Monday, May 21, 2012

PMI Madison Professional Development Day 2012

Recently I attended the Madison PMI Professional Development Day at the Alliant Energy Center, which had a record of over 500 attendees. The theme was Celebrating 20 Years – Reaching High!

I attended many excellent talks and here are my thoughts on them.

The first keynote speaker was Commander Kirk Lippold who was the Commanding Officer of the USS Cole when it came under a suicide terrorist attack in the port of Aden, Yemen.  The Commander went over the attack and the events that took place before and after (song they played on the ship as they pulled out of port).  He also reviewed his five pillars of leadership.

1.       Integrity
2.       Vision
3.       Personal Responsibility and Accountability
4.       Trust and Invest
5.       Professional Confidence

Lessons Learned: Excellent leaders have the ability to act in the now and still think ahead.

The next talk I went to was titled: Working with Humans by John Stein.  John reviewed the two sides of being a project manager.  One side: Technical: monitoring the timeline, budget, scope, milestones… and on the other side: Behavioral: context, art, the science of being a PM.

The behavioral side is the biggest area PMs need to work on.  And he mentioned the two core coaching skills a PM needs to have is listening and questioning.

Lessons Learned: When you think a person is done speaking, count to two before you speak.

The next talk I went to was titled Getting 40% more cooperation and productivity from your team by Traci Duez.  Traci reviewed her seven areas PMs need to focus on to get more out of people:
1.       Recognize the person
2.       Express it (I believe in you)
3.       See the doors (don’t ask why questions)
4.       Put your agenda aside
5.       Engage and be present
6.       Connect and care
7.       Tell your story (Ask, Tell, Ask)

Lessons Learned: Focus on your team and less on the PM number magic.

Then I was off to the next keynote speaker Bill Rancic whose talk was titled How to think long term in a short term world.  Bill won the first season of The Apprentice.  Bill started off his career at the age of 9 making pancakes for his grandmother’s friends at 5 bucks a person.  Later in his career he started a cigar of the month club with a buddy in a 400 sqf studio apartment.  They started out by talking to radio hosts about their product (no to low cost) which lead to 100’s of orders.  Next they went to TV which lead to 1000s of orders.

Lessons Learned: Never quit, never make an excuse and find a creative way to solve problems.

And finally I attended a talk titled: Socialize and prioritize: how a small group can do big things with social Media by Ron Giordan.  Ron reviewed how he and his wife used social media to get the word out on a facility they were trying to create for parents with special needs children.  Over the past several years they have raised 250k and in several weeks they will open Gio’s Garden.

Lessons Learned: There are new ways to reach the masses!