In today’s cutting age competition you can only grow and get recognized at your workplace if you take initiatives.
The circumstances are different when you work for yourself and when you are working in an organization set up. When you work as an employee, you are always under scrutiny. Cracking the interview and getting the job is just half the battle won. You have to keep showing your worth to the company and keep up with the expectation with which they hired you. And, I believe to show your worth, you need to think outside of the box and do things beyond your routine job.
But, you can only take initiative in the workplace if you love your work to death. So, before anything else, you need to fall in love with your job. And, if you are finding it difficult to love your job, search a new one!
I am totally in love with my job. Very rarely, I feel pressurized or low on energy at my workplace. I am also a mom of 2,5 years old twin boys (whose energy is unmatchable) and I also have a home to run but when I am at work, I keep behind all my personal worries and give my full attention and focus. I am only able to do it because I love what I do.
In my 7 months of the job, I tried to grab the opportunity to take initiatives. It has given me recognition, confidence, and power to be more proactive in the future.
Most of the time the opportunities are just around us and we either do not recognize it or tend to avoid it. So, in this blog post, I am going to share with you 6 easy tricks of recognizing the opportunities and taking initiative in the workplace.
So, here I go…
1. Recognise Problem – Find Solution:
I always believe that one of the most important traits of any project manager is being a “problem solver”. You are the one who is leading the project and know the overall process. You are primarily the only one who is in contact with all the stakeholders. So, if you are a hands-on manager, you can easily see the issue within the process and the problem faced by the people.
If you want to take the initiative, you should not ignore these problems. You should recognize the problem and try to find the solution.
I will give you a short example. Recently, I was working together with other departments (commercial, technical and creative) on creating proposals for prospective projects. We were working on several projects simultaneously. All of them were at the different stages and have a different status. Everybody in the team was a bit lost. So, I created a google spreadsheet showing where we are with which proposal. It was not a very big initiative but it had a great implication.
Any initiative like this will establish you as a PM with great problem-solving skills!
2. Find better ways of doing things
As a Project manager, you should always try to find better ways of doing things. This is a great opportunity especially when you take over projects from another project manager. Once you get the handover, I recommend that you should not follow the existing process blindly. Analyse the process in great detail, carry forward the good things and strengthen the process if you see any loopholes.
For instance, earlier in the organization, we were using offline tools to design webpage layouts such as PSD, INDD etc. Working with offline tools has some limitations in terms of reviewing the design, providing access to files to others etc. So, I introduced the use of SAAS based design tool. It was well received by all the stakeholders.
Any initiative like this will establish you as a thoughtful and process-oriented PM!
3. Grab Opportunities from your project learnings:
As a general rule, we document our learnings at the time of the closure of the project. If you are not doing it, start incorporating it in your schedule right away! These learnings are a great source of opportunities. Based on your learnings from one project, you can make the process better and clearer for upcoming similar projects.
Recently, While working on one of the projects, we realized that there were lots of loopholes and non-clarity on how more than 1 agency can work on the same Development server without having any security issues. This unclarity leads to lots of confusion regarding the roles and responsibilities of all the project stakeholders.
So, at the end of the project, I analyzed the whole issue in great detail. I discussed with all the stakeholders and created an action plan for future projects.
Any initiative like this will establish you as a proactive PM who likes to learn from her experiences!
4. Capitalize your knowledge and skills
Although it is not mandatory for a project manager to have a deep knowledge of the domain. But when you work in the same domain for several years, you gain a good amount of functional and technical knowledge. You can capitalize that knowledge to take initiative in your company.
I joined the company with a vast experience in website design project. When I joined the company, there was no set process for managing website design projects. So, I grabbed the opportunity to start making the clear process. I along with a fellow project manager started to build the process. We first created the process from a PM’s perspective and then shared the presentation deck with all the departments – Commercial, Tech, Creative and QA.
Right now we are conducting meetings with each department to incorporate their ideas into the process. We are hoping that in the next few months, we have a set process of website design projects which can be shared with all the stakeholders for any future website projects.
I am having a great time working on this initiative. It has given me the chance to showcase my domain knowledge and past experiences!
Any initiative like this will establish you as a knowledgeable PM!
5. Take up difficult projects
You can shine brightly when you handle a difficult situation in the best way possible. Not sure if it was fortunate or unfortunate but I was the part of some tricky projects a couple of times this year ;) I got involved in a project which was in a bad shape and I was brought on board to do disaster management.
As a PM, you should have the courage to take on difficult projects and handle it with full focus. When the project is tight on budget and timelines, you will need to be extra careful about smallest of the details. But, when you come out of these situations with flying colors, you get instant recognition and you evolve as a project manager.
Any initiative like this will establish you as a PM with tight management and who can handle the pressure!
6. Be Proactive and Decisive:
All the above 5 tricks will fail if you are not a decisive PM. You need to have the confidence in your idea and courage to share it with others. To become confident about my idea, I first analyze my idea from every angle possible, I then discuss it with my colleagues to get the first reaction, share it with the team who will have the direct impact to know their feedback, and I do a bit of a research by reading through relevant material online. And, when I am fully convinced about it, I share if finally with my seniors and the decision makers.
For example, Before I introduced the online design tool to the team and the client, I used it myself to know its benefits and drawbacks. I also took the initial feedback from the design team and my colleagues.
And, once I was convinced, I proactively took the decision to share it with the client to get their feedback. Fortunately, it was very well received by the client which made my job easier to convince our creative team (who were a bit skeptical about it in the beginning).
No matter what position you are in the company, always think that you have the authority to take the decision to make an effective process for your project.
Any initiative like this will establish you as a proactive and confident PM!
Always remember, the opportunity is everywhere, you just need to recognize it and grab it. You are the only creator of your own future. So, do not blame others for where you are. Only you are responsible for where you are and where you can reach in the future.
Have confidence in yourself and take the world in your stride!!