Jane was a group manager over a team of six buyers for a large department store chain. Her team specialized in buying house-wares, including linens, sheets, towels and small appliances. Her team met every week to discuss advertised specials for upcoming weeks and any supplier issues that the team needed to be aware of. There was one linens supplier, Patty’s Linens, that has had some difficulty with product quality and the department store was experiencing higher-than-normal returns on the product. Two weeks earlier, the supplier submitted a plan for how they were going to improve the quality of their product. The department store decided to keep the supplier on for three more months to evaluate their plan and give the supplier an opportunity to resolve the quality issues. With this as backdrop, we eavesdrop on Jane’s current team meeting:
Unless you excused yourself for whatever reason you were there for at least fifteen minutes listening to his philosophy. The problem was that Moe was friends with the person managing our contract so we had to put up with him.
So everything isn't always peachy keen when it comes to working together. At times co-workers are going to get in each others' face and have some conflict. As a bystander, there's some things you can do and not do to help put out the co-worker fire:
Some time back I spent about three hours writing and doing emails at one of our local malls. I love this place because there are lots of tables to sit at and the mall has free wireless access so I can be online all the time. As I was exiting the mall I noticed a woman about 20 feet away from the entrance heading into the mall. As I walked out the door I held the door open for this woman for a few seconds. As she walked by me into the mall she said "WOW!" She was surprised that I actually took three seconds out of my life to hold a door open for a complete stranger. Imagine what I could have done with those three seconds that I wasted :-).
Project management is changing….it's becoming more strategic, more mainstream, and not just synonymous with technology implementations. Today's PM needs to be more than technically adept or be able to whip out a gantt chart. Get a read on some of these crucial skills the everyday PM will need to succeed:
Recently I ran across a situation that reminded me of leaders needing to delegate responsibility while remaining engaged with what the team is doing. At one of my former employers we had a particularly thorny issue which required multiple groups to work together to address. It was important that I delegate resolution of the issue to the team, but it was also important that the team had a glimpse into some of my thinking on the issue. When I delegated the issue to one of my managers for resolution, I also articulated some guiding principles that the team needed to keep in mind while resolving the issue. What this allowed me to do was not only provide some considerations for the team to noodle over while coming up with a resolution to the issue but also empower the team to make the decision as to what to do about the issue.
Recently I had an interesting interaction on LinkedIn. A young man from a financial services company asked to connect with me, which I accepted. He immediately sent me a message asking to meet for coffee to conduct a personal financial review, and told me his other customers were VERY (yes he “e-yelled” VERY) satisfied with the work he did. Aside from the fact that I’m satisfied with my existing financial advisor, I have a bit of a problem with someone on LinkedIn pitching me right after connecting. I replied with a simple “No Thanks.”
A few days later he responded back thanking me and asking why I declined. I had to decide whether to just ignore his question or respond. I looked at his profile and decided that he really wanted to know and that I could help him with his connect à pitch technique. I told him that I thought his trying to sell me right after connecting was disingenuous; that he didn’t take any time to learn about me and didn’t try to develop any rapport points. He then responded with “When did I try to sell you?” I told him that asking to do a personal financial review and telling me his other customers were VERY satisfied felt like he was pitching me. He then responded with “When did I ask to review your personal finances?” At this point I was curious as to where this was going, so I did a copy/paste from his original message that asked to do a personal financial review. This is where it got really interesting. He responded with the following:
Over the years I have been on both ends of constructive (and not so constructive) criticism. Quite frankly, I still struggle with doing this flawlessly every time, but I've put together some guiding principles that I try to work under and thought might be helpful to you:
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