PLAN. COMMUNICATE. LEAD.
There is something I had to learn the hard way. This is about being able to base your feedback and call for action on pure facts.
This is why meeting meetings, decision logs, changes have to be tracked and documented. Otherwise, in case something goes off the track – how will you be able to go back and prove why this event happened or what lead to specific results?
Your management is not involved into project activities on the day to day business. When you ask for their support or escalate anything – they will highly likely ask for evidences. And if you were diligent enough to collect them – you will be able to provide them in the form of facts☝️.
Working With Customers
I love working with Customers. In some cases they are amazing, often demanding and sometimes complicated. But let’s face it – they are in the core of any business. Whom would we serve, if we didn’t have our customers? Who would pay us money, if we didn’t have clients?🤔
I entertain a thought by thinking about them as family members. You don’t always choose them, but you need to deal with them.
In some companies I used to work, any wish of the customer had to be satisfied. Any behavior of the customer had to be tolerated. Some situations were really horrible and some customers could afford such a behavior, that no normal person would ever tolerate it in personal circumstances.
After so many years of working with different Businesses and Customers, experience shows that you need to know when set the boundaries, when to walk away, when to say “No” or to push back.
I truly believe that it is very important to treat the Customer as top priority, but at the same time to keep your ears open. Whenever you see that customers go too far in their demands, behavior or attitude, you should bring them back to reality and set the record straight. To the extent possible, of course and by being polite and respectful to oneself and others.
And the reason behind this thought process is that it is not about customers only, it is also about leaders and teams who serve them.
The Importance Of Saying “Thank you”
Always remember to show gratitude to the people you work with. Not only for some major achievements or results but for smaller things on a daily basis. “Thank You” – 2 simple words, but they give so much meaning and incentive. Saying thanks costs nothing, but gives everything😊.
I remember I used to have a manager, who, in fact, was one of the best managers I had a pleasure to work with. And he always said “thank you” to his team, even for the smallest things we did. We were ready to do anything for him. He was generous in showing gratitude and appreciation. It was not about his super management skills, it was not about him as a professional. It was all about him connecting with people, understanding them, appreciating them, and being one of them.
Unfortunately, today people often forget to say thank you. People very quickly get used to take everything for granted. That e-mail, which your colleague sent to you on time as per your request. That research your developer did by investing his personal time after work. That note, which your colleague forwarded to you in case you might need it. Do you notice all those smaller things?
We are all humans. And as human beings, we all need appreciation, attention, and recognition. Remember that when working with your teams and colleagues!
Thank you for reading this short insight from my side😃
Good Is Better Than Perfect
Whatever you do does not have to be perfect, but it has to be good enough to move ahead.
Time is always the limit. What is important now, might not be important tomorrow or a week from now. While you are working on your perfect plan, others move ahead with next and next steps. And by the time you are ready with your excellent plan, it might turn out to be useless. And that would be a waste.
Yes and No
Remember this film 🎥 called „Yes Man” with Jim Carrey? Funny comedy about saying “Yes!” to everything and everyone!
I am a full supporter of saying “ Yes!” to almost all the opportunities that present themselves. Any chance has to be taken. “Yes!” to new experience, learning, new change or exciting challenge, new colleague or friend😀.
But at the same time I insist on importance of saying “No!”. Know when to walk away!
This is a vital skill to know when to use those 2 short but powerful words.
Say “No” to things which are not important for you, walk away from things which consume your energy and don’t give anything in return and especially use the “Stop button”⛔️ when your personal boundaries are crossed.
Same at work and in projects. You have to know when to say “No!” to your customer, to your employer or to your colleague. Actually this “No” might be the best choice you’ll ever make.
Participant Or Spectator?
Management is an interesting thing. Stuff gets done only when you and your team members are actively involved, make decisions and define or adjust direction.
I don’t know if it has something to do with corporate world or if it is a human factor, but often when I join a conference call, or a meeting, somehow only a few people get actively engaged into actual discussion. Majority just listens, multitasks or silently agrees (?) to whatever is decided by those “active participants”.🤦♀️
You watch closely and wonder 💭 in your mind: isn’t it great that those “activists” care to participate, get involved, make an impact? Or do they want to show they have at least something to say? Those in “silent mode”… Are they shy? Do they even listen? Do they care? Do they understand? Do they agree and have nothing to add?🤔
If you are one of those spectators, keep in mind that whatever is discussed, whatever is decided without your active participation, later might have have to be executed by you or impact you directly. So you’ d better make sure that if there is anything during those conference calls or meetings, which impacts you, your way of work, or the team you manage ( literally anything related to you), you must damn make sure you are an active participant and you are not just a spectator.
Ask questions. Clarify. Go into details to understand the full picture. Ask for some time to think things over and follow up. Request additional clarification. Don’t be shy. Be a participant, not merely an observer👆.
