WHY PROJECT MANAGEMENT IS A MUST-HAVE SKILL / “THE CHEETAH KNOW HOW” SERIES

© Roberto Alborghetti – LaceR-Actions,  18-02-2009

© Roberto Alborghetti – LaceR-Actions, 18-02-2009

 

Guest Writers: Michelle LaBrosse, PMP®

Chief Cheetah and Founder of Cheetah Learning,

and Megan Alpine CCPM®, Co-Author

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CLAIM YOUR POWER / “THE CHEETAH KNOW HOW” SERIES

CRACKS  © ROBERTO ALBORGHETTI

CRACKS © ROBERTO ALBORGHETTI

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

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 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.

BECOME UNSTOPPABLE WITH MOMENTUM / “THE CHEETAH KNOW HOW” SERIES

ROBERTO ALBORGHETTI - LACER/ACTIONS, 2009

ROBERTO ALBORGHETTI – LACER/ACTIONS, 2009

Guest Writers: Michelle LaBrosse, PMP®, Chief Cheetah and Founder of Cheetah Learning,

and Kristen Medina, CAPM®, Co-Author

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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.

CLEAR THE CUTTER! / “THE CHEETAH KNOW HOW” SERIES

 WAVES OF COLORS - ROBERTO ALBORGHETTI LACER-CTIONS  (7)

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

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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.

ACTIVATING YOUR NATURAL GENIUS / THE “CHEETAH KNOW HOW” SERIES

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

When you think of the word “Genius,” what first comes to mind?         Perhaps Albert Einstein, Ludwig van Beethoven, or Isaac Newton. You may be imagining someone who is very different from yourself—someone who sits in a basement and tinkers with experiments, and who routinely forgets to use a hairbrush or eat a meal.

ROBERTO ALBORGHETTI . LACER/ACTIONS . LITOGRAPH - IMAGE OF TORN AND DECOMPOSED PUBLICITY POSTERS

It’s time to change what we associate with the word “genius.” Start by getting up and looking in the mirror: Can you spot the genius? If not, you may need to change your perspective, because it is there. The capacity to be a genius is a part of our physiology. The human brain is a fascinating piece of work. It’s a dynamic neural network that makes billions of connections per second. New neurons are being made constantly in response to mental activity and learning. The reason that this is so fascinating and fantastic is because we are not stuck in any holding pattern—the ability to change our minds, literally, and become a genius on a subject matter is within our capabilities. Whether you think that you are born with natural genius, or you obtained it through your experience and environment, the important thing to be clear: You have it—genius, that is. We all do.  Here are some ways to tap into that natural genius.

Know Your Strengths and Challenges. Being a natural genius does not mean you have to have a natural aptitude for every subject matter under the sun. Albert Einstein, a legendary genius, failed his University Entrance Exam. While he excelled in the math and science sections, he failed the rest (history, languages, and geography).

What this should tell you is: “Don’t get down because there are areas where you do not excel.” Recognize them as challenges, and work to mitigate them. But to tap into your true natural genius,  discover the areas that you excel, and work to develop those into true genius status.

The Drive To Fail. Fail? What, are you crazy? For most of us “Type A” project managers, the thought of failing bring shivers to our spines. But the fact is, you don’t know where your limits are until you push them, and in pushing your limits you are bound to fail once in awhile. To tap into your genius, you can’t be afraid of failure or run away from it. You have to chase after, fail, and learn how to fix your mistakes so that you don’t fail (in the same way) again.

Deliberate Practice. Casual Practice is going out and playing on anintramural baseball league. Deliberate practice is going to the batting cages every night until you have perfected your swing. You will strike out a lot more in deliberate practice, but this is the only way you will master your skill. So what does this have to do with you? When you find your natural genius, you have the ability to perfect it with deliberate practice, during which you will rise out your comfort zone to see just how good you can be.

Kick Stress to the Curb. Every wonder why you can’t think when youare rushing around late trying to find your car keys? Once you find them, it’s so obvious that, of course, they would be in your key bowl on the coffee table. The thing is, stress reduces our ability to think. If we live with chronic stress, our brain is taking the majority of the burden, and it’s impossible to tap into your natural genius, let alone your natural sanity. Pinpoint the biggest stress factors in your life, then mitigate them fast.

Somewhere, someone is looking for exactly what you have to offer.”—Louise Hay, Motivational Author.  It’s hard to recognize our natural genius if we are not in the environment that appreciates or needs those specific skills. You can try to change yourself to best fit into a professional environment, but the likely result will be mediocrity. To fully develop your natural genius, you need to find a place to be the “Best of the best,” where you can do what you are best at. Find out what that is, and go there. In 2013, make a commitment to discover your natural genius—it is in you!

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. 

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!

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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. 

REINVIGORATE YOUR LIFE / THE “CHEETAH KNOW HOW” SERIES

ROBERTO ALBORGHETTI LACER/ACTIONS ART – LITHOGRAPH, 50X70, FRAMED, 2008

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

The definition of reinvigorate is: To put vitality and vigor back into someone or something.

Sounds pretty easy, right? Where exactly do you find this extra vitality and vigor? How do you determine that someone or something is lacking said vitality and vigor? And what is the process to insert vitality and vigor into that someone or something?

If that something is your life and the projects that make up your life, Cheetah Learning is here to help.

Reevaluate. Do you have a project in your life that has more parts lackluster than vigor? The first step is, don’t beat yourself up about it. There might be a reason that you have lost your motivation around this particular endeavor. Find out the “why” of doing the project and ascertain if you still have the same motivations and passions to complete it. If you don’t, then allow yourself to toss the project and do something that better fits who you are today. 

Re-tool. How do you feel when you don’t have the tools you need to accomplish a task? Perhaps the complete opposite of invigorated? That is how your project team will feel if they have a clearly defined task and deliverables, but don’t have the tools to reach their objective.

Sometimes you have to dig a little deeper to find out if there is a capability problem on your project team, as your team members with the issue may not even know that they have a problem. The solution may be advanced technology, further education on the domain subject, or training on systems and procedures. Once the person has the tools they need, they will have a clear path to their objective and be reinvigorated about their part in the project.

Regroup. Have you every felt like you or your project team was losing momentum on a project, and it was hard to pinpoint why? Come back to the project agreement that you created at the beginning, and remember the overarching goal that dictates your day-to-day activities.  It’s also important to acknowledge how your project goals fit in with the strategic direction of your organization. When your project team knows the purpose behind their actions, they will be able to have passion and conviction about the project as a whole.

Reapply the basics. As we get into the depths of a project, sometimes we can forget to do basic project management practices. What is interesting is that it is often the most experienced project managers that fall to in the trap of slacking on basic project management techniques. As you gain more experience, it can be easy to think that you are “too good” for the basics. The fact is that as projects get bigger and more complex, it is imperative that we stick to basic good project management practices, such as getting stakeholder buy-in and documenting lessons learned, in order to keep the project on track and on task. Reinvigorate your project when you get back to the basics that made you a great PM in the first place.

Repeat. Henry Adams once said, “Chaos breeds life, while order breeds habit.”  It is natural for a project to become unorganized and for team members to lose their motivation. It requires the influx of energy to create order out of chaos, and to create an invigorated project team. Make a point to shake up your project team periodically with the tips mentioned above to provide an influx of vigor and vitality into the projects in your life.

Have a fantastic and invigorating day!

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.