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Challenging project leaders to lead confidently in uncertain times


This is a guest post by Nadine Rochester, technical marketing director at Strategy Execution.

Strategy Execution’s Top 10 Trends for 2019

challenging project leaders

At the beginning of every New Year, Strategy Execution aims to release its Top 10 Trends list to help guide you and your teams through the constantly changing business landscape. We understand the exceptionally fast growth and complexity businesses witness these days, whether that be expansion across geographical boundaries, or organizational ones. This type of rapid change and growth requires project leaders to foresee the problems before they have happened and make decisions faster than ever before. This means an adaptive mindset and skillset are critical in order to continue to lead, see growth and enjoy success.

This year’s trends, developed by our team of learning, product, and project leadership experts, each highlight a reason why adaptive skill sets are increasingly in demand, and why project leaders at all levels of organizations across different industries should work to develop these holistic capabilities.

1. Disrupt and Adapt

At this point, we all know that it’s only a matter of time for every industry to experience some level of disruption in our advancing, technological world. What makes the difference in whether a business survives and thrives during this disruption is its ability to adapt, starting with the business leaders.

Adaption is key and underpins every other aspect of the Trends list for 2019, as you will see.

2. A.I. and Big Data: It’s How You Use Them That Matters

As your competitors worry about being overtaken by Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, it will actually come down to how Big Data is interpreted, the insight it provides and the actions you are able to derive from it that will make the difference. It’s happening, it’s down to whether you adapt and use these new tools to your benefit.

3. Shifting Sands

We are living in a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) business environment. Things are changing faster than most companies can adapt. Developing an adaptive skillset across the business is a crucial step toward building talent that can effectively operate amidst these global challenges. Managing projects training can be the first step in ensuring your project managers have the skills they need within this changing landscape.

4. With a Changing Landscape, Success Comes Down to Managing Mindsets

The use of vendors and outsourcing is on the rise, across the entire business landscape. This means Project Managers must have adaptive skills to deal with the sourcing lifecycle, relational skills with vendors, and the ability to align cultures across diverse stakeholders in order to drive successful partnerships.

5. Sharing is Caring, and More Efficient

We are no longer in the age of emailing documents back and forth, we live in the era of shared platforms in order to get jobs done faster and more efficiently. Think Dropbox when you are working on a document with other team members. The key to its success is ensuring teams are adaptable enough to learn these new technologies and are able to juggle priorities and milestones on cross-functional projects.

6. Agile Rises from the Tech Store to the Top Floor

As C-suite execs try to collaborate whilst functionally leading, an increasing challenge is how they can organize management beyond their own expertise.

One way for them to do this is by embracing an Agile mindset. Executives understand that the need to turn on a dime and react quickly may be more important than staying rigid in order to turn out a finished, perfect version of a product which is why we welcome more and more high level executives onto our agile project management courses each year.

7. Managing Changes in Change Management

Getting more employees involved in adapting a Change Management and Agile mindset, rather than confining change management to a small number of people, or just a department, is the way forward in trying to encourage and accelerate the achievement of enterprise-wide change management. Making it a company-wide initiative, rather than a single point within the business is the key to moving with the changing landscape and success.

8. Keep Updating What You Learn, and How You Learn

Employees are having to deal with learning more whilst still doing their day-to-day jobs. As a result, organizations will increasingly rely on platforms or vendors to curate the learning experience for their employees. Curated learning will be an asset rather than an added stress, and project-based leaders will see an increase of blended and flexible learning on demand.

9. The New PM’s on the Block

PM related roles are expected to grow by 20% within the next decade due to the rapid growth within developing nations. It will be first and foremost a priority to build a solid foundation of project management skills in these nations in order to then introduce more adaptive and agile approaches.

10. Faster, Better, Cheaper, Easier

The supply chain of yesterday is no longer what it needs to be for tomorrow. Customers expect new products to arrive faster, perform better, be cheaper and easily returnable. These demands put pressure on the existing supply chain model. You include the added complexity of the overall business strategy intersecting with the supply chain and it’s clear that a need exists to combine traditional project management approaches with adaptive leadership.

In the coming years, everyone involved in project-based work will feel the impacts of a changing global environment, new technology, and growing project complexity.

It’s impossible to have all the answers or to be able to predict what the future holds. The best we can do is to prepare ourselves to react quickly and change course if necessary. By developing an adaptive mindset and skill set