SEVEN STRATEGIES TO ADVANCE YOUR CAREER WITH PROJECT MANAGEMENT / “THE CHEETAH KNOW HOW” SERIES

Guest Writers:

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP®, Chief Cheetah and Founder of Cheetah Learning,

and Kristen Medina, CAPM®, Co-Author

© ROBERTO ALBORGHETTI,  CRACKS, LACER/ACTIONS PROJECT

© ROBERTO ALBORGHETTI, CRACKS, LACER/ACTIONS PROJECT

Read the new article by Michelle LaBrosse.

Choose your favorite format:

MICROSOFT WORD FORMAT

SEVEN STRATEGIES TO ADVANCE YOUR CAREER

ADOBE PDF FORMAT

 SEVEN STRATEGIES TO ADVANCE YOUR CAREER

HTML FORMAT:

SEVEN STRATEGIES TO ADVANCE YOUR CAREER

MANAGE YOUR STAKEHOLDERS, MANAGE YOUR LIFE / THE “CHEETAH KNOW HOW” SERIES

By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP®, Chief Cheetah and Founder of Cheetah Learning, and Kristen Medina, CAPM®, Co-Author

Everyone reading this is a capable, smart, and skilled project manager, who is proud of managing the key stakeholder in each project with professionalism and finesse.  Do you bring this same care to managing the stakeholder in your personal life? Can you imagine how much smoother things would be if you did? Who are the important stakeholders in the project called “life”? Take a moment to think about that, as this is an important question.

ROBERTO ALBORGHETTI - LACER/ACTIONS - IMAGES OF TORN AND DECOMPOSED PUBLICITY POSTERS - 2010

As the holidays approach, we can become more hypersensitive to how miscommunication and familial strife can affect our day-to-day life. And when we boil it down, it’s all about stakeholder mismanagement. Below are some of the most common pitfalls we have when managing stakeholders, in either our personal or professional lives.

Incorrectly identifying who your stakeholders are. You are planning a dinner with friends to celebrate over the holiday. You have a good idea of what your friends like and what they don’t, and have catered the menu with consideration for even your most allergy-ridden acquaintance. Your friends show up with their children, and the festivities begin—but no one told you that 6-year-old Pesky Pete was the world’s pickiest eater ever. As his temper tantrum begins to take over the room, your embarrassed friends politely excuse themselves and leave the party.

I like to call this a hidden stakeholder. This is someone who has genuine power, but is hidden behind another stakeholder who has less practical power. When you are managing a project, at work or at home, don’t stop at the surface when identifying key stakeholders who can make or break your project. There are Pesky Petes everywhere.

Communicating in a method other than what they prefer. You are organizing a holiday party, and have sent everyone a Facebook invite with instructions on what to bring, when to come, and the dress code. The problem is that a third of your prospective attendees are not on Facebook.

Before you spend a ton of energy on preparing information in an attempt to communicate to your key stakeholder, take a step back. Do you know the medium of communication that they prefer? How often do they prefer communication: daily, weekly, monthly? Do they prefer visual representations of the information, or essay format?  When you utilize the medium and style of communication that your stakeholders prefer, you will not squander efficiency through a loss of communication.

Not communicating expectations properly.  You and your loved one are exchanging presents for the holiday. You have put a lot of time and thought into your gift—an engraved golf club set that cost you a fortune. They, the thoughtful ingrates they are, gave you cleaning supplies. In their defense, “Didn’t you need a new mop?”

Unmet expectations are the culprit of many disastrous events. And we only have ourselves to blame.  To set yourself, and your stakeholders, up for success, you need to clearly communicate your expectations, and make sure you have a clear understanding of theirs.

Not getting buy-in from key stakeholders.  It has come to the day of your holiday party, and you are running around like crazy getting ready. Your kids are hiding, but you know they are underfoot as you keep finding their messes. Your spouse is out running personal errands because they forgot about the party. And you are going CRAZY.

When you are working on a project, you need to rally members of your support group and get their buy-in to help you succeed. You can do this by making these stakeholders part of the decision-making process—would they like to invite friends to the party? What do they want to contribute to the menu? When you engage the stakeholders who are there to support you, you will be less stressed and more successful.

This holiday season, remember to treat the people who are most important to you as key stakeholders in the “Project of Life.”  Happy planning, and Happy Holidays!

***

About the Author:

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP, is an entrepreneurial powerhouse with a penchant for making success easy, fun, and fast. She is the founder of Cheetah Learning, the author of the Cheetah Success Series, and a prolific blogger whose mission is to bring Project Management to the masses.

Cheetah Learning is a virtual company with 100 employees, contractors, and licensees worldwide. To date, more than 50,000 people have become “Cheetahs” using Cheetah Learning’s innovative Project Management and accelerated learning techniques. 

