How to Drive for Results at Work

There is a tangible difference between managing the budget, scope and schedule of your project, also known as the “triple constraint,” and proactively motivating and encouraging your team.  Once you learn how to drive for results at work, you will inspire your team members to do the same.  The goal here is to become a visionary and encourage your team to be successful throughout the project life cycle.

Shift the Focus

As a Project Management Professional, we are taught that a Project is a “temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product or service,” and we work hard while focusing on driving our teams to create a product or service on time, within budget and on scope.  However, driving for results, or driving to create value for internal and external stakeholders, requires a shift in focus from product or serive creation to value creation. For example, consider the following:

  • What business value does the product or deliverable create for the organization? How does this project tie into the corporation’s broader goals and strategic objectives?

First, let’s define business value.  This can be quantified by a market leader who broadens the customer base or one who enhances services for the client.  Business value can be created for internal or external stakeholders.  Typically the business value that the project is expected to achieve is determined during the project initiation phase.  Understand this critical project characteristic so that you can ensure that the business value objectives are achieved.  As you can see, this is a paradigm shift from the standard triple constraint that most PMs are accustomed to focusing on.

A PM with a visionary mindset can sit in the boardroom and communicate with other key stakeholders whose focus is also strategic and far-reaching.

Communicate to Engage

Effective communication between PMO, Senior Management and Business Owners will drive strategic change throughout the organization. PMs often think about communication within the silo of a single project or program. However, if a PM can foster communication across the company’s senior leadership, then the organization’s strategic objectives will remain the focus and stay at the forefront of everyone’s mind throughout daily operation and management.

With this enhanced communication, an effective PM will understand the organizational goals from a variety of perspectives, and then bring the discussion back to the team and articulate the company’s vision in a clear and conscise way.

Establish an Environment of Corporate Success

After you shift your focus to the long term and broader corporate vision, and communicate with key internal stakeholders, you will begin to establish a successful environment for your team. This environment will be one where the team understands what you expect of them, how these expectations align with the vision and objectives of the Project or Program, and how this vision reflects the overall company strategy.

One of the most common frustrations that team members express about Project Management is the lack of communication about the “why” behind the direction. It is important for PMs to exemplify supportive versus directive and top-down behaviors, by addressing the concerns and questions of all team members, and by providing clear direction, while listening actively to verbal and non-verbal communication.

How does this advice compare with your day to day experiences? Please comment below!

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  1. Very good/helpful info from inside the mind of a successful Program Manager. The info is broken down in a nice, concise manner that flows well and is easy to follow.

  2. Thank you, I am reminded of the importance of being a persuading leader rather than just a manager for a project. But how do you deal with thick-faced co-workers who do not want to improve? That even if practice leadership approach to drive results, they remain a pain in the neck of the organization?

    • Hi Gomer, Thank you for your thoughtful comment!  I agree that it is important to be a leader, and more than a manager to your team.

      Coworkers who do not want to improve can be quite the challenge to overcome.  It often helps for me to understand the root cause of their lack of desire to change:

      1) if it’s because they’re unaware that others think they need to change – pointing out a specific “mistake” where they could have addressed a situation differently may expose them to a need for change in a future, similar situation.

      2) if they are completely resistant to changing, it may be worthwhile to speak with the other members of the team with whom they’re interfacing.  As you mentioned, the rest of the organization needs to move forward and succeed, and if that means that other team members need to (temporarily) flex their working style, they may do that in order to achieve a specific objective.

      I hope this helps! All the best.

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