Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Leadership Lessons: Jo Reid

I recently sat down with Jo Reid, Senior Project Manager at The Boeing Company, to talk about the ins and outs of 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.  

Reid is speaking at the upcoming ProjectWorld & World Congress for Business Analysts 2014 conference in Seattle. He will be presenting a session entitled, “Requirements Management Best Practices at the Boeing Company.” 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 Reid had to say:

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

Reid: I do multiple activities to build and maintain my brand.
> For any project I am managing I make sure that all the homework has been done. Risk & Mitigations, all the finance, all the stakeholder relationships, etc. I make sure my presentations are clean and crisp, and that I have more answers than there are questions.
> I teach, I support workshops, and I coach.
> I chair steering teams. I take minutes and publish them.  I delegate, and praise my delegates for their successes. The more I try to make other people successful, the stronger my brand. 

IIR: What are characteristics of a GREAT leader?

Reid: Lead the way, but know when to get out of the way!

IIR: How does a successful leader communicate?

Reid: With a constant, consistent message, tailored for stakeholder needs.

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?

Reid: Judy Churchill. I was a member of her PMO, and helped her define the organizational Project & Portfolio Management Strategy.  She was smart, knowledgeable, committed to standards. She as fair, tough, and always had her PM’s back. She had high expectations for performance, but was always there is you needed help. High bar – I miss her.  She died of cancer about seven years ago.

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

Reid: Scope, cost, schedule, and risk.

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?

Reid: Keep the other PMs engaged and encourage constant process improvement.

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

Reid: Lead them though the process of defining the problem, not the solution. I tell them they are the experts in their field and challenge them to find solutions. They never fail me!  I also make sure EVRYONE knows it was them that created the great solution!

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

Reid: Integrity.

IIR: What is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?

Reid: Unrealistic performance goals.

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

Reid: Lack of Integrity.  Putting themselves first at the expense of others.

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

Reid: The industry I support has not embraced social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). We have tried to introduce forums and tools, but use remains sporadic.  People prefer daily standup meetings – even if it’s across 12 time zones.

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

Reid: Find a leader you respect and ask them to be a mentor to you.  Leadership is a journey, and having someone who can be a sounding board or help remove roadblocks makes the journey less arduous.

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

Reid: Talk to my mentor on a regular basis. She challenges me!

Reid 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/1jtZtxB 

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