Recently honored by the Project Management Institute (PMI®), Cheetah Learning was named Professional Development Provider of the Year at the 2008 PMI® Global Congress. A dynamic keynote speaker and industry thought leader, Michelle was previously recognized by PMI as one of the 25 Most Influential Women in Project Management in the world.

Michelle’s articles have appeared in more than 100 publications and websites around the world. Her monthly column, the Know How Network, is carried by over 400 publications.

She is a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Owner President Manager’s (OPM) program and also holds engineering degrees from Syracuse University and the University of Dayton. 

FIND THE FUN IN YOUR FIELD

By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP®, Chief Cheetah and Founder of Cheetah Learning, and Kristen LaBrosse, CAPM®, Co-Author

Roberto ALBORGHETTI – “No Clouds”, Canvas/Mixed Media, 70×47 – Lacer/actions Project/Images of Torn and Decomposed Publicity Posters

Passionate Pauline is driving down the boulevard in the early morning, whistling to the tune “Oh Happy Day” with a big smile on her face, ready to take on the day with a vengeance and excited to tackle any challenges that may come her way. In the next lane over, Sullen Sue is sulking, and somehow stuck in the slow lane … again! Things don’t typically go her way, she dislikes her job, and she’s dreading the mounting paperwork that is piling up on her desk.

Which driver’s seat would you rather be in every workday morning, 52 weeks a year, for the odd 40 working years of your life? Your career is an endeavor that requires a great deal of your time, energy, and focus. If you’re sitting in Sullen Sue’s driver’s seat, only you can change directions to find a career that ignites the passion in you and makes you find the fun in your field.

Don’t let society define your role.  Why did you choose the career you are currently in? Did it seem like the “thing to do” after you graduated college? Or did you have some time to introspectively analyze your innate strengths and interests, and decide on a career path based on that?

As a single mom, I have heard all types of stories of how hard my life must be. This role as a struggling victim didn’t quite suit me, however, and instead of focusing on what others expected of me in my “role,” I focused on how I could best create a life for my children and myself in the best way I knew how. We are all unique individuals with strengths and assets that direct us to a special purpose in life.  Fuel your career growth by doing your thing, regardless of what society says you can or can’t do.

Change Your Job Description. Who knows you better – the HR director who hired you while they were interviewing 40 other candidates, or YOU? We all have parts of our job that we love, and other parts that we hate. Chances are, the person sitting in the next office space is in the same boat. What you see as boring and tedious, another might regard as satisfying and even fun. In order to create a job description that fits like a glove, make sure to keep an open and honest dialogue with your peers, subordinates, and mangers about what work keeps you energized vs. which work sucks your life force.

Be Proactive.  The happiest workers are those who have a strong sense of control over what they’re doing and why their efforts are important to a company’s mission. If you don’t like the projects you’ve been assigned, be more proactive in seeking your roles in projects – it never hurts to ask.

If there is a certain process that you find to be cumbersome, tedious, and (in your opinion) useless, take the initiative to change it to improve it. Your work is your world, and the more waves you make that are of your own initiative, the more fun you will have. So don’t sit idly by hoping things will get better – jump to it!

Smell the Roses. At the end of the day, we all want to feel that we’ve accomplished something of importance – that we’ve been an asset to our employers, made the world a better place, come a step closer to solving poverty, and all that before lunch if we can. But the truth is we are all human, and sometimes our best intentions can lead to us neglecting what keeps us going.

Every day, make sure to take some time for just yourself to re-energize and refocus so that you can go back to work ready to take on the world’s problems. Try taking a quick walk at lunch and smell the roses. On the busier days simply allow yourself to get up from you computer, and take five minutes to focus on your breathing and to stretch. You owe it to yourself, not to mention your organization, to be at your best. So put it in your Google calendar if you have to, and take your breaks!

We all have the decision every day – which driver’s seat do we want to be in – Sullen Sue’s or Passionate Pauline’s? Whatever your decision, make sure you are making it consciously and with intention. And remember, the Passionate Paulines have more fun!

About the Author:

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP, is an entrepreneurial powerhouse with a penchant for making success easy, fun, and fast. She is the founder of Cheetah Learning, the author of the Cheetah Success Series, and a prolific blogger whose mission is to bring Project Management to the masses.

Cheetah Learning is a virtual company with 100 employees, contractors, and licensees worldwide. To date, more than 30,000 people have become “Cheetahs” using Cheetah Learning’s innovative Project Management and accelerated learning techniques.  

Recently honored by the Project Management Institute (PMI®), Cheetah Learning was named Professional Development Provider of the Year at the 2008 PMI® Global Congress. A dynamic keynote speaker and industry thought leader, Michelle was previously recognized by PMI as one of the 25 Most Influential Women in Project Management in the world.

