Thursday, February 7, 2008

Lessons Learned the past month I've learned the following about myself and about being a leader.

1) Have the right people in the room!!
Have been going round and round on a technical decision for 4 weeks now only to be told by the vendor that what we wanted to do "had risks". But, they could never define what those risks were. Finally, some one with a better vantage point came in and said, get the technical resources involved. Problem solved! We were going round and round without the right people in the room. Duh!!

2) You're not there to make friends.
I've found myself in the last week entrenched in the every day workings of this project. I tend to be pretty friendly and start chatting so nothing is getting done. (I know...I'm a bad role model). So basically, I know I've thrown off the momentum of the team by trying to get to know them a bit. I need to step back and manage them instead of befriending them.

3) Space is a beautiful thing!!
My "office" at the client site is a rather large conference room turned project room. It's where everyone hangs out. I literally have one person sitting in my office every single time I am there. I don't know why she's taken to doing it, but she sits right across from me the whole time I am in the office. Unfortunately, that means I get no privacy, no room and nothing done. I'm an introvert...I need space! I MUST find another place to work even if that means going to a whole other building to do so.

4) When you "fire" someone, INSIST that they go! Do not be "nice", do not let someone else talk you out of your decision. Once it's decided, it's decided...
I let them talk me into keeping this yutz and he's doing absolutely nothing on this proejct. He's a total waste of time and energy for me. He's billing the client for hours he's not doing and he needs to stop. He needs to start reporting to me what he's working on and I need to step up and get rid of him if he's not working. I need to quit paying him for lounging around.

5) Ya gotta mean business
I'm trying to be nice and I've forgotten my responsibilites. We only have a couple months to get this stuff done. I need to get back on track.

6) Ask for help.
So tonight I went out to dinner with someone that is in a program manager role. She has worked with this client before and knows exactly how to navigate the system. I wouldn't mind working for her actually. The other day she wrote me a note to see how I was doing and said "do you need anything". In the past, I would have said, oh no, I'm fine...and would have just pressed myself into working 100% of the time. This time I said, what I really need is to go out for dinner. I just need to bounce some ideas off someone and get some feedback. That was a smart move on my part. I feel so much more focused and in charge talking to her. She reminded me to get away, stay in charge and let them know I was in charge....Hearing her perspective about how weird this project is was very helpful too. Glad I asked for help even though it was just having a night of socializing with someone.

7) Get a routine!
This week, I changed up my routine. My room is a mess, I'm getting up late, I'm not focused and I"m getting bad habits. Having a routine is vital. More on that later.


  1. Interesting post, but it's Saturday and now I feel like I'm back at work.

    (Note to self: read her blog weekdays only.)

    The part I liked best was dinner. Dinner is always a smart move, because it's after work.

  2. Unless you work graveyard shift, then it's before work. ;-)