Project Management that Advertises for You at Work

Just got back from my bachelor party in Las Vegas. It was fun.

I get a lot of questions from friends about how I constantly find myself lined up in good social standings with people I’ve never met or barely know. A particular example of this is how I got to meet the CEO and Vice President of my current company, and have THEM provide direct feedback on MY work. Basically, I generated a plant layout that is a simple, no cost temporary solution that will help our facility maintain simple product flow and strategic supervising positioning. Further, we began to implement these changes after only two days, with me as head of the project.

The benefits of working towards better social standings at work are twofold. First, having your employers get to know you quickly puts you in your eventual standing with the company at a quicker pace, whether that’s in management or out the door and looking for a better option. Secondly, as people get to know you more, they will tend to know your strengths and weaknesses. When they work with your strengths, it will make you more productive and make the work you do more enjoyable.

There are two key things to keep in mind whenever you want to better situate yourself and your work in the eyes of key figures at your company. These things are planning strategically and coordinating with others. And while these ideas sound all fine and dandy, let’s take a step back and look into exactly what it means to work with these concepts and how to manipulate the outcome.

First, planning strategically is a continuous process, and to accomplish this, you need to focus on your goal and look for SPECIFIC opportunities. The goal could be to make your staff work in a more productive manner, stimulate new interest in your company/product, or find key people to add into your task group. The goal finding process should be specific enough to find a clear and direct path, but adaptive enough that the path you need to take is not too time or financially consuming. An example of a specific opportunity would be to reduce dependency on forklifts for moving goods within your facility, thereby lowering cost from forklift operation and maximizing available workspace. This example is perfect because we know 1) what “action term” is being focus on (“reducing”), 2) the dependent vehicle that is not sufficient (in this case a literal vehicle, or forklift), and 3) simple, single sided goals that show obvious benefit (lowering cost/maximizing workspace).

In order to plan strategically, it is essential to understand the details of the processes within the business system, and what their limitations are. This is the bread and butter that will be used to piece together the steps to accomplish your goal. Using the example above, these details would include plant floor area, machine dimensions, a complete flowchart of each process within your shop, and miscellaneous stuff like plumbing/electrical requirements for machines or government regulations. If a piece of equipment is required to have proper ventilation, you need to account for that if you consider moving that. While this example is very visual, the same process applies to systems of any size; just be sure to do your homework and get a list of things to keep track of.

Keeping track of a list such as this can end up being exhaustive, and therefore one of the reasons why the second part of solving problems at work: coordinate with others. Remember, the overall goal of this exercise is to better situate yourself with key company figures, and communicating with others will bring them to you. This provides a double benefit of accomplishing the immediate task that you set for yourself, while also opening potential doors for work that is more enjoyable to you. Successful communication with the available workforce (including people who are both above and below you on the corporate scale) will make or break your success and the success of your company.

When dealing with other people, always remember to be courteous. Seriously, this one is a point that I cannot stress enough, only because I see and hear about so many dickish people that talk down to their employees or coworkers. The project goal you’ve set is not about you, it’s about your company. You are simply the mind behind the goal, so instead of barking out orders, advertise your efforts and your needs. Yelling at someone to buy the eggs you’re selling won’t make them stay loyal customers for long, and the same process applies in corporate and manufacturing realms.

These two points are what make up the overall process for generating good social standings, but as an aside statement, it is important that in all you do, follow through. If you are communicating with another project manager or a shipment supervisor, follow through with those emails or phone calls on a regular basis. If you are writing a list of every requirement for a crucial piece of machinery that you want to move, take a minute to step back and clear your mind, but then follow through and research any features that you are unfamiliar with.

As with any information about work or relationships, take this to heart and use it properly like you would use any tool, or don’t use it at all. I love sharing suggestions and successes with people, but take be patient and put all your effort into it. With this, you should be on a fast track to the company standing that fits you best.

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~ by MichaelStaudenmeir on August 30, 2011.

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