Project management are skills that I use every day in my career, running my business, as an educator and even at home. These are skills you probably use too, but do not even know it.
You can learn a quick definition about Project Management and the skills needed here from the Project Management Institute Website. I also have been blogging about project management, too.
I find myself following project management principles with my business as if I am running multiple projects together that roll up into what makes my company a company. For The Next Step these individual projects are:
I also need to be aware of my resources – which are in a sense limited… For my in-person events, training and speaking engagements, I cannot overbook or double book. I need to have the availability to be at each event, client and/or classroom for the “magic” to happen. Yes, I said “magic” – deal with it. I know I am corny. I truly am passionate about what I do and every event I have is infused with my energetic and passionate presentation. I utilize a PowerPoint file in the background, my books as the take home part of the event but during the event, it is all me and the interaction with my “students” no matter how many or their ages.
For my online events and courses, the limitations are not as severe. I could theoretically host up to 250 students online and still be “teaching” and helping them take their next step. That is why I am working on offering more online learning sessions and options for those who would like help taking their next step.
Managing a business that belongs to me and fits my personal and professional needs oh and is kind of successful has been a dream of mine for the past 14+ years when I first thought about being an entrepreneur and then went for it and failed a bunch of times in the process. Now, I am poised at being able to persue this passion around helping people prepare for college, careers and professional Next Steps.
Are you learning with me yet? I teach about Project Management specifically for careers (and more) via Wagner College Department for Lifelong Learning – courses will begin again in the Fall – click here for more information: Seminars on Project Management. Happy Hunting!
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To check out why over 2200 people this week have learned with me, see my website video here:
As an entrepreneur, you learn that there are times of “feast and famine”, as I was discussing yesterday with my SCORE advisor, Mr John Amodio.
SCORE is the “counselors to America’s Small Businesses” and is really an amazing resource for small business owners like me. I also am lucky enough to be part of the SBDC (Small Business Development Center) and have mentioned in the past my meetings with the organizations for help with planning my next steps (no pun intended). You can see the posts on it here and here.
Yesterday’s session was awesome – not only because Mr Amodio is my defacto editor - (Blogger’s Note: He has read my first two books and given me the feedback that the books are great, very conversational and he found the edits I need to make of the few typos – did you find them, too?) but also because he had some amazing insight into how I am building my company and what I should DO and what I should AVOID.
When you own your own business, it can be challenging to identify what to give away for “free” and what to “charge” for and we discussed focusing on revenue so that this venture can continue to grow and scale.
After yesterday’s meeting, I started jotting down my “to do” list which this Project Management Professional (PMP) had not done in a long time (sorry, end of school year was insane, as I posted about here). See, I feel the need to apologize because I truly do need to make to do lists – it is part of who I am.
I also drafted up a “wish list” and am considering mapping out more formally my financials and also thinking about some angel investors for capital – I have been bootstrapping this entire organization since July 2015. I do have revenues and am quite proud of my revenues but I also know that with the help of SCORE and other advice that my revenue will be growing over the next 6month to a year. With the potential growth in revenue, there are definitely some investments I need to consider now in order to scale my business to be ready for this influx of growth.
We spoke yesterday about the main drawback to being a small business based off of my own expertise and it is all about scheduling. At some point, with the multiple potential proposals I have all over this city, I might have to prioritize and turn things down (I think). There are only so many places one person can be in a given day…
This is truly a good problem to have, though.
We also strategized about my potential online learning offerings which I started building out on my website yesterday and sharing about on social media to help give more focus on my books, lessons and teaching skills and also to make my business able to help the maximum amount of people to take their next step.
As a small business owner and a woman, it can be hard to ask to be paid but I am learning that this is not only a woman thing – it is hard as a business owner to be out there and to be so open about what I am building and how. At the same time, it is through teaching my lessons that I learn – through sharing this content that I gain followers, readers and more. This point is driven home again and again when I check out my website stats. This week has set a record for my website in terms of unique visitors (and potential clients).
On Monday, 744 people were learning with me on my site – this was a record for my website as I had never gone above 600 people before in one day. 744 people is a LOT of people. On Tuesday, I had 400+ people, which is not too bad either. I do not spend $1 on advertising (yet), although this will change as I continue to work on my wish list and financials. As I write this blog post at 8:39am on Wednesday, 87 people have been on my website already…
Thanks so much for reading, sharing and learning with me! I look forward to helping you take your next step.
If you are interested in reading my books, please check them out here. Happy Hunting!
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My online learning planning announcement
My To do and wish lists...
Balancing the entrepreneur-ING way
I do not share much in regards to my family life because it does not really crossover for me though I have seen some similar types of small businesses that make their children a part of it – one such company recently sent a constant contact like newsletter featuring prominently an ultrasound picture of the baby to be born this summer.
I knew when I started this company in July that I would not be comfortable sharing my children with the business. It was my choice as it is other's choices to include their children; I do not judge them at all. I think it is a great way to showcase the business person in different ways and can lead to more clicks. My kids are very good promoters, too. Whenever we are out and about somewhere, if they see other business cards on display, they ask if they can put my business cards out, too. They give out my books to anyone who visits us at home, too - even delivery people (find out more on my Amazon Author Page). That being said, with all I "teach" about social media to the high school set, I was not comfortable putting my kids on the map of social media at their young ages regarding my business.
