Stopping the Second Guessing of Leaders above: The Big 3 tips: Branding, Surfing, Dashboards

surfer.gifFirst Branding:
Herman: I am not in marketing or sales!  How can branding my Project save ME time with stakeholders?

Answer:  You have to Advertise what you are ACHIEVING and NOT Achieving even it is only mystery and frustration.  Most projects are NOT well understood, EVEN by the managers that conceive them. The art of “internal” branding   keeps the project in view;   managers feel they are part of it as a Sponsor!  A project like a product requires excitement and “buy-in” from the manager, so that they CHOOSE to stay out of your way, and help you get the green lights from any slow downs in silos or bureaucracy gridlocks.  Yes, that is a sponsor role. Keep them close to the ACTION and deployed on your problems!

Let your managers be heroes too! Avoid branding yourself as the project behind schedule, over budget, with creeping scope, and creepy people with them. Become the REALLY challenged project, and the team with the greatest endurance.
Reframe your message as a higher quality project, a great investment, and
a team of unique but diligent geniuses. How do you do that? By not over-reacting.  Brand yourself as a team excited to be delivering to key Business Plan objectives.
Stop sharing the BMWs (bashing others, moaning, whining). Stay positive about even the negatives. 
Branding yourself, before others try to Brand you. Make your story a progress and success story.  Make it an adventure of focused attention.
With great branding and updates that are positive and built in automatically, you can stop unnecessary review and micromanagement.   Herman’s speech: Hey Boss, this is a project critical to X and that is why we don’t want to have too many unnecessary communications, check points. As the late great guru Deming taught us in the 1980s, “If you weigh yourself 100 times, you may have not lost any weight.” Keep your boss up-to date on these things and your branding yourself as a great Project leader.

Tip 2–Surfing problems: Herman told me his boss meets with him on STUFF he already knows and is JUST confirming
Herman’s gripe:  My Manager surfs my schedule: and see holes.  Thinks: Better have a session with you and OUTLOOKS you.  A Minimalist view of check ins and tracking need to be followed. Hey, we have Websites and tracking documents, boss.
Let me help you find them on our intranet. Get rid of these minutes wasted first!  Bosses hate silence, and not knowing why you have empty space on your public calendar. Fill the blanks with a clear valued activity, like WORKING on: COMPLETING, ANALYSIS, etc.  And yes, they may not know where to find project updates unless you have designed them together. Which leads us to:

Tip 3– Create easy to read Dashboards for the project:
After checking in, a boss has been instructed to ask:  “how are we doing? (in soft stuff areas); is everyone on board with where we are going?  Any burnout, harassment, illness that could hamper the schedule? Good news means less meetings; bad new, more meetings.  Silence. Lots of meetings.

Herman’s solution was to agree on dashboard updates and fill them in daily on a hot project, weekly (Friday Flash on others).    
1)  Decisions made and why
2)  Progress made and why (no interruptions from management or oversight)
3)  Budget savings as well as increases– show how are you being efficient?(the coulda cost but we did this ratios)
4) Great ideas you are refining and will be launching to get back into alignment with other schedules and costs.
5) Bob had twins!  (We have cross trained someone else to offset his sleep deprivation and joy)    HR will love that!
6)  Specific Thank YOU notes to the bosses for acting and not reacting. (now that’s documentation!)

Herman’s nightly dream:

Herman is a hermit, merrily working on projects and having time to THINK!


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