Michelle’s articles have appeared in more than 100 publications and websites around the world. Her monthly column, the Know How Network, is carried by over 400 publications, and her monthly newsletter goes out to more than 50,000 people. 

She is a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Owner President Manager’s (OPM) program and also holds engineering degrees from Syracuse University and the University of Dayton. 

BEEN SPOTTED? GET NOTICED – THE CHEETAH WAY

By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP®, Chief Cheetah and Founder of Cheetah Learning, and Kristen LaBrosse, CAPM®, Co-Author

 

READ ALL ABOUT IT!

Globally recognized credential earned through Cheetah Learning. [Insert your name here], Project Manager Earns Project Management Professional Certification.

 

Imagine your name on the front page of the paper. What are you famous for? Is it for your excellent fashion sense? Your weather forecasting abilities? Or, perhaps you’re being honored for your ability to change the world for the better with your savvy project management skills and finesse?

As a project manager, you hold a great deal of responsibility and power, which becomes the case even more so when you earn your PMP® certification. The biggest challenge for many project managers is in letting others know what you are capable of, and what you are worth. Let’s face it – it’s not always easy to toot your own horn. But when you tackle your PM fame as you would any project—in an objective, systematic, and measurable way—you are sure to succeed in showing your stuff to ensure that you are spotted and get noticed- the Cheetah way.

 

Consider a Press ReleasePress releases don’t have to be just for large corporations or for the rich and famous. You, too, can get a press release out about the fantastic accomplishments that you’ve made in your life. Nowadays, roughly 45% of employers are going online to research potential employees as part of the screening process. You can strengthen your brand with a press release proclaiming your accomplishments. If you’re a Cheetah PMP®, contact us (marketing@cheetahlearning.com) to find out how you can get a press release created specifically for you and distributed for free.

 

Get Out There. You can’t always plan for the next big thing. Sometimes it comes down to being at the right place at the right time, with just the right mix of opportunity and preparation. But if you don’t take a chance and put yourself out there, you have taken yourself out of the game altogether.

 

Now, I know these suggestions sound eerily like dating advice for singles. But these rules also apply for professionals looking to make meaningful business connections. The more proactive you are in getting involved in organizations (such as PMI chapters, or volunteering your PM skills where needed in your community) the more visibility you have within the project management industry, and the more successful you will be.

 

Create a “Brag Sheet”.  Many times when we finish a project, we can rush through the closing process and lessons learned so quickly in preparation to dive into the next project. At the end of each project, take some time to add to your “Brag Sheet”. What went well in the project? Where you under budget or ahead of schedule? How did the deliverables of the project benefit the key stakeholders? This is something that you need to document for yourself, as most likely no on else is keeping track of your successes. Collecting your achievements so that you are prepared to shine when the opportunity presents itself.

 

Got It? Flaunt It! If you have your Project Management Professional (PMP®) credential, congratulations! As a PMP, you will get noticed worldwide as someone who is fluent in the language of PM and who is reliable in consistently achieving project success. There is a very good reason why the federal government mandated the need for Certified Project Managers to manage federally funded projects – PMP’s are proven and trustworthy.

 

Make it your goal this summer to get spotted for all of your hard work. Be your own best friend and promote your accomplishments, just as you would if you were trying to help another succeed in their career.  Make sure your accomplishments are visible to others so that they can “Read All About It”!

 

 

 

About the Author:

 

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP, is an entrepreneurial powerhouse with a penchant for making success easy, fun, and fast. She is the founder of Cheetah Learning, the author of the Cheetah Success Series, and a prolific blogger whose mission is to bring Project Management to the masses.

Cheetah Learning is a virtual company with 100 employees, contractors, and licensees worldwide. To date, more than 30,000 people have become “Cheetahs” using Cheetah Learning’s innovative Project Management and accelerated learning techniques.  

 

Recently honored by the Project Management Institute (PMI®), Cheetah Learning was named Professional Development Provider of the Year at the 2008 PMI® Global Congress. A dynamic keynote speaker and industry thought leader, Michelle was previously recognized by PMI as one of the 25 Most Influential Women in Project Management in the world.

 

Michelle’s articles have appeared in more than 100 publications and websites around the world. Her monthly column, the Know How Network, is carried by over 400 publications, and her monthly newsletter goes out to more than 50,000 people. 

 

She is a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Owner President Manager’s (OPM) program and also holds engineering degrees from Syracuse University and the University of Dayton. 

