Learn how to develop Project Intelligence to achieve results faster and easier
Do you want to know how to deliver extraordinary results and achieve goals as a business leader, entrepreneur, or professional? This article will provide practical steps to help you achieve your goals and explore how project intelligence plays a crucial role.
As a leader, entrepreneur or professional, you are faced with several competing priorities, challenging needs, and other organizational or personal related factors in addition to a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) world, all of which could hinder goal achievement.
According to Inc.com and research from the University of Scranton, “a whopping 92 percent of people who set goals never actually achieve them.”
What can we do to change this? How can goals be achieved?
First, a simplified approach is needed to tackle goals effectively and understand the actions required to get the desired results. Goals are the desired outcomes and results that add value to people and organizations. While on the other hand, a project is a temporary endeavour that creates a unique outcome or result.
As projects are engines of progress that bring ideas to reality, they are set in motion for value creation to achieve the desired outcome(s). Goals can therefore be considered as projects. The methodology for executing and managing such projects is called project management.
Furthermore, it is well-established that given change is the only constant concept in life, and change inspires projects, we are all faced with change that requires strategies to get solutions. From reorganizations, business start-ups, business or digital transformation, mergers, acquisitions, website rebranding, and job transitions, buying a new home, amongst other things, are all goals are needed change that must be managed efficiently to increase the chances of success.
For decades, project management philosophies have been used to manage the process of value formation—projects—throughout the project life cycle. In dealing with the factors that inhibit goal attainment, a broader approach to managing goals (as projects) is needed.
You would have heard of IQ, raw intellectual intelligence, and EQ, emotional intelligence, but have you heard of PQ, project intelligence?
Now, let me introduce you to Project Intelligence’s concept, the Project Quotient (PQ).
What is Project Intelligence (PQ)?
Project Intelligence enables ordinary people and organizations to deliver extraordinary outcomes, consistently achieving goals and project results. PQ brings the needed strategic mindset, project management, and agility, which are the three tenets of PQ with self-transformation sitting at its core.
The PQ tenets is a power-trio that takes project management to the next level by providing the additional needed focus and tools to increase the overall success rate of goal achievement. Strategic project leaders (SPLs) have shown to have higher levels of PQ which helps them deliver business results.
Figure 1: The confluence of the three (3) PQ tenets
The confluence between strategic mindset, project management, and agility helps create a new generation of leaders prepared to succeed and achieve consistent results in this world beset with VUCA. This confluence, especially with the interplay of project intelligence, will help professionals, entrepreneurs, and their organizations gain the needed competitive advantage essential to attain results.
PQ takes ideas with a strategic focus from conception through to execution by first synthesizing, visualizing, and prioritizing ideas that give the highest impact based on current goals and long-term gain. Next is the use of project management to manage both the project team and the project lifecycle. The third, agility, helps to be nimble, pivot and reprioritize what is important to stay on track or, course correct as required. Agility means being agile, adaptable to change, and making and taking timely decisions. PQ helps you see nuance, uncover patterns, and synthesize data unlocking the creativity needed to achieve goals.
Figure 2: Self transformations at the core that flows across the three (3) PQ tenets
Not everyone has PQ, as evident from the research by the University of Scranton, where only 8% of people reach goals. To be part of the 8% that achieve their goals, you need to assess your Project IQ (Project Intelligent Quotient) to understand where gaps exist then take steps to bridge any identified gaps to boost your PQ.
You, as the individual, are the change driver, and you must be ready to put in the needed work to increase your project IQ. Self-transformation sits at the core of PQ, a key driver and catalyst being project intelligence helping drive the following PQ tenets.
1. Strategic Mindset
A strategic mindset is a foundation for building PQ, and it helps align the desired results while focusing on the big picture. The ability to train one’s mind and thoughts to help keep the focus on the big picture is a skill that helps create a strategic mindset. The great philosopher René Descartes once said, “I think therefore I am.”
Knowing that the thought process fuels our actions and decisions, it is clear that, the mind is a powerful tool and asset that needs to be utilized to achieve results and planned outcomes.
The thought process helps create a strategic mindset which, in turn, leads to strategic thinking. Just focusing on ‘the narrow’—what is within sight—limit one’s perspective. The Harvard Business Review states that “Strategic people create connections between ideas, plans, and people that others fail to see.” Strategic people are those who have developed a strategic mindset. Developing a strategic mindset influences how professionals and entrepreneurs think, helping them create an outlook that focuses on the bigger picture while weighing the risks, issues, internal and external factors that could positively or negatively impact goals.
In the Harvard Business Review, the author went further to talk about self-reflecting and assessing ideas before making decisions. Self-reflections start in the mind as a decision to pursue goals can either mean success or failure for you or your organization. The author state that “It is critically important to make time to reflect before making decisions. What is involved? Who is involved? What is at stake? What is the opportunity and what are the risks? What at first seems like an opportunity might reveal significant risks and what seemed risky at first might reveal a significant opportunity.”
Setting goals is great but also having the right goals that align with your vision with mechanisms to reflect and review these goals and that of your organization is critical to success.
With a strategic mindset, professionals and entrepreneurs can:
- first off, set the right goals that will bring the greatest impact;
- become solution-focused, not problem-focused;
- relentlessly prioritize ideas, goals, projects, et al;
- think more logically and ask more substantive far-reaching questions;
- become better listeners, able to listen more and open to the perspective of others;
- better interpret nuance, uncover patterns, and synthesize data; and
- willing to take on calculated risks, be nimble able to adapt when required.
