The biggest difference between a successful project and a failing one is the amount of respect present. This is relevant to anyone associated with the project, in any role, and at any time. Respect for the visionary, respect for the team, respect for the customer, and respect for ourselves. Other than the word respect, the thing they all have in common is that they are attached to people.
Respect for the visionary. This talks about the person who came up with the project’s vision. Showing respect to the visionary implies firstly that you know who the visionary is or was. Other things you would know about the vision include Understanding exactly what it is, the catalyst behind it, the expected outcome, the people the vision was intended to impact, the reason for the vision’s budget/timeline. By knowing this information, you are also taking on a new appreciation behind the project rather than just the parts you were involved in. It allows access to a new understanding based on facts and an opportunity to ask more focused questions.
Respect the team. This makes up the project team, it’s full and part-time members and any other stakeholders taking a part in delivering the project. This is about getting to know the project members and allowing them to know you. It requires creating a safe space to inquire about the team professionally and personally if everyone is willing. It doesn’t imply you need to volunteer your marital status or clothing size unless of course, this is comfortable by all parties. By getting to know someone you create empathy, you bring down barriers and create connections where people want to help you even when it’s not necessary. This is a or even the most powerful tool to open opportunities for networking, collaboration, discovering mutual beneficial ways of working and achieving things that may have not otherwise been possible. I could go on about the benefits of respecting the team but put simply a friend is much more likely to help you and vice versa, than an acquaintance!
Respect for the customer. The customer in this context is the person/people who will receive and inherit the changes from the project. Everything done on the project should be done with the customer in mind. The form of respect for your customers comes in the form of exchanging information. This is everyone’s responsibility. Even if this is not your formal job, there is no reason you can’t take the initiative to get this done. Isn’t it irritating when you go to a café and the person at the counter does not acknowledge you because they are only supposed to make coffee?! Showing your customers respect means they are kept informed about how you work, frequency of your contact, what happens when you hit a ‘snag’ and how you determine each task and the overall project has been completed. Respect means their requirements are captured, followed and you have learned enough about their operation to be able to visualise how your project will have an impact on their function. Respecting these understandings will also make you feel compelled to provide the customer with the right level of support to adopt the change in a user-friendly way.
Respect for ourselves. This may seem obvious but it’s the one I see the least of. Respecting ourselves means we speak our truth when something does or doesn’t feel right. When we don’t do this, it’s showing ourselves a disrespect by not honouring our opinion or following our instinct. The worst thing that can happen when you raise something you see is that it has already been acknowledged. This means you’re thinking is on the right track – WIN! The best outcome is that no one else has thought of it and it’s worth pursuing – WIN! So why wouldn’t you?? Respecting yourself means you do not need to have a senior title to make a difference or taking action. You do not need to light fireworks to achieve progress. Often, it’s getting the right people in a room and allowing them an insight into your perspective. Talking to people the way you would like to be spoken to is very old and extremely useful advice. Think of the language you use, is it confrontational or is it coming from the place of a greater good? Always speak your truth but do it so people hear you.
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