I was chatting with the senior project director at a large local organization recently and he made a very astute observation. When it comes time to find his next senior project manager, he has lots of great choices, he suggested. There are many PMs out there that are really good: certified, subject matter expertise and a fabulous track record. But, for my colleague, all of this is just the baseline. He is looking for all of these things, plus more.
So, what more is he looking for?
There are lots of things that could qualify as ‘more’. Simply, anything that can bring more value to the table than just being a really good project manager will qualify.
Here are a few ideas on how project managers can stand out in the crowd.
- Make an effort to understand the business. These PMs have reached out to others in order to network and grow their connections beyond their silo, into other parts of the company. They realize the importance of building these relationships and more importantly, understanding how these people and other areas work together to get work done within the organization.
- Make an effort to understand their industry better. These PMs have gone beyond their own organization to learn about industry trends, projections and movements within the community. They have attended conferences around their own industry, connected with peers, followed professionals in their field and subscribed to content that will help them to better understand their industry.
- Make an effort to connect the work that you do with the strategic plan of the organization. Bridging this gap between strategy and our day to day work is key to inspiring our people, helping them to enjoy their work more and to ensuring the ultimate success of our projects. These PM’s have reached out to senior leaders in the organization to better understand where they are headed and how the work they do connects to those goals and objectives.
Project managers who think beyond their projects will be more successful and over time, they will get those more important work.