To be open about my business planning, though, I need to make this post about “balance” as I prepare for the upcoming spring break AND summer vacation, too. In everything I do, I try to balance so that I can focus on my business and also be there for the kids (like all working parents do). This balance, though, was a big part of the reason why I became an entrepreneur. I can build my own schedule and balance around events and activities that I have planned for my personal life. I think this is important for everyone, though, even those without children. Everyone wants to be able to feed their soul to do something that means more than the 9to5 routine. At times, though, it is hard to do this to balance it and to make it work.
As I juggle my multiple “side gigs” with my full time gig as an entrepreneur and my home life, this hits home to me. I do not want to be a “mommy” blogger but that is involved with being “mom-trepreneur”. For instance, I just received an email asking me to speak or partner at an event happening in Europe and it made me think of the times when I would hop on a transatlantic flight for a long weekend or go to Singapore to run projects (even two weeks before my wedding). I am a different type of business woman now. I want to build my business and to be successful but I must do it on my terms and if that means missing the opportunity in Europe right now, so be it.
I am spending time now planning how I will manage my to-do list through holidays and summer vacations, which involves using my PMP project management professional status to know that I can use hours of each day as efficiently as possible. I hope to spend many days at Breezy Point using some wi-fi while we play in the pool and surf! I am considering summer camps for the children to give them a routine and me more “office” time.
Kids are not kids forever – they grow quickly and need more in different ways. I am honored to balance being a mom and an entrepreneur and working through the challenges of spring break and summer vacation are like a fun puzzle for me to work out. I want to keep building the momentum of my business but as someone with many years of experience, I know the summer months can be quite quiet in any industry so I am not considering the summer break as being too disastrous to my aggressive scheduling. I have tons of meetings and events sprinkled through the next few months though that might lead to a trickier puzzle to figure out.
What do you think about balancing kids with entrepreneurial pursuits? I will say that if I worked full time in an office somewhere, I would have more “off” time theoretically in that I run my business 24/7. I know a lot of corporate jobs are like that but when it is your business it can be harder to put the iPhone down, to stop writing that blog post and to stop networking for more opportunities. I am always thinking and planning and working on content and other initiatives as I do with my business but having the luxury to do that while also multitasking on home and life events is key to why I chose entrepreneurship. What about you? Are you interested in being your own boss? Happy hunting!
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This week's plan is fluid. I have been busy the last few weeks with meetings and more, which means I have not had much time to write. I plan on using some "free" time this week to write my books and the blog posts. I considered cutting back on the daily posting schedule and changing to a weekly posting schedule or perhaps 2-3 days a week and not 5.
Although of all the things I do, my blog posts do not take the most time. I find that once I set up my week's content ideas, the blog just flows on its own. I have my trusty project management based book that I use for my meetings and my daily to-do list. I wind up changing things around on the fly, though. As much as I stand by my lists, the priorities change daily.
For this weekend, my priority was to rest and it allowed me to recharge and re-prioritize my schedule.
I have found that in running my business, I spend a lot of time building content. With all of this content came the new pages on this site highlighting my ability to create of curriculum and the launch of online courses in addition to the work I am doing with Wagner College Department for Lifelong Learning. I also use Instaquote to build up my Instagram and to create more followings and to find people who are interested in my company whether just to follow my story or to become a client of mine.
I have various streams for income with my services I offer around brand creation and now the template guides on resumes and LinkedIn. I have my published books that are out there and starting to get notice on Amazon and via my website.
Here are some samples on my project planning for this week. Only 20+ things with different priorities and management for each. I cross things off once they are done and move on. Lately, I had been moving on a lot of initiatives - such as working on becoming certified as a woman owned business in NYC. I have a project plan for that - with steps and sub-steps to complete on the way.
How do you stay motivated and focused? For me I tend to think I am motivated and focused while continuing all of the fun things I am doing - especially preparing for the upcoming Spring break and having to entertain a bunch of kids who will be off from school. I wonder how much I can get done during those weeks - that will be a true testament to how motivated and focused I am when I host a play-date or four over that break.
As a project manager from (almost) birth, I have the tendency to make project plans and to do lists and more on a daily basis. I have been always focused on managing things like “projects” even before I knew that was what I was doing. When I was in college, I would know down to the day count for requirements to finish the class – like “15 days until my paper is due and 22 days until my final” this was how I compartmentalized and studied and prepared.
I took this with me in my career. It started with my graduate assistant position in Italy; there were some real initiatives I helped with in terms of building databases and tracking application processes with the Queens campus and more.
Once I started my career for “real” at Merrill Lynch in Jersey City, I knew that I was interested in building tasks and plans around activities. It was not until I got to Standard & Poor’s in January 2001, though, that I learned enough to put a name on what I was doing as “project management”. By 2003, I was applying to the Project Management Institute to get my certification in Project Management.
