Sharing a Personal Success – Diversity For Business Award

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Yesterday I was honored with the Diversity for Business Award by the Minneapolis St.Paul Business Journal. Had my family with me and both Amita and Manas had a blast. It was inspiring and exciting to meet the other honorees and listen to their wonderful stories of success. Check out the Diversity feature in the latest edition of the Minneapolis / St.Paul Business Journal.

As Stephen Covey says, “Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.” Seek out diversity in your work, life, teams, ideas and perspectives.

Samir

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Detox Your Status Meetings With This

Detox

As project managers we at least have one status meeting a week with our teams. Typical length of the status meeting is one hour, though recently I have seen shorter status meetings.

Our days have become hectic, and you are lucky  if you have just one project to manage, most project mangers juggle with at least three or four projects. Focus, warm ups, stretching, are things we do at gyms, and during our workouts. So why would we not start with a warm up at our meetings. Maybe some of you already do a warm up – how was your weekend? Share one experience from this week, or something similar.

Here’s a status meeting detox idea for you. For the first five minutes of your status meeting, try meditating with your team. Just ask everyone to sit straight in their chairs, arms resting on their sides and eyes closed. You can even play some light meditative music. Here’s a sample. As a project manager you watch the time and make sure your team does not fall asleep. Set up a 5 minute alarm on your smartphone. Just sit there, eyes closed, listening to the music in the background and focus on your project. Mentally think about each team member, how can I help, what are our roadblocks today, how can we solve them. Closing your eyes, brings the entire focus inwards, watch your thoughts. At the end of five minutes – which will seem an eternity in the beginning – you will feel calmer, fresh and rejuvenated to tackle your project.

If you are unsure how it will work, try it yourself first. Detox your team, and reset your mind for a successful project outcome. Along the way you may find that you detoxed more than just your project. Good luck.

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A Klout Score for Project Managers

The one thing that most project managers lack is authority. Their team members don’t report to them, the vendors contract with the functional executives and project sponsors can shift priorities frequently.

But they do have one thing in their arsenal that they can use effectively to drive project success. And that is INFLUENCE.

According Klout,

“Influence is the ability to drive action. When you share something in real life or on social media and people respond, that’s influence.”

The Klout Score in the online world today is a number between 1 and 100 that represents your influence. Now wouldn’t it be wonderful if we can assign a number to projects managers on their ability to influence. Just take a look at the Klout Scores of these well known people:

Barack Obama: 99

Lady Gaga: 94

Justin Bieber: 92

Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg: 85

My Klout Score is 49. The Klout Score measures your online influence. But wouldn’t it be great if say a project manager has his or her own PM Klout Score. It would indicate their level of skill, ability to influence others, an indication of their thought leadership, how others think of their skills as project managers and their passion for the discipline.

I know you are thinking how would we arrive at such a Score? Who would create a system to collect, monitor and administer it? Just like the three credit bureaus provide us our credit scores, so would an agency or maybe even a company can help maintain the PM Klout Score. What you do and what others think about you is a better system to gauge project management competency. This could be a unifying concept across the project management associations like PMI, IPMA, IEEE and American Management Association, all of whom are trying to certify project managers. And the great thing about such a score is that it could change over time. But beware it also has the potential to corrupt people’s behavior. Every coin has two sides after all.

It’s a dream today, maybe some day we will wake up and find  a PM Klout Score on our project management resume.

If you liked what you read, share it, like it, comment on it and follow my blog. (It will help me improve my Klout Score for now. :) )

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Why You Don’t Need Meeting Minutes In These 3 Instances

As a project manager, how many times are you responsible for writing and distributing meeting minutes? Most of the time right? In fact some project managers are so obsessed with jotting down meeting minutes they miss out on the face to face interaction that a meeting provides.

So today I wanted to point out three instances when you can free yourselves from taking any meeting notes.

#1: When there are fewer than 4 people in a meeting.

Three people in a meeting and yet you need to take notes? Why? Can’t each team member write down their own to-dos or action items? As a project manager you are better off getting alignment at these kind of meetings.

#2: When you have the complete trust of your team.

I have heard many state,” You better take that down in writing, because you never know when you will need it.”  If you don’t trust your team members, then you better do everything like taking down detail notes to save your ass later. But if you start out with a foundation of trust, you know that your team members will never play this trick on you. Work on building trust among your team, not trying to compensate for the lack of it by note taking.

#3: When you have a real project plan

If you have a great project plan – a plan that identifies deliverables, a plan that assigns responsibilities, a plan that is updated frequently as things change, a plan that everyone believes in, and a plan that you can track to without working on weekends. Think about it, we spend so much time planning as project managers, give you team the freedom to execute, freedom to decide the path they want to take and not micro manage.

So, if you have a great project plan and the complete trust of your team and there are less than four people in a meeting, don’ t even bother with meeting notes.

Let’s go green with our digital footprint and ask ourselves the real purpose behind writing meeting notes. Hope this was useful to you.

P.S. Here are some other posts about meetings that you may like:

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