Project Practitioners > Be Interested In Results

Be Interested In Results

By Chris Cook, PMP

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 trait to show how to become better in each.

The result is a ten-week article series. The seventh characteristic I listed was “be interested in results.” Here is what I originally wrote:

“Be interested in results – until you become completely, unreasonably fixated with only getting results, you will fall short of achieving what you desire. Quit patting yourself on the back for trying, and save your rewards and accolades for actual accomplishment.

Drive yourself so that no one else has to. Be hard on yourself and never let yourself off the hook until you get results I stress trusting the process and focusing less on results. However, results are important. If you are married to a broken process, the results you desperately crave will never be realized.

Become undeniable. No one can question the undeniable. If your team is constantly outproducing others, you possess something no one else does. It could be your ability to inspire or outwork everyone. Whatever the separation is, your results make you undeniable.”

Now, let’s figure out how to become better at being interested in results.

 

  1. Garbage In, Garbage Out

Make sure the data is accurate.

A system with faulty data has faulty results. Tracking of a project is critical. Sugar coating becomes a theme when the projects do not have accurate data. Results mean nothing if the numbers mean so little. Does the number on the screen match the number in reality?

In an accounting software, if all expenses are paid through but no revenue is tracked, the negative number becomes alarming. It may show you are $200,000 in the red, but you have an idea you are making money on the job. The garbage data starts to infiltrate your thought process. Do you really know how well the project is doing? Is your optimistic approach helping or hurting you?

The more specific the data becomes, the better your results become. You know which areas of service make you money and which do not. You can start to eliminate the bad business and place more resources into the thriving aspects. Then, the results start to matter. They correlate with reality.

 

  1. Metrics, Metrics, Metrics

Make sure what you are testing and comparing actually needs your attention.

If the data is accurate, make sure what you are testing and tracking is relevant. The coffee budget of the office has nothing to do with the success of the highway project. Also, who cares how much coffee people are drinking? Meaningless metrics start to pile up with an analytical mind. Track what is necessary.

Productions are obvious. Who produces results is the next step. What kind of characteristics are shared among your most productive? Start to drill down into who becomes successful in your office environment. People that work well together often outproduce a group of talented individuals who remain just that, individuals.

Do not be afraid to modify what is important to measure. As you grow or contract, these metrics need to be adjusted. Find a recipe that works then tinker with it. Add a splash of MBA to the mix. Take out a theoretical individual and add a technical team member. Eliminate the artist type of manager to go with a more pragmatic approach. See what works and what does not.

  1. Let the Good Times Roll

Are you noticing people are having fun at work without technically getting any work done? Does that bother you? Make a bridge and get over it (dad joke).

Who cares if Nancy the engineer is FaceTiming her grandson during work hours? If she hands you a finished product by the deadline, let Nancy live a little. Patrick the estimator starts to listen to baseball games on the radio. Every once in a while, you hear a minor cheer knowing his attention is elsewhere. Let the man enjoy his baseball.

Micromanaging and eliminating social media and personal calls only make people mad and frustrated. Those feelings lead to lack of production. No one wants to work for someone who will not let them talk to their parents or spouse. The more you try to eliminate it, the more attention will be given to the workarounds to your system. They will listen or watch on their phones instead of computers.

As BB King so eloquently stated, “Let The Good Times Roll.”

 

Takeaways

So often, the process is the focus. Process, process, process. This word haunts me at night. Anyone who says stick to the process does not have one. No one talks about a winning process using the word over and over again. They may say, “Trust the process” then move on to how the process works and explain what it is.

The process is not an answer on how to do something. It is a general statement for lost people. To determine if a process is working, the results are the focus. Reshift your mind towards the results. That does not mean emphasize them over everything. It does mean your process sucks if the results suck.

The results do not have to be world changers either. Any win is a result worth celebrating. The process is working when a new subscriber gets added to your mailing list, or a vendor agrees to lower pricing, or profits increase. If you have been status quo for years, the process needs an adjustment. It is no longer providing the results.

Trust the process, until it starts delivering negative results.



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