When I grow tired of it cluttering up my mind and heart, I want to choke it and watch it die. So I reach inside myself, wrap my imaginary fingers around it, and start squeezing, squeezing, squeezing until it has completely disintegrated. It feels so good to finally rid myself of…negativity.
Had you going there for a moment, didn’t I? That was my whole intention here—to reach out and grab you, get you to pay attention. I was piquing your curiosity. I was leading you towards a conclusion.
That’s what leadership is all about—planting ideas in other people, and then waiting for those ideas to bloom. This metaphor is so relevant to leadership, I had to share it with you so the idea can grow. But at the same time, we should also remember the opposite can be true. Whenever an idea is no longer relevant, we need to be ready to let go of it.
This is where project leadership comes in. It’s when you actively decide which projects should stay and which should go. Think about this scenario. You were called into a committee meeting, sat around for two hours discussing the latest idea someone has come up with, and then that idea was unintentionally left to wither on the vine, without ever getting the chance to grow.
That happens more than you think. Even the greatest ideas will be forgotten if there is no follow up. When that occurs, all you accomplished was sitting around wasting valuable time. It’s time to take control and move forward! It’s time for the project leader to step up and follow through on the project, giving the team the tools they need to grow the project, and nurture the idea to action.
From there, good project management helps control how the process evolves, monitoring and nourishing the project, and removing any obstacles.
Let me share a story.
I was working with a group of people who were destined to become great leaders, and we were moving through a pretty extensive leadership program. The executive staff really came to appreciate the value of this program, and actually wanted me to extend it system wide. (What a huge pat on the back, huh?) But while this is exciting news for everyone involved, there was a catch. Very little was being done to get the information about this “great program they loved so much” to the people who needed to see and prepare for it.
The program was shared through word of mouth, but that was limited to those who were in the proximity of the few people enrolled in the program. There was absolutely no marketing campaign planned at their end.
This is a perfect example of what is meant by “withering on the vine.” Someone needed to become more proactive and start spreading the news to their staff so it could grow, grow, grow!
All kidding aside, this is a wonderful chance to remind you of the importance of recognizing what is, and what is not, important when it comes to project management. Tend to and manage the projects you want to grow. But also be proactive about getting rid of the things that aren’t working or no longer serving their purpose.