Teamwork!

    By: Tom Goebel, Director of Communications, PMI Houston Chapter

    In the movie “The Untouchables”, the Al Capone character gives an inspiring speech to his team of gangster lieutenants gathered at a meeting in Prohibition-era Chicago. Suffice to say, the dinner doesn’t end well for one of the capos – the one who didn’t embrace teamwork!

    How do you, a Project Manager, avoid ending up (figuratively, anyway) like that unfortunate dinner guest? There are things that you can do to beef up your ability to inspire and work with your teammates. Here are some suggestions.

    At the top of any discussion about working with other people is communication. It should be said that real communication involves as much – maybe more – listening than talking. After all, when you’re talking you already know the subject matter, right? By listening to your teammates, you gain insights into not only how they work but how they innovate and create. For most people, external input is probably responsible for more good ideas than internal input. Developing an effective communication strategy and style is the best way for you to maximize that benefit.

    Leadership is critical in a team environment. Of course, somebody has to lead the effort. But other forms of leadership can also emerge. As individual team members become more assertive and gain confidence in their contributions, they begin to exercise their own leadership through influence. The primary leader’s responsibility is to help members develop these skills through encouragement and mentorship, and also by providing a platform.

    Recognition of members’ strengths and weaknesses is an important step in defining roles and allocating tasks. It also helps the leader identify motivators so that he or she knows how to incentivize the team. People perform for a variety of reasons. Chief among them is the sense of contribution and recognition for said contribution.

    When a team optimizes input from one of the individuals, all stakeholders win!

    Another key factor is organization. Primarily, this means that goals and deliverables should be established early and reiterated often. Other organizational elements follow scheduling and milestones, task allocation, risk management, stakeholder management, and cost control. All of these Project Management functions depend on the organization of the team and the project parts.

    Finally, members of the team need to achieve two goals. The first is to become fearless in sharing ideas and concepts. Fearlessness leads to assertiveness, which in turn leads to contribution and influence. This trend comes full circle to feed the fearlessness. Individual strengths begin to emerge and contribute to the fabric of the team. The second goal is to cultivate an open mind. In the project world, this is easier said than done. Everyone enters a project with preconceived notions about deliverables and how to achieve them. In reality, maintaining an open mind can result in a change in perception of deliverables/goals. More importantly, an open mind almost always unlocks new opportunities for solution development and implementation.

    Remember that even though there is no “I” in “teamwork”, there is a “me”. It’s important to train the “me” in how to perform productively with the rest of the team.

    December 2018 - MiniBio Series: Gloria (Hudson) Archer, MBA, PMP, PROSCI, ITIL

    MiniBio Series

    Gloria (Hudson) Archer, MBA, PMP, PROSCI, ITIL

    Managing Partner – Evolvsys, LLC

    Tell us a little about yourself!

    I am a proud native Houstonian who has served the oil & gas sector for 15+ years within Audit, Supply Chain, and IT functions. I began my corporate career at Halliburton Company where I earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Houston Downtown (while working full-time as a single Mother) and earned an MBA from the University of Houston Victoria, cum laude.

    What fuels my purpose is connecting with people from various backgrounds of life and helping them to evolve into their fullest potential!

     

    How long have you been working in Project Management and what's your current professional position?

    As an Organizational Change Management (OCM) Subject Matter Expert, I have been providing services within the Project Management realm for over a decade now, primarily within digital and/or IT transformation projects. Today, I am the Founder and Managing Partner of Evolvsys, a local consultancy that provides coaching, workshops, and OCM services for business transformation projects.

     

    How long have you been involved with the Houston PMI® Chapter and in what capacities?

    I have been involved with the Houston PMI® Chapter for nearly 6 years in numerous capacities including serving as a Public Relations Team Member, Director of Networking, speaker for the Annual Houston PMI® Chapter conference, and most recently 2018 Election Committee Member.

    In each capacity, I have supported the vision and strategic objectives of the function and overall Houston PMI® Chapter.

     

    What are the biggest benefits you’ve realized from volunteering at PMIH?

    The biggest benefits I have gained as a PMIH volunteer include being mentored by senior leaders from different industries, and also having the ability to lead and develop others in cross-sector team environments.

    As a former Adjunct Project Management Professor at Houston Community College (HCC), I would always encourage my students to join PMIH as a key organization for advancing their project management network, knowledge, and skills.

     

    Describe the most interesting/challenging/exciting project you've ever been involved with.

    There are two projects that equally tie for this spot including the implementation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for a global IT service desk platform, and a cloud-based ERP implementation. What was most challenging and interesting about both of these projects was customizing a strategy to ensure that users were equipped to utilize the new technologies before, once, and after they became available. I was truly excited when the clients realized that having this end-user adoption strategy was not a nice to have - but a must have for the project’s return on investment to be actualized.

     

    Feel free to add any other work or personal tidbits you think would be an interesting add.

    From a work perspective, evolving from an employee into a business owner today has been one of the most rewarding peaks of my professional career. It has provided the work environment of continuous growth and development by meeting unique challenges with appropriate solutions – it’s where I thrive best!

    When I am not at work, I most enjoy spending time with my Family, friends, and cooking up something nice and interesting in the kitchen! You should ask my husband and son about my salmon, egg, and avocado breakfast tacos – they are “delish” and made with almond flour tortillas! Well, our 2 daughters in college may say something different! (wink)