Networking for Project Success
October 10, 2019 by The FlexPro Group
It’s hard to believe we’re already at the end of the year. It’s usually around this time that we start thinking about goals and timelines for 2020. In reality, though, we need to be gearing up for the rest of 2019. Most organizations and companies “wake up” in September after a slowdown in August. October through December are heavy networking months for many professionals, filled with networking events, award celebrations, and holiday gatherings.
This made me think about how effective networking is for successful project management.
What exactly is networking? By definition, it’s the process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts. It’s a multi-dimensional relationship where all parties contribute by sharing their skills, knowledge, resources, and other networking partners. As with so many other parts of project management, communication is the key. Get to know your networking partners. Your relationship with them is mutually beneficial, where you have as much to offer as your networking counterparts do.
Which leads me to think about communication skills. Good communication is enhanced by having strong and deep connections to key people. A project manager’s success is directly related to the strength of his or her communication skills. It’s not always about what you know, but who you know when it comes to project management, especially when things aren’t going well. Having a reliable network of resources can be critical to a project’s success.
In project networking, your influencing skills play an important role. Most of the time, members of the project team doesn’t report to you. The relationship you build with them determines whether they want to attend your meetings or complete the activities on your project’s task list. Most projects will reach across multiple departments and the team members may play a small role or a large one. Regardless of what they are tasked with, your project’s timeline, budget, and success are dependent on all of your team and your partners meeting their project goals. The relationships you foster here can become lasting connections that carry forward long after the project has been completed.
However, it’s important to note that networking isn’t about schmoozing and kissing up. It’s about forming valuable give-and-take relationships with people at all levels who can help you succeed. It may sound easy, but building this network takes WORK! Consider it an investment of your time and resources. Go for quality, not just quantity of relationships in your network.
Leveraging your network is essential when managing tasks from start to finish and ensuring project deliverables get met. When you need that last-minute push to the finish line, it’s a close-knit network of colleagues that are always just a phone call or email away. Can you think of one or two now? They are the ones you can always count on no matter what. They drop everything to help you reach your goal or solve a problem.
Just remember, it’s equally as important to be that lifeline when someone else needs you. As luck would have it, it’s only a matter of time until you’re going to need them too!