Tuesday, May 14, 2013

15 Leadership Lessons for Project Managers

Sports can teach some of life’s greatest lessons like how to be a good teammate and how to prepare for success. One of the greatest teachers of these lessons was Coach John Wooden.  In his book, “Wooden,” he shares life lessons from on and off the court. The wisdom in Wooden’s words can be applied to all areas of life – especially business leadership. He recently sat down with Business2Community to share his pearls of leadership wisdom.

”Apply yourself everyday to just becoming a little bit better.”
Marcus Sheridan, author of The Sales Lion blog and Inbound and Content Marketing Made Easy, exemplifies this principle, according to Wooden. Sheridan’s journey is unique. He started out selling pools, but everything changed when he started to apply the inbound marketing methodology. The work that he invested into the online marketing tactics transformed their business into one of the largest companies of its kind in the world.

“Without proper self-evaluation, failure is inevitable.” 
Dan Zarrella, Social Media Scientist at Hubspot, provides advice for marketers, backed with statistics on everything from words to use on your landing page to the best time to send a tweet. So, consider taking time each month to evaluate which of your methods are working and which aren’t working as a self-evaluation based on numbers could help you take your game to the next level.

“Mix idealism with realism and add hard work.”
Glen from ViperChill showcases this attitude in the way he approaches his businesses, said Wooden. Glen sets goals each month for himself and for his businesses. When you read his blog posts you can see that Glen isn’t afraid to put in the work that is required for success. By defining what he wants to accomplish each month, Glen can decide how he is going to spend his time.

”You can make mistakes, but you’re not a failure until you start blaming others for those mistakes.”

Darren Rowse, founder of ProBlogger, accidently emailed over one million people with an email that was meant for a few thousand, causing people to unsubscribe and send complaint emails. So, the company drafted an apology email to its users. This quick and honest response did more in the end to improve their relationship with the readers.

”While you can’t control what happens to you, you can control how you react.”
Gary Vaynerchuck, author of Crush It! and The Thank You Economy, is a passionate guy, according to Wooden. One thing that makes him stand out from the rest is his desire to get to know real people. When someone leaves a negative review on Amazon, he responds by asking to talk about their experience.
”People want to believe you are sincerely interested in them as person. Not just for what they can do for you.”

Mark Schaefer is a recognized speaker and marketing consultant. Wooden says he demonstrates his sincere interest in people through the way he communicates on Twitter, the way he writes on his blog, and the way he interacts with people in real life. Social media channels provide companies with an opportunity to engage and he showcases this brilliantly.

“When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur.”
Brian Moran was trying to build an online baseball training business on the side. After months of trial and error,  Brian found something that worked for his business: Facebook. Soon Brian had built up a following of over 10,000 Facebook fans. Next, he decided to start Get 10,000 Fans, a business dedicated to sharing his formula for converting Facebook fans to customers. Today, Get 10,000 Fans is one of the largest Facebook marketing brands on the Internet.
“We must be challenged to improve, and adversity is the challenger.”
Pat Flynn’s honest approach to teaching passive income techniques is the cornerstone of his brand. One of the essential elements in his “be everywhere” strategy is the Smart Passive Income podcast. When you look at the success he has experienced in a short amount of time, you realize that he is a guy who has risen against odds, according to Wooden.

”When the opportunity arises, it is too late to prepare.”
During the power outage during Super Bowl XLVII, people were all over Twitter asking questions about when the lights would come back on. The marketing team at Oreo recognized that there was an opportunity to jump into the conversation. They put together an  image and sent the tweet, ending up with over 16,000 retweets and a massive amount of new followers.

”Focus all your effort on what is in your power to control.”
According to Wooden, Lewis Howes was attempting to make a career in football when an injury brought his dreams to a halt. In a time when a lot of people would have just quit, Howes focused on what he could control. He set himself to becoming an expert of LinkedIn networking. Today, Lewis is considered a thought leader in sports networking and webinar marketing.

“A leader’s most powerful ally is his or her own example.”
Scott Monty, the Head of Social Media for Ford Motor Company, epitomizes this philosophy. Scott is viewed as a thought leader among the social space as his philosophy of “letting the customer tell your story” has been Ford’s social media strategy. “Dialogue with people in a way they can understand, not corporate-speak,” Monty said.

“Progress comes slowly but steadily if you are patient and prepare diligently.”
Jason Fried and David Hansson are the founders of software company 37signals. Fried and Hansson started off as a design agency that was seeking a collaborative project management solution that could manage their international team. When they couldn’t find anything that fit their needs, they designed their own. They have proven to keep their products simple, not being afraid to lose customers who have out grown their solution.

”Balance means keeping things in proper perspective.”
Anne Deeter Gallaher, CEO of Deeter Gallaher Group  is an on-ramper who has never lets the odds against her dictate her future. Anne was a stay-at-home mother before becoming an entrepreneur.  Anne says, “My experiences at home as CEO of family and volunteer prepared me for the business world in many ways. Have you ever tried to get three, very energetic young boys to bed on time? That demands serious negotiating skills – and a healthy dose of patience and clear communications!”

“Act quickly, but don’t hurry.”
FedEx displayed for us all how to exemplify this truth in reaction to a YouTube video of one of its deliverymen throwing a new computer monitor over a fence. In a situation that would have people scrambling, FedEx took to their Twitter account. It reassured people that they take pride in the quality of their service and that this type of behavior from one of their employees.

”If you spend too much time learning the tricks of the trade, you may not learn the trade.”
Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup, has pioneered the idea of a minimal viable product. You can’t sit back and prepare forever, it is better to launch and learn than to not launch at all! It can be tempting to spend all of one’s time “learning up” to do something great, according to wooden. One trait that unites all of the great business leaders is their willingness to take action. 

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