C O M M O N L Y A S K E D Q U E S T I O N S
I have listed below a series of commonly asked questions and answers, designed to help you get to know me better (hopefully).
Commonly Asked Questions
I thrive in environments in which there is a significant amount of change and challenge. Though it is true that some permanent roles can offer similar opportunities, the vast majority of the time, it is within the consultancy sphere that these opportunities are made readily available.
Coupled with the fact that my strengths are in areas such as organisational redesign, change initiatives, transformation type activities, which most organisation will typically carry out infrequently.
Throughout my career, I have had a mixture of permanent and consultancy type roles, as for me it is not about the employment status, more about the opportunity and the challenge the role presents. Though I do not have any immediate plans to become a permanent employee, I have not ruled it out in the future, should the perfect role come along.
I have always had an admiration for people that have had specific career goals from a young age, especially when they have achieved their goals. When I was younger, I would dread being asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, as I had no idea. I would occasionally get a eureka moment when I stumbled onto a career that sounded interesting, but over time, I would often lose interest.
It was only when I first start working and was given my first opportunity to be involved in a project that I knew what I wanted. I instantly loved everything about projects, the variety, the often fast pace, problem-solving and being able to see something from conception to completion.
Projects suit my personality, I work well in change and thrive on new challenges. I also liked the structured and organised approach to the project, with every task and activity being identified and strategically mapped out and assigned.
I think that I am firmly centre ground on those two role types and have even carried out both roles in the same project in the past.
I am naturally inquisitive, so love investigating, interacting with people, learning and finding solutions to problems and on the delivery side, I am organised and focussed. Throughout my career, I have had the fortune to do both roles a number of times, and I like both equally.
I am naturally an empathetic person, so my biggest challenges are when I am working on projects that are affecting people. Whether it is retraining, redundancy or simply something that creates uncertainty, though I am experienced in handling these situations, I still find it difficult when you consider the individual’s position.
I do, however, believe that you can deliver a successful project and still support and aid those affected. My approach has always been the same, try to be transparent as possible, if I do not know something, I will tell the person that I will come back to them and be as supportive as I can. You can help in other ways too, whether it is helping someone with their CV/Resume or just by being someone that they can talk to with regards to their future.
I have been very fortunate to work on some interesting projects. However, the accomplishments that I am most proud of are the ones where I have personally developed my colleagues. In a number of the organisations, I had the opportunity to work with people that were inexperienced in the world of analysis or project management. Whenever they showed interest, I gladly mentored and trained them in the principles, for them to go on to have very successful project careers. To date, I have mentored close on 25 people, who are now project managers or analysts.
My greatest strength is my communication skills, of which also includes my ability to manage stakeholders and my strategical mindset. I have always been a strong communicator and the older I have become, the more empathetic I became in all of my dealings and negotiations. By understanding the person, putting yourself in their shoes, understanding their perspective and what they might want, can be highly effective in getting a good outcome for all parties.
I have also always been very strategical; I love challenges, so thinking something through, looking at the opportunities, potential issues and devising a plan, is something that has always come naturally to me.
One of my greatest weakness was my ability to delegate. Over the years, I have learnt to become a much more efficient delegator. Part of the problem in the past was the fact that I am very delivery focussed and take pride in whatever I do, so I would, on occasion, complete tasks assigned to others, if they were falling behind or the work was not up to the standard I was expecting.
I have since learnt to accept that people might not always do it the same way as you do and that sometimes they might not do it as fast as you were expecting, but making a commitment and putting the time in developing people is highly rewarding and remembering that everyone has to start somewhere.
This is an interesting question. In the past, I have worked with project managers that believe success is completing the project on time and within budget. It is true that those are major factors, but I also believe that customer satisfaction is important. Poor stakeholder management might result in the project delivering to the agreed (or revised) scope, however, if your key stakeholders are not happy, then, in my opinion, the project has not been successful.
For me, good delivery is around agreeing what will be worked on, working on it and ensuring all parties involved in the project are managed effectively and are taken on the journey with you.
I have always worked within a 5-year plan. For my current plan, I would like to continue writing more technical books, hopefully writing at least one book per year and I would also like to continue consulting, as I enjoy the challenges it presents. At the moment with all of the uncertainty with things such as Brexit and the political climate in America, some interesting opportunities are coming up in the change sphere.
I have had a lot of managers over the years and the qualities that most like, are more around their approach, especially when senior executives are all about accountability. Typically, these types of leaders will assign you tasks, then trust you to get on with delivering them. If there are problems or delays, it is your responsibility to resolve anything that comes up, as you are held to account for your assigned tasks.
You often hear the term ‘blame culture’ but for me, the only time that there is ever blame is when roles, responsibilities and accountabilities have not been correctly assigned or understood.
I also admire leaders that foster environments that support and develop their staff, not only that, but that also provide opportunities in which staff are given the tools to deliver the best possible solution that they can.
Quality and customer satisfaction. I am naturally a passionate person; I take pride and care in whatever I do. When I am working on a project or activity, I am focused and like to ensure that what I deliver is on time, within budget, but is also of the highest possible standard and that it meets the customer’s needs.
I believe that I am pretty easy going and likeable. I have views and opinions that I share but like to debate and listen to the views and opinions of others and to ultimately, devise the best solution or plan. I believe I am supportive and help out my colleagues, wherever possible and my focus often means that not only am I working on my deliverables, but also motivating others within the team to deliver their commitments on time. I take pride in whatever I do and do not like failing to deliver anything has been assigned to me.
No. The truth is I always try to work within the parameters that have been set. However, it is not always possible. I would never bend the rules likely, if, as at the last resort, I had to, then I would rationalise it, communicate the rationale to the relevant parties and then take accountability for my actions. By not rushing into decisions and having a sound reasoning, if any rules had to be broken for a good reason, then I would be able to evidence why and ensure that it was agreed and accepted by all parties. Unfortunately sometimes within project deliveries, you have to be somewhat flexible, however, by being transparent, it is not so much as breaking the rules, more redefining them.
I know I should be trendy and say a lion or a cheetah. However, I have always been fascinated with hyenas. To start with, when you look at them face on, they resemble a dog, but there is also the fact that they are a highly effective pack animal. Each member of the pack (or cackle as it is officially known) working for the collective goal, which often means that they take down animals much larger and stronger than themselves. There is also the fact that they have a very efficient digestive system, in which they can digest the skin and bones of the animal, so no part of their prey is wasted.
I do not have a favourite methodology, as for me, each methodology has a particular purpose or use. I have worked with project managers that may only have been trained in one or two methodologies and want to follow them to the letter. I, believe that you should choose the best methodology that is most applicable to the project you are working on and you should adapt the methodology to suit the project and not the other way around.
I would hope that people see me as fun, but passionate about whatever I am working on or doing. Hard working, supportive and fair. I do believe a lot of the team dynamics relate to communication, so by being inclusive, not only listening but hearing the people around you and not always taking yourself too seriously can often make complex activities less stressful and in some circumstances even fun.