There is a central theme running through my Project Leadership Thoughts: it is impossible to look at a project as an isolated entity. It’s about people and interactions. And interactions happen throughout the entire social network. Every interaction effects another one.
What does this mean for you, as a professional?
You have to work on your own stuff and you have to master skills before you can help your team.
You have to master three Spaces of the network: you, your professional network and your project.
Mastering Your Personal Space
If you are communicating clearly, without fear of expression and with respect for the conversation partner, under all circumstances, you have truly mastered you own personal space. Within your space you get to know what you are about, what your thing is and how to shift the mental models of your mind.
Mastering Your Reputation Space
The topic of this blog is running projects. The network that knows about you in this context is your Reputation Space. You can view this as your professional network, your community of practice or just your local office.
Your Reputation Space is your training ground for professional interaction. You practice communication skills, you get knowledge and provide knowledge back to your network. You use skills from your personal space to participate, and you use insights provided by the interaction to enhance your personal skills.
While doing this, you build your reputation (hence the name). This reputation becomes important as it is used in communication with people that don’t know you, or hardly. Reputation is used to “create trust”. Reputation is used to get an idea about what you are about. As creating an audience is also a form of self-actualization, there is a direct link to the Personal Space.
Mastering Your Project Space
This is the area of Project Leadership. The elements of (my version of) Project Leadership are:
- Goals and Means on individual, project and organizational level
- Alignment of goals and means on all levels by communication
A project has a goal, an objective. This is part of the larger context of the goals of the organization.
Individuals have goals, ambitions, interests. If peoples goals are met, they work happy; if not, they don’t.
Job for the Project leader is to align the goals on all levels. Keep on tweaking and adjusting. Make sure everyone understands. Make sure they are all in balance.
Means are the strategies to reach the goal. This is the set of rituals, artifacts and values shared among the group, the organization and individual. The culture.
The culture can be used to create a strong group; it can be in conflict with the dominant structure.
Job for the Project leader is to align the means on all levels for maximal effectiveness. Balancing deviance with compliance. Making sure there are rules of engagement the entire team uses.
You think that if you are dropped into foreign territory like this, you would get a lot of equipment.
You get your Swiss Army knife: communication.
If you would like to know more, please feel free to download my ebook “Project Shrink: Linear Edition“.