There are stages to projects and in order to sit for the test you need to show documented project hours in all of the stages and sometimes just doing the application process for this exam is a project in itself. As I talk in this post about project management skills and why these skills are important for YOU to learn, I have to mention that for those of you who already KNOW this to be true and are interested in achieving the PMP certification that I am offering an intensive course at Wagner College Department for Lifelong Learning to help people prepare for and pass the PMP exam (find out more here http://wagner.edu/lifelong-learning/pmp-exam-prep/). This course is taught by me and uses my unique learning and teaching style to get you ready to take the exam.
How can being a project manager help with your career?
For those of you who are new to your career and/or have been "typecast" in a certain role and are interested in breaking out and getting more respect, money and/or responsibility in your career, the idea of project management is something that you might want to be taught on by me. I am an expert in Project Management with over 12+ years in Corporate America as a project manager and now as an entrepreneur, I use project management skills and techniques daily to grow my business.
You should register for my upcoming seminar at Wagner College on Project Management (to register, click here http://wagner.edu/lifelong-learning/career-management-seminar/). I teach about the ways in which you can use these "project management" skills and how you have already been using these skills, without realizing it. Particularly for the young professional who has found themselves “stuck” in retail or in dead-end admin type jobs, this focus on project management skills training is so important to diversify and become competitive.
These skills allow for you to be a generalist, which is so important in today’s job market, while being able to apply these skills and talents to any job or industry or market. I want to also mention to those who have blank spaces on their resumes (see more here Transitioning Back to the Workforce) having this type of training for the price point we offer it for at Wagner College Department for Lifelong Learning is a great way to kick start your learning process and prepare you for your next step.
My two recent books that I have published (order today on my Amazon Author Page) have chapters dedicated to the skills needed in this job market and for your career planning process and I talk at length about Project Management and how these skills are so important. Why just read the book when you can get lessons from me in real life here on Staten Island?
Would you be interested in learning with me in person this May? Register today here http://wagner.edu/lifelong-learning/career-management-seminar/ and happy hunting!
As an entrepreneur I have been running super speed since I launched in July 2015. It has come naturally though all things considered.
By nature I am a project manager and I adore having lists and making actionable steps. I just got a new project notebook that allows me to index the pages and to maintain my list - I sometimes just move the stuff from one day to the next or I cross the things off the list on the way.
As I am coming up to over 2500 words for part two of the entrepreneur-ING book I wanted to talk a bit about project management and going from zero to launch.
I really took the base from book 1 and expanded on the actual execution of launching a business. So much content has been shared and created about entrepreneurship but I do have an interesting perspective being an expert (and someone who has failed before at being entrepreneurial). Also I am an educator by nature not only the last 13 years in the classroom -- so I know how to teach and create lessons and I also have the expertise of trying and failing before as an entrepreneur.
I lay out in this upcoming installment the following information in my introduction, which I am including to this post.
If you did not read the first book, it does help to have done that to be ready to go from zero to launch. Check out more here: Lisa Vento Nielsen Author Page on Amazon.com.
Below is the introduction to the second book in the Entrepreneur-ING series The Prof's Guide on Entrepreneur-ING: Going from Zero to Launch – Everything You Need to Know to be an Entrepreneur Starting Today
The first installment of this series focused on developing and using entrepreneurial skills for either launching a business OR being the boss of your career. This time, I am taking my 15+ years’ experience as an entrepreneur and my 13 years’ experience as an educator teaching courses on entrepreneurship to give you the Zero to Launch Guide on moving forward with your idea or your business.
This might be something you decide to do now as a full time gig or as a side gig. It might be something you want to do but are not ready to execute on right now – but by reading this book and using my lessons, you might decide it is something you want to do right now. You can use this book to save up for your decision in a few years – you do not have to execute and launch right now. Maybe you are just thinking and want a new, fresh look on entrepreneurship.
You are in the right place – I am a new, fresh voice on entrepreneurship using the word I coined “Entrepreneur-ING” to create a full end-to-end launch process for you to use at any time for your idea, your business and more. There is the possibility you will go through all of these steps and decide you do not want to launch but in the meanwhile you started the process. Once you start being an entrepreneur, you will always consider it again and it will help your regular full time work as you focus on making yourself stand out in this potential new venture.
I started being entrepreneurial in 2002 and I have not looked back at all. Being entrepreneurial brought an extra level of skill and focus to my other careers as educator and executive. I have tried and failed a few times and I will provide some real life case study examples based off of my own various attempts at entrepreneurship.
In this book series (and in the other series I wrote on College and Career Readiness), I am the source. My unique background and experiences and my calling as an educator mean I am pulling it all together to tie in the process from start to finish with you here in this book.
I launched The Next Step in July 2015 and for the first time, I was at a point where my age and experience had caught up with my vision. I put my face, my name and my content/writing into this business. I write books now, too and have always dreamed of being a published author so if this business has done nothing else, it allowed me to achieve a major dream of my life.
That is not all, though, all of the lessons I have learned over the years through trial and error and as a professor on this very topic have now allowed me to help you do the same process and do it well! I look forward to being on this journey with you to go from Zero to Launch with your business idea!
