Winning with Talent Management: Three Real-Life Examples

The wrong person in the wrong role costs real money.  Studies suggest bad hires cost 250% of the role’s salary. In other words, a bad $100K hire will cost you $250K! And when it comes to  the cost of a bad project manager, look at it this way: , what was the size of your last failed project: $1 million, $10 million, $100 million?

You win the talent game with the best talent. But how do you identify “best”? PM College has a tried-and-tested Competency Assessment Program that helps you find and develop the best project managers. Three of our leading clients are using it to get a competitive edge:

“We want to offer learning and development that our talent really needs.” Talent development and training are two critical drivers of job satisfaction, loyalty, and engagement.  These are the sweet spots for our assessments: to develop and sustain superior project management performance.

PMO leaders at a long-time client need to target their training, thereby eliminating unnecessary training programs. The PM College assessment program will do this, ensuring more return from their learning investments. They also want the assessment to  not only discover project managers with the most potential, but also to inform job assignment and development opportunities.

“We need to make sure that new hires can deliver our projects.” Bad hiring decisions drive eighty percent of employee turnover. Another PM College client requires absolute on-time delivery for every project: a hour late is a crisis; a day late can be a national disaster.  Their project managers need to be the best of the best … from Day One. Catching a single bad hire before the offer letter will provide a huge and immediate payoff.

We are working with this client to develop a profile of the ideal candidate, based upon assessments of their current staff. PM College will also use this profile to develop a set of interview guidelines to evaluate candidates on the most critical personality and knowledge topics, in order to target development plans for current project managers.

“We work in an emerging, fast-growing industry.” Organizational agility defines today’s most admired and innovative project-driven organizations. We are working with a global client to extend our standard assessment to cover two additional competency areas: industry and organizational knowledge. Just as PM College can deliver custom learning, we can also create custom assessment packages at a great value. This client will use the results to verify that its current – and future – project managers can keep up with its explosive growth and unique culture.

Are you ready to find, develop, and hire better project talent? Contact PM College now

Meet The New PMCollege.com!

If you haven’t explored pmcollege.com lately, you’re missing a lot! We’ve made the site much easier to navigate, especially on mobile devices. We also keep the PM College blog hopping with new content. Moreover, we have new PM College courses and services:

  • Spotlight Course: Managing Multiple Projects prepares project managers who need to step up to leading more than one initiative, but who can’t rely upon the structure of an overarching program to organize priorities and stakeholders. This course just received a content refresh and has received great reviews:

“Recommended for project executives who need help in the following areas: tendency to micro-manage, inability to communicate workload constraints, difficulty saying no, prioritizing, relationship management, confrontation, managing common risks across multiple projects.” –  Fortune 100 global diversified industrial firm

“[The PM College instructor] did a great job of involving the class and insuring that we were following the material, which can sometimes be difficult with web training.” – Fortune 50 global aerospace company

“The tools were shared and PRACTICED so we knew how to use them.” – Fortune 100 global diversified industrial firm

“Entire course was excellent. Most I participated in a class.” – State government construction agency

Finally, don’t overlook our talent strategy, assessment, curriculum, and customization services. Along with our courses, we revamped our service offerings to sustain your needs throughout the talent lifecycle. These services are our “secret sauce” for delivering project, leadership, and business training excellence … and can be yours.

NOTE: Originally published on the PMCollege.com blog.

How Do I Hire The Right People?

NOTE: First posted at the PM College blog.

We had a great webinar on project, leadership, and business skills. We got some great reviews and I hope you enjoy it. To check it out, you see/hear the recording here (registration required). In the next few posts, I’m going to cover the key questions that were asked during the webinar. I will start with one that got to the heart of the challenge:

Are there good assessment tools available for [looking at whether candidates have the right skills]? Especially for new hires. Would hate to make a bad hiring decision.

Absolutely…and it’s one of the most value investments you can make. As we mentioned in the webinar, we just looked at a study (quoted in this post) that notes that 80 percent of employee turnover is driven by bad hiring decisions. That same post goes on the highlight the cost per bad hire: two and one-half time the role’s salary. In other words, a bad $100K hire may well cost you $250K!

