January 24, 2018: Organizational Culture and Personal Fit – How Do You Tackle New Projects?

2016-2017 Issue 1

What is your preferred Project Management style? If you were responsible for a major corporate gathering, a complex schedule of deliverables, a new product launch or the onboarding process for 3 new resources over 2 months’ time, how would you tackle it? Would you favour detailed planning or would you opt for a high-level outline and flexibility instead?

In this last article in our latest series on Organizational Culture and Personal Fit, we put the spotlight on differing change and project management methods, so that you can in turn approach your professional development discussions and job interviews with clarity and confidence about where you fit best.

Of course, Project Management is in itself a career path, rich with varied, sophisticated methodologies and accompanying software tools. Here, however, we look at it as a skillset, a preference, and most importantly, a feature of an organizational culture in which you might – or might not – find yourself right at home.

Large-scale, traditional institutions might approach change and new projects with a particularly close, dare I say skeptical eye. These are environments in which established knowledge is favoured, stability is touted as a safeguard of quality, and precedents are sought after to minimize risk. In order to bring on new processes, tools or services in such workplace cultures, you might need to give yourself more time. You might patiently coax your stakeholders with repeat, consistent messaging about the value of the oncoming change, and demonstrate Plans A, B, C and perhaps even D to get their approval to go to the next stage. You will likely need to provide not just a business case, but also a benchmarking study, a report on expert opinions obtained, and a comprehensive project plan, including a detailed project charter, a RACI chart, a timeline and a budget. And of course, don’t forget a monitoring mechanism and a reporting schedule to compare forecasts to actual progressive results.

Sounds about right? Would you feel reassured by such an approach, trusting of the analysis and planning conducted, and the stakeholders engaged?

Or perhaps the risk-aversion and slow pace here would be viscerally frustrating? Would you favour more immediate action, an approach that values agility and that trusts change leaders to navigate the ship in uncertain waters? After all, the unexpected is inevitable, wouldn’t you say? Assuming the contrary is just plain naïve, not to mention that risks are also opportunities for growth and innovation.

So which style do you prefer? Better yet, let’s invert the question: which one will rather make you feel like a fish out of water? Like our previous episodes in this series, today’s broad brushstrokes of risk-averse vs. risk-tolerant organizational cultures should produce a gut reaction! May it be a fun exercise in guiding you to an organizational culture that supports your fulfillment at work.

Connect with Maia and McGill’s School of Continuing Studies on LinkedIn.

Read this article as originally published in French in 24heures Montreal.

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