Wednesday, January 16, 2008


As I move up the organization, my word and name alone do not have the power that it did at lower levels of the organization. That’s understandable. My credibility will increase as I prove myself at higher levels of the org. Until then, I need alliances and associated credibility/power.

I’m a person who does not complain alone – I complain and try to do something about it. I took a Gallup strengths test several years back where the results showed that 2 of my inherit talents (without trying) are development of people and processes. While I don’t have HR responsibility for my current project team and other coworkers (who could a future team), I still want to help them grow. Earlier this year, I presenting a mentor program idea to my VP and he said that I could pursue it further. Recently, he approved proposing it to the CIO.

As I was building the mentoring strategy, I reviewed it with our HR department who gave me good ideas and helped me link it to the HR mgmt directives to which people are accountable. When I reviewed the strategy with my VP, I told him that I worked with the HR dept and explained the feedback. The strategy and my personal credibility got the strategy approved to propose to the CIO. My VP gave me some good advice … take my HR Director with me as I present to the CIO. I will gain associated power and credibility. If there are questions from an HR standpoint my HR person can answer them, showing support from multiple sides.

Over time, I’m learning better when I should speak and when I should just shut up (and let others speak). While a PM has some good credibility, others hold credibility too (and we want to let them shine and be heard). Do we feel the code is ready for implementation … the user or QA Tester could have more credibility to answer. Sometimes a title has more power so you might need a VP to address a topic in a meeting.

You might notice that I started interchanging credibility with power. Credibility is a type of power. Power can be abused though. It’s taking me time to understand and navigate these waters. I hope you can learn from my travels.

TAKE-AWAYS: Know when to leverage other’s credibility. The PM alone is not the most powerful player on the team. The most powerful player is the team as a whole (team members, stakeholders, and sponsors) and you should leverage your team and individual credibility when needed.

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