Moving On and Up

If you are still using SMT or Oasis, you are a little bit behind the times.  I wonder how your website is ranking.  Use http://www.rankchecker.com  The hot website management tools I use are:  WordPress and caSaaS.  Contact me at (770) 767-3446 for a new, improved, functional, update-able website.  I provide training to help you maintain your own website.  Not a new concept these days.  If you can’t update your own website, you need www.WebsitesByKris.com (to create a new site) and/or www.NotesFromKris.com (to maintain your current site or provide training services).

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If Everybody Believes in The Plan…

As I’m working my Sudoku puzzles in bed to clear my mind of all of the detailed multi-tasking (as is the life of a mom, wife, dog owner, sole proprietor, networker, developer, designer…I digress already) I strike up a bedroom conversation with my husband of 20 years, Matt, on the very sexy topic of business coaching.  I can’t divulge details, but he made a very astute observation that is so true in any of our endeavors in life, love, business, spirituality…

“I believe that if everybody believes in the plan, the plan will work.”

I HAD to write that down right away.  Wow.  Think about it.

Some examples:

You come up with a mind-blowing, stupendous idea at work but the rest of your co-workers aren’t as enthusiastic as you…will it fly?

Your child offers to wash your car for $150 – she calls it a win-win because she’s learning responsibility…will she get the money?

A president creates a bill that will change the state of the union, but the majority don’t understand it.

You write a book on how to change everyone’s life for the better…the secret to a healthy life…the benefits of a vegan diet…

Whatever “The Plan” is or will do, is dependent upon everyone believing.  There’s still hope.  You just have to believe it and infect others.

Best Thing About Working for Yourself

Worker Bee: Splat

Sometimes the best thing you can do for your business is to learn when to say ‘No thank you’.  You can’t say yes to every opportunity out there.  I can’t join every networking group and still be attentive to my current client base – even if they are not currently paying clients – they still need to be nurtured and not thrown by the wayside like a used piece of gum (I would never litter by throwing gum out the window).

As your own sales force, accounting department, marketing division, chief technical officer and worker bee, you cannot and should not say yes to every opportunity.  WHAT?!  You heard me!

Learn to say no thank you to some things and yes please to others.

Once you’ve reached to point of maximum output as worker bee (chief bread winner), then you can start expanding out by asking (paying) others to assist you.

Put on your own oxygen mask first.  Wait – that sounds like my next blog post!  No thank you – I’ll do that later.  Priorities first.  This hour’s priority is making dinner.

Order What’s Not on the Menu

P1000475

P1000475 (Photo credit: Donovan Kruger)

How?  Just ask.

Got this idea at Cheyenne Grill in Atlanta, GA the other night.  I asked the waitress (ok, it wasn’t me, but I felt like it was me) what she would recommend.  She said: “Try the Deluxe French Dip; it’s made with Prime Rib instead of Ribeye.  It’s $4 more but well worth it.”

How many times do we miss the opportunity to try stuff that’s not on the menu by not asking?

Offer more and expect more.

Special Report: Future Customer Service – The Rise of the Social Customer

If you like graphs better, this is cool! #CobbSM

Dr Jerry A Smith


NewImageDr. Andrew Currah, Social Media Leadership Forum, in conjunction with Natalie Cowen, Head of Brand and Communications at first direct, has just release a excellent report, “Future Customer Service: The Rise of the Social Customer.” The report looks into the role playedby social media within the evolving landscape of customer service.While commissioned by first direct, it is based on the insights of executives, technologists and theoretical experts across the fields of customer service and social media.

The report recommends that leaders in companies need to support the move to social business

  • Make themselves more visible, especially when public crises occur.
  • Provide all employees with the training, tools and authority to engage with customers.
  • Look beyond standard metrics to the value of brand loyalty, advocacy and a sense of community.

Currah explains that building the social enterprise will rely on a combination of cultural,

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PM Applications :: Lesson 12 :: “I have to do WHAT!?”

A big apology goes out to all of the past developers I’ve managed that have had to say this blog title.  Typically we found out that through discussion and review, the request I had made as an estimator just needed some refinement.  (This means you Anthony…am I right? And of course, John, Kenny, TED, Mike, Kathy, Kyle and anyone else…)

a goo cheif

Image via Wikipedia

This lesson discusses organizational culture and structure, then moves into motivation and true leadership abilities…

Organizational Charts Again?!

Define and refine multiple times if needed; Org Charts define who reports to whom and who will receive the pink slip for messing up.  It’s vitally important that each team member fully understands how they fit into an organization.

When there are 2-3 start-up members in a company, typically one has the technical background and the other, financial…the ultimate third exhibits a strong sales mentality, but as a company grows (adds people), you need more direction and accountability.  Create the chart, edit it as times change, enforce it.  Be aware of multiple reporting relationships; a matrix organizational structure may temporarily exist for very important activities with a time sensitive schedule.

As a project manager you need to recognize the difference between the following:

  • Authority; right to act – be sure you have this before starting a project
  • Responsibility; obligation to act – does everyone know their role?
  • Accountability; being liable for ones actions
  • Power; ability to act without necessarily having a right to act (see ‘norms’)

Org Charts may also help you recognize the line to staff relationship and whether the above terms relate to centralization or decentralization of duties.  Dig it out!  Know the procedures; know who has authority vs power and to whom you can delegate tasks.  In my opinion, in most cases, the manager is still accountable and responsible for the final product/service – if proper authority was provided.

