Monday, August 10, 2015

A fresh start

Today was my first day with NorQuest College.

It feels so strange to start a new job after 8 years with the Government of Alberta.

Because I am new to the organization, yet in a supportive leadership role as the manager of the PMO, starting this role is interesting. I need to take my time to understand the people, the relationships, the projects, the processes and the organizational context before jumping to creating what I would call enduring value.

My goals for the first five weeks emphasize relationship building and understanding the context. During my first week, my goal is to meet with my immediate team, including those who report to me, my colleagues in Educational and Information Technology, and at least two people from outside the division. My target is five people in the first week.

The focus of these conversations is to build an understanding of them.
  1. Who are they and what are they trying to achieve?
  2. How do they define and measure success?
  3. What opportunities and barriers do they feel exist?
  4. What is one piece of advice they have for me?
My goal is to create foundations for relationships and future work.

Conversations with my team will also include more practical discussions, including:
  1. What projects are currently in flight, and what is their status? How do I access information about them? What format and frequency is used for status reporting?
  2. Who sponsors each project?
  3. What projects are in pre-flight (proposed, being evaluated, early planning)?
My goal here is to build a foundational understanding of PMO operations.

Then there is a bigger question arising because we are interviewing PM candidates this week:
  1. What kind of PM do we need in the PMO over the short term (1 year)
My goal here is to build agreement within the PMO about the kind of person we are seeking to hire.

By leading with questions, I can learn the context and begin building a foundation for power and influence.

While I write those words, I am mindful that at this time, I have no power and little influence. In every interaction, I think the person on the other side of the table sees potential - a potential ally, friend, colleague, collaborator, source of resources and knowledge...or a competitor, enemy. For the next five weeks, my goal is to establish myself as a trusted ally, colleague, collaborator, source of reliable information. Not much more than that. Anything more than that is too much, too soon.

Image Credit: Bill Dickinson

1 comment:

  1. I thought of another question to add to the general set: what relationships are the most important for me to manage effectively in this role?