- keep listening to the environment
- think off the beaten track
- look for differences
- accept unavoidable changes
The laser focus required from the project manager to drive his project and reach the objectives should not isolate him nor prevent him from listening.
listen to the project ecosystem
In particular, it is necessary to remain informed of what is happening outside of our project ecosystem: in the company, in the industry, with our customers, with our partners, with our teammates…
Some events, even though external to the project, may have important impacts on it. The recent financial crisis is an example. More often: a new law, technology or competitor, the powerplay amongst shareholders, changes in the executive management… will directly impact us and our project. And the list is endless.
think off the beaten track
Additionally, it is necessary to constantly look for novelty and as often as possible outside our usual perimeter. I recommend for example that you start following on-line video broadcasts from TED. These events share some of the best ideas on the planet. It is not rare that a presentation on a subject that is totally foreign to me echoes with me as I establish a parallel with a situation which I encountered. And it spurs new ideas and solutions with innovative approaches which I would not have thought of on my own.
look for differences
In the same vein, if you keep recruiting clones of your own self (coming from similar environment, nationality, experience, school or culture), you are not likely to obtain many radically different perspectives. Thus, looking for difference, remaining curious of everything rather than specializing excessively, are both good ideas to increase your project management leadership.
don't fight, adapt
Finally, one of the leaders of a big multinational I worked for said: "If you see that something is inevitable, don’t fight it. Lead It!". There are situations where perseverance, one of most researched qualities for which you were recruited, can play against you and your project.
It is probably the difference between stubbornness and tenacity…
Photo credit: © Robert Kneschke - Fotolia.com