The Power of Project Management: Moving Towards Meaningful
Jan 7, 2014
Day-in and day-out we are inundated with human interactions; more and more of which lean toward meaningless rather than meaningful. We pass our co-workers in the hallway, but what do we know about them? We walk past a stranger on the street, but usually no one says hello. We are becoming desensitized to our fellow human being.
Over our lifetime, if we are lucky, we build numerous relationships. Some are superficial, some are deeply meaningful, and some are purely out of necessity rather than desire. A meaningful relationship isn’t dependent on the two people who are interacting, but rather the type of interaction. A relationship founded on honesty, integrity, intention, and selflessness leads to meaningful productivity, growth, and insight. A relationship based on a common language and effective communication will always thrive despite expected hiccups along the way.
How do we go about creating more meaning in our relationships? More meaning in our day to day interactions?
Working in project management, the necessity to create a meaningful relationship became apparent to me on day one at Centerline. The client feedback we typically receive sounds something like: “We loved the video and loved working with [your PM’s name here].” It’s 50% product and 50% personal. Half their experience with Centerline is based on interactions with project management. What differentiates us as Project Managers is that we aren’t just order takers, we actively listen for our clients needs and desires. It has become too common of a phenomenon for people to listen for what they want to hear rather than what is actually being said.
So how do we arrive at these relationships with our clients? Relationships that empower them to to feel heard and respected, and empower us to put our most creative foot forward and be daring while managing their best interests? It takes a genuine desire, with planned intention, to build something of this breadth and depth. The underlying current is strong and effective communication. Noam Chomsky believes that we are all linked by a common linguistic structure – our job in Project Management is to find that common language between agency and client, and speak it fluently.
We are responsible for translating the thoughts and opinions from the client and simultaneously honoring the creative perspective. This requires us to have a true grasp on the challenges, but also fully answer any questions and provide clarity when needed. It’s about establishing a voice, a language, that is understood – by both the client and the creative.
How do you establish that voice when most communication is limited to digital format? The instinct is no longer to pick up the phone, or go and meet the client; the instinct is to stay in our digital comfort zone. At Centerline, this is NOT the case. In fact, most of our days are spent in glass conference rooms huddled around the phone – speaking to the client, understanding their voice, and letting them understand ours. If an issue arises we don’t just fire off an e-mail – we take the time to pick up the phone, call the client, and have a real conversation. This is the difference that we bring. You aren’t working with a mail chimp who can send off forty some emails in a day. You are working with an individual who is just as invested in your success as you are – who wants to know you, who wants to deeply engage, and who wants to build a meaningful relationship.
The onus falls on us, the agency, to bring the right people together… to find those who are looking for something different… looking to pay homage to more mindful times, when we spoke to each other at length, picked up the phone, and knew our neighbors. How will you create a common language?
How will you create an environment in which you can listen deeply, and foster meaningful relationships? And most importantly, how will you empower those around you?