“The Parity Principle states that authority and responsibility go hand in hand to effectively perform a task.” (taken directly from Lesson 12 of this KSU PM Applications class)

Organizational Culture

In this PM Applications course at KSU, it is defined in the lesson as being ‘similar to personality’.  I like that explanation; personality reflects years of experience and interpretation of those experiences based on the values with which you were raised.  Values build beliefs which are influenced by assumptions which are built on perceptions and norms.  It’s all intertwined.

Values are what we hold as our inner mantra.  Companies should have mission statements that reflect its values.

Beliefs can be true or not; they are sown through the mind.  Be sure to not create false beliefs; this is the rumor mill.

Assumptions are not based on objectivity and can get out of hand.  See beliefs.

Perceptions are formed from the surrounding environment and create paradigms.

Norms are standards behaviors formed over time by people (including management).

Behaviors are the physical outcome of the above.

ALL of these must be recognized before starting a project.  Sometimes we are not lucky enough to have that leisure and need to ferret this out during a project.

Delegation

I have one belief here.  Delegate to those who will benefit from responsibility and be willing to let go.  I have never been let down.

Motivation

How to direct people towards a goal – willingly.  A very interesting topic that cannot be mastered in a day or during a project or whatever because projects and environments change as do the stressors experienced by people when they leave the office.  Main idea here it to find that motivation factor for your team as well as for each individual.

Remember these motivational theories?

  • Reward/Punishment
  • Maslow’s Hierarchy – physiological needs first…
  • Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory – don’t let the A/C fail…(satisfiers vs dissatisfiers)

From leading a Boy Scout troop to leading a NASA expedition – all require the Project Manager (or Boy Scout Leader) to be vigilant in determining the Organizational Culture, Motivational Factors and the Structure of Control.

per Zemanta; trying this out for the first time:
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PM Applications :: Lesson 11 :: Change Sucks

For some of you (and sometimes ‘us’), change is daunting.  We’ve always done it this way and it works…why change it?!  Maybe you don’t need to change it, maybe you just need to document and prove why it works if you’re that confident.  See previous chapters on controls and reporting.

If ‘it’ doesn’t work all the time, then perhaps it’s time for a little shake-up.  Before using the blender, review your ingredients.  People.  (Ok, so ‘blending’ and ‘people’ is a bad analogy, but let’s go with this for a minute or so…)

Many places today are becoming more informal in dealing with the customers; removing the dry rhetoric with lively, personal dialogue.  With the onslaught of Social Media venues out there, it’s getting more and more important to change the old way of doing things.  Not only do you need phone service representatives (or if you’re really advanced and have the budget, Live Chats are awesome too), but you also need Social Media Representatives.  But I digress…

The Social Media spin is my part, not the KSU class.  The PM Applications class speaks more generally; let’s take a step up from specifics and just discuss team dynamics.

I DO

Innately, we all want to belong.  Team dynamics is no different. There are two general work groups: formal and informal.  Formal, being, well…I won’t say it…by the book.  It is the organizational structure approved and ordained by management.  Then there’s the informal group; the one you can’t control as a manager – and sometimes it’s better not to.  Informal groups speak to the individual’s inner child – finding common interest and goals with others.

Remove the Black Tie

Informal groups create norms for others to follow (like going for happy hour every Friday or avoiding team meetings…they could go positive or negative).  Think back to your teenage years…informal groups ruled your life.

Informal groups also enhance togetherness; it’s your job as a project manager to help foster that cohesiveness for the good of the company goal.  It doesn’t mean forcing the company norm down their throats; it means nurturing the group’s nature to do good.  If it’s not inherently good, you may have to bring out your negotiation (or firing) skills.

DodgeBall Team Selection

Ok, so the team has been selected but they haven’t had a chance yet to discover each other’s strengths.  Each team – no matter what industry, sport, knitting league or project – goes through stages.

Start :: What the heck have I gotten myself into?!

Oppose :: What the heck do I have to do and why?!

Advance :: Oh! NOW I get it!

Perform :: Dang, this is fun, why didn’t we do this sooner?!

SOAP … lol … abridged definitions for those tired of reading this blog.

Who Moved My Cheese?

Anyone who recognizes this title, may have already read this book on change management. It’s short and applicable.  Administering change is a big deal.  Project Managers need to effectively and collectively (with the team) identify and carry out change management.

There are so many barriers to change from fear of the unknown, to resentment to ego trips.  To overcome resistance, involve the team and listen to them; they’re resistance may be justified.  Allow for settling, thoroughly explain (NOT: ‘because I said so’) and be supportive.

Lastly, be prepared to let go of some responsibilities and empower your employees to take charge – be smart, don’t pick the employee who comes in late every day, surfs Facebook for 2hrs a day and invokes negativity in the company (unless you believe empowering will absolutely bring this person around – IF they have the skillset and desire)…

Resources:

Basic Context for Organizational Change– see paragraph on General Guidelines to Organizational-Wide Change

Stages of Team Development – Forming, Storming….etc