I had just gotten a bad review; some of my colleagues got promotions. I worked as hard as they did and I had a strong knowledge of our product and processes. Apparently I had made some mistakes in my focus. I didn’t think that I was a poor project manager, but my manager did. Others got recognized and promoted. Why not me?
I was disappointed. I was working hard, long hours for what I thought was the best interests of the client. Apparently I needed to also focus on the best interests of management. At the time I couldn’t figure out how these two meshed together.
I remembered that I could only control my actions. I made a decision to be the very best project manager I could. Others could then judge me how they wanted. I needed to know that I was doing my absolute best. I became accountable to myself.
Personal accountability started by performing a self-analysis of my strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges. I decided that my strengths included relationship building, my weaknesses included a tendency to cut corners, my opportunities included improving my project management skills, and my challenges included proving to myself and to my manager that I was a very good project manager.
I needed a breakthrough in my professional approach to managing projects. The breakthrough began to take shape with the concept of determining my responsibilities as a leader as well as a project manager. As a manager, I could follow many best practices. But as a leader, I had to find a better way to put best practices to work for me.
Planning before acting, thinking before doing, information gathering before estimating and studying before speaking all helped me to take greater control of situations before they spiraled out of control. I developed a list of personal best practices: being proactive, being thorough, paying attention to details, being honest, providing a positive and encouraging project culture, supplying complete documentation, and supporting my teams in all of their endeavors.
Instead of asking my manager, I began asking myself, “Why not me?”
My responses to this question began to be less about what I could do, and more about what I was doing. I knew my potential, but I needed to improve my contributions to my projects, to my teams and to my processes. It was time to put into practice my personal best practices. As I began to make this shift in my thinking my performance slowly improved, and now 3 years later, I help write best practices for our company.
I found a crucial tool for my “Dan the Project Manager Man” tool belt that I return to often; we can all improve when we decide we want to.
Is your success (total well-being) dependent on others, or on yourself?