Surround yourself with people as you learn. 

If you’re not sure about how to approach something, what do you do?  Ask google, speak to your friends, family, colleagues? 

As a newly minted project manager back in 2005, fresh from the PRINCE2 handwritten Practitioner exam, there was no one to turn to; no one to ask for advice, bounce ideas off and generally discuss the ups and down of project life.  What I would have given for a person or community to ask the “stupid” questions of and to share knowledge and experiences with. 

What if there was a group of people available to talk to, who you could ask for advice, who have been exactly where you are now (or somewhere close) and might just have a pearl of wisdom or two to share with you? 

Guess what – there may not have been back in 2005, but there is now!  There are hundreds of people who have been at the same stage you are in project, programme, portfolio or career and more often than not, they are more than willing to share their experiences and help you take that first step. 

Surrounding yourself with likeminded people in any situation is a positive, but when it comes to our professional lives, why are we so afraid to ask for help.  We sign up for courses, spend time immersed in the subject, coming up with exciting new ideas.  Then we go back to work and things are not as they were in the utopia of the classroom.  Our ideas are not met with the same enthusiasm, techniques we were told could help, but don’t.  So what now… 

Well, there are a few options. 

Mentoring

First up, there is mentoring.  We often hear the phrase mentioned, but what does it actually mean?   

The word mentor comes from the Greek Mentor who was the name of the advisor to a young Telemachus in Homer’s Odyssey.  A mentor is someone who advises and trains someone, often a younger or less experienced colleague.  Here at Wellingtone, we offer mentorship as part of our Project and Programme Management solutions to help slightly less experienced participants to really embed what they have learned in the classroom, within the context and constraints of their own organisations.  We understand the importance of having someone with real world experience of managing project and working in PMOs who is able to point you in the right direction and be a critical friend when needed; which is why our APM Accredited PMO Leader course has mentoring included as part of the course. 

The Association for Project Management and Project Management Institute also offer their own mentoring programme allowing members to for professional relationships within their member community within a secure online space. 

Networking

Next, we have networking.  It sounds scary and with the recent wave of network marketing, has had a bit of a bad press, but essentially, networking is the action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts.  Basically, talking to people, being interested in what they have to say and sharing your knowledge and experience.  There is a myriad of online and physical networking events available, so where to start. 

If you go to an event like the Wellingtone FuturePMO conference (which is a perfect place to network as there are NO salespeople) be prepared.  Think about how you want to present yourself, how you want to express your skills and what you bring to the event.  What do you want to achieve as a result of being there?  That said, make sure you listen as well as speak.  All too often we are thinking what we are going to say next instead of really listening.  Keep a record of who you have spoken to and follow up! Always leave room for further conversation. If you know of someone who may be interested in what the other person does, offer to make referrals.   

By strengthening those business connections, you’ll find fresh ideas, access to new information, gain a different perspective and even advance your career! 

Online communities

There are also online communities.  In the digital age, we have never been more disconnected in some ways.  However, platforms such as LinkedIn offer the ability to create communities of likeminded individuals to ask questions and share information, ideas, and knowledge. 

Wellingtone’s communities of practice are the perfect place to find your people and connect with peers across the globe in a safe space.  Everyone who has attended a course through our Wellingtone Academy, worked with us to implement tooling or frameworks, or attended our FuturePMO conference are invited to join our community and continue the conversation with peers who are on the same journey – just a different flavour. 

In summary 

It is more important now than ever to connect with peers and learn from each other. A safe space is defined by Wellingtone as a non-sales environment, where peers can connect with Wellingtone and each other to improve their PPM capability – no matter their role, their experience, or their industry. 

Join the Wellingtone Community group to keep the conversation going and join us for an exciting 2023 of learning and sharing opportunities.

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Monthly Newsletter

By: Helen Digger

Helen Digger

Published: 16 February 2023

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