Flickr, by TMAB2003
It is something that gets a lot lip service.
But are you doing it?
If you help enough people, you can get everything you want in your life.
Rob from Singapore asked about how to gain project management experience when you start as an individual contributor on projects. I answered that question on a new experiment at pmStudent.org. I’ll now riff on it.
Be known for being a person who delivers.
Are you an individual contributor? Are you the type of person that everyone enjoys working with? Are people able to trust you to deliver the results you promised?
Be the person who inspires others. How does she/he do it? Or “I hope I get the chance to work with him/her on this project.”
I don’t mean to under-promise
You shouldn’t expect low expectations so that you can arrive with your cape waving in wind to get an early delivery. That’s not how you build trust.
Realistic expectations should be realistic and reasonable.
I mean going above and beyond. Volunteer your time to help a project manager compile data. It doesn’t need to be a lot but it must be of high quality. Spend less time watching TV and invest more in yourself and your reputation with your coworkers.
It’s more than just about time
You don’t need to be a workaholic. I was once the operations manager for a start up wireless ISP in the USA. I worked to the point of exhaustion, and the work-life balance was not there. It was horrible.
Since then, I have been working a 45-hour work week. I have become very focused on my personal productivity at work to ensure that I get everything done in the 45-hour time frame.
However, when a crisis occurs, I’ll do my best to work as hard as I can to solve it. Sometimes it’s as simple as staying up a bit longer to complete a critical report that was due for a meeting the next morning that was just scheduled an hour ago. You can either flex your time or donate it. It took me a month to complete a project that was 60+ hours long. Unfortunately, the project ran into a problem towards the end.
No matter what it is, be the person everyone can trust when things get difficult. If someone needs to make a crucial shot, they will throw the ball to them.
Expect nothing in return
You will receive a lot in return, but don’t expect it. You will often not be recognized. You will not be given the job you want. It will happen. It’s okay to do it for yourself, and when you get something else, consider it a happy bonus.
LinkedIn recommendations is a small example of networking. I might receive 2 for every 10 time-consuming, sincere recommendations I make for others.
So be it.
I offered an honest and thoughtful recommendation to someone who deserved it.
Flickr, by TMAB2003