There is no single approach in project management which fits each team, each solution and each customer. So you need to be flexible and try many different options.😉
Your project is your “kingdom”. Keep experimenting and be creative to see what works and what does not. Enhance what works best, get rid of what does not. Check if there is a way to add even more value, if there is a way to do even better. Be a continuous learner and enable yourself and your team to get the best results ever🤗.
As Long As You Are Getting Paid?
Often I hear comments like “Ana, are you getting paid for that?” or “Why do you keep doing that for free?” or “If you do a 3 men job, are you getting a triple payment?”
I say – it is not always about the money. Of course, being fairly paid is important and we must not do a great job free of charge. But there is so much more to it. I truly, deeply, unconditionally believe that money will come. I never did anything only because it was paid well. Everything I do is because I love what I do ❤.
What is most important is experience. This is the most valuable thing you can get on the job. So, if someone offers me an opportunity, I ask myself “What experience will it give me?”. If I believe that this knowledge is valuable and I can learn from it – I will do it, even if it means to sit over time, dedicate my private time or do a 3 men job😋.
Imagine this situation. You are working as a Project Manager. Your boss comes and offers you a job of a Program Manager. Your salary will stay the same. What will be your answer?
Before you answer, think about it for a moment. You can make investments from your side, accept the challenge, learn a great bunch of awesome stuff. Even if the pay is the same. Later you can ask for some bonus, but even if you are not granted – now you have this experience, you can offer your services for a better price somewhere else. Because you can, and your value has increased😎.
“Anything You Want” by Derek Sivers
The book is amazing! It takes you into the entrepreneurship world and tells the story of Derek Sivers, creator of the successful business out of his hobby. He sold it for $22 million😵.
So, what are the key takeaways, which I want to share with you?
🔑 First of all, business is all about seeing a need for yourself and implementing it. Think about what you’d need to make your life easier. And see how it can improve your life and life of others. When you make a dream come true for yourself, it’ll be a dream come true for someone else.
🔑 Secondly, if you see it is useful for someone else, you should charge for that – this is your effort, why shouldn’t you?
🔑 Thirdly, it makes sense to state your mission and made sure everyone knows about it. It all comes down to the point of knowing why you are doing it, what you are and what you are not, and for whom you are doing what you are doing.
I absolutely loved Derek’s comparison of business to a little universe where you control all the laws. When I think about it, it sounds so liberating – you can literally think of any idea and bring it to life!
👍 One big customer or many small customers?
When you serve only one big Customer you become dependable on them to a large extent and this customer becomes your boss. I saw it happening in smaller software companies. This raises a question: why have you started as an entrepreneur? It is better to have thousands of smaller customers. If someone leaves, you don’t have to care.
👍 By pleasing others, you betray yourself.
Don’t please everyone. Don’t be everything to everybody. Focus on what you do as a core and when someone comes to add something which you don’t want – say NO. Your Business – your rules.
👍 Try option 1. Go! Try option 2. Go!
No Business goes as planned, there are many different options. In your mind, you need to play as many scenarios as possible, don’t just stick to one.
👍 Care about your customers more than you do about yourself.
That is what I heard as an advice from my mentor. He said, that in the end – the question is: Is my Business happy? Have I helped them meet their goal?
Rule number 1 : it is all about your customers, not about you!Derek Sivers
👍 Learn it yourself
This piece resonated with me to 200%. When you sign up for a marathon, you don’t want a taxi to take you to the finish line. When you build something – you enjoy the journey, not just reaching the final destination by hiring a bunch of experts.
👍 Read what you sign!
Derek made a 3.3 million mistake by not looking at what he signed and allowing others to offer him fast and easy solutions. A Lesson for the whole life😎.
👍 Freelancer and real Business Owner
There is a big difference between freelancers and business owners. Freelancers have to be present to earn money, business owners – don’t. You have to make yourself unnecessary to the running of your own company. Go into a delegation mindset. Delegate – trust but verify.
Delegate but don’t abdicate! Or they will say: we don’t need you!Derek Sivers
I hope you enjoyed the summary and I look forward to hearing your insights about the book😊!
If You Ever Get Angry
Never ever allow yourself to get overwhelmed with feelings and act upon them. This is the worst thing which can ever happen to you. Especially – making a permanent decision on temporary emotion😱.
We both can agree that in management world the most tricky and demanding part is to deal with people. Not everyone is predictable. Not everyone is an open book. And not everyone is straightforward. Some people (your customers, your employees or colleagues) will drive you mad from time to time. And this is OK. Most important is how you are going to react to that. One moment of allowing yourself to dive into emotions, may even cost you your career👆.
Acknowledge the emotions and go shoot some bottles in the garden😀. Now, get back with clean head and delete that angry email, which you were about to send.