Friday, October 2, 2009

End of Week 8, or is it 9? I just need to stop counting...

It's been a few weeks since my last post and good news...I'm still alive. It’s always a good thing to get through challenges, and I think I'm starting to get my feet under me. Now I've done it...I said it. Murphy's Law will make me pay for making that statement. :) I’ve learned a few things while on this journey, so I’ll share them.

Do What You Can To Stay Ahead
I've been working diligently to stay ahead on the various projects I’m on. I've provided a variety of information to communicate that our team is on our best game. Sometimes there’s enthusiastic response and sometimes...crickets. Just keep going and follow up...and don't forget to pick up the phone, too.

Listening and hearing are extraordinarily important in this role. If you don’t listen, then something is going to be missed and the result won’t be pretty. In the various roles I’ve been in, I’ve always needed to listen and take deliberate action to deliver on what's been discussed. I know I’m a good listener, but it can be tough to change minds if for some reason what you deliver isn’t what is expected. That said, it’s also important to ask questions...ask a lot of them, if you need to. Better yet, when you ask questions, provide visuals and paint as accurate of a picture as you’re able.

I should also add that reading is just as important as listening. Read your communications in their entirety. You just never know what nugget is in there that might mistakenly be overlooked. In my days at Microsoft, some of the best—and yet most basic—advice I ever received was to READ your email thoroughly from start to finish. Sometimes you’d be amazed at what is actually contained in the email—information, insight, hidden messages, and more. These are all things that require you to read and ask questions to make sure you’re on the right path.

I’ve developed a pretty good habit of documenting what I’m working on. It helps me stay informed and on top of things and provide the best level of service to the people I’m working with. Documentation has helped me time and time again, but sometimes you can’t win even with documentation. It’s not about winning per se, but being able to show and tell a clear story of what you’ve done and why you did what you did speaks volumes, in my opinion. Then again, that documentation may never change the way the project goes and how someone feels. Just know that you did everything you could do to make the project successful and keep going.

As I head into my third month, I'll continue to follow my own advice and the guidance of others. I'll make every effort to stay on top of things, I'll continue to listen and ask questions, and I will most definitely document. All together, everyone will shine.

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