4 Critical Elements Of Successful Project Management

By Kenny Chapman, The Blue Collar Coach

project management conceptBeing a big believer in the importance of systematization within our organizations, this month I want to share some insight from a big project we recently tackled at Team Blue Collar.

It's almost hard for me to believe it's been over 14 years since I sat across from Michael Gerber, author of The E-Myth Revisited, in his signature red tie and dark navy suit. We were together on a cloudy and rainy Santa Rosa day locked in a classroom. Michael said to me, "Show me a small business owner, give me a mirror, and I'll show you what that business looks like."

As a young and aggressive entrepreneur, those words resonated with me but I was yet to have enough experience to fully grasp the power of that simple and true statement. Since that time I have dedicated my life to helping people improve their lives and businesses and reach levels they previous though were not possible.

We're able to do this on such a large scale because we utilize systematization in every corner and every aspect of the businesses that we can expose and find opportunity for improvement.

I'd like you to think about a project or a task you're wanting to tackle or finally finish in your own company. This could be anything from a software conversion, to a new field sales presentation book or slideshow, to nailing down an inventory program between your warehouse and your field vehicles.

As I share a personal example from the Blue Collar Team, I encourage you to look at your own situation and see how these four key focus points can help you get more done in an easier way. That's the whole point of systematization after all. We want predictable acceptable results with the easiest path possible for everyone involved.

1. Decide exactly what you want - More than likely you've heard me say this before. In fact, I find this step so important that clarity is the first dimension in my book The Six Dimensions of C.H.A.N.G.E.

Don't seek perfection when you're deciding what you want, just make sure you know the outcome you desire as well as the "why" behind whatever it is you're looking to create or implement. If you seek perfection then big, bad Uncle Procrastination is sure to stop by for an unannounced visit and you won't accomplish anything.

2. Overcome obstacles that are sure to happen - Some clients get stuck here because it almost feels like we're planning and intending for things to wrong. Nothing is further from the truth, we're just preparing to remain flexible in our approach. As you get into a project, you will learn more, unknowns will arise, and your perspective will change.

This doesn't mean we take our eye off the goal. The end game will still remain the same, but we might have to play a few different calls than we originally thought during the game. This is part of the process so don't get upset when challenges arise. Commitment is paramount to creating the company and life you want and you'll need every dose of commitment you've got at various times of the project or implementation.

3. Maximize teamwork with your people - Sure there are certainly some aspects of a project that fall completely on your shoulders that no one else can do. That doesn't mean you have to accomplish the entire project on your own. Two minds or more with a common interest and goal will always be more powerful and more productive than one.

Just because you're the boss doesn't mean you need to handle everything. In fact, the better leader you become, the more you'll realize this and tap into the power of your team. This accomplishes two very powerful things. First, it allows you to not carry all the weight and you gain outside perspective which you need very much. Secondly, it allows your team to put their fingerprints on the project. It allows them to take ownership and to have some skin in the game. Everybody wins together!

4. Celebrate milestones and wins - This step is skipped all the time by top leaders and entrepreneurs. We say to ourselves and our team, "Okay, that's done, what's next." There's nothing wrong with wanting to get onto the next project but you and your team need to take a moment and celebrate together.

This doesn't mean you have the equivalent of the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade because you finally rolled out your new price book, but it does mean you need a special coffee, a special lunch, or something that pulls the team together to reflect on all the work they put into this accomplishment. Celebration may vary based on project size, but make sure you take the time for this critical step. This is where everyone gets the next round of energy and excitement for whatever is coming next.

At Team Blue Collar, we are in the final stages of a project to make our live Service Sales Success School available to our wonderful clients in an online format. You have been asking for it for a while and we have finally tackled this massive project. We followed the four steps I'm sharing with you today throughout the process.

We knew what we wanted originally, then we hit challenges with technology, platform, deliverability, etc. We faced challenges we didn't expect. We knew we would have them, but we didn't know going into this project how or what challenges would arise.

We exercised tremendous commitment. I distinctly remember on my 8th day in a row in the studio having to really challenge myself to dig deeper, to fight off any negative thinking or limiting beliefs trying to creep in. My team challenged me to rise to the occasion regardless of challenges.

We worked diligently as a team. My strengths are best suited doing the training itself while other team members worked tirelessly on design, edits, content, etc. We all needed each other to make this the best program we possibly could.

While we're not quite to a point of the overall project complete celebration, we celebrated milestones along the way. Guess what the first milestone celebrated was?

Getting started.

Nothing happens without getting started. Be easy with yourself as a leader but hold yourself accountable for forward progress. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither was the project you need to get started on today. Go! Now! Do something to start that project.