Project a Positive Attitude – Adversity and challenges are part of every engagement. They should always be met with a “can do” spirit. A positive attitude is contagious to the rest of the team.
Whether you realize it or not, you have influence on those around you. The degree of influence you possess hinges on the trust you earn and the credibility you exhibit as you share your knowledge and experience. We all run into obstacles during most projects. Always remember those you are leading through a project will look to you to judge the severity. They will reflect the degree of anxiety that you exhibit.
Most projects bring an element of change to an organization, or at least to those who are front-line to the project’s effects. Change is scary for most people. You remove an environment or tool with which the customer has become very comfortable. Sure, it may be the source of problems and inefficiencies, but the customer has learned to rely on the system even if flawed. Our goal is to make their situations better. But, without first-hand knowledge and realized assurances,the customer feels a black hole of uncertainty is engulfing them. Throw in an element which is problematic to“the experts” and what else is there for the customer to do but panic.
I am not advocating we misguide the customer. Acknowledging the issue while presenting a reasoned plan for overcoming the problem will buy a level of trust while the solution is sought. Just like every other problem you have solved, follow the methodology. Analyze the situation, verify the reasons for the complication, develop a strategy for creating solutions and testing their applicability and finally present the best options to the customer to select from. Communicating your progress through each of these steps will continue to build the trust levels back to earlier levels. Find the correct solution, and your credibility will explode.
But what if you cannot find a perfect solution? Walk the customer through the process of determining the consequences. Is the problem critical enough to deny success, or just a minor complication? Is the “imperfect” solution good enough to minimize complications even though it is not a 100% solution? Often, we stall progress by focusing on an inconsequential problem, instead of focusing on achieving the ultimate objective. Your confidence during the problem solving process will influence others to be positive as well.