Category Archives: mentoring

The Courage of Your Convictions

I’ve just crossed the one-year mark of my post-corporate journey– one that started with a decision to STOP doing something, without fully mapping out what I would START. It was a profound personal epiphany, and it also left me jobless.

I was burned out, for sure, but mostly frustrated by the desire to contribute in a larger way. My demons of self-doubt had finally given way to new voices in my head:

"Hear Me Now and Believe Me Later!"

“I actually know what I’m talking about. My approach delivers successful initiatives. You might not want to listen, but… (now in Hans & Franz voice): Hear me now and believe me later!”

But how to position myself to be able to do my thing? Continue reading

What is Emotional Intelligence?

We hear the term “Emotional Intelligence” a lot in workplaces. We get told that great leaders have it. Our performance reviews tell us to increase it. But what is it? Here’s my own definition:

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to consciously align your behaviors to a desired outcome.

It may sound simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. That’s because behaviors are influenced by emotions, and emotions are influenced by a variety of things like personal needs, values, past experience, and instinct. The raw input of our environment passes through these filters, and our brain delivers a verdict in the form of an interpretation. And that, in turn, produces a behavior.

How The Brain "Channels & Chooses"

Basically, it’s “Channel and Choose.” Your brain receives stimulus, channels it through your own personal filters, and then chooses an action.

One of the wondrous and amazing things about the human brain is that it can operate at a meta level of consciousness, above these routine brain processes. We can become aware of our own needs and values that trigger particular emotions. We can process those emotions and then evaluate potential responses. We can learn to recognize situations that create an “emotional-hijack” and produce ineffective (or even destructive) behaviors—and change that course.

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A Case of the Jitters…?

emotional intelligence anxiety

We All Get The Jitters Sometimes

I had an unusual experience a couple of days ago: I got nervous right before a client presentation. It was more than the typical adrenalin surge that happens right before I hit a stage, or stare into a live camera with a reporter on the other end. This was the real jitters.

The funny thing is that I was on the phone with a friend with whom I’m partnering on this proposal, as we waited for his client to come on the line.  So you’d think I’d be even more relaxed since my pal was there with me. He happens to be kicking-“a” in his own consulting practice, and I have a high degree of confidence in him– someone I’d trust to carry the entire conversation without me. To top that off, the workplace Emotional Intelligence program we’re presenting is so authentically from our cores that we don’t need scripted pitches. Not only do we know our stuff– we “are” our stuff. So what’s to be nervous about?

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PMI Certification: Is it Worth It?

Is Certification Worth It?

As I speak to audiences about the importance of soft skills and emotional intelligence in project management, inevitably I’m asked my opinion on the value of a  certification from the PMI (Project Management Institute) such as the PMP (Project Management Professional.) This topic is very polarizing in our professional community.  The camps generally divide into :  1) Those who sought the PMP on their own and found it to be an excellent training opportunity; 2) Those who were required by their employer or felt pressured by the job market to obtain it; and, 3) Those who are active resisters or were just never required to get one.

First off, let me state clearly that I do not have a PMI certification. Heresy, you say? Well, the reality is that the PMP certification gained prominence at a time when I was already firmly established in my career. My employers, knowing my skills and track record, never pushed for me to obtain it.

So is there a value in having the PMI certification? My strong answer is… it depends. Let’s look at the requirements and costs, and then I’ll tell you what I really think. Continue reading

Aside

Welcome to the blog for Pam Stanton, The Project Whisperer. Here you’ll find articles, announcements, and news related to project management and leadership– which as we all know, requires “Heart, Brains, & Courage.” Please join the conversation! Share your thoughts, … Continue reading

The Project Manager as Orator: Top Ten Presentation Tips

Project Management requires a broad range of skills. I joke sometimes that it requires being a “coach, den mother, drill sergeant, teacher, and therapist”—all rolled into one.

In addition to understanding project management methodology and group dynamics, we are often called upon to serve as spokesperson for the team.  We find ourselves standing in front of a room full  of executives explaining the project or requesting funding.  This  adds “orator” to the long list of leadership skills we must command.

Presentation Skills Are Essential

The ability to speak in front of an audience doesn’t come naturally for many of us. It may surprise some to know that I started out twenty years ago absolutely terrified to even introduce myself in a group meeting.  I can attest that training and practice can produce a presenter who actually loves to be on stage. If this is something that doesn’t come naturally to you, don’t be concerned. For most people, it requires training and practice. Continue reading

Q&A with The Project Whisperer, part one

What a thrill and honor it was on December 14th to present a Project Whisperer webinar to 660 attendees! Many thanks to the wonderful team at The Project Management Bookstore for sponsoring this great event.

We spent about 15 minutes on Q&A, and some good questions were emailed afterward. In this Q&A series, I’ll recap questions that were asked during and after the webinar.  My grateful thanks to all who attended and sent in rave reviews. It was truly my pleasure! Stay tuned for announcements of future webinars, which are eligible for PDU credit to maintain PMI certifications.

Q: How do you change the Firefighter approach people take to projects?

A: As with most behavior of teams or individuals, I look for the underlying cause or driver. I define “firefighters” as those types who thrive in situations of great urgency and visibility requiring quick thinking and sometimes heroics. With that said, firefighting is an extremely useful quality when the circumstances truly call for it. Continue reading