PM College has a tried-and-tested Competency Assessment Program that directly addresses this need. Continue reading

Now THIS Is What I Mean By “Advanced” Training

We’ve had a ton of discussions with clients after the Project Management Institute (PMI)announcement that it would soon demand business and leadership training from its certification holders. Some organizations wanted just the facts – who, what, where, when, why, and how — then were on their way. A few weren’t interested for personal reasons: their organizations don’t require or reward PMI certification.

The most interesting talks, however, were with customers who didn’t really focus on the requirements at all. The original blog post or email had merely crystallized needs that they already had. We heard it again and again: “We’ve already had the basics, we’ve already put everyone through the curriculum. How do we get better, how do we advance?”

These kinds of conversations are music to my ears, because it means that we’re going to talk about building new and differentiated capabilities. In other words, these clients aren’t just thinking about industry standards and compliance. They now think strategically about how their staff’s strengths and weaknesses match up to their organization’s opportunities and threats.

So how does this play out in practice? Each firm or agency is different, but we believe there a few useful questions that help focus on the learning that your organization needs to advance.

  1. Knowledge and Skill Gaps: These are items that were simply missed in previous training or need formal reinforcement. Example course topics that address gaps:  How to Lead a Team;  How to Model, Analyze, and Improve Business Processes.
  2. Knowledge and Skill Mastery: Here’s where one truly goes beyond the basics and gets command of a subject. Courses like Project Cost & Schedule Management; Project Risk Management; Strategies for Effective Stakeholder Engagement; and  Vendor Relationship Management take one to the next level.
  3. Behavior Change: Here’s the real opportunity to breakthrough performance: ensuring that skills manifest themselves in behavior. Our simulations — for example, Managing by Project; Managing by Project: Construction; and Leadership in High-Performance Teams — move participants from mere understanding of skills to application of these skills back in the working world.

As always, if your organization would like discuss these ideas and how it will impact your project management training curriculum, please use the contact form below. We are happy to review your current curriculum, your upcoming learning plans, and make recommendations.

PMI Requires Business and Leadership Training

NOTE: My colleagues at PM College passed along the news that PMI is changing its PDU requirements. This post is adapted from our email to our customers.

Well, it’s now official: the Project Management Institute (PMI) demands strategy, business, and leadership skills from its certification holders. Its change to Professional Development Unit (PDU) requirements formalizes the shift away from the “project managers just need to know project management” mentality that used to pervade the profession. As we’ve noted: people skills and domain knowledge are essential to initiatives’ success.

If you or your staff are pursuing or renewing your PMP – or your organization wants to develop well-rounded, competent project talent — you will need to understand how these changes affect you.  Why?

As the global business environment and project management profession evolves, the [certification] program must adapt to provide development of new employer-desired skills…. The ideal skill set — the PMI Talent Triangle — is a combination of technical, leadership, and strategic and business management expertise. (PMI 2015 Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) Program Updates)

Feedback from high-performing organizations drove three changes to certification requirements that PMO, learning, and talent leaders should be aware of:

The technical, business, and leadership juggler.

The original technical, business, and leadership juggler.

  1. The education professional development unit (PDU) requirement has changed. 60% of the PDUs must come from education (e.g., PMPs must have 35 of their 60 PDUs come from education )
  2. A new requirement is that certification holders must get education in all three skill areas:  Technical Project Management, Leadership, Strategic and Business Management.
  3. Additionally, a minimum of eight (8) PDU’s must be earned in each of the three skill areas; the remaining eleven (11) can come from any area.

PM College proactively recognized this need, and designed its course offerings to align to the three skill areas, so you and your staff can earn the PDUs required in each skill area. For example, among our most popular offerings:

If your organization would like to schedule time to discuss these changes and how it will impact your project management training curriculum, please use the contact form below. We are happy to review your current curriculum, your upcoming learning plans, and make recommendations.

 

“Train as we work” — National Disaster Medical System

It seems like simulation and practice is in the air these days. Not just from my posts (McKinsey on simulation, Football-on-Football on practice), but now in the Facebook feed of one of my friends, Lee Turpen. Lee is a thought leader in the EMS community and attends the annual Gathering of Eagles, which is the nickname of the EMS State of the Sciences Conference.

