Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Earn a FREE Pass to PW&WCBA - Become a Guest Blogger

Earn a complimentary all-access pass to ProjectWorld & World Congress for Business Analysts 2014 by serving as a Guest Blogger at the event. As a Guest Blogger, you’ll have access to PW&WCBA's comprehensive agenda attracting the best in insights from around the world, right in Seattle, Washington this fall.

You'll get a free pass to the annual PW&WCBA event plus exclusive access to a networking community and on-demand webinars, to help you grow and learn throughout the year.

Guest Blogger responsibilities will include submitting one post per week to the PW&WCBA blog between now and the conference and attending specifically assigned sessions at the event and blogging live or same day.

By participating as a Guest Blogger leading up to and at the event, you’ll receive an all-access pass for the entire event, taking place September 22-24th at the W Hotel in Seattle, WA. In addition, Guest Bloggers are responsible for their own travel and lodging. Learn more about the event by visiting our website: http://bit.ly/1eqcUl3

Apply today by sending your name, title, company, short biography and links to your blog or writing samples, along with a few sentences about why we should choose you to be our 2014 Guest Blogger to Amanda Ciccatelli at aciccatelli@iirusa.com. We will review your submission and contact the chosen Guest Bloggers directly with more details.

All readers of our blog receive an exclusive 15% discount off the standard registration rate with code PW14BL. Register here:  http://bit.ly/1eqcUl3

We hope to have you join us in Seattle!

The PW&WBCA Team

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Leadership Lessons: Lou Russell

I was lucky enough to sit down with Lou Russell, CEO, Learning Facilitator, Russell Martin & Associates, to talk about leadership. Today, leadership is a hot topic among the project management community because a project manager’s role goes far beyond task-related deliverables. Although the project manager must be able to effectively manage goals related to time, scope and cost, the work does not stop here since the project manager must also be able to manage numerous issues and goals, and be able to lead the people performing them.  

Russell is speaking at the upcoming ProjectWorld & World Congress for Business Analysts 2014 conference in Seattle. He will be presenting a session entitled, “Emotional Intelligence for Project Team Decision Making.” This year, PW&WCBA combines professional training alongside real world practicality for richer, more holistic leadership development. It's no wonder it's become the actionable playbook for advancing PM and BAs for over a decade.

Check out what Russell had to say:

IIR: How do you, as a leader, stand out in a crowd in this competitive business world?

Russell: We challenge people to not give up on project management just because it’s hard.  And to help, we have created a lean version of PM with some radical ideas which include building a project charter in 45 minutes or less, and working back from the end date/budget.  All of this is done with fun, fast, flexible and measurable tools and process.

IIR: What are characteristics of a GREAT leader?

Russell: A GREAT leader is focused on serving others, not themselves.

IIR: How does a successful leader communicate?

Russell: A successful leader always seeks first to understand / listen.

IIR: Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Maybe someone who has been a mentor to you? Why and how did this person impact your life?

Russell: There are many, and Mike Donahue is my personal coach, and has been for many years. His advice/voice is always in my head.

IIR: What are the most important decisions you make as a leader of your organization or team?

Russell: How to improve the performance of our customers in a measurable way, and how to help my team grow past what they believe their limits are.

IIR: As an organization gets larger there can be a tendency for the “institution” to dampen the “inspiration.” How do you keep this from happening?

Russell: Lots of laughing.

IIR: How do you encourage creative thinking within your team or organization?

Russell: Everyone on my team has full ownership of everything they do, and can change it in any way to make us all better. They know that and do that.  Failure is fine – that’s how people learn. Failure twice is a blind spot and needs mitigation, which is part of my job.

IIR: Which is most important to your organization or team? (mission, core values or vision?)
How do you communicate the “core values” to your team?

Russell: Our current mantra is Scalable and Sustainable. We will only exceed as ONE with many.  

IIR: How do you help a new employee understand the culture of your organization?

Russell: We share our Mission, Vision, Values and spend lots of time with them. 

IIR: What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?

Russell: Trust in providence with a humble heart.  

IIR: What is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?

Russell: The perception of being busy when we could be wasting our time on the wrong things.

IIR: What is the one behavior or trait that you have seen derail more leaders’ careers?

Russell: Avoidance of conflict and accountability 

IIR: Can you explain the impact that social media has made on you as a leader?

Russell: It connects us to others every minute of the day (good) and provides us with a huge diversion to not focus (bad).  

IIR: What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?

Russell: Be brave, have a strategy, be ready to change that strategy and be open to growth throw trips and falls.  

IIR: What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader?

Russell: I am part of a CEO group that meets monthly to keep each other on track.

Russell will be speaking at ProjectWorld & World Congress for Business Analysts 2014, taking place in Seattle, Washington September 22-24th at the W Hotel. The 2014 program is designed with courses for all training levels, a robust agenda, and most importantly tangible lessons which you can begin implementing the day you return to your office, making you even more valuable to your organization. PW&WCBA offers attendees 36 PDU/CDUs - that's more than half of the required credits necessary to maintain your certification in just one place.

