Co-creating Project Leadership Information

In January through February 2007, we are running an experiment to see how blog discussion can be used as a learning resource for people engaged in project team work and leadership. You are invited to join in a conversation about these topics. We hope this will be a simple way of supporting your own on-going project work, and even your personal development.

The Long-list of leadership topics

We have assembled a starting list of questions that we have collected from students attending assorted courses on leadership and project management. We want to use these to promote conversations grounded in on-going project experiences.

1 Remember the fat lady
We are in deep trouble as a project team. What do we do if the team believes there is no way to reach its project objectives?

2 Basic Assumption groups
What to do when the group becomes over-concerned with the damaging impact of clients, leaders, slackers, and other people seen as the main barriers to team success?

3 Using Psychological profiles sensibly
How might we use knowledge of psychological typologies to support team effectiveness?

4 Search widely, choose wisely
How can we go beyond the obvious and first ideas in our team discussions?

5 Working to a difficult brief
What can you do if you are given a difficult or unreasonable project brief?

6 Multi-tasking (independent versus inter-dependence)
How can you divide up the work among team members?

7 Conflict resolution
Are you dealing with conflict in the project as effectively as you could?

8 On team leadership
What sort of leader (or leaders) should your team have?

9 What can be done if your team members are poor at listening to each other?

10 Add your own questions to the list

Joining the conversation

You can join in the discussion by responding in the ‘comments’ box at the end of this post, saying which question or questions on the long list would interest you most, and why. Just use question number and short title in your reply. You may also want at mention any specific angle, perhaps from your current project, that you would like covered in any future discussion. Please avoid providing information that might be of commercial sensitivity to your organization.

Why join in?
Because a range of experienced project leaders will take part in the experiment. This means that it is an excellent resource for anyone who is interested in projects and project leadership to ask and get answers to questions on these topics. We will take into account the comments posted as we prepare future postings in the next two months. This again, makes participation beneficial and influential.

We will also be offering incentives for contributors considered to have been particularly influential through their comments (details of this to be announced before the end of January).

6 Responses to Co-creating Project Leadership Information

  1. 5Forces says:

    We are most interested in the following topics:

    5 Working to a difficult brief
    What can you do if you are given a difficult or unreasonable project brief?

    8 On team leadership
    What sort of leader (or leaders) should your team have?

  2. Tudor says:

    I’ll take up these more broadly. My ideas on 5 (without more context) is to take the old adage ‘all things are negotiable’. The trick is to find what’s necessary, what’s important, and what can be changed easily.
    On 8. To get started. Discuss it. Remember you can have different leaders for different things. Above all, for the leader and others – check you really have licence to lead (psychological contract). This means there is a bit of a process of getting consent.
    I’m a believer in trust-based leaderhship (whih I can go more into). The principle is leading by invitation not edict. This works well for IB groups.

  3. Financial Times says:

    4. Search widely, choose wisely

    This is the most interested and also difficult one to me
    Any ideas?

  4. Tudor says:

    Dear ‘FT’. Tis is one of the most interesting questions for me, too. I will post a page dealing with the question. My favoured method takes the complex situation about the project and as an individual (you) or your group, try to find the most important goal of the project from the viewpoint of the sponsor. It should be possible to state an objective as a ‘How to’. You become more skilled with practice. The How To indicates what the Sponsor would like you to achieve. (How to find the size of clinical disposables in Europe; How to market the company’s products in a new region; etc etc).
    Again, working as a team, or alone, you can do this in two steps.
    Step one. ‘Map the project’ – put down all the information you have on a flipchart.
    Step two. List ALL ‘How To’ suggested by the information. Include wishful ones (what we would really like to achieve is …HOW TO). You should be able to get at least twenty HOW Tos if you AVOID self-criticism. This is the SEARCH WIDELY stage.
    To CHOSE WISELY you use your team, feedback from your Sponser, etc etc .

    The process should suggest the ‘obvious’ goal, and perhaps a more ‘creative’ one (surprising, but after consideration, promising).

    I welcome more enquiries (best AFTER you have carried out a trial of the process on your project. Good Luck

  5. susan moger says:

    Dear FT,

    Many thanks for the question, which goes to the heart of the issue about coming up with new ideas. To many people, a search process before proceeding too far with your project seems to be wasting time, but in fact it means that you can save time later and it really is necessary if you are going to have good quality recommendations to make for your project sponsor.

    I have worked with Tudor for many years and know the value of his recommendations. The key is often NOT TO EVALUATE suggestions whilst you are in the search stage which can be hard when you feel that you are under time pressure. In fact it gives you a good set of alternatives to think about and is absolutely fundamental to ‘thinking outside the box’.

    Do try the process that Tudor suggested aad I too would be very interested to see the outcome.

    good luck

    Susan Moger
    Senior Fellow in Leadership
    Manchester Business School

    c

  6. Tudor says:

    Susan reminded me of another tip for getting better ideas. For this, you put special effort into ideas you don’t like. Ask ‘what’s good about it?’ and try encouraging others to do the same.

    It’s particularly useful if everyone else thinks that the idea is crazy. I remember Susan giving several real-life examples of ‘crazy’ ideas that became great winners eventually.

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