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Want real success? Say no to project managers focused on “keeping tabs”

I’ll admit: this is a huge pet peeve of mine! But I think this gripe is justifiable. Project managers focused on “keeping tabs” are not the right people to hire for big projects.

I’ve worked on several projects in which consultants were involved. Some consultants were great; others, not so much. My absolute least favorite type of consultant was the project manager who was only interested in logistics, process management, and status reporting. While these are necessary tasks in any decent project governance, they are far from being the only ones.

I’ve steered clear of people with that background, and I’ve never been impressed by any of the several project management certifications out there. Instead, I’ve always sought people who can add value in a number of different ways while also being able to keep tabs on the overall progress. “Keeping tabs” accounted for a very small part of what they did.

The ideal profile for team members and managers in your transformation team is someone who has strong analytical, problem solving, and logical skills, great emotional intelligence, and a small ego.

People with this background are fantastic to work with. They can be placed in a number of different situations and will always find a way to adapt, quickly learn what is going on, organize tasks and responsibilities, and lead the team toward success. It also helps tremendously to pair them with some of your best employees, creating a symbiotic relationship where both learn a lot from each other. You can call them jack-of-all-trades, generalists, corporate athletes, or any other name you want - you just can’t get enough of them.

If you are thinking about talent in a strategic way, these superstars are also great candidates for leadership programs. I’ve always hired them on a rotating basis, where they would spend around 2-3 years in the transformation team and then be given a choice to continue with project-based work or move into a line position. After a few years of being involved in a number of projects in different functions, these people had a great understanding of the company and could add value to any team they join.

By changing your recruiting approach, you can upgrade your transformation teams with amazing talent who will contribute to your company’s success for years to come.


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