In Chapter 1, we will discuss business ideas and execution. It is a good high level applicable discussion on how to move forward with an idea and also on identifying ideas. Business Plan Overview is discussed in Chapter 2; the meat and potatoes so to speak of this book is going to be compiling and completing the business plan as we review it in this book. There are tons of services and templates out there but this book will take you through the steps with your own professor/consultant (me) helping you do these steps.
Chapter 3 talks about websites because you cannot have a business today period without a website. It is as natural as breathing that people will look for your website before they even consider speaking to you and you can be right in front of them and this would still happen!
As a marketing major in undergraduate and someone who is always marketing myself either through my business or other ventures, I have a lot to say in Chapter 4 about Marketing.
I go into social media in Chapter 5; this is something I have taught myself from the ground up. I am not “digitally native” and had never used Twitter or Instagram until I relaunched my company in July of 2015. I have found lots of success with using social media to drive traffic to my site without spending any money on marketing the site. As someone who has launched business prior to social media, I can tell you this is an amazing thing to be able to do. I get between 1500-2000 people per week on my site; this is amazing for a small business that launched just eight months ago.
Chapter 6 discusses how to get that traffic to stay via using blogging. As a novice blogger, too, I learned the ropes on this the hard way. I continue to build out more and more content in addition to the books I self-publish (which I will touch on in this chapter, too but only briefly). The idea of writing a book would make almost everyone run away from this book quicker than quick so I will just discuss this in a high level way. If there is real interest in this, look for an updated Chapter on this in editions of this book moving forward.
Chapter 7 is the basics on structuring your business and identifying your mission or your mantra. This is the core idea of what you offer and your business idea. In Chapters 8, 9 and 10 we will be building your plan together. With insights, takeaways and space for you to add your own information, this book will become a draft of your business plan.
We will discuss managing for growth in Chapter 11 and your official marketing plan in Chapter 12. Chapter 13 will show you how to pull all of this information together into your official business documents and I want to hear from you in and around Chapter 14 for the feedback loop.
Be ready to go from zero to launch based off of my extensive experience as an entrepreneur since 2002 and my background in executing and teaching others to be entrepreneurial. I have spent countless classroom and seminar hours in rolling out my methods and plan on how to be an entrepreneur.
A huge part of this is what I discuss in the first book that really brings home the idea of how to be entrepreneurial; how to be risky in terms of aggressively measuring your worth, your skills and what you bring to the table. Do not make the mistake of discounting yourself in terms of who you are and what you can do. So many people limit themselves to the sidelines when they could be in the mainstream if they had the courage to try.
The first business I launched in 2002-2004 was focused on training and teaching other people and small businesses about how to train project managers and how to take the PMP exam and I can tell you firsthand about the ease of starting and running a profitable business NOW vs then. The idea is that with technology and opportunity the way it is, you have to wonder why you have not launched already. I also run classes through Wagner College Department for Lifelong Learning on Entrepreneurship: Building your own business and this book will be used in conjunction with my course design and my first installment of this series.
This book is a professor’s how to – I am the professor behind this book, this method and everything I espouse I have actually DONE in real life. I am not from the ivory tower; I have spent over 13 years in Corporate America, Higher Ed and as an entrepreneur, too. This book is actual time tested and because I have failed so many times, you can learn from me to avoid failure and go right for the success!
That being said, do not be afraid of failing. It is like when you are in school – if you fail it is how you know there is more for you to learn. You must think positively in terms of failure and learning to stay focused and on the path of entrepreneurship. You will find yourself growing as a person and becoming a better career person, a better employee and with higher prospects by trying to be an entrepreneur. Also, with my techniques and my experience as your guide, you will avoid the common pitfalls that impact many other first time entrepreneurs.
If you have been an entrepreneur already, welcome! I am glad you found me so that you can be ready to execute and succeed this next time!!
I have noticed over the last few weeks a large increase in my web traffic and my conversion rates. This is awesome! First of all, anyone who visits my site is awesome because I feel like I am “teaching” you something about careers, being entrepreneurial, university advice and more. I had so much content to share that is how I wound up with two books self-published and available on Amazon this February.
I wanted to revisit the use of PRWeb and share my thoughts on the service. I mentioned this was an investment for me – spending $259 to send a press release was important to me and my business. I have written and shared press releases before within my social media but I thought that using this service could boost the publicity and help me launch the fact that I am now a published author.
For my unique market (Staten Island and the surrounding areas), having published books, in addition to this fairly popular 5-day a week blog is so important to building my reputation, my clients and my partnerships. My dream is to build this business into providing seminars, training, speaking engagements and more for both local schools and local businesses in addition to continuing to help people one on one for their next steps.
I do think using this PRWeb service gave me a boost in the media and a potential for long-term effects. According to my dashboard, the headline of my press release has over 64k "impressions" and the full thing was read over 2k times. I did get some quick responses from some key people who I had not heard back from before when they were sent the Press Release by me. (Read my PRWeb Press Release Here !)
I am considering using it again but I will update here first.
I have a plan and I am moving towards it quickly. Do not be surprised when books 2 of the Entrepreneur-ING and College Readiness series publish within the next few months. I will continue to build on my lessons and sharing via this blog but I do intend to potentially change my editorial calendar to allow for more time to write my books.
