Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Getting Things Done in 3 Leadership Moves

Christian Stambouli
Getting Things Done in 3 Leadership moves

Relationships are central to everything we do. As social beings, we rely on our relationships with family, friends, colleagues, and community to take care of all our basic needs, whether for entertainment, building and growing a business, or having safety and security. We connect with people we trust and value to help us take care of issues we could not possibly take care of on our own.

In the domain of managing projects, when we step away from the tools, processes, and techniques and look at the big picture, we find that relationships and the people we regularly interact with are the determining factor in getting things done. They are a fundamental factor in the success or failure of any initiative.

Managers of projects often get caught up in the demands of the process, which dictates documenting, informing stakeholders, and constantly keeping track of progress, resource allocation, and budgets among other things. They closely monitor the triple constraints of time, cost, and scope as the key determinants of success or failure.

Their management activities turn into automatic behaviors and actions they perform as yet another task to be completed and scratched off the list. In their quest for efficiency and speed, they unknowingly develop blindness to underlying problems that more often than not are rooted in dysfunctional relationships and people.

If you are leading a large project, you are dealing with not only so many moving parts, but also so many relationships that you are guaranteed unexpected breakdowns that can be avoided or at least forecasted. So, how do you go about overcoming this blindness to underlying dysfunctional relationships for the sake of getting things done promptly and productively?

I offer you the three leadership moves that I have learned, utilized, and refined throughout my career. I applied them in many contexts and cultures. They work because they focus on the determining factor in getting things done. They focus not the technicalities of the job, but the relationships and the people we regularly interact with.

1. Do not assume the people you are dealing with will automatically understand what you want.

What you are trying to convey in your communication must be clarified, reiterated, and confirmed for others to naturally align with the purposes of successfully fulfilling the project. If you assume, for instance, that just submitting a report or broadcasting status information to a large group of stakeholders is sufficient to qualify as having communicated, then you are guaranteeing unexpected breakdowns that could be avoided. The key here is to replace this broadcast-and-forget sense of completion with the responsibility of seeing your communication through to your recipient confirming they understand your communication or request.

2. Truly lead your followers by demonstrating your commitment to project objectives and taking full responsibility for the often-difficult path you are asking them to follow.

John C. Maxwell, the leadership guru, says: “Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” To influence others, you need to see them, really see them as they are and be curious about their challenges, needs, and concerns. You must be in communication to earn their trust and dedication to overcome challenges along the way. You must speak to them to influence them in a way that they willingly and wholeheartedly dedicate their efforts to performing their part at the best of their abilities. 

3. Develop dedicated individuals who no longer act like indifferent automatons performing their duties, from nine to five, with little sense of meaning or purpose for their work.

When we shift from a traditional command-and-control leadership approach to one of building true relationships of trust and common purpose, teams become more cohesive and collaborative, where ideally everyone participates fully in reaching the common goals that define the success of the project.

As a project manager, you can adopt this move to clearly determine the who’s who on your projects and build relationships in a way that enhances their capacity to influence stakeholders, minimize team dysfunction, and be prepared for potential conflicts that are inevitable and a natural result of constant change.

All three leadership moves to get things done capture the character of intentional communication, a superpower of leadership that is necessary for managers who want to make themselves worthy of leadership. Without it, you are committing to being an ordinary, run-of-the mill project manager hoping to develop influence one day.

I developed a self-study, video course on the subject, The Intentional Communication Course. It is designed for you to pick up and work through at your own pace. But more importantly, the course delivery is designed to help you actively and immediately apply what you’re learning. I must warn you though, it is not a good format for spectators, but an excellent one for action-oriented individuals. You can get a free sneak peek of the course to vet it for yourself here.

If you want to improve the chances of success of your digital initiative, we can help.

Ukemi Way has developed unique and effective framework models for Collaboration, Communication, and Outcome Orientation designed specifically for technology teams.

Our 6-week Collaboration Excellence Intensive helps you build that tier 1 backbone of collaboration. Or you can try our Do-It-Yourself Learning Modules for the self-directed individual performer.

How will you improve on collaboration and performance of your team?

What kind of challenges are you having and how has this blog helped you find solutions? 

Christian Stambouli / Author & Digital Transformation Leader

"Success in the 21st century belongs to individuals and organizations that tap into under-utilized human qualities that no machine or algorithm can replicate."

Christian is the Founder of Ukemi Way and author of The Ukemi Way, 7 Key Practices for High Performance Project Management and Leadership in Turbulent Times. Christian has over 25 years leading teams on technology projects and digital transformation initiatives. He has provided project management and management consulting services in Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East in many industries. He Holds a Masters Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and has over 15 years of practice in Ontological philosophy and Leadership development.


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