I heard this the other day – can’t remember where.
But the concept of the statement is great. Someone is inspired to be better due to someone else’s excellence or perceived excellence. How would you like to hear this statement made to you? Especially from someone you know and respected. It would be great. What a boost. Perhaps almost life changing. If you agree then don’t be stingy with your compliments. You like how hard your kids are working on a task or chore? Tell them. The dinner taste great? Compliment your spouse or the chef at the restaurant. Service was good - tell the manager and single out your server by name. They usually get a bonus or gift card for that. A colleague puts on a good presentation. Tell them.
So back to being actually “inspired” by someone’s excellence. I believe we should all strive for this and work hard as if we might here those words at the end of a project. What is project management excellence? How would you define it? For me, excellent project delivery isn’t about a successful project as much as it is about our leadership of the project, team, customer and stakeholders.
As project leaders in the business analyst role how can we show excellence throughout the project and daily to inspire our team and our fellow business analysts and even our customer to raise their own bar of performance and quality? Consider these...
Lead by example.
First, lead by example. You will never inspire excellence in others if aren't practicing what you preach. All the time we see this failure in fraudulent CEOs, our embezzling CFOs, our corrupt school leaders, religious leaders, and key political leaders in top spots throughout the United States and throughout the world. It's frustrating, it's unfortunate, and it makes it very difficult to know who to look up to and who to question. Don't let that be you in a leadership role. I'm not saying I'm awesome by any means, but it's always nice to tell my potential consulting and project clients that they can look me up on the internet anywhere and not find anything negative and that I've passed every background check and finger print check I've ever been through and there have been dozens as a resulting church leadership roles, background checks for adoptions and government project roles and for working in the hospitality and gaming industry. Be that business analyst who above reproach and people is won't question your authority, your experience and your excellence. They will respect you for the leader that you are, they will follow you and you will inspire them.
Be completely transparent.
Always be transparent. Keeping information secret or hidden or unspoken that should be share makes you seem deceptive or duplicitous. It's not the way to lead or gain respect. It's not the same as lying but it sort of is. It's deception by omission. If your team or your project customer finds out about something that is critical to the project and affects them by means other than your communication to them and you already knew about it, then they will always wonder what else you aren't telling them. Losing trust is easy. Gaining trust is difficult. And keeping trust is hard when you are keeping important things and information from others. Getting trust back in some cases is impossible... then you lost that opportunity to inspire excellence in them forever. So be transparent. Share everything. I was once told by another business analyst working on a project with me that he really liked working on projects with me because he always felt like I was keeping him – and everyone on the team – as up to date as possible every day on the project. He said he received many more email updates and communications from me than he did from any other project team member or project manager on his other projects. I'm not completely sure he wasn't telling me that I send too many emails, but over communication is good too and you ensure that everyone is on the same page, so I took that as a compliment. Be transparent. You will never regret it and it will inspire others to do the same.
Always plan well.
Exhibit excellent communication skills.
Communicate well and often. As with the above example, those working with you will appreciate knowing what you know and being up to date and will never feel like they don't know the whole story. Effective and efficient communication – both outgoing and listening – is Job One for project leaders. It keeps information flowing for all, it keeps everyone on the same page, it is truly the best path to the successful project delivery and it earns and keeps the respect of others. By keeping your project team up to date at all times they will be accountable, feel appreciated, be a better project participant, and be more confident. They will feel respected and they will respect you for it. You will be inspiring excellence in them throughout the project engagement. And you customer will love it. No customer wants to feel like you're keeping something from them. It grows frustration and discontent and you never want to go there with the customer. Or team member. Communicate well and often to inspire respect and excellence in others.
It all comes down to exhibiting best practices each day as we are conducting ourselves, leading our teams, leading our project customers, making decisions and leading our projects overall. Be a good leader, be honest and of high integrity, do what you say you're going to do and keep everyone on the same page and you will have the respect of all those on the project with you. You will be portraying excellence by default.