2. Project Management
In the pursuit of the attainment of personal or organizational goals, such intent must be managed and managed appropriately. With the different management styles that exist, i.e., authoritative, consultative, laissez-faire, and persuasive, to mention a few, these management styles would not matter if there is no structured systematic methodology to plan, execute, monitor, and control projects.
Project management provides various methodologies and approaches including waterfall, agile, and hybrid project management methods. The common denominator is that these project management methods are systematic processes—the “how-to” execute projects from conception to planning through to execution. Several people try to reinvent the wheel by exploring options to help achieve goals forgetting that project management has been tried and tested. We see leaders, professionals and entrepreneurs not realizing there is already a science—and art—of project management and all they need to do, is to adapt it to their specific projects or organizations.
The science of project management is the step-by-step process for managing projects (the roadmap). It considers the different aspects needed to be managed in a project from communications, quality, risks, cost, scope, schedule, stakeholder management, procurement, etc. Do you have a systematic process for managing your goals? You need to have one to take away the “flying off the seat of your pants or winging it as you go.”
Project management is not about doing the work, it is about managing the work that needs to get done. To understand what needs managing, you can break the project lifecycle down into phases such as conception, planning, executing, monitoring, controlling and closing.
The art of project management is the utilization of the “science of project management” in tangent with soft skills to get results. For example, how can project stakeholders or team members be influenced to get things done? Also, how to communicate and manage relationships across diverse stakeholder groups, prioritize issues and resolve conflicts?
Depending on the goals to be achieved, you may have to project manage and, do the work—build, test and deploy. The benefit you get is that with project management skills, you can adapt and apply both the art and science to get the desired outcomes.
3. Leader Agility
Agility is critical for success as it brings nimbleness to play. One’s ability to change, adapt, learn, relearn, and unlearn as goals progress from conception to execution could determine your success in achieving goals. As a professional or entrepreneur, you are leading and influencing actions hence, the ability to make decisions and communicate (those decisions) quickly to stakeholders and teams is essential to get results. Therefore, leader agility is needed.
Also, the ability to pivot and respond to market indicators, customer needs, and organizational strategic direction comes to play. To consistently be ahead of the competition in the pursuit of the attainment of goals, professionals and entrepreneurs need to be welcoming to change and create solutions fast enough that the clients can begin to see results quickly. This could include developing solutions in increments and incorporating feedback from clients and stakeholders for improvement as work progresses.
Have you ever thought of your level of Project IQ?
The level of project Intelligence (PQ) is what project IQ measures. No matter where you fall on the PQ spectrum, the good news is, that PQ is a skill that can be developed and improved upon.
As professionals and entrepreneurs, we all face competing demands from work and life, that could get overwhelming, impeding goal creation let alone goal achievement. I have been there just like several professionals and entrepreneurs who are overwhelmed and unsure of how to achieve goals consistently. I have great news, PQ gave me a way out and transformed my world and that of my clients. I am sure PQ can do the same for you.
Applying PQ helps take project management philosophies, and a strategic approach to goals and see it through to project execution. PQ ensures that the right projects are carried out from the onset, and that focus remains on the more important ideas.
Pareto’s principle states that roughly eighty percent (80%) of consequences come from twenty percent (20%) of causes for many outcomes. Having PQ helps build a strategic mindset and strategic thinking. It helps you as a professional or entrepreneur think differently, think strategically and rationally to recognize the twenty percent (20%) of work needed to create the most significant results, and prioritize accordingly. As your goals (projects) get crystallized, PQ helps:
- align goals (projects) with your strategy.
- methodologically qualify which goals (projects) add value.
- balance the capacity vs. capability on the project(s).
- focus on the overall delivery from idea to execution while tying back to benefit realization to ensure that the essence of the projects is achieved.
As a professional or entrepreneur, goal attainment is achievable; it starts with developing PQ. PQ will help create that strategic mindset, enable the utilization of appropriate project management methodologies, and enable nimbility.
Remember, successful professionals, entrepreneurs and business leaders are strategic project leaders with PQ.
My team and I help professionals and entrepreneurs become strategic project leaders. We help you find and optimize the right solution(s) to “execute right” to achieve those personal and business goals. We start small by rolling out low-stakes iterations that gradually expand as you get results and feedback, helping you leverage project intelligence to achieve the results and goals you crave.
About the Author:
Fola Alabi is your business and leadership, transformational expert. She transforms businesses and lives with strategic project management and PQ philosophies helping professionals, entrepreneurs, and organizations “execute right,” to achieve goals and get results with ease.
Fola is an international speaker, educator, and author, fondly called THE Strategic Project Leader. She is passionate about people development as a catalyst to drive business and leadership transformation. As a certified project and change management practitioner, she leverages her superpowers in project management with a strategic focus to help ordinary people live extraordinary lives by scaling their careers and business while living the life they crave.
Fola has helped professionals and entrepreneurs go from stuck to unstoppable in achieving results and goals efficiently in business and life. In her soon-to-be-released book: “Project Intelligence” – The practical steps to achieving goals“, Fola shares insights on how to increase project IQ, a critical quotient every leader, professional and entrepreneur needs to create that competitive advantage in today’s volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) world.