TraumaTrainingSure enough, simulation and realistic practice came up on day one. Lee pointed me to a presentation from Andrew Garrett of the Health and Human Services Department. He gave an update on the National Disaster Medical System.

In case you needed more nudging, check out slides 7 and 8: “Full Context, Full Speed Training” and “Train as we Fight (Work).” That says it all.

PM Quote of the Day — Golda Meir

You’ll never find a better sparring partner than adversity.

I had forgotten about this quote from one of the most memorable leaders of my youth (more on Golda here).  For those who don’t know, sparring is a boxing or martial art term referring to simulated matches held during training.  It is a way of preparing both body and mind for the rigors of the ring.

As the quote suggests, shrinking from adversity may be the easier, softer way.  It is not usually the most successful.  Below are two examples from the boxing world itself.

It is the rare boxer who can afford the luxury of a training camp filled with soft sparring sessions.  Most often, such training “vacations” are the prelude to a boxer ending the bout flat on his back, wondering what hit him.  Roberto Duran was infamous for camps that focused on weight reduction, not training.  He got away with this for a while, until he met Sugar Ray Leonard in the infamous “no mas” fight.

Sugar Ray may have been pretty, but he was no dummy.  Before Leonard faced his greatest challenge — stepping up in weight to fight Marvin Hagler — he ensured his camp was more strenuous than anything he had endured before.  For instance, he fought his sparring partners while wearing “pillow” gloves, which softened his blows.  Also, he fought full 12 round sessions, swapping in fresh foes every three rounds.  While he didn’t overpower Hagler, he was able to hang in with him long enough to steal the win.

Sometimes that’s all it takes: hanging in long enough.

Business Value Game — Prioritizing Requirements

While I haven’t gone through a live simulation of the game, I like a number of the concepts behind The Business Value Game (post here, game here).  Of course, I love learning through simulation (entire Complexity Set here). 

The game also has players assume the role of salespeople who have to prioritize the backlog that developers will have to implement.  This approach is great for both roles:

  • If you have salespeople play the game, they start to get a better feel for the real consequences of having made unfulfillable promises at deal time. 
  • As developers play the game, they should develop more empathy for the pressure that sales teams feel as they try to satisfy the customer and close deals.

Very promising stuff…  Now, when can I get the time to check it out?!

Embedding Employee Engagement in your processes

Mike King at Learn This has a fairly long post on promoting employee engagement (here) — one last Hat Tip to the PM Blog Carnival (here).  I liked the thoughts in this passage especially:

Make it Part of The System … In order to ensure that employee engagement is something that gets attention, is measured and has various methods contributing to it, its important that it is part of a system. Not many things work on their own in business and its important to look at ways to embed it into the business practices….  [T]here are always examples where individuals do things right, but unless its fixed at a larger scale, it doesn’t become cultural or lasting…  The more ingrained it is into the system, the more likely employee engagement will expand and retain itself as part of the culture in the workplace. [emphasis mine]

This insight is often missed by human resources and other professionals focused on employee development.  Too many of these colleagues see their practices as somehow set apart from the rest of the business or they don’t have enough commercial experience to do so effectively.  Line managers and HR partners should collaborate to embed employee engagement practices into the way their firm works.

Finally, I should acknowledge Jose DeJesus’s post on employee motivation (here).  One could do worse than to pay heed to his five steps:

1. Listen to your employees.
2. Acknowledge your employees’ achievements.
3. Help your employees develop their own communications skills.
4. Encourage your employees to grow into new roles and take on additional responsibility.
5. Set a Good Example.

Leadership Failure in Complex Initiatives

Extending a recent theme — leading and learning in complex initiatives — I’ve just started looking at a book on The Logic of Failure: Recognizing and Avoiding Error in Complex Situations.  Many of the conclusions and insight reflect some earlier posts (collected here).  This post may contain my personal record for categories/tags, I guess the complexity topic has become pervasive as well!

The essence of the argument is that most humans think about problems in ways that defeat their efforts to deal with complex problems.  I especially like the insight that complex situations rarely yield to fixed rules consistently.  Per an insight I’ve heard before: “All complex problems require iterative solutions.”  In other words, we need to be prepared to take multiple passes at solving these types of issues, sometimes with different techniques.

Hat tip: George Colony’s Counterintutitive blog (here).

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