Wouldn’t it be great if you could spend 45 minutes talking to four of the best Project Managers in the UK every year?

What is their secret to success? How do they handle stakeholders, risks, issues, planning and everything else? Can we bottle their achievements? As one of the APM Awards judges I get to do just this…well, ask some questions, not set up a bottling plant.

After the initial round, the four finalists are invited to present face to face enabling the Judges much greater insight into their achievements.

All the finalists in 2015 gave the same answer when asked their secret to success. They weren’t prompted. They were not in the room at the same time, but they all gave the same answer.

Stephen Prowse, the 2015 Project Professional of the Year, and a very worthy winner was very assured with his answer…it was about being part of a team. Project management is a team game. As they say, there is no “I” in team, although cynically there is an “m” and an “e” which we may choose to ignore.

These finalists were very keen to recognise they are a cog in the wheel, in place to enable others to work as effectively as possible.

So the 2016 judging has recently taken place.

My lips are sealed.

But what did the finalists cite as a key driver to their project successes? Surprisingly again this year they all gave similar answers and from a group of very very tech savvy experts the answer may not be what you expect.

They all cited the need for face to face contact.

Get out from behind your desk.

Stop emailing and go and talk to stakeholders directly. There is a practical consideration here and of course they all make use of tools such as Skype for Business but they all emphasised the importance of meeting face to face to building relationships.

So, have a think. Who is your most difficult team member, customer, supplier? Get out from behind your laptop and go and have a chat with them. Go on. I dare you.