Recently, I have had an uptick in meetings and sometimes I think I am being asked to attend a meeting so that I can be sold something like a membership (which is worthwhile on its own but definitely not as nice as client meetings) and instrad I have surprisingly found that people are meeting with me instead to ask me to speak at their organization’s events or to present potential RFPs for my company to answer or potential partnerships for me to develop, explore and more. I have also had meetings with some local business support services like the SBDC (Small Business Development Center) and SCORE. At these meetings, I have been given tons of great advice and lots of to do items to add to my list.
As a career Project Manager/ PMP (Project Management Professional certified by the Project Management Institute), I tend to do well with multiple tasks, projects and ideas. This is how I was able to write and publish two books in 6-8 weeks and continue on my other tasks such as teaching at CSI, teaching at Board of Ed and having, you know, a life… (it is still a life if I am asleep by 9pm, right?)
Also at one of these meetings, I was given some great feedback. I was told my writing style is engaging and informative and that I keep referencing that I am “new” to this or that I am “learning” – I was told to own the fact that I am positioned to be an “expert” and that my knowledge and background is speaking for itself with each piece of content and learning and publication I share and create. Wow, that felt so great and so heavy, at the same time!
I have lots of exciting stuff planned for this week still. I will be representing my company the night of 3/2 (look for an update on this post) at a Wagner College Speed Networking Event. I have received a bulk order of my first book so I will be giving away some copies of my book and potentially selling them in person at other events. On 3/2, I should receive the first printed copies of my College Readiness book so look for posts on that, too!
I published that second book without a lot of fanfare, yet. I will be sharing more about that book and why it is the BEST thing you could buy for your 8th grade graduate, your high school student or graduate and your college student, too!
What do you think about the fact that I am positioning myself to be an “expert” in college, career readiness and execution of entrepreneurship and more? Are you interested in reading my books? Check them out here: Lisa Vento Nielsen Amazon Author Page.
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What do I mean when I say motivate your co-workers?
A great way to motivate coworkers is to be willing to work hard, have a great attitude and to focus on what other people need in terms of their learning styles.
Everyone today who works anywhere is dependent on other people. Gone are the days when you went to work and did your X task and went home. Within the last decade or two, we have seen more and more collaboration necessary at work to really achieve anything. This means you will be dependent on other people to get your tasks done and to succeed at your job.
This can be serious and impact your career growth and opportunities. For example, you can be the perfect candidate on paper but once you are hired if you cannot work well with others or you cannot motivate your co-workers, you might find yourself without a job (worst case scenario) or without a chance for advancement (still not a good scenario).
Conversely, if you can work well with others and keep things “moving” at all times, you will find yourself well on the path to managerial positions and then, of course, you will have even more to learn about managing people directly.
Many people today, though, do not incorporate management skills into their daily job but even if you do not have any direct reports, you do need to learn how to manage/motivate your co-workers, your boss everyone in between.
When you have co-workers who need to get things done either located near you or across the country or globe - you need to have their input and/or their piece completed in order to do the next part of the project. Most work today is “project” based – even if you do not consider it a “project” let’s say you manage the data that is used to create a product – that is a project that repeats every time the product is updated but it is a project.
Ways to Motivate (and How Not to Motivate)
The best way to help you get things done is not the easy way. We have all seen people lead by intimidation and yelling – those people do get short term results but in the long-term you do not see people looking to work with them and eventually karma comes and people lose their jobs when the only tool they have is intimidation. Being someone who will “tell” on other employees is also not a good way to build and help your reputation. Again, in the short term, this will give you results but eventually you annoy everyone from management on down.
My #profadvice (based off of many years’ experience) is that you MUST be a do-er and build relationships. This is not easy. You must be the person who can be counted on to pitch in to help if a deadline is approaching and work is not being done fast enough. You must be the type of person who can offer guidance and/or advice on how to get things done instead of complaining to everyone that no one is doing their work but you.
More things you can do is to keep any and all meetings short and to the point. No one wants to be in meetings ever but sometimes they are necessary. Do not spend too much time going over things everyone already knows. Stay concise and work towards to creating decisions that can be implemented while understanding that sometimes decisions will change and that can impact everything.
I have real stories and experiences behind building relationships and being a do-er; look for that in my next blog post which will talk about managing your boss and the above and below levels, too.
What do you think of my advice? Consider reading my new book on Entrepreneur-ING to be the boss of your career which provides more lessons and action plans from me! Click here to buy my book on Entrepreneur-ING! Also, if you are interested in having prof lessons in person, book The Next Step for your speaking engagement.
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How to be professional goes hand in hand with how to be a great co-worker. I think this is a topic that is a great one to give my lessons about. As a professor, whenever I say we are doing group projects almost everyone groans. People need to realize this being in groups will follow them for their whole lives. So much of our career is spent dealing with other people. Every group project in college is an unmitigated disaster yet I still assign group projects in all of my classes. Why? Because I am a jerk? No, because that is real life. You will graduate and you will be assailed by the same stereotypical group members that you had for your worst ever group project in almost every way at work. Some people do get very lucky and never deal with that dynamic again but think about it – if you have never had a bad experience with a co-worker at work, maybe YOU are the bad co-worker? (I imagine someone sitting there and thinking -- Mind = blown.)
