3 things to help programme managers stand out in the crowd

If you manage people, projects or programmes, I’m guessing that you would tell me that you do a pretty good job at it, that you stack up well against your peers and that you understand the business challenges you are trying to solve? Let’s face it, it might be true, but we can all talk the talk.

But have you ever wondered how to bring that edge to what you do, how to do something differently and set yourself apart from your peers?

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of working with a client looking to mobilise a group of stakeholders. Conceiving a transformation working group, with representation from multiple organisations, bringing their own brands, visions, priorities and perspectives, as well as experience and expertise was always going to be challenging.

Many said it couldn’t be done.

I have had the privilege of mobilising and leading a number of fantastic teams and delivering complex change programmes, with great success and honestly some failure, and I must admit to not being sure it could either. And yet this newly formed team came away from the inaugural session believing it could, believing that they were stronger together and could make a difference.

How did we do it? Well here are 3 of my simple hints and tips that just might help you do something a little differently tomorrow, to stand out in the crowd.

What’s their baggage?

As you mobilise a team, or organise a project planning workshop, investment in the start-up phase won’t ever be wasted. Before you get a new group of people together, be it stakeholders, subject matter experts, team members, pick up the phone, speak to each person individually, get under the bonnet, find out what their expectations are and understand in advance where their concerns or challenges might be.

Do I know you?

You and your sponsor are going to have to work pretty closely together during the life of the programme or the duration of working together, so get to know them, understand what really matters to them and why. Be courageous and vulnerable, share some heartfelt stories and your experiences. Relationships really do take time to build, so do take time to invest in them. Ask yourself, do you know what good looks like for them? (even if we know full well that that will in all probability change)

Don’t try & be that superhero

You can’t do everything, you can’t know everything, make peace with that. As a manager your job is to conduct the orchestra, bring in the experience, the knowledge, talents and use them well. No one was ever fired for having an over experienced team I know these may sound simple, but goodness they are effective and often neglected. I would love to hear how you get on.