Apex 3 Blog
A blog to offer ideas, suggestions and techniques to turn around or fix troubled or failed IT projects

Project Manager Suggestions For Reducing Resistance and Concerns

by Mark Davison October 19. 2011 10:37
  • Probe for objections – ask for concerns and what might be in the way of getting to the next step (i.e., action, decision, recommendation, approval, etc.)
  • Listen carefully – as others express their concerns, make notes, wait to respond until others have finished talking
  • Avoid arguments – remain level headed and reasonable at all times
  • Let other know you understand – when others express their concerns, make statements like “I understand” or “I appreciate” to convey your comprehension and empathy
  • Use I statements to respond – start with “I understand” to demonstrate you understand how others feel about the concerns
  • Share the other experiences – share how others feel about similar concerns, and other experiences you’ve had
  • Seek clarification – if others make general statements, ask for examples to more clearly understand the issue
  • Understand the facts – introduce facts to clarify where opinions and feelings may have created inaccuracies in perceptions
  • Don’t leave anything unaddressed – don’t let any concerns or objections linger – when it appears that all concerns have been expressed ask for “anything else” to be sure nothing is left unsaid
  • It’s not personal – differences of opinion offer opportunities to work on solutions; “no” rather than “yes” may indicate the lack of sufficient information to make a decision rather than a personal rejection, figure out the right path forward


Be Honest With Your Staff

by Mark Davison October 18. 2011 14:37

Good managers tell staff what they want to hear and also what they don’t want to hear, but need to hear, to optimize performance and growth.

Staff wants to hear…

  • Thanks for arriving early
  • I’m glad you’re here
  • I’m glad you’re on this project
  • You have great skills and experience
  • You’re off to a great start
  • Great idea
  • Great question
  • Excellent report
  • Thanks for sending that email
  • Your progress is on track, lets move on to the next steps
  • Great work, we’re going to implement your recommendations
  • I couldn’t have done it better myself
  • Keep up the good work
  • Everybody makes mistakes, I’m sure you’ll do better next time
  • How can I help?
  • You got this assignment because I'm confident you can do it well
  • Thank you for all your hard work
  • I’m recommending you for promotion
  • I’m recommending you for a raise

Staff doesn’t want to, but should, hear … (but you need to tell them anyway)

  • I need you to arrive earlier
  • I’ll be watching your work closely to be sure you get it right
  • What is your role on this project again?
  • You need to speak up
  • You need to do this assignment over and get it right
  • You are not off to a great start, you need to make some corrections
  • You need some new ideas, go back to your desk and work on them
  • You are underperforming, you can do better
  • You have a lot to learn before you are ready for additional responsibility
  • Don’t bring me your problems, think how you would handle them and bring me solutions
  • You should know better than to have made that mistake
  • You need to work smarter and harder
  • I’m not recommending you for a raise
  • I’m not recommending you for promotion
  • You need to listen better
  • You need to work better with others


Convince Others With Your Selection of Words

by Mark Davison October 17. 2011 10:53

Use these “persuading” words to increase your influence and effectiveness when working with others…

  • Accurate
  • Ambition
  • Beyond
  • Clean
  • Complete
  • Courtesy
  • Drive
  • Economical
  • Efficient
  • Energetic
  • Enormous
  • Exceed
  • Excel
  • Focused
  • Growth
  • Health
  • Maximum
  • Motivated
  • Necessary
  • Performance
  • Power
  • Professional
  • Progress
  • Quality
  • Results
  • Satisfy
  • Scientific
  • Sociable
  • Status
  • Successful
  • Sympathy
  • Teamwork
  • Tested
  • Thinking
  • Thorough
  • Thoughtful
  • Time-saving
  • Value


You Can Win At Office Politics

by Mark Davison October 13. 2011 16:49

Politics is a business fact of life – learn to play it well by refining the ways in which you communicate your work efforts and accomplishments to others.  Use your communications skills to shape others’ perceptions of you.  You want to be known as competent and capable.

  • Don’t be cynical, critical or negative – be supportive and positive.  It’s OK to question others and express different opinions, but be a smart team player and go with the flow and support decisions or actions you may not fully agree with
  • Put the time in and develop a reputation of being a hard worker.  Get to work early and stay late.  Work in the evenings and on weekends if necessary.  Others will notice and respect you for your effort and commitment.
  • Keep others informed about your work.  Update your boss as frequently as he needs it, more frequently if he says he doesn’t need it.  Choose the right methods to communicate.  Copy others on emails and other messages as needed to keep them in the loop.   Return emails, text messages and phone calls timely.  Use face-to-face meetings, either in person or via Webex or Skype, as needed.
  • Take advantage of opportunities to “volunteer” for additional work on ad hoc teams, special projects, volunteer activities, intramural teams, etc.  Each opportunity offers the chance to meet new people, make new contacts, and build your growing reputation.  It also gives others a chance to get to know you.
  • Recognize the accomplishments of others.  When someone is promoted or recognized for an accomplishment, send them a note of congratulations.  When someone new joins the team, welcome him or her in person or send him or her a welcome message.  When someone leaves, wish him or her success or send him or her an email for success in his or her new opportunity.  When someone makes a contribution to one of your projects, thank them or send them a message for their file.


Best Defense Is A Good Offense for PMs

by Mark Davison October 11. 2011 13:37

Sometimes when project managers go through tough times on a project they can become tentative and cautious.  They tend to be more careful in their actions and decisions – likely because they are more uncertain about the outcome.  The result can be erosion of personal and managerial authority, influence and control.

Remain confident and strong.  Resist the temptation to reel in the talents and capabilities that make a PM successful.  Empower.  Tough times and tough projects require leadership, decisive action, strength and momentum.  Your team is likely depending on your authority and confidence.  Go on offense and make things happen.


4 Things Your Boss Wants From You

by Mark Davison October 10. 2011 09:02

  • Do what it takes – arrive early, stay late when needed, excel in your responsibilities and deliverables, grow your skills and knowledge

  • Communicate well – alert others to avoid surprises; share status, issues, progress, and results; listen well, speak well, and select the right medium for the message (i.,e, face to face, email, text, written document, etc.)

  • Quick learner – press your full abilities and efforts into learning new things, get up to speed as quickly as possible, then leverage your new knowledge into your work

  • Positive Attitude – put it on display all the time, you can stand out from others and also influence others to be more pleasant and contribute to a positive workplace environment


Set Priorities to Address Conflicts

by Mark Davison October 7. 2011 09:03

Evaluate each assignment or task

Define the factors that will determine priority

Understand the consequences of priorities on assignments/tasks

Determine the priority of each assignment/task

Ask for help if needed – from colleagues, associates, managers, etc.

Finalize the priorities

Hold unprioritized assignments/tasks in a “parking lot” for the next review



Personal Qualities for These Challenging Times

by Mark Davison October 6. 2011 09:41

Get along with others

Do more than expected; go above and beyond

Be thrifty with company resources

Keep others informed

Drive for results

Thank others for their contributions

Be thoughtful and considerate



Effective Listening ...

by Mark Davison October 5. 2011 18:05

… Is a valuable tool.

Pay attention when others are talking

Avoid distractions

Close the door

Hold of on responding to calls, emails and text messages

Don’t pre-judge

Avoid formulating a response while other are talking

Remain open to new ideas


Project Tip of the Day:

by Mark Davison October 4. 2011 15:22

When wrapping up at the end of a day, do this to keep the project’s work moving forward:  make a few notes about today’s accomplishments, issues and the next steps, i.e., where the project needs to go next.  Then, when you return tomorrow, you can pick exactly where you left off.  No guessing about what to do next.


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