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Project Management and Communication – Exercise | Deliberate Practice 

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Mastering the basics of project management is essential for any individual or organization aiming to achieve success in their projects. By understanding the key components, principles, and tools of project management, professionals can navigate the complexities of project work with confidence. Whether you’re a seasoned project manager or just starting, the foundational knowledge provided in this article serves as a solid platform for effective project management practices. Remember, successful project management is not just about completing tasks; it’s about delivering value and achieving objectives in a systematic and organized manner.

Exercise | deliberate practice

If your team is struggling with collaboration, communication, drama, trust, and personal agendas, I’m going to suggest watching an episode of Hell’s Kitchen (Hulu), not for the drama, but for what happens when there is a breakdown in the team. Just about any episode will work, however, the earlier in the season the better because there are more chefs in the kitchen and more challenges. You don’t have to watch the whole episode, you only have to watch what happens during dinner service.

In contrast, also watch an episode of The Great British Baking Show (Netflix). The participants in Hell’s Kitchen are all professional chefs. In the baking show, all of the participants are amateur bakers but the premise is the same.

Yes, this is not an ordinary approach and you may have to clear it with HR, however, a team in conflict can learn a lot from watching another team in conflict. Let them see themselves without you having to point it out.

You can set up the exercise by telling the team they are going to watch a video on the power of teamwork. Don’t tell them it’s a Hell’s Kitchen dinner service, just start the video. Here is a list of questions to hand out before watching the episode. This will help the team to stay out of the drama weeds focus on what to watch for and set up the dialogue about what they saw after the video. After Hell’s Kitchen watch an episode of the baking show, and focus on a segment of the show called the show-stopper (suggest Collection 5 Episode 6) to see a totally different approach.

The premise of the two shows is in the end there is one winner and how that winner got there.

Here are the questions to hand out before watching the video:

  • How did the individual egos affect the collaboration and the outcome of the two videos?
  • When and where does communication break down?
  • What triggered the breakdown in communication?
  • Did you see the collaboration?
  • Did anyone display the skills of a leader and what were the skills?
  • What was a personal takeaway you got from the two videos?
  • How can we apply what we learned from the videos to our team?

Here are some of the outcomes from when you do this.

  • Some people may get upset because they see themselves and how they may look to others. Let them express what they see.
  • Some people don’t want to face reality and will say, this is not real, this is Hollywood. My response to this one is, “What behaviors aren’t real?” Then get ready for an interesting discussion. Human behavior is human behavior.
  • Some people will get very quiet because they realize what just happened… this is our team.
  • Some people will flat-out ask, “Why did we watch this and what does it have to do with anything.” Refer to the seven questions they were supposed to answer.
  • Someone will ask, “Is this us?” The best answer is, “What did you see to make you ask this question?”

If you are going to do this, you as a leader need to be solid in your convictions and expectations for your team. You also need to be a part of the dialogue, be authentic, transparent, and share what you might see in yourself from the video. If you ask your people to do something, you need to walk the talk as well. The leader is just as accountable for success as the team.

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