Archives for Leadership

Susanne Madsen on VIP for project management leadership

Susanne Madsen is a valued contributor to The PM Channel and we were pleased to  record her talk recently for the APM London Branch meeting.  In her full talk on The PM Channel Susanne introduced the concept of VIP.   In the clip below, Susanne Madsen outlines her talk for you.


As project managers, many of us work on projects that are both business critical and complex, and which have a global and cross-cultural element to them. To successfully implement such projects, we cannot rely on project management certification alone which predominantly makes us good at planning and tracking the task-related aspects of a project. In addition, we must be able to build effective relationships, clearly articulate the project’s vision and build a highly motivated team.  Susanne Madsen says to become a successful project leader, apply the principles of the VIP model.

Lead with Vision: The greater clarity you have with regards to the future you wish to create, the easier it will be for you to serve your customer, deliver the desired end-state and provide focus and direction to the team. When you understand and take ownership of the strategy for achieving a successful project outcome, you are able to inspire and motivate the team and make the day-to-day decisions necessary to reach that future. To lead with vision, you should:

  • Fully embrace the goals, objectives and plans of the project
  • Visualize what the end state of your project looks like
  • Challenge the status quo by finding more effective ways of achieving the vision
  • See it the way the end users and beneficiaries see it
  • Feel it, taste it, and smell it
  • Take ownership, not just for delivering project outputs and capabilities, but for the ultimate business benefits
  • Draw your team into the vision by illustrating how each person fits in and matters to the project’s overall execution

When you lead with vision you become more than a manager of people and resources. You become an inspiration to the team and a change agent who monitors and delivers the ultimate business benefits and value-added services to the client.

Work with Intent: Working as a project manager can be stressful and the demand for your time will always be greater than what you have available. Successful project leaders know how to get the most out of the day as they constantly assess where their time is best spent. When you work with intent you focus on those activities that yield the biggest result for your project and for your customer. You avoid the trap of being reactive and firefighting, and you become good at delegating tasks which someone else could do just as well as, or better than, yourself. To work smarter rather than harder, you should:

  • Focus your time on pro-active activities such as planning, risk mitigation, quality assurance, relationship building and stakeholder management
  • Avoid fire-fighting and time-wasting activities
  • Concentrate on the 20% of daily activities that contribute to 80% of your results
  • Delegate administrative tasks, low level planning, project reporting and documentation – for instance to your PMO
  • Train and grow other people so that you have someone to delegate to
  • Consistently ask yourself what the most important use of your time is right now
  • Focus on people as much as you focus on tasks

When you work with intent and focus you lay the foundation for being a high performer. You spend your time where it is most needed and you are more likely to avoid a crisis situation and having to firefight in the present moment.

Focus on People: Too many project managers hide behind their desk and mainly communicate through emails and status reports. To become a project leader you must connect with people and build strong relationships. This is true for your team members as well as your stakeholders. Your team members need to feel personally motivated and connected to the project’s vision in order to perform at their best. Likewise, the project stakeholders are a source of great support and can contribute tremendously towards a successful project outcome if managed correctly. To build strong relationships with people, you should:

  • Seek to understand what drives and motivates each of your team-members
  • Spend time with them on a one-2-one basis and really listen
  • Utilize people’s strengths and give them work which is interesting and purposeful
  • Identify the project’s most powerful and influential stakeholders
  • Engage them on a regular basis through short face-2- face sessions
  • Ask about their concerns, suggestions and understand their success criteria
  • Draw them into the project in a way which suits their interests, skills and preferences
  • Expand your comfort zone by interfacing directly with the sponsor

When you connect with people and find out what motivates each person do their job even better, you can align the individual’s aims and purposes with that of the project and create a truly motivated and highly effective team. Likewise, when you consider your stakeholders’ priorities, concerns, and success criteria, they will start to trust you and become allies who actively work to support you and your project.