Everyone has a horror story or just wears badges of honor from dealing with political minefields at work. If you really sit and compare your work and your place in the office hierarchy on a daily basis, you will go insane. You cannot do that. You can, however, be the best most professional version of you that you can be. You can focus on your tasks and on motivating those around you to be the best they can be, too. This is not easy.
This is being a project manager – you become responsible for the greater picture and all of a sudden ,even though you hate talking to that person you are now responsible for that person doing their deliverable. This is being in a matrix organization, too, though – you do not even have to consider yourself a project manager (trust me you are one or you can be one if you let me unlock your potential here http://wagner.edu/lifelong-learning/career-management-seminar/) you can just be in any modern organization with more than 10 employees. Tasks overlap and what you need done has to be done for your to succeed. Do you know how to motivate someone to do that (blogger note to self: future blog post idea).
A way to be a go-to member on any team is to be a good co-worker. You can do this by:
What do you think about these steps to being a great co-worker? Do you think it is important to be considered a great co-worker? Why or why not? Happy Hunting!
Overview on Importance of Learning
There are many ways to learn; the most important thing is to be open to learning. I think for a lot of people, the idea of new-ness is scary. I get that; I really do. As a Project Manager for my whole career, I know how much change scares people to the point that the defense mechanisms kick in and it becomes an uphill battle from day one to implement something new.
Before I even knew I was a project manager, I observed the launch of a brand new computer system while in university – this was moving from typewriters to computers for the staff of the office and it was one of the most painful things I have ever seen. The staff was predominantly older women and the idea of using a computer literally paralyzed most of them with fear. The old way of doing things was so ingrained for most of them; they had been in their positions an average of 10-15 years per person. This was not just switching a switch or pressing a button this was a radical re-learning and learning curve for brand new processes and steps.
I learned a lot just by observing. I did not understand why the training documentation glossed over the bare minimum of computer technology training that would have helped make the new machines on their desk a little less scary. I got to be a part of the training as it impacted my work, too, and I remember stopping the training and going back one on one with people on general computer know-how overviews.
The launch happened and no one was injured or hurt but the memory remained of the fear which led to stress and issues across the board. I slowly started my career in Project Management and always got rave feedback from teams because I always took the time to tailor the lessons, the training(s), and the launch to the unique needs of my user base. So much of project management is about communication and helping people learn – all of which helps people stop rejecting the change.
Mini-Case Study Review
A big part of my dissertation (drafted a few chapters only) was to be about the impact of learning styles on project success. Or something like that. The question always becomes how can you quantify. You can use Meyers Briggs or some other learning ideal to gauge success / failure rates but I did not get that far.
For what I can tell you is that being a learner will only help your career. I think this goes hand in hand with my previous post about being entrepreneurial in your career because as entrepreneurs, you are always learning. More on that post here: http://www.thenextstep1234.com/blog/manage-your-career-like-its-your-own-business-applying-entrepreneurial-traits-to-your-career
Think about how you like to learn and how you learn best; for some of you this might mean thinking back to your school days. However, if you work at a large corporation, you have probably sat through training and/or had to teach yourself something along the way. My plan is to influence you to take on these types of learning methods more often because learning is the key to career growth.
I am using the terms self-directed learning and learning from others as two learning styles to encourage. Ideally, you can and should have a mix of both learning experiences in building and growing your career.
Self Directed Learning
What does this mean? For our purposes, I am calling self directed learning something you can do for yourself. This can be done via online tutorials, reading materials and / or other things that you do on your own. This is a great way to unlock your potential and learn; you can do this at anytime and without relying on someone else to be present and/or online to do it. Also, you can learn at your own pace – if you need to go back and review previous chapters or lessons, you can do so without worrying about “other-itis” or what the other people are doing.
You can do this one on one with a book. Now, some people cringe at the sight of a book; I have never met a book I did not like. I adore reading and cannot stand to listen to an audiobook – maybe you prefer audiobooks. This is great; make the time to identify a skill set you need for your career. Remember the idea of soft skills and hard skills (more on soft skills here http://www.thenextstep1234.com/blog/improving-your-communication-skills-quick-hacks-to-being-a-good-communicator.
You can do a lot of self-directed learning if you think of the plan and execute on it. A good way to do this is to make a list. Make a list about what skills you are considered excellent at – are you the go to person for numbers on your team? Are you the go-to person for HTML coding on your team? Are you the “research” person; like someone needs to know how X is done in Y country and you find it? Are you natural at languages? Whatever these things are that you are already sharpest at, see if you can continue to improve on them – make yourself “known” in this field – do your research and share it in a blog or other place (post coming soon on building a brand online).
With that list, also add in the things that you are not so good at. Do you struggle with public speaking? Do you cringe when you have to write a report? Is email correspondence something you were asked to improve on? Think back to your performance review (cringe, shudder and move on) – what were you asked to improve on? And think about reviewing my tips on how to handle the performance review here: http://www.thenextstep1234.com/blog/how-to-do-your-first-or-50th-performance-review.