To learn more or register for the event, click here: http://bit.ly/1lIhzzc
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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Causes of Conflict in Project Management

There will be times when a project doesn’t run as smooth as you had planned. When you put together a group of intellectuals that all have the same goal, but have different ways to achieve that goal, is when you’ll run into problems in project management. Team conflict is challenging for project leaders but it is not necessarily bad. Conflict can lead to new ideas and approaches and facilitate the surfacing of important issues between team members if it is managed well.

In fact, according to various research studies on team conflict, the major sources of conflict among project teams are project goals not agreed upon, disagreement of the project's priorities and conflicting work schedules. This is no surprise since most organizations today run multiple projects and employees often find themselves serving on a variety of project teams.

Here is an infographic from Visual.ly that highlights the key causes of conflict in project management teams today:

Project Management Conflict
Explore more visuals like this one on the web's largest information design community - Visually.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Leadership Lessons to Live By

In virtually every industry that exists today, leaders must set aside more time to reflect and assess their thinking, capabilities, and strategies. It is crucial that they evaluate how their leadership brand is being perceived by others and whether or not it requires a tune-up.  

According to Forbes, here are leadership lessons to help you accelerate your career as a leader.

Opportunities Are Everywhere
Leadership requires circular vision and when you begin to grow complacent, you only see the obvious details before you.  In fact, your mindset becomes stagnate because you are not stretching your perspectives enough to see more than you want to. When you fall into this trap, it’s time to reshuffle the deck, and map out the factors that are influencing your thinking. You must begin to identify areas that can be improved – such as relationships, culture, networking, how you are investing in yourself, etc.

Without Strategy, Change Is Substitution
Change management is the unwritten rule in every job description and a key success factor in your workplace performance.  Rather than wait for change to come your way, be proactive and identify patterns of change so you are prepared to manage it head-on.  As a leader, you must always have a strategy for change.  A change management strategy is the ultimate form of leadership accountability, because it forces you to think critically about what you need to do as a leader to minimize risk and maximize reward.

Embrace an Entrepreneurial Attitude
An entrepreneurial attitude that is centered on continuous renewal and reinvention of yourself as a leader and your business is what allows you to sustain success and reach for significance. The entrepreneurial attitude is a mindset; it must be an operating standard that is embedded in the minds of everyone in the organization. It’s a challenge to reinvent within industries that have been in place for decades – but you can start to employ the entrepreneurial attitude by injecting new talent, new perspectives, and new resources. 

Refresh Your Thinking
Great leadership is about keeping refreshing the way an organization thinks.  It may be a lot of work, but the marketplace demands it. This is why leaders must keep themselves refreshed with new knowledge, skill-sets and aptitudes. Time is your most valuable asset and it’s up to you to determine how to best maximize it. Be courageous, refresh your thinking and implement what you learn. 

Trust Yourself
Trusting yourself is the ability to know your strengths well enough that they allow you to navigate your workplace successfully.  It’s the ability to trust your gut and know that when preparation meets the opportunities that are in front of you, your natural talents, capabilities, and skill-sets will get you through any situation.  How many times does your gut tell you to take action but you don’t?  Instead, you wait for those around you to take the calculated risks that you are hesitant to take yourself. Effective leadership is about timing and when you don’t trust yourself, oftentimes you miss the opportunities to create impact and influence – and disrupt momentum along the way. 

Manage Your Brand
Leadership branding is the new normal for organizations seeking to operate at optimal efficiency and profitability.  When an organization’s leaders can’t define their leadership brand identity for their executive team, senior leadership team, silos begin to form and the organization begins to lose its competitive edge. When you don’t manage your leadership brand – someone else will.  When this happens, you become vulnerable to what others expect from you because you have not set forth any precedence for those expectations.  As a result, the balance of power and influence sways away from you; your own identity crisis makes it easy for others to question your capabilities, and decisions.

Adversity Can Make or Break You
Adversity management reveals you. What others might see as a big problem – you might see as a situation that is easily manageable.  When you see adversity through a lens of opportunity, it gives you a leg-up and a powerful competitive advantage.  How you manage adversity will shape the way others see the real leader that you are. 

A Leader’s Success Is Never Won or Lost in an Instant
The significance of your leadership tenure is defined by your complete body of work.  It is the culmination of the work you do — how it all ties together and how you handle the rough patches along the way — that forms your legacy. If you cannot sustain consistency, you begin to lose value for your brand and the platform you are trying to create to influence outcomes.

Give to Others in Faith, Not in Expectation

Leadership is about sharing the harvest of the momentum that you are building with others. Leaders must recognize that it is their responsibility to inspire and unite – and in doing so they expand their influence through others. Amongst many things, leadership is about making those around you better – by being a great teacher, investing in relationships, and making sound decisions.  One day they may give back to you more than you ever expected – but don’t go into it expecting others to reciprocate.
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