READ TIME: 5 minutes
Back in June 2018, I wrote an article laying out ten characteristics every successful project manager possesses. As the questions and comments rolled in, I began wondering if I should dive a little deeper into each characteristic to show how to become better in each.
The result is a ten-week article series starting this week. The first characteristic I listed was “believe that I will figure it out.” Here is what I originally wrote:
“One characteristic I always admired about an old boss was no matter what the problem was, no matter time of day it was, and no matter who was asking, his response to a problem was ‘we always do.’
While he did not have the solution readily available, he knew as time went on, he would develop a strategy to accomplish the task. He knew there was a team of talented individuals surrounding him, and he could rely on them for help.
This attitude led to one of the most profitable divisions in the company.”
Now, let’s figure out how to become better at believing you got this.
- Envision the perfect scenario
This scenario is the plan from the start. You have the end goal and work your way backward. Should everything go correctly, this is how it will look and feel. If you cannot imagine it, your belief in figuring it out dwindles.
The combination of cold weather and sprinkler systems does not bode well. The systems must be blown out so the pipes do not freeze and break. Right now, our organization is coordinating 93 properties to have their sprinkler systems cleared.
We have a week to do so. The belief this will work is a strong driver of grouping properties together and scheduling them about an hour apart. Of course, it will not be perfect but envisioning the technician casually making his way around a neighborhood blowing out sprinkler systems keeps the dream alive.
- Realize there are no accidents.
Every thought and action have reactions. There is a reason it happens. Coincidence is rare. Why isn’t someone answering your phone calls? Why doesn’t a contractor want to go to this area for work? This aspect includes ‘everything happens for a reason.’
Taking this perspective can be comforting. You have more control in this instance. Because you zigged when you should have zagged, now a problem arises. You being the cause of the problem means you can be the cause of the solution. This control allows your belief to be stronger.
- Rationalize your decision
Think of rationalization as healing for your decision making soul. Without it, every plan may seem like a throw it at the wall and see if it sticks. Rationalizing puts all of the data and information together to agree on a solution. If it doesn’t work, you have a rationale as to why you made the decision.
Also, rationalization makes you work through a process of collecting data, looking at potential outcomes, and weighing risks. These three steps help to build confidence in future decisions and a belief this time it is going to work.
- Trust your knowledge
The eyes in which you view the world are an important part of figuring issues out. You may have been through a similar issue that another project manager is going through. Because you handled it differently or saw an opportunity that this person does not, you can assist him or her with the solution. Something they may have never thought about because your viewpoints differ.
You are in your current position for a reason. You have the skills and knowledge to lead and direct. No good leader thinks his or her plan will fail from the start. There always exists an initial belief in the direction of the plan. Trust your knowledge to increase your belief.
- If in doubt, leave it out
Trust your gut instinct. Sometimes there is not a reason or rationalization, but you just know it is not right. If you do this, it will start a chain reaction causing more pain than relief. Doing nothing is an underrated action. Sometimes, it is the only one that makes sense. Plan for the reaction.
And guess what? If you leave it out this time and it looks like you should not have, put it back in for the second go around. There is always room to change and grow. Leaving it out the first time does not mean it is gone forever.
These five tips will help improve your belief in the action. Using one of them can help, but all five in conjunction will show massive improvements. Positive, compelling action is the goal with this deep dive series into the characteristics of a successful project manager.
Incremental changes are fine, but massive strides forward are the goal. If you find yourself not believing in implementation or a change, see which of these five tips you are missing. Supplant your knowledge into the missing space.
If you find the decision is without rationale, apply some rationality to the situation. What if the decision maker does not know to make the correct decision? Impart some of your knowledge to assist.
As your belief in solving problems gains strength, so will your talent as a project manager. Buy in will be created throughout your team and organization. Because of your belief, others will believe making solutions come to life.