The Project, Business and Management Professionals Toolkit
I. The Fundamentals
"Getting to know me" and your working environment. Of the many factors that contribute to success in your chosen career, an understanding of your personality, behavioral and communication style type is among the most useful and powerful. Traditionally, emphasis has been placed on education, interests, skills, and experience. But these will change over time and cannot always be relied upon as your principal long-term guide. We will take this knowledge one step further and work on understanding how these influence your working style as it relates to your working environment.
- Understand your behavioral style and how this influences your interactions with others
- Know your personality style (Myers-Briggs)
- Know your communication style and how that impacts how others view you
- Understand how these influence your working style
- Introduction to Emotional Intelligence
We will begin with an activity that has each individual doing a self-evaluation of their communication, personality and behavioral style and how each of these influences their working style. Then, as a small team effort you will discuss among yourselves what is effective and what isn't. Through self-evaluation and feedback from others, we learn what works and what doesn't in a non-threatening environment.
II. The Corporate Culture
Culture is so important that it literally underlies the way business is done in every way. Recently, there has been more attention to the influences culture, management style and personality style play in the overall success of a business venture. Understanding a company culture, particularly when entering as a new employee or working as a consultant can be the difference between being effective or ineffective in that environment. Ignoring the culture or working at counter-purposes with it is almost sure to lead to failure.
- Recognize the prevailing company cultures
- Passive-aggressive work cultures and working in that environment
- Mergers and Acquisitions - the marriage of two cultures
- Understanding management styles and how to cope with them effectively
Guided by your instructor you and your team will do a corporate assessment and list all the types discovered. As a team you will share your perceptions of the different cultures and strategize on how best to cope with them.
III. Forming Effective Teams
"What's in it for WE?" is a question to ask ourselves. Effective collaboration is one of the keys to your business/financial success. People know how you are thinking about them because your thinking impacts your word choice, your tone, and your body language. The better you get at focusing your thoughts on mutual benefit, the more your words, tone and body language will reflect that thinking. As your behaviors reflect more "What's in it for WE?" thinking, people will be more receptive to working collaboratively with you.
- Clearly communicating the vision and scope of objectives for common understanding
- Effective listening - hear the root cause
- Effective questioning - asking "What's in it for WE?" questions
- Chartering your team, the stages of group development
- Establishing and effectively documenting roles & responsibilities
- Aligning objectives to business needs
Working with scripted roles for team members, the team will be challenged to charter their group, assign roles and responsibilities and learn how to ask effective questions. Using role play the team will understand problems, develop consensus, and document it. Then, giving feedback to each other the team will understand the impact of asking the right questions to elicit the needed response.
IV. Keep the Work Moving Forward
There's nothing like a strong disagreement to slow down the work in progress. A successful professional is equipped to handle negotiation/conflict resolution in an efficient manner to not only keep the work moving, but to negotiate agreement toward a common goal without giving in. This session will explore the process of principled negotiation which can be used effectively on almost any type of dispute. The four principles of this type of negotiation are 1) separate the people from the problem; 2) focus on interests rather than positions; 3) generate a variety of options before settling on an agreement; and 4) insist that the agreement be based on objective criteria.
- Negotiation skills to provide long-term solutions
- Conflict resolution options and tactics
- Dealing with challenging individuals/personality types
- Develop your BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement)
- Working with virtual teams - long-distance relationships
Changing the dynamics of the already formed teams and after reviewing a "problem" as potential for conflict, you will have the opportunity to role play using the options and tactics you learned in this session. Using principled negotiation, you and your team members will generate a variety of options before settling on an agreement and have criteria to support your decisions.
Taming the Necessary Evil - Meetings have gotten a bad rap, because many meetings are unproductive and dull. But they have both a place and a high potential in small and large businesses. Good meetings can increase your effectiveness, customer service, and bottom line. Tailoring your meetings to fit the need and learning facilitation strategies will generate not only a more productive meeting, but also one that participants want to be a part. This session will provide you with pre-meeting strategies as well as post-meeting follow-up guidelines and tips for making your meetings more lively and action-oriented.
- Tailoring your meeting to fit your needs
- Effective meeting planning
- Facilitation strategies
- Setting successful goals, ground rules, and expectations
- Virtual meeting issues (teleconferences, video conferences)
Once again the dynamics of the teams will be changed. Given some possible topics for which a meeting would or would not be necessary, it will be up to you and your team to decide if a meeting is necessary (and there needs to be a reason). You will decide the key attendees (not everyone needs to attend all meetings), what the agenda will be, if resolution cannot be reached at the meeting, will there be action items and who will follow up. You and your team will also be tasked with coming up with alternate ways to discuss issues without having a meeting.
VI. Communication Overload
E-mail and Instant Messaging - Think before you write. Just because you can send information faster than ever before, it doesn't mean that you should send it. Analyze your readers to make certain that you are sending a message that will be both clear and useful. In this session you will learn or possibly refresh your email etiquette and have a clearer understanding of when it is appropriate to "cc" another party. You will learn winning solutions on how to tame the communications overload in your work environment.
- E-mail etiquette
- Tips for effective e-mails
- Communication that leads to collaboration
VII. Presentations that deliver
While hard work and good ideas are essential to success, your ability to express those ideas and get others to join you is just as important. Much of this verbal expression will be one on one or in small groups but periodically (and for some of us often) you will be involved in more formal and public speaking in front of larger numbers. If this thought makes you nervous you are not alone. Many speakers lack the skills and confidence to make effective presentations. We have all been victims of speakers (e.g. teachers) who put us to sleep. Despite knowing how ineffective many speakers are, many of us have found that, despite the best intentions, we haven't fared much better. We knew the topic and the ideas were written down, but the presentation still didn't go well. This session will give you the tools you need to give powerful presentations with or without MS PowerPoint.
- Preparing to present
- Being effective with or without MS PowerPoint
- Body language, breath control, eye contact, effective presentation tactics
- Engaging your audience
- Building rapport
- Dealing with virtual presentations - video and web conferences
- Handling unexpected issues
After having negotiated your topic with your teammates, you will be doing a 2 - 3 minute presentation using the newly learned skills from this module. You will have the opportunity to hear positive comment critiques from your fellow teammates and to hone your skills for powerful presentations in the future.