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Don't Let Negativity Spoil Your Project

January 27, 2015


Attitude is a critical component in the success or failure of a project. Imagine you’re a project manager and have been given a sizable budget for a large project. Your goal is to develop a project management plan including defining the scope, managing budget, setting a timeline, allocating resources, and assessing risk, to name a few. You’ve consulted with your team about the possible risks to the project, but have you considered the hidden risk of negative attitude and the cost associated with it?


According to Gyam Sharma, Project Manager for Sutter Health, negative attitudes can cause a range of outcomes from minimally disruptive to completely destroying the project. Sharma works on small, midsize, and large projects. A major part of managing a project is his ability to coordinate and rely on resources from cross-functional teams. While his responsibility is managing the project, often, each staff person reports directly to another manager. A project manager is similar to a consultant. Consultants are responsible for people participating without direct power of authority. Both roles take a certain finesse and excellent people skills for success.


Suppose you have built your plan and have all your resources working together. What happens when you have one person who is not on board? What happens when that person influences another, and another? Before you know it, this negativity has spread throughout the team and can be a detriment to productivity. Sharma explains negativity usually starts with one person’s doubt in the ability to execute a certain way. He or she has always completed an activity a certain way and is averse to trying a new method. However, a new way of performing may be what it takes to complete the project right. Sharma has been successful in working with people to understand their underlying issues and behaviors and find ways to motivate folks who aren’t on board by focusing on each individual's strength and skills to work together to achieve/deliver the project objectives. He has good intuition to identify when people are not on track.


It could take days or weeks to uncover negativity toward a project or part of a project, setting the project behind schedule. Projects on a tight timeline do not have room to derail. You can plan for this hidden risk in your project plan and scheduling time to deal with it. You can also be proactive by scheduling a team building workshop at the beginning of the project to focus on Yes! Attitude. Jeffrey Gitomer’s Yes! Attitude workshop walks people through outside and inside negative influences and how to overcome them with positive attitude attributes and personal responsibility. Everyone who attends the workshop leaves with a personal attitude plan.

While it is difficult to measure the cost of a negative or positive attitude, one can measure the cost of a project getting off schedule or derailing completely. This is a cost everyone wants to avoid. Do you need help with your project? Ask me about Jeffrey Gitomer’s Yes! Attitude workshops. Gitomer can help keep your team on the right track having a positive effect on your productivity!


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