Meeting Your Project Team for the First Time: Introduce Yourself Like A Pro
Are you taking over a new project team? Are you meeting your new team for the first time? This information is for you if so. How you introduce yourself will either confirm or inform your team's expectations. Your introduction will either motivate or deflate. Make it count, make it professional. Here's how the professionals do it:
- Start by sharing a few key personal details: For example, you might share your previous role either in the same organization or another, along with the nature of the work you did. You could share your marital status, the number of children, and pets. You could share where you went to school, your favorite professional teams, or the sports you enjoy playing. Also, try sharing something about yourself that is not widely known even by your past collages. You may have climbed Pikes Peak in Colorado all the way to the top, or you are in the Guinness World Records book. By offering the team a window into your life, you allow them the opportunity to make instant connections with you. Sharing a few personal details about yourself is an important first step.
- Share the strategic importance of the project: A project is never "just a project," but rather, projects are "instruments of strategy." As a part of a larger organization, projects are purposefully selected and undertaken to achieve organizational goals. An organization's goals, in turn, contribute to its strategic intent. Optimal alignment between the project, the organization's goals, and its strategy is the "fit" of a project in the organization. In that sense, projects connect to strategy. We know this is true because projects can either enhance or diminish a firm's competitive advantage. Share with your new team how the project at hand fits into the organization and how its result contributes to the organization's strategic success.
- Share the triple obligations you have as the project manager: All project managers (PMs) have three primary obligations:
First, PMs are responsible to the organization they are working on behalf of. If it is an internal project, the PM is an associate or officer of the firm with an obligation to not only keep its leaders informed but also to deliver the expected strategic value of the project. If the project is an external one, the PM is typically a contractor-partner, yet has the same obligations, by contract, to inform and deliver value for the client.
Second, PMs have an obligation to the project. Project managers are ethically bound to do their best to meet the goals and objectives of the project. A PM's every action and decision should aim to lessen the risk, conserve resources, enhance performance, strengthen the project team, and deliver the expected goods, services, and benefits.
Third, PMs have an obligation to their team. As the PM, you have a responsibility to be forthright and honest with your team, to be respectful and fair, and to lead by example. You also have the obligation to ensure each team member's role is clear and each member has the tools, support, and authority to perform their personal best. When they excel, you excel.
- Share with the team what project success looks like: Paint a picture of the positive outcomes of the project. For example, if it is a newly launched product, describe its success in the marketplace and how consumers' lives are enhanced. If it is a new internal IT system, describe the increase in the organization's competitive advantage as a direct result of improved and streamlined processes. Project success means positive outcomes. It also means improvements and/or enhancement in the lives of one or more groups, whether consumer groups or some other. Identify who and how lives will be bettered, and describe these positive outcomes with images, pictures, and metaphors as best you can. Nothing motivates a team like an inspiring and achievable vision.
- Wrap it up in 30 minutes but leave the door open for more information sharing later: Let team members know you will be reaching out to them individually, as a follow-up, to see what if anything they might need to excel, and that you look forward to working with them. Encourage them to stop by with any questions, comments, and suggestions. Leave all communications channels wide open.
There you have it. How to professionalize your introduction. You will likely need to revisit the organization's strategic plan as well as the goals and objectives of the project. When you understand it well enough to explain it, you will be well prepared to introduce yourself like a pro!