Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Project Manager Project

Project managers who attend our course in TGI Teamability™ come from diverse organizations in all parts of the world. What they have in common is the desire to learn new and better ways to deal with some of the challenges that are intrinsic to Project Management, which include:
-       having a great deal of responsibility, and often not nearly enough authority to drive effective performance
-       working with cross-functional teams in environments where the various functions represented are at odds
-       dealing with people who have been assigned to their team, but who are not necessarily prepared for – or supportive of – the mission, or the job responsibilities that they encounter

But PMs also have the ability to ask questions and learn new applications, so I was delighted when I received a transcript of recently asked questions.

I’m going to feature some of the questions that were especially energizing in this and future blogs, including thoughts on how PMs can empower themselves to organize the people, processes, and controls that will enable them to deliver successful projects, by reducing stress, developing team synergy, and improving overall team performance.

Q: How do we get 100% true team players? Doesn't it depend on the company, the culture, the favoritism levels, number of years in the company, true diversity levels, business leaders' professional training levels, and the big one - communication - because being a good communicator doesn't mean you are a good team player?

A: Having 100% true team players is a beautiful goal, and Teamability provides the means to get there – a state that we call ‘Coherent Human Infrastructure’ (CHI). However, because of the various obstacles you mentioned, CHI is very likely to be a long-term effort. So instead, let’s focus on the ways that Teamability can help Project Managers achieve a critically important near-term goal: working with team members more effectively, helping them collaborate more readily, and producing the kind of business results that will raise the value and visibility of successful teaming.

Here are three steps in that direction:
First, for each person on the team, try to align job responsibilities with the person’s Role (as identified by Teamability). Since many people spend every day doing work that doesn’t satisfy (or even connect with) their inner need to serve a specific type of organization need,  any work that actually DOES fulfill that desire will quickly be perceived as exciting and invigorating.

Second, you want to make sure that people who will be encountering the most resistance, tackling the hardest problems, and/or feeling the most time pressure, are also the most Coherent members of the team. Less Coherent people can be excellent contributors, and good team-players, but they are also more susceptible to stress – and as we all know, people who are feeling a great deal of stress are generally not at their best. 

Finally – and this can be the easiest or hardest, depending on those culture and favoritism factors you mentioned – you need to promote a culture of respect, trust, and belief in working together as a team. This effort will be greatly enhanced through principles of Role-respect, and Role-recognition – which are discussed in the basic 4-hour course, and are covered in greater detail in advanced CHI course. (Information about these courses is available at

This blog was inspired by Luma Ousta of pduOTD (which stands for PDU of the day) services Project Managers, Business Analysts, and Agile Practitioners world wide. Their website launched  Jan 1 2011 and they have experienced explosive growth since 'going Live', having welcomed visitors from over 170 countries. The basic TGI course, which is given free of charge, provides PMPs with 4 hours of Category B credit.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this post. I found it both informative and helpful. I like how you address finding out what motivates people to join in the team effort. I am a project manager from New Jersey and sometimes struggle with that. However, I have been using this great project manager software and it has really enhanced my organization and communication.