Susanne Madsen is project and programme manager, mentor, and coach with over 15 years of experience in managing and rolling out major change programs. Susanne also holds several qualifications in the area of personal performance and corporate and executive coaching and is the author of The Project Management Coaching Workbook – Six Steps to Unleashing Your Potential.  To find out more about Susanne, please visit her website and blog at  You can also follow Susanne on Twitter: @SusanneMadsen.

Richard Newton speaks to The PM Channel

Richard Newton formed Enixus after holding a variety of consultancy and line management roles, working for a wide selection of organisations across the world. Richard’s core expertise is managing the delivery of complex change. This is supported by knowledge of disciplines such as process design, organisation design and technology exploitation, and functionally specific delivery/development processes such as new product development, software development and consultancy engagement processes.   He has also had strategic and operational roles with significant headcount, budgetary and P&L responsibilities which also enables him to understand change from the perspective of sponsors and those impacted by change.

Richard contributed five pieces to The PM Channel on building high performing teams, developing capability, productive stakeholder relationships, optimising project learning and combining project and change management.

Building high performance teams

Richard highlights some of the challenges faced in building project teams and outlines the culture of a high performing team.  He describes the important practical steps that a project manager can take to select, build and encourage, sustain and disband a project team and gives a couple of examples.

Productive stakeholder relationships

Richard outlines the goal and benefits of productive stakeholder communities for a project and gives tips and hints on how to develop them on your project.  He describes two examples of the steps he took to deliver more productive stakeholder relationships.

Optimising project learning

Richard sets the scene regarding project learning and asks two questions about project reviews and creating a learning culture.

Building delivery capability

Richard outlines what delivery capability of projects is and how there are five key aspects that can be improved.

Combining project and change management

Richard answers three questions: what are the differences between project management and change management; what are the tips for approaching change projects; and, what do project managers need to know.

Hans Thamhain – The Importance of Collaboration

Dr. Hans Thamhain draws upon his study of 800 project professionals that shows project collaboration correlates strongly with overall project success. The human side in a project is the main cause of failure (PMI study). Human side is a critical function that seems to predict success or failure within a project. He describes the ingredients of collaboration as being trust, respect and credibility and explores what a project manager should do to foster better collaboration.

Exclusive interview from the 26th IPMA Word Congress.

Dr. Hans Thamhain is a Professor of Management and Director of MOT and Project Management Programs at Bentley University, Boston/Waltham.  Dr. Thamhain, held management positions with Verizon, General Electric and ITT, has written over seventy research papers and six professional reference books.  He received the IEEE Engineering Manager Award in 2001, PMI’s Distinguished Contribution Award in 1998 and PMI’s Research Achievement Award in 2006.  He is profiled in Marquis Who’s Who in America and certified as NPDP and PMP.

This interview of Dr Hans Thamhain is available on The PM Channel (Best Practice-Leadership) and available on the Development package £149/year.

Patrick Beauvillard – Leadership

Leaders, when are you gonna make your revolution?

Recently interviewed by The PM Channel Patrick Beauvillard is talking about the leadership revolution.

Today’s decision makers are facing two growing aspirations in their teams: teammates all want to be part of the decision-making process and they commit to the project if it offers significant value for them. Whether you are the executive of a company, a senior project manager, or the elected representative of a community, you will have to operate a “leadership turnaround” in order to meet these expectations. New management tools are required, but more important, new leadership behaviors and approaches.  Patrick Beauvillard first explains what is causing this need for change. It then describe three case studies showing how this “leadership turnaround” was applied to making decisions otherwise, involving people otherwise and creating meaning otherwise, using multiple approaches such as sociocracy and appreciative inquiry. The primary mission of tomorrow’s leaders is changing. The name of the game is now to help people grow and give the best of themselves.

Patrick Beauvillard is co-founder of Inovane, a company that assists people and organizations to imagine, design and implement their plans for a brighter future.  He also teaches project management in business schools. Patrick is involved in his community and is an elected member of the Aquitaine Regional Parliament, dealing with innovation, industry and agriculture. Prior to founding Inovane, he spent 15 years in project management in the semiconductor industry, in Europe, Asia and the United Sates. His background led him to a strong belief: beyond tools and technologies, methods and processes, managing a project requires first to care about people.