 

Check out Cheetah PHAST – an exceptional new quarterly magazine

 

 

http://www.cheetahphast.com/?page_id=17

 

 

 

 

 

“BEING GREEN” IN OUR DAILY LIFE

 

Being Green is not just Kermit’s theme song anymore. It’s every one’s. Green tips are top of mind, everywhere we turn. So, when we think of project management, how can we apply some “green thinking” to our projects?

 Here are our top five ways to bring some green ingenuity to your every day project management.

 1 Green Materials Maven. Are you using materials that have been recycled and are you recycling the materials that you’re currently using? Regardless of what industry that you work in, just a little research can make a big difference, in your project’s carbon footprint.

 2 Packing Green. Packing materials for products can produce a lot of waste. Can you use recycled materials for packing like old newspapers? There are also biodegradable packing peanuts and environmentally friendly soft foam.

 3 Green Team. There are hundreds of ways to make your office greener here are just a few to get you started:

  •  Use coffee mugs instead of paper or Styrofoam
  • If you are a small or home-based office, you can produce your own energy. Visit www.cheetahpower.com for more information.
  • If you can’t produce your own energy, look for a supplier that is producing green energy in your area.
  • Put automatic timers or sensor lights in your bathroom, conference rooms or spaces that are not occupied the majority of the day.
  • Use as much natural light as possible in the design of your office space.
  • Use energy saving light bulbs.
  • Switch off computers, photocopiers and other equipment when not being used.
  • Buy office equipment with the best energy ratings.
  • Use green materials when building out a new office, like bamboo instead of wood flooring
  • Use refillable vs. disposable pens
  • Buy green products for your office – everything from toilet paper to recycled paper for printing
  • Promote a “reuse” mentality and lead by example
  • Promote “think before you print.”
  • Use environmental or natural cleaning products.
  • Support and buy the products of other vendors and suppliers who are eco-friendly.
  • Support virtual office employees or support car-pooling and ride sharing if in a suburban area.
  • If you’re in a rural area, can you create a wildlife trust around your company’s property?
  1. Make a Commitment to Green. When you make green more than a passing fancy, you show your team, and your customers that you mean business.You’re not just being trendy; you’re making changes that impact the world around you.

             PR with heart & soul. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of bad news out there. Your customers do want to hear about the good things that you’re doing. So, if you have a green initiative or a project with a green heart and soul, talk about it. Get the buzz going. Green PR is only bad, when it’s insincere.

 So, when it comes to greening up the planet, who better to lead the charge than Project Managers? Who knows better than you about tackling something large with small milestones that make a big difference! So, Kermit, it can be easy being Green. Just bring a project manager on board to get it done.

About Michelle LaBrosse, MSME, PMP, Founder Cheetah Learning and Cheetah Power

 Michelle LaBrosse is an engineer and an entrepreneur with expertise in both aerospace and mechanical engineering. She started her career as an Air Force officer in the field of aircraft structures and vibrations; a challenge that resonates today with some of the technical challenges encountered with wind power.

 For her mechanical engineering master’s degree thesis project, she participated in a Department of Energy grant to help older factories become more energy self-sufficient.

 Michelle has been creating courses using accelerated learning principles for the past 15 years. She is the founder of Cheetah Learning, a firm of over 100 people worldwide that specializes in combining accelerated learning and project management to help people achieve their goals faster than they ever before imagined.

 The Project Management Institute recognized Michelle as one of the top 25 most influential women worldwide in Project Management. Her company, Cheetah Learning, was named the 2008 Project Management Institute Provider of the Year in recognition of its accelerated learning in project management education.

 Michelle is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Owner President Management Program. She is also the founding board member of the Center for Advanced Learning Concepts (CALCO). She brings all of this experience together to help herself and others become energy self-sufficient.

 About Erica Edmond, CAPM, Cheetah Green Team

 A marketing intern for Cheetah Learning and Cheetah Power, Erica is Cheetah’s go-to resource for all things green. She researches and writes the Cheetah Power newsletter and is also a research assistant for a communication professor at the University of Portland.

 In 2008, Erica began her first Cheetah internship andwrote an ongoing green feature article for the monthly Cheetah Learning newsletter, as well as educational green articles that showed Cheetah employees how to become more energy efficient in their offices and at home.

 During the summer of 2007, Erica worked on a catamaran in Haines, Alaska, as a deckhand/purser. Prior to that, she was appointed by Alaskan senator Ted Stevens to work as a senate page in the U.S. Senate in Washington, D.C.

 Born in Soldotna, Alaska, Erica has traveled to Costa Rica through an AFS exchange program to take Spanish language and culture classes. She also attended a summer session at the Naval Academy in Annapolis.

 Asenior at the University of Portland, Erica is majoring in organizational communication. When she’s not studying or working for Cheetah, she can be found exploring with Rambo, her Chihuahua.