Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Individual Contributor? Do This and Stand Out

“One clear way that individual contributors can differentiate themselves is by taking their project and articulating a vision for it,” says Karen McHenry.

Why is vision so important? The success of a project or effort requires teamwork. And if the team can't see where the project is heading or the final outcome, they won't give their all to the project. In my past, I can remember serving of some manager's pet project that was doomed for failure. He didn't bother to create buy-in. He didn't have realistic expectations nor plans.

McHenry writes this about creating a vision and expectations: “True leaders back up their vision with a realistic roadmap for accomplishing that vision.” When this happens, they can effectively lead the team.

Neal Whitten, PMP, author of No-Nonsense Advice for Successful Projects, writes the biggest reason project managers are not effective, is because they are soft (no vision for team success). Soft refers to not holding teammates accountable and trying to keep everyone happy.

Improve you effectiveness and stand out, read McHenry’s three keys to building credibility as an individual contributor: expertise, values, and vision.

Karen McHenry consults to the software industry on strategy and new product development, writes on business, technology and career issues, and teaches at Endicott College.

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