Now that the holidays are over, I’ve finally finished flipping through all those catalogs and browsing online sale sites … and moved back into some actual reading! Don’t get me wrong—I love a good online sale as much as the next super-shopper does, but going through Looking Forward, PM Network’s recent article about trends that will impact business and project management in 2014, was a great way to jump back into the reality of the new year.
It’s a great read—insightful and to the point. One interesting new trend highlighted is called “youth quake,” a rather endearing term for four generations working together for the first time ever. It’s happening because older workers are delaying retirement and younger workers are surging into the marketplace. All that makes for very exciting times, but consider working with one of your parents, a nephew or several of your kids and you’ll get the drift of some of the challenges presented by these changes. Two other trends are a focus on consistent communication and on finding and keeping good project management talent. These three jumped out at me because they all hinge on some aspect of communication … how to talk to that “youngster” or “surly PM”; how to communicate up, down, and across your organization and with your team; how to communicate outwardly to attract new talent; and how to connect internally to help you keep the project management talent you already have.
With so much resting on communicating, some tips for success are:
- Clarity—be clear with your words as well as with your expectations. Your team can’t tell you what you need to know if you don’t tell them what that is or in what form you want it. For example, if you want a weekly status report, provide a template with CLEAR instruction on the level of detail you expect.
- Audience—know yours. Some people need a storyboard to understand something, and others need bullets. Your communication will be much more effective if you take the time to understand the person with whom you are communicating. This is especially true when you’re trying to attract new talent.
- Consistency—require consistency from your teams and model that behavior. Think of that template mentioned in “Clarity”… once you have established what you want or what you are providing, don’t settle for anything less.
- Check back—if you’re not sure whether your communication is working—ASK! Nobody ever shot a project manager for asking, “Was that clear? Do you have any questions?”
And when you need advice, find an expert to share war stories, success tips and effective tools. Paradigm Learning has numerous programs around project communications and hundreds of tools available as well as a must-see talent management program that can transform managers and teams. Let me know how you plan to improve your communication in 2014!