model the Business or Bermuda Triangle, where quality, time and costs are lost! However, this triangle provides you with the data to understand where your next move or adjustment needs to be made and the probable resulting impacts on outcomes and benefits.

 


Bermuda

 

We know what we want/need to achieve (to varying degrees either through a contract or business plan), we need to understand how this change is going to impact its target destination and environment, and we must understand the problems and uncertainties in making this change happen.

If we can manage these fundamentals, very little else is left to chance, as we have a collective understanding across the team and client while constantly testing assumptions and closing out issues.  Below is a brief on these three tools or structures that, when used at the right level of complexity, will drive out uncertainty and provide clarity for timely decision making.

 

Let’s jump into a little more detail behind the P3-TBT Model

 

Bermuda on ownRTM – (Requirements Trace Management)

Capture all the requirements from the Vision, Business Plan, supporting Business Cases, Legislation and Regulation including related Contracts and the wider Stakeholder Community views (The “System” in which we will really operate), especially the views of those stakeholders who can have a “negative” or “positive” impact on a project’s outcome (this has to include all implied requirements).

Then establish what the “Minimum Conditions of Satisfaction” or Success Criteria are against the requirements. By understanding this collective environment or system we can start to understand what is required and therefore start driving out “uncertainty” iteratively by making it explicit and continuously improving confidence in delivery and required outcomes.

 

Bermuda on ownCPIM – (Critical Project Interface Management)

Capture all the interfaces that are dependent and interdependent on each other’s performance.  Understand the relative criticality to each other and the overall programme’s success.  If any of the interfaces fail, then a number of requirements will be suboptimal or will not get delivered.

All critical interfaces have an assigned person responsible to ensure expectations are realised between projects and the wider environment.  A critical interface is one that, if not met, may hinder or not deliver one or more of the programme key requirements and therefore not deliver the outcome required

 

Bermuda on ownRICE – (Risk, Issue, Cause and Effects Management)

We believe that if you only capture the risk and manage this, then you are really not managing the uncertainty to the programme effectively and, inevitably, risks will keep resurrecting themselves in differing guises.   This is because the cause of the risk still remains; therefore risks will keep proliferating until this is treated, especially in programmes spanning a number of years.

 

We actively identify the causes of risk and evaluate the possible effects to fully understand what actions are really required to reduce the risk to the portfolio/programme or project.

Our core objective is to eliminate the cause of risk before they are possible risks, in doing so we systematically reduce the risk/uncertainty and “risks”.  This approach systematically reduces rework so management can focus on delivery.

When issues are identified we turn these into “requirements” to ensure management attention is focused on these too, and these are addressed depending on their prioritisation and possible effects on the project or programme – this, we argue is a managed risk approach.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Stephen.paxton@PRODDIO.com

 

Why Projects Never Learn

Why Projects Never Learn

In 2014 a PPM Global Survey conducted by PWC they received input from a record 3,025 people from 110 countries. This provides a real “from the horse’s mouth” contribution so could be regarded as a fair consensus.

In the report the top three reasons for project failure have been consistent for the past 10 years!

2014 PPM Global Survey – Why projects fail survey results

The reasons why projects fail never seem to change do they? They probably never will until senior management start to really support and drive the way projects are started and then controlled! At the heart of every business is senior management driving decisions and ultimately change!

Without drive and commitment from the top the PM community will always deliver the same result! And ultimately get what the business deserves… So no change.

When senior management do not see immediate results they often make ill-informed decisions, these can be supported by estimates based on assumptions rather than facts and the emerging and changing requirements of the stakeholders, the resulting planning is to plan to deliver the wrong outcome. As time passes by problems start to unfold which then requires more resources to solve and missed deadlines with underperformance as the result!

I would suggest senior management need to allow two things to happen in the PM community before making rash decisions because the projects “appear” not to be making the progress they wished!

 

1. Listen and foster a positive problem-solving atmosphere

I am a great supporter of Dr Stephen Covey and “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” – A must read for the PM and senior exec community. I suggest senior management engage in using habit 5 below:

  • Habit 5 – Seek First to Understand, Then to be understood

This is about using empathic listening for the PM to be genuinely understood, this compels senior management to reciprocate the listening and take an open mind to being influenced by the PM community. This creates an atmosphere of caring, and positive problem solving. This may be blended with “The carpenter’s rule – measure twice, cut once”.  Or put another way how long can you hold your nerve (senior management let you do your job) planning the right thing before going out and doing!

 

2. Help develop the Project Community

Before projects start to deliver consistently (with failure an exception rather than a given statistic) first senior management need to listen, learn and allow the project professionals to deliver. They need to help develop the project community while being supportive yet challenging to keep all the leadership (Project and Business) engaged in delivering positive outcomes!

Thanks for reading

Stephen.paxton@proddio.com

You Need a PMF – not a PMO!

You Need a PMF – not a PMO!

A Programme Management Function (PMF) is dedicated to improving the practice and performance of project and programme management. Its role is to make a permanent and meaningful progressive improvement in the way projects/programmes are set-up, managed and delivered.

Identifying and sharing best practice achieves this and to help develop the project management community through training and personnel development aimed at growing the competence of the organisation’s project and programme management capability. The PMF should provide a strategic platform for a defined, consistent and repeatable approach in project and programme management for the business.

The effect of the PMF should cause the business to deliver projects and programmes in a more efficient manner with the appropriate quality by specifying and providing project and programme management Methods, Guidelines, Techniques, Tools, Training and sharing good project management practice across your business.

The opportunity for a PMF is to provide clients (Internal and External) with strategic capability to help them shape, define and manage important business change through:

  • Advice in accelerating, decelerating, redefining, terminating and initiating projects within a programme;
  • Managing interdependencies between projects and business as usual activities;
  • Managing resource available to the programmes and resource conflicts, managing risks, issues and changes at a programme and portfolio level;
  • Defining and realising the strategic benefits;
  • Providing evaluations and diagnostics for projects and programmes in trouble and providing more certainty to clients through their guidance and sometimes intervention

The PMF is a product that all modern-day businesses require yet so few are set up and resourced to deliver an effective PMF to support strategic change in a consistent and sustainable way.

Key functions of a PMF:

For a PMF to become a prized Organisational unit, it must take on the following functions (once the PMF is created):

  1. Drive Project Cycle Times down– The multi-project constraints, especially the overloading of resources, the failure to stagger projects appropriately, and the waste that results from constantly changing priorities.
  2. Facilitate choosing the right projects mix– A PMF can add a lot of value by helping to eliminate and deactivate projects that are not as important to the Organisation.
  3. Develop and maintaining an executive cockpit, through key portfolios– The PMF must put itself in the position, right from the start, of providing invaluable information to executives, project managers and resource manager. The key portfolios are the Project Portfolio, the Resource Portfolio, the Asset Portfolio and the Strategic Goals Portfolio.
  4. Track and report progress (high level)– The effort is the detailed work behind function 3 above. The executives need to know if the projects will complete in time and within scope to meet their goals. They also need to know if the financials are good.
  5. Mentoring– The PMF staff are the project management experts who have the scars and track record to prove it. These people must be believable and have the ability to interface tactfully in delicate situations with all levels of workforce.
  6. Tools– The PMF house the project management tool technical experts (The Systems), who also often staff the Help Desk.
  7. Help Desk– Response time is critical to the value model of the PMF. Fast, knowledgeable response means good value.
  8. Methodology– How-to methods are needed in every organisation for project/programme/portfolio management. The focus should be on how to use the minimum necessary methodology, processes and tools to ensure predictable results.
  9. Corrective action– The PMF must seek to eliminate any approaches that cause people to prolong the cycle times. The PMF must use the reporting and the Pareto Principle to find the biggest causes of project delays, rework and other negative effects.
  10. Help projects in trouble– While PMF’s can provide some important help for projects in trouble, at least part of the PMF’s mission is prevention. Every troubled project should be analysed to determine root causes for the trouble.

Who are the customers of the PMF?

For the PMF, almost everyone in the organisation is a customer. I propose that the key groups are: (Where I use Project I also mean programme too).

  • Project Sponsor
  • Project Teams
  • Governance Board
  • Functional Units
  • Project Managers

Thanks for reading.

Contact: Stephen.paxton@proddio.com

Share This