Pamela A. Scott

 

Productivity Tips You Need To Know

by Pamela A. Scott

I just got back from three days of workshops led by people who are very successful in their fields.  Here are some words of wisdom that may help you and me reach their level of success.

1. Use a spreadsheet to capture ideas of the moment while you are working on other projects.  This is how it works for Jeanette Cates.  She cuts down on distractions by having a spreadsheet file on her desktop. When she is working on a project and gets a thought about a different project, she flips over to the spreadsheet file and notes the idea.  At the end of the day, she reviews the ideas she captured and plugs them into her schedule.

2. Use spreadsheets to keep your lists on.  One page is your daily to-do lists, another page is your daily tasks, another can be improvements you need to make to the filing system, and another sheet is reserved for expenses.

3. If you do an activity three or more times, automate it. Create a template for that type of report to speed you up the next time you prepare one.  Or go to sites such as rentacoder.com or scriptlance.com and find a software geek who can create a simple program for you to automate the task. Learn More »

Fire, Ready, Aim

by Pamela A. Scott

I was talking with one client this week about the climate in his office. The economic slowdown is having some impact, he said, but they’re still doing business and keeping people billable.

Fire, Ready, Aim“There’s some tension, for sure,” Fred said. “You listen to all the dire media reports and news of layoffs at other firms–people are wary. On top of all that, it doesn’t help when my office manager, Susan, screams at staff when anything goes wrong.”

Say more, I asked.

“Susan’s interpersonal skills are definitely lacking,” Fred said. “She sees things only from the financial side. If a project goes over budget, she lights into the project manager (PM). She really adds to the tension around here.”

Looking at the situation in a little more detail, we realize Susan doesn’t have the same perspective as the PM. She comes from a financial background. She looks at things in black and white—we made money, we lost money.

When they go over-budget on a job, Susan screams at the PM. He or she is the one responsible. And Susan is the one who has to report the bad financial news to the owner. She doesn’t like being in that position, either.

Of course, the PM knows it isn’t that simple. The PM realizes his success depends on the relationship with the client. Sometimes he’ll do something extra to please the client and realize it will hurt the project budget.

At other times, the PM may not have budgeted enough time for tasks in the project.

Regardless of the situation, Susan screams at the PM (which others hear) and huffs back to her office. No communication takes place.

As Fred and I talked, we decided Susan needs some coaching. Her behavior is unprofessional and disruptive. Fred can’t let her continue to get away with it.

Here is the plan for Fred coaching Susan. Learn More »

What’s Wrong With These People?

by Pamela A. Scott

I heard it again today: “What’s wrong with these young people? They want to be project managers right out of college!”

What is Your Career Path?Let’s assume there is really nothing “wrong” with the young people. They have high expectations, and many want the big job right away. That expectation is unrealistic.

It is particularly galling to Baby Boomers who had to work their way up the ladder.

The most important thing you can do to set realistic expectations for new grads is to develop career paths in your organization. You know what they are in your head. Now it’s time to formalize them in writing.

What are the career paths in your business? Typically, you might have the following tracks: technical (never leave the cubicle), project manager, management, business development, and expert.

Along each of those tracks, you have the stages of development or professional levels. In some industries (and apparently in some online games), the levels are apprentice, novice, journeyman, expert, and master. Regardless of what you call them, each level should have criteria that must be met to reach that level. Learn More »

Lessons Learned

by Pamela A. Scott

This month, instead of talking about problem people, I would like to pass along some great practices that are helping some of my clients be successful.

Build Trust by Being a Good ListenerDoug decided he needed to become a better listener. When one of his staff comes into his office needing to talk, Doug asks for a minute to finish what he’s doing. Once he puts that work aside, he turns his full attention on the staffer. The staffer knows Doug is really listening. It’s a sign of respect and goes a long way toward building trust.

Greg wanted to improve his productivity and effectiveness. Now he sets aside time to answer emails that require thought and saves them as drafts. He lets them sit overnight before sending. The overnight break gives him time to think over his responses and change them if needed. This practice also keeps him focused on one task, rather than diverting his attention to answer each email when it arrives.

Jesse recognized that he needed to improve his approach to building relationships with clients. Learn More »

 
 
 
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