Not everyone can be a star, and there are many people who do just fine not being a star. They don’t crave the limelight, they don’t particularly want the attention, they just do a good, solid job and are happy that you thank them for doing just that.
These kind of people are essentially your grunts, the engine-house of your team. These are the guys that deliver stuff for you, day-in, day-out. You need them on your team.
If you have a team full of experts and stars; let’s call them Prima-Donnas, you will spend all your time massaging their egos, making up for their shortcomings, apologising to people they’ve annoyed or upset and stopping fights between them. They’ll take up a lot of your valuable time.
While you absolutely do need both in your team, you need to watch out. If you want your team to deliver, and not just postulate and come up with whizzy ideas, you would be well placed to make sure you have a high Grunt to Prima-Donna ratio.
Do not underestimate the power of the informal communications network in your organisation.
This is the place you will get to find out everything; from project slippages, new opportunities, all the way to re-assignment of resources, before they are formally announced. In fact, you’ll find out stuff there that won’t ever be announced. Keeping ahead of the game is essential if you are to get the good projects and enhance your reputation as the big cheese of Project Management.
Keep your grapevine contacts active, contribute to the information flow, and take what you can from the grapevine. One thing you need to be mindful of is differentiating the gossip and conjecture from the actual information – after all you don’t want to go off half-cocked, do you?
The grapevine is also an excellent mechanism to publish information to the wider community about your project too. Perhaps you need to get the word out that you are looking for resources. Word gets round surprisingly fast.
“You know, we always called each other goodfellas. Like you’d say to somebody: You’re gonna like this guy, he’s allright, he’s a goodfella, he’s one of us. You understand? We were Goodfellas, wiseguys.”
Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) in “Goodfellas”directed by Martin Scorsese
It’s simple; either you are a good-guy, or you’re not.
Good-guys, or in this day-and-age, good-gals, are quick on the uptake, they can read a situation, think on their feet, undertake a variety of roles. They are valuable people to have, as you can rely on them to turn a seemingly impossible situation around.
If you are a good-guy, you’ll know you are. You’ll quickly recognise other good-guys and naturally gravitate towards them. The capability of a group of good-guys is by far greater than the sum of their individual skills.
If you’re not a good-guy you may still believe you are, but you’re kidding yourself on. And deep down, you know you’re kidding yourself on. The real good-guys will quickly suss you as a faker.
In any case, make sure you have one or more good-guys in your delivery team. Guys you can rely on to take the heat and not buckle.
If you don’t, you may still succeed, but it’ll be a hell of a lot harder for you as you have to deal with everything.