Watch Patrick Beauvilard’s interview by The PM Channel at the recent IPMA World Congress:

Found more interviews available on The PM Channel – on demand project management training and development for £149/year. (CPD Log)

Steve McGrady – Management Style


Steve draws on his experience of managing people to highlight some simple points about how a project manager needs to understand the differences in people when choosing how to work with them.

Steve McGrady has held senior executive positions in international companies. He uses his expertise to assist organisations to improve their organisational effectiveness and turn strategy into results. His clients include large international corporations and his work is collaborative, involving client personnel, developing their competency and capability through the transfer of knowledge and skills supported by coaching and mentoring.

Learn more about Leadership on The PM Channel, all the interviews are on the Development Package for £149/year.

Alan Harpham – Spirituality in Project Management


Alan Harpham describes what he means by spirituality and explores why this is important in projects and how it can be developed.

Alan Harpham is Chairman of the APM Group with a portfolio of pro-bono interests. He is a former director of P5 – the Power of Projects and was managing director of Nichols Associates and was the director and taught on the MSc in Project Management at Cranfield University. Before that Alan was a civil engineer with John Laing. He is a former Council member of the APM. He has written about programme and project management and spirituality in the workplace and is looking to combine these two topics. He has written a book – The Spirit of Project Management, co-authored by Dr Judi Neal of the University of Arkansas, director of the Center for Faith and Spirit at Work. Alan was the first chair of MODEM and is presently chair of Workplace Matters (in Herts and Beds).

Watch Alan interview on The PM Channel here, aslo available on the Development Package.

Nigel Parnell – Difference Between Sponsor and Project Manager


Nigel describes to The PM Channel what he understands as being project leadership and draws upon his own experiences to give examples of challenging leadership situations.  He comments on can leadership be developed and shares his lessons learned on effective project leadership.

Nigel Parnell is a senior executive with substantial experience of running business units and a wide range of projects and programmes.  He has significant global experience and cultural awareness via long term overseas assignments.  Nigel originally had an engineering background but has covered management of all aspects of business including sales and marketing, operations, customer services and technical.

Interview available on the Development Package for £149/year.

Richard Carrington – Project Team Setup

Richard-Carrington1Richard explains to The PM Channel his view of the ingredients of high performing teams and emphasises the importance of the right mix of skills within the team, particularly the soft skills needed for the soft deliverables.

Richard Carrington joined Eversholt Rail Group (formerly HSBC Rail) as a project manager becoming a general manager and then head of projects and procurement. Richard initially joined the rail industry with British Rail Engineering Limited. He has worked since then for Siemens Transportation Systems and Daimler Benz Transportation on large value rolling stock projects in both the UK and overseas. Richard is a Fellow of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers and has a master’s degree in project management.

Interview available on the Development Package for £149/year.

Alistair Godbold – Project Team Kickoff

Alistair-Godbold1Alistair Godbold draws upon his experience of launching many varied project teams and explains his approach, some of the challenges he has faced and the things that have worked well for him.

Alistair Godbold is an experienced manager of projects ranging from IT transformation, through communications infrastructure and radars to buildings and staff relocation projects. Alistair has been responsible for developing both individual project manager capability and competency, and organisational project management maturity. He is a board director of Association for Project Management.

Watch Alistair interviews on The PM Channel.

John Cronin – Leadership

John-Cronin-300x168John presents to The PM Channel his views of the main aspects of project leadership and what can happen if it is absent.

John says “the project managers who can demonstrate good leadership tend to have more successful projects”.

After discussing the effects of poor leadership, John concludes the interview by giving three compelling points of advice for any project manager.

John Cronin has a strong background in business improvement programmes and is currently director of business improvement for a major HR outsourcing company. He has an extensive background in leading change in a service delivery environment, including off-shoring and business process re-engineering.

Interview available on the Development Package for £149/year.