Now consider how you can move forward on those items – what books are available, what can you find on the web via YouTube (do not forget my YouTube channel for learning, too) and what can you do on your own to sharpen and improve those skills.
Learning from others
We are by nature sociable people (most of the time) and for some of us learning with others it the only way we stay on task and motivated. Also, it is a whole learning experience to have others taking the steps with you. Of course, as an educator, I am a great person to learn from in person or via my web channels and I am moving towards creating more interactive content and experiences for my followers. There are seminars and training courses you can take that can fit any budget (http://www.thenextstep1234.com/seminars-offered-by-the-next-step-and-wagner-college-office-for-lifelong-learning.html) and there is online and in-person options that can fit your schedule.
Identifying Your Learning Style
For this, you need to know which way is the best way for you to learn. Do you need concrete deliverables the type often found while learning from others? Or are you better working independently?
I have a quick learning story when I was leaving the country, I was 21. I had never spoken Italian – I mean, I took Italian for four years in high school and all I could do was the vowels and a prayer. Now I was moving to Italy and really wanted to learn the language. I could have went there without the language as the classes were all in English but I wanted to get “more” – that is who I am, I am a learner.
So I got a textbook or two and began studying almost every day for a few hours. I also found a tutor who was a friend of the family and went to her house once a week to study more. I literally re-wrote about 2-3 textbooks in memorization. Since this was 1998, there were limited online options for anything in terms of uhm anything so when I got off the plane with my dad I was flabbergasted with the sounds I heard coming out of everyone’s mouths; I thought maybe instead of studying Italian for the past 2-4 months that maybe I studied German by mistake. I then committed myself to doing and learning as much as I could in Italian and by 2 months of immersion living there and doing everything outside of class and studying in Italian, I was dreaming in Italian.
When I think about what I could have done with that lesson plan today with the wealth of information and “course” materials everywhere; I could have been watching Italian movies on Netlfix (still do this), reading Italian news on line (done) and watching YouTube videos, Rosetta Stone and more. Oh, and my tutor would have been someone who was fluent and would only speak to me in Italian… This is just one idea of how to use a mix of self and with others learning to move forward.
How can you use learning to identify and improve your skill sets? What do you think about learning for your career? Consider joining me in person to learn for your career: http://wagner.edu/lifelong-learning/career-workshop/ and here on Project Management http://wagner.edu/lifelong-learning/career-management-seminar/.
You need to stay ahead of the curve with technology; especially as women. So much that will be changing over the next 4+ years is going to impact jobs that are mainly women- dominated. So how can you prepare for this?
As an educator and a career “guru”, I will tell you that you need to continually learn and get focused on how to be ready for the changes that are coming. The only way to do this is to identify what are your skill sets that cannot be done by technology and how to apply said skills into new roles and new industries. This is not as tricky as it sounds.
A lot of work is project based; even for those who have no idea that it is – for instance, a small company and / or an old fashioned company might not realize that what they are doing with each day is a project based mentality. Even as a teacher, what we do is project based planning lessons, monitoring schedules, assessing people’s performance. The ability to identify, nurture and highlight these skills in project management can be the best way to diversify yourself and your career for your next step.
Identifying the skills around communication, teaching and management can all help propel you onto version 2.0 of your career path. Particularly if you are in the fields identified as being hardest hit by new technologies taking over said roles – those of admin, customer service, banking etc. You are already skilled in details and personality if you hold any of those jobs. However, are you ready to transition if tomorrow (or four years from now) those jobs do not exist any longer?
You need to identify who your “teacher” can be, your “Sherpa” so to speak to help you grow and guide your career. Have you considered taking a seminar with me at Wagner College for only $99 to identify your current skill sets that can be tweaked and moved over into the high demand world of Project Management?
Click here for more information:
Yes, it sounds like a doomsday prophecy but I can see it becoming true – the advances of AI and technology is astounding. There is an app that can be your own personal “concierge” and /or high powered “admin” available already and more are coming. People barely use the phones anymore for calling people and making appointments; things are done virtually via website and/or other methods of communication are used instead of direct contact.
Check out this video I made about project management, below and let me know in the comments or via any of my social media channels what you think about it. Happy Hunting!
How to apply my lessons learned as an entrepreneur to manage your own career - a mini-lesson with homework below:
As an adjunct professor since 2003, I have a lot of experience with creating content, devising curriculum and executing on said content and curriculum in both in-person and online classroom settings. As a public speaker since uhm birth, I am able to bring content to life in any format and on any topic (my first courses I taught were macro and micro economics and trust me, no one fell asleep in my classes despite the "dryness" of the topics - supply and demand curves anyone? Anyone? Bueller, Bueller? You get the idea.) You can see more about my teaching style on my YouTube channel (please subscribe if you like what I am creating).
I have been entrepreneurial in nature since 2004; I took my skills and abilities into consideration when I recently relaunched my business. I have been helping people get to their next step for the past 15 years by doing one-off projects of editing resumes, writing cover letters and more for various people in my network. Also, I have been an educator for almost 13 years where I have always brought in real-world advice and lessons along with textbook topics in a dynamic and engaging way.
Now, I am focusing on helping my clients get to their next step with career help (resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn Profiles) and education help (application essay and resume package) as a professional business and not just as a one-off. Also, I am using my skills to create real-world training and seminars on managing careers for clients.
With the relaunch of my website The Next Step in July of 2015, content has been one of my strategic advantages. I have used my blog as a way to distinguish myself as a provider of career advice, education help and more. My content and my social media strategy has been a huge part of how I have built my reputation, my client base and even specific strategic partnerships, like the one I have with Wagner College Office for Lifelong Learning.
With this partnership came the ability to use my teaching expertise along with my Project Management background to create seminars to help people identify and take the next step in their career. This unique blend of corporate America experience as a Project Management Professional (PMP) since 2004 and as an educator since 2003 has helped me to create this seminar with amazing content and actionable next steps for those just starting out in their careers, those already working and interested in growth and even for those who have been out of the workforce for some time and need to re-train and re-tool their skills to return to the workforce.
On February 4, I will be launching this seminar to help people grow their career with Project Management. It is an exciting event for my company and for me as an entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, you need to know your strengths and what you are able to do - I know that for two hours on Tuesday February 4, those who attend will learn from me how to grow their career with real actionable next steps.
I am including two videos below. The first one talks about how important it is to continually learn and how learning can help your career. There is a lot of research out there that shows being a generalist is better than being a specialist in this economy. I talk in this first video about how learning can help you remain ahead of the competition and help you to be a generalist in your own career.
The second video talks more about my upcoming seminars at Wagner College Office for Lifelong Learning and explains why attending these types of events can help you maintain your competitive advantage.
Now for your "homework" (I cannot help myself; I am an educator, after all.):
I made this video using some new techniques with Camtasia but I do notice it is blurry. I need to work on my equipment and see what I did wrong. The content though of this video is all about how I became a teacher almost 13 years ago and what role mentors and being a good teacher play in making my decisions about my business and how I run it.
This video talks more about communication and using education to diversify yourself and to stand out from the competition. My seminars coming up at Wagner College for $99 or 3 for $229 are a great way to get your feet wet with continuing your education and growing your career.
There is so much based on my work, educator and entrepreneurial experience that I am bringing to my seminars at Wagner College. Find out more on my February seminar here: http://wagner.edu/lifelong-learning/career-management-seminar/
I hope to see you there next month! Happy Hunting!
I recently posted a photo to Instagram with a quote from an article talking about how the way to have a career and grow in it has changed. That you must be constantly learning to maintain your career. Not even just to grow your career, but to have one at all.
Based on this fodder, I built the below video talking about how education and learning can help you achieve a competitive edge. The only way to do this is to find your learning style and to find the right person / people to learn from. I hope I can be that person for you! Find out more here: http://www.thenextstep1234.com/seminars-offered-by-the-next-step-and-wagner-college-office-for-lifelong-learning.html
Watch the video below for my Prof view on how to learn to grow your career. Happy Hunting!
What does it mean to be in project management? Is this a career path for you? Over the years I have mentored both clients and students towards the field of project management. For my students mentees, they are majoring in something mainly to get the degree and these majors do not always yield work in said field. For example, I was Marketing major as an undergrad but did not work in Marketing. Having an interest in and a focus on project management in their resumes and "interview talk" has helped them find a role more quickly and more diversified than would have been found without the niche of project management. It has also allowed for them more growth and less focus on specialization - they can be more generalist in their career and apply these skills and talents learned on their first job to any industry, and company.
For my clients I help focus their skills and experiences to where they can get the most opportunities. For many of them, this has been by focusing on project management. Some people do not need this focus because they have a set career path but for others, particularly people transitioning back into the work force, these skill sets make it easier to jump back in to their next step. I created some blogs and vlogs about transitioning back into the work force after taking time off either to care for your children or due to unemployment and I have found that particularly for these clients that being able to list and show project management skill sets and experiences have helped them land their next step.
This option is not for everyone but it can be for most people. For the mom who took 5-7 years off because the cost of daycare was too much to cover on her salary and for the person who was unemployed for over 2 years due to the economy, being able to show that they had skills and talents they worked on and grew while out of conventional work force and having those skills and talents be project based is what made the difference for them to get their next step. Even for people who have been in their careers but itching for growth or to change industries or any other changes.
Project management skills include (simplistically speaking):
· Identifying what needs to be done
· Identifying the timeline and how it needs to be done
· Dealing with various vendors or parties to make it happen
· Understanding, documenting and communicating about the project
· Being a great communicator
· Being able to manage multiple people, deadlines and needs
· Great management skills
Even with just a few of these traits, I would want to hire you immediately. To show you have all of them is something so important to being in demand and wanted for your career. In less than a month, I will be giving my seminar on how to identify and become a project manager – focusing on skills identification, skill transformation and really it will be a master class on how to position yourself as a project manager in your career search. For only $99, this course can help set up your career to the best next step possible – one of a career focused on growth and excitement with the ability to move between industries and more. Will you join me? Click here to find out more: http://www.thenextstep1234.com/seminars-offered-by-the-next-step-and-wagner-college-office-for-lifelong-learning.html
Lisa Vento Nielsen