So there goes another two hours in a meeting. Another two hours spent bickering over final details, where emotions are running high with people edging for the most competitive position. What’s in it for me? What’s in it for them? Who’s being tasked with what? How’s this addressing the problem most effectively? What hidden agenda is being carefully negotiated by the players in the room? Finally, a decision is made and even some stakeholders are omitted from the process. Doesn’t this sound all too familiar in the project oriented landscape which we all in someway occupy?
If you’ve seen the above go down (and I’m sure we all have), you have witnessed and experienced disenchantment first hand. Does it ever feel good? In fact, I’d argue that it’s the single factor that Project Management professionals need to both monitor and actively work in preventing. Where disenchantment is most influential, however, lies within self congregating groups where the corporate facade intends to demonstrate that there are no levels of hierarchy, control or power. Then, all of a sudden, one person intends to position themselves for advancement. Or, another person decides to impose a hierarchy framework for the group in order to increase efficiency in decision making without consulting the group. Can you imagine how the other members of the team feel right now?
Unfortunately this is so, so commonplace in many workplaces and project teams. The saddest thing is that it isn’t that the team can generally see right through these actions. More often than not, project team members (whether they be resources, managers, leaders or valued stakeholders) often do not take into consideration their team’s own requirements.
We fail in seeking to understand our team members.
We fail to take our team on the journey.
We fail to demonstrate transparency within our decision making process.
We fail (at times) to act for the project’s best outcomes.
We fail to understand that every team member, every stakeholder, every resource has had a different set of experiences and beliefs to our very own.
Fortunately; if we fail to do the above, we can pull out our finger and rectify our mistakes. And, luckily, here are a few ways we can go about fixing that:
1. BEFORE ACTING, YOU MUST SEEK TO UNDERSTAND BEFORE YOUR TEAM GOES ABOUT UNDERSTANDING YOU.
2. BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND AND START WITH WHY.
3. DOCUMENT ALL MEETINGS, PHONE CALLS, INTERACTIONS AND ALL OTHER RELEVANT INFORMATION TO ENSURE ABSOLUTE TRANSPARENCY FOR ALL.
4. WHEN MAKING DECISIONS WHICH AFFECT ANYONE, ENSURE THAT ALL RELEVANT STAKEHOLDERS ARE ENGAGED AND THAT YOU CONFRONT THE BRUTAL FACTS.
5. TAKE THE TIME TO ESTABLISH RAPPORT WITH YOUR TEAM; IDENTIFY THEIR HABITS, HOBBIES, FAMILY LIFE AND BELIEFS.
At the crux of the above, we often forget that we are human despite being part of the logic driven corporate world. People, unlike systems and technology, are emotionally driven beings (irrespective of whether some are more logical than others). John D. Rockefeller often credits the most important skill that anyone can foster is the ability to communicate effectively. By understanding your team and the ‘soft skill’ component of your projects, you can successfully negotiate and even eliminate disenchantment. Now, that is remarkable.
So, what are you going to do? How are you making your decisions now? What can you improve on?
We all are not perfect, but there is no reason why we cannot aspire to be perfect.
Be remarkable. Be consultative. Be engaging. Be congruent. Embrace it.