How should professional services organizations manage risk? In the second of his PS Insights podcasts, services industry guru Shane Anastasi discusses how to identify projects that are heading off track and the kinds of actions that can be taken to keep them in the black. Listen now!
In researching the value of our corporate certification program, I spoke with senior professional services buyers to assess how they perceive the value of service provider during the sales cycle. I asked the question, "What do you want your service provider to prove to you?" One of the answer's given was, “I want them to prove that I am going to get the ‘A-Team’” This statement, in question form, is very difficult to answer during the sales cycle. "Are we getting your A-Team on this project?" Many of us take extra care when answering this question because it is delicately loaded with powerful explosives. One errant comment while answering it might sink the deal completely. My own fear and apprehension about it seemed like a good enough reason to explore it further.
ARE YOU YOUR CONSULTANT'S KEEPER?
Is the customer always right? Not in the view of Shane Anastasi. In the latest Kimble-sponsored PS insights podcast, the consulting services thought leader and entrepreneur argues that service professionals are often too eager to keep customers happy. He argues instead they should stand ready to “be the expert” in their engagements, ready to point out problems in customers’ plans and tell them that “they can’t get everything they want”.
Originally, I thought it was just me. My success rate for hiring high performing project managers was not that good. I started to voice my failures with my peers to see what I was doing wrong and to my surprise I received similar frustration rather than answers. What I learned was that the role of project manager is both poorly defined and misunderstood by both those who employ them and those who carry the title. Nowadays, I am frequently asked, “What tips do you have for hiring and developing great project managers?” To answer this correctly, I believe we must both redefine what we’re looking for in a project manager and how we should set them up for success.
Many years ago, hiring and retaining good talent was not my strength. My first attempt at building a services team was a disaster. Out of my first five hires, two of them were practically insane, one had to be removed for telling me that he wasn’t afraid to use the gun he had in his briefcase and the next two secretly embroiled themselves into a sordid affair that finally erupted into a bloody brawl at the end of year Christmas party.
As the NFL season draws to a close, we are about to see how champion teams identify themselves in the run up to the Super Bowl. At such a high level of sporting professionalism it can be hard to identify large differences between the raw skills of the top teams. In a competition as highly skilled as the NFL, it will be the team that handles the pressure of the moment that will be victorious.
That team will consist of the individuals who can control their emotions and read the game correctly as it happens around them. Each individual will select the right moves at the right time and then not only execute their individual parts flawlessly, but with the absolute confidence that the entire team around them is doing exactly the same. We refer to this capability as the ability for a
team to develop and execute a winning game plan.