A proven tool for defining and communicating the compelling value that your project is delivering.
Daniel Goleman, better known for his work on Emotional Intelligence (EQ) has defined 6 Leadership ‘Styles’ that good leaders can call upon. His work lends itself excellently to the world of project management and forms the basis of a lively session as part of our ‘Excellence in Project Leadership’ programme.
The styles, taken individually, appear to have a direct and unique impact on the working atmosphere of a project – and in turn, on its financial performance. And perhaps most important, the research indicates that leaders with the best results do not rely on only one leadership style; they use most of them in a given week-seamlessly and in different measure-depending on the business situation.
In subsequent article we will cover the six styles in more detail, but here we focus on one of the styles that comes out time and time again as a key style that successful project managers adopt – the ‘visionary’ leadership style
Goleman characterised the visionary style as follows
Visionary Leadership includes…
- Focus on the end goal and encouraging others to follow – “come with me”
- The development of a clear agreed project vision (although this might have been put together by the whole team)
- Performance standards & feedback being clearly communicated – maybe even as part of the vision statement..
- The rationale for procedures – not ‘just do it’
- The ‘why’ but importantly it leaves the ‘how’ to team members
- Establishing clear meaningful goals
- Team members seeing how their task fits into the bigger picture
So, when using this style the project leader is future focused, with a clear, firm view of the end project goals and vitally, these goals are regularly shared with others – including:
– Project team members, particularly new starters
– Suppliers and collaborators
– Colleagues in head office..
In our workshops and AP/M seminars we often ask 3 key questions
- “why is this style useful for a project manager?”
- When should they use it in a project?
- What does ‘good’ visionary project leadership look like?
Typical answers to these questions include:
“it makes full use of project members own skills – with a clear vision, they can find the right ‘way’ to get there”
“I want to know the end business goal and my role in achieving it – its motivating”
“Don’t just say it once – things change – keep it front of our minds…”
“Let clients know about it – and your boss as well – don’t assume that they are on the same page”
“Remind the team at the beginning of every project meeting”
“Be passionate about the project vision – if you aren’t then how can you expect others to be??”
Ideal structure for a project vision
In many ways the project vision is the ‘value proposition’ for the project – so we have leveraged the work we do with sales and marketing teams in this area and developed the following tool – our ‘Project Vision Map” which seems to work and which I am delighted to share with you.
In our workshops and conference sessions, participants use A1 sized copies of the map on the walls, working together to share ideas around real-life projects and with post-its, they gradually build the vision up.
Essentially the Project Vision Map answers the following questions – with the order being important…..
|Question||Typical Answers||Why Important? + Notes|
|1. What are the Business Drivers: Why is this project important now, to the client, or to us?
Clients strategic goals
Mergers / Acquisitions / Government policy
Shows we understand the broader business context.
Shows how our project fits in with wider initiatives
|2. What are the desired Business Outcomes?||
Increased Revenue / Margin
Client Satisfaction (their clients)
Departmental Reputation & Targets (Public sector)
Shows we understand the tangible end business goals
Note these are often very different between private and public sector projects
Ideally put some numbers on them – and find out what the numbers are if you don’t know..
|3. What Business Problems does the project address||
Poor Client Satisfaction
Poor departmental reputation
Sometimes projects are more about taking pain away rather than achieving positive benefits!
|4. What are the Project Deliverables that specifically address the business problems and meet the business needs||
New organisational structure
New IT systems
Revised job roles
Think of these as the means to the end…these are not benefits in their own right – but are the ‘enablers’ to address the business goals
|5. What are the Critical Success Factors that will determine project success or failure||
Senior Management buy in
Key supplier dependencies
Resource levels etc
Keep these ‘big picture’ – they show you have your finger on the pulse
Previous participants now have their Project Vision Map on permanent display in their project office – allowing clients and visiting managers to get an immediate big-picture view of the project and making sure that all team members are on the same page…
A copy of the Project Vision Map?
If you would like a pdf copy of the Project Vision Map for you to print and use, I’d be happy to forward this to you – just contact us and you will be sent a copy by return.