I am a believer in the power of project management.
As a professional project manager for nearly twenty years, I have witnessed project success drive business results. I have also proven that project management can change lives and help achieve personal transformation. Now I am sharing some practical tips and techniques that you can use to help achieve your own personal goals, live your best life and become a PM Believer.
Science vs. Art
Project management is both a science and an art. Beyond the formal tools and processes, there are other habits and techniques that project managers use to achieve success. Today’s post explores one of these aspects of the art of project management.
Learn & Test
In Do You Know Too Much? I wrote that great project managers are great learners who seek to learn something new each day. But, learning new things is just the tip of the iceberg. What good is all that new knowledge if you keep it locked away in your brain?
Allow me to illustrate with an example.
Imagine that you have attended a training class for a new skill. This isn’t a skill that you will need immediately but you will need it in a few months. You throw yourself into the class and you learn a lot. You feel like an unstoppable expert.
A few months go by and it is time to apply the training in a “real-life” scenario. But you can’t do it. Your mind goes blank and all of the training turned out to be meaningless.
Why? Because you acquired new knowledge, you kept it locked inside your head and it became stale instead of becoming a skill.
There is an alternative, a way to free that locked-up knowledge and make sure that it doesn’t get stale in your brains. There is one secret to converting the knowledge in your head into new skills. Isn’t that the true goal of any learning?
The secret: try new things, apply new knowledge, build new skills.
If you take some time to try to apply the new knowledge that you acquire, you can quickly turn that knowledge into new skills. These new skills are certainly critical for any professional project manager. By continually increasing your skills, you continue to add increasing value to your job (and hopefully cash in your pocket). But, building new skills isn’t just important at work, it is the key to your personal success as well.
How productive and successful would you feel in life if you added new skills every day? You would feel great, wouldn’t you?
Applying new knowledge to build new skills doesn’t require some grand gesture. You don’t have to be all-in or all-out. You don’t have to go big or go home. Yes, you can crawl before you walk.
The best way to try your hand at applying new knowledge and building new skills is to take baby steps. This is the perfect place for a “test and learn” strategy. Or, maybe, a learn and test strategy. It is time for micro-experiments.
Leveraging a micro-experiments approach to building new skills means choosing small places to try new things. This could mean changing up the way that you lead one meeting to try the new facilitation techniques that you learned in a training class. Maybe you read an article about a new way to build rapport by asking questions and you want to try it when having coffee with a friend.
Whatever the skill is that you want to build, the trick is finding a small place to try it out in a safe, or safe-ish, setting. Learn from your attempt at applying the skill and adjust your approach as necessary. Then repeat because expertise is built by trying new things over and over again until you are proficient.
Where can you unlock the knowledge in your brain by trying to apply the new skills today?
Are you ready to be a PM Believer?
Are you trying to be a great project manager by continually learning new things? Acquiring knowledge is just the first part of the equation. If you don’t take the next step, that knowledge stays locked up inside your brain and becomes stale. By embracing a “learn and test” strategy you can convert that knowledge into skills that will last forever.
How have you applied project management for your personal success? Tell me about it at OperationMelt.com and make sure to join my email list to have updates delivered to your inbox weekly.
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Want to know more about how I changed my life with project management? Pick up your copy of my book Operation Melt: How I Used Life-Changing Project Management to Lose Over 100 Pounds In Under a Year.
About Operation Melt
Operation Melt started as a blog to share my personal transformation and weight loss story. After achieving success with that goal, Operation Melt has evolved into a platform to help inspire, motivate and equip people to achieve their own personal and professional goals so they can live their best lives. My vision is to build a world where no goal ever dies of loneliness.