It never ceases to amaze me how many good ideas there are out there. Listening, asking questions, and putting pieces together have been the foundation of everything I have accomplished.
When I started my Masters, I wasn’t sure I had what it took to be successful in the field. How could I, mother of five out of the workforce for eight years, possibly keep up with all of these professionals? With no experience in the field what could I possibly contribute?
More than anything else, completing my Masters at AU gave me confidence to get involved in the dialogue, to become an active participant.
It also gave me opportunities to do all of the things I used to avoid: Public speaking, publishing papers, virtual presentations, participating in conferences. I still can not truthfully say that I now love to do these things – I’d quite happily work in my quiet office and let someone be the public face of the ideas – but it did prepare me well.
In the past five years, I’ve taken on several positions that involve a lot more time doing three things (not necessarily in this order):
1. Talking and negotiating with clients, stakeholders and end users
2. Sharing a vision with a cross-functional team and motivating them to try new approaches and achieve new things
3. Putting out fires and getting derailed project trains back on the tracks
The skills I honed in the beloved “group work” of the AU Masters program, set me up with the skills I nee to succeed (and how to recover when a project completely derails) both within the customer care industry and working within higher education.
I’ve had the privilege of working with many great teams on many great projects. Whether identifying and addressing a wide scale performance challenge or implementing a new student information system I’ve consistently found success in projects when we’ve focused on building /enhancing transparency, team talent and trust.
The following is a presentation on how we combined those elements to support the successful implementation of a new university-wide learning environment.
Files to download:
Assumptions often drive behaviours. Getting to the bottom of those assumptions can significantly change the outcome of a project.
I’ve adopted the following table both personally and at a project level in order to keep track of changing assumptions. At the beginning of a project level-setting on assumptions can enable an open working relationship and resolve a large number of issues before a project even begins. Monitoring those assumptions can quickly give you a good sense of the the project’s level of success (If everything that started in the “What you fear” moves into the “What you know (or think you know)” column, you are probably in trouble.)