Assign a single capable person to serve as Project Manager (PM) responsible for the entire project through to completion if one is not already assigned or if the one assigned has proven ineffective. The PM should be someone who has previously been successful in similar circumstances in terms of project scope, scale, and complexity. If someone with requisite experience is not available to serve as PM then arrange for the experienced person to serve as a close adviser to the PM until a new plan is in place and performance relative to the new plan is on track.
Have the PM work with the client, the project team, management, and advisers to pull together a revised plan.Review the plan thoroughly with the PM, the project team, and with outside stakeholders, including the client, to be sure the path to completion, all the way through to client acceptance, is well formulated, understood, agreed to, and sensible.
A qualified sales prospect may turn out to be in the next seat at a conference session or happen by the booth in the vendor display area … but the odds are so long that if the only plan is to meet people randomly then it is probably not worth going.
The value of attending is multiplied many times when an industry conference serves as a platform to work from before, during and after by a team committed to making the most of the experience.
Specifically, contact targeted executives regarding the conference. Every interaction is a chance to make a strong personal connection around a topic of mutual interest (the conference); use it to gather intelligence and to impact thinking related to cultivating interest in organization offerings. Continue reading Don’t go to the conference stupid!→
Organizations that offer solutions to clients manage: Projects, Clients, and Offerings as suggested in Figure 1. Managing each requires different skills and seeks to achieve different goals as outlined below.
Good questions of customers and prospects can dramatically increase the odds of developing opportunities to deliver value. Questions that engage and that allow the customer or prospect to reveal and expand their realities and the opportunities to provide value are ideal.
It takes conscious effort to plan for, create, and to make the most of opportunities to engage. The best practice is to think ahead, develop a collection of stock questions, and pay attention to find, cultivate, and take advantage of opportunities to engage.
Below are characteristics of well-phrased questions followed by some examples.
A well-phrased question:
Is not answerable in a single word, i.e. it is open-ended and inspires an engaging dialogue on a broad agenda.
Early-stage professionals should look forward to and take advantage of opportunities to interact with people in client, partner, or supplier organizations at more senior levels of scope and scale of responsibility than they are used to working with. While it might initially be difficult to muster the courage and conviction to play at a higher level, it is often an opportunity to learn and likely to be career-enhancing if things go well.
The call to connect with a more senior player, whether it is to make a sale, handle a delivery issue, launch a new initiative, or negotiate contract terms, might first evoke a sense of fear and the urge to demur. The question: “How can I possibly go toe-to-toe with someone at such a senior level?” may come to mind. The following tips encourage and prepare up-and-coming star performers to get good at leveling-up:
While at first it may seem counter-intuitive, it is usually easier to communicate with more senior level executives. Higher-ups tend to be smarter, nicer, more competent, and genuinely more impressive people. After all, they got to higher levels for a reason! Along these same lines, if you are tired of dealing with people who just don’t get what you are saying and who are otherwise difficult to deal with, it may be time to give yourself a break and start working with those who have higher levels of responsibility.