In these challenging times, so many of our projects and programs are more challenging than usual. We are called upon to make tough decisions to solve difficult problems and to squeeze more out of every resource we have. How we face these challenges has more to do with our approach and attitude than anything else.
The best approach, I find, is to employ a technique that we could call "creative engagement." Creative engagement is where we leverage our deep involvement with others on our team to uncover creative solutions to these problems. The antithesis of creative engagement is separation or isolation, where we disengage from our team as we fear that our decisions could hurt them. The problem is that we all truly are a team and not individual problem solvers; and it is absolutely poor management to think that we can sit there, develop solutions on our own, and then simply delegate them to our team members to implement.
Gaining buy-in is one key technique that we can always use with our stakeholders; but it is also a great technique to use with our team. As with stakeholders, the best way to gain buy-in is to have complete, open, and honest participation. We need to involve our team members in every aspect of the challenges and issues we have. We can actually gain a special type of inner strength by looking outside of ourselves — externally — for that strength in our team members, by being deeply involved with them and including them transparently in all of our toughest challenges.
In these tough times, we do not need to be martyrs. The burden that we may carry with the responsibilities of our projects and programs need not be strictly our own. If we have a team at all then we likely have some willing and able colleagues with which to share the burden. Several minds are much greater than one. In addition, several spirits are much greater than one, if we only would allow others to actually provide some of that inner strength that we need. We all need to support each other and all have unique contributions to make. There is no better time to leverage the power of our teams and look externally for inner strength.
John Reiling, PMP
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