7 Things a CEO Can Learn from a Project Manager (Part 1)
and important problems your team is facing. Of course, no CEO can possibly be aware of all the operational details at the same level as her employees. Nevertheless, it is important to stay connected with the workers and to stay up-to-date on the real state of things. I’d take a liberty and outline that here a CEO may turn to the experience of a project manager who is always right in the middle of the project whirl. If you are one of those successful CEOs for whom it’s 101, I honestly applaud you and hope you don’t mind if I share this advice with the rest. Hopefully, it will make some companies become more efficient for the greater good of CEO, employees, customers and shareholders. In my opinion, seven key things that CEOs can learn from project managers - in no particular order - are: #1 – Strong Customer focus CEOs’ schedule is normally overfilled with meetings. But most likely, you aren’t usually in a position to deal with the day-to-day customer – the end user in the trenches. You may think that’s the project manager’s role, but that’s also where the real customer satisfaction is developed. If you were able to take the time and interact with your daily customers, you would be surprised at the number of useful insights they can provide you about your service (especially if they are angry or upset with it!). The practice of CEO regularly talking to customers provides you with versatile and objective picture of their needs and also helps establish a very positive image of the company. The customers’ confidence and satisfaction won’t take long to appear. #2 – Delegate to survive Generally, CEO is responsible for everything. In other words, for company’s success or failure. No wonder that it is vital to pick up the high-priority goals and handle them by yourself. However, learn to delegate the rest to other chief officers (be it CIOs, CTOs, CMOs or COOs) and your administrative assistants. That’s exactly the killer skill of any project manager who delegates to survive. She must know the skills of their project staff (which differs from project to project) and must know what to pass of to whom and when to do it. So does an efficient CEO at the senior team members’ level. #3 2-way Communication as a tool The ability to communicate your vision to the employees in a clear and persuasive way is critical for any CEO. At the same time listening to your team’s feedback is no less important, as it can be a source of useful insights based on their day-to-day problems that you are not always aware of. Here, once again, you may take a look at project managers who find themselves between their team and the top management and develop both skills perfectly. They ceaselessly communicate important management’s decision to the team and at the same time pay great attention to team’s feedback to change their roadmap accordingly. Adopting the same efficient two-way communication, you will be impressed to see how eager your team members are to make your vision come true. #4 - Digging to understanding the real need As a CEO, you are guided by the vision that makes the product unique. But probably you’ll agree that amending this vision according to customers’ needs, will bring the success much closer. What is more, this should be real customers’ needs. The good project manager knows best that it’s highly likely that what customer considers being his own need is only a symptom of it. CEOs can learn lessons here from project managers to ask questions and dig deeper into the real needs of their own organization rather than take information at face value.  This will help avoid piles of corporate money spent on the wrong projects and processes due to lack of detailed evaluation of the real issues. Don’t miss three more must-have skills for CEOs in our next post! Brad Egeland has 25 years of high-level, professional IT and Business Management experience, including 19+ years of enterprise Project Management experience. He has developed and implemented systems for start-ups and their customers as well as $100 million long-term contracts. His experience is in the industries of Manufacturing, Aviation/Airlines, Gaming, Government Contracting, Retail Operations, Pharmaceutical, Start-ups, Healthcare, Higher Education, Non-profit, High-Tech, Engineering and general IT.  Brad is a father of nine and lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.  You can visit Brad's professional website at www.bradegeland.com.
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