| I recently took on a new
assignment and, as is my norm, I scheduled a series of
one-hour, 1:1 join-up meetings with the various lead personnel
on the team and their hierarchy. During one of these meetings,
the person I was meeting with informed me how pleasantly
surprised she was that I had scheduled this meeting as
very few individuals took the time anymore to have them.|
I was shocked. I was taught that establishing a 1:1 relationship
with the people on your team is critical to the project's
success. This was the first time I'd heard anything like
this about join-up meetings. I filed this feedback away.
Later I was talking to my project manager-mentor, and
he indicated he had finished his join-up meetings with
every person in his new organization. He also indicated
his predecessor had conducted few, if any, join-up meetings.
Again, I was shocked. When I reflected on these two experiences,
I realized a very negative trend might be emerging in
our fast-paced, schedule-driven, 500-e-mail-per-day, cell-phone-ringing,
24/7-communication, multi-tasking work lives: NO FACE
|A 1:1, face-to-face,
join-up meeting is the only way I know to build
solid trust between the project manager and the
team members and their hierarchy.
Face time is what you spend with people to talk about
the project you are working on, their expectations of
you, your expectations of them, your hierarchy's expectations
about each of you, and/or -- last but certainly not least
-- what each of you plans on achieving during the project.
A 1:1, face-to-face, join-up meeting is the only way I
know to build solid trust between the project manager
and the team members and their hierarchy. The project
manager can then use the information gathered in these
meetings to help develop the team structure and dynamics.
Join-up meetings are a big deal for me, and I rate them
at the top of my meeting-importance meter. These are the
meetings where I discover if an individual's success criteria
are different than the team's success criteria. Even though
a person has agreed to the team's criteria, they may actually
be motivated by other criteria, which could negatively
impact the project.
"There is no I in team" is an axiom that applies
to a project as much as any other kind of team endeavor.
A project manager spends most of his or her time and effort
managing/motivating individuals on the team to get in
sync with the whole team's success criteria. The face-to-face
join-up meeting is integral to understanding each "I"
in the team.
Another thing I've learned in my career is that no matter
how well I think I know people, if I don't take the time
to have a "formal" join-up meeting with them, and understand
what is motivating them, it's possible I may find out
their expectations are very different than what I've assumed.
For example, I was the project manager of a project in
which the lead technical engineer and I had worked together
earlier in our careers. Since I had worked with him before,
I didn't feel the need to "join up." That was a big mistake.
This individual consistently committed to doing things
on the project. I was impressed and felt he was showing
great leadership. However, as the project progressed I
noticed another trait. The individual did not meet any
of his commitments. This was having a negative impact
on the project. Thus, I began taking responsibility away
from him and giving it to others to ensure the project's
are not only crucial for hardware integration, but
also form an important stage of team building, as
Scott Cameron points out in his article.
After awhile, the individual and I had a belated join-up
meeting. During this meeting I learned his boss had said
that he needed to demonstrate leadership and commit to
do more than his fair share of work on this project to
be considered for promotion. The boss failed to point
out that meeting his commitments was also crucial to being
This example is a continual reminder for me of the importance
of the join-up meeting. Had I known what his success criteria
were, I certainly would have re-evaluated his role on
the project, or at the least talked with him about how
best to synchronize his personal success criteria with
W. Scott Cameron is Capital Systems Manager
for the Food & Beverage Global Business Unit of
Procter & Gamble. He has been managing capital projects
and mentoring other capital management practitioners
for the past 20 years at Procter & Gamble within
its Beauty Care, Health Care, Food & Beverage, and
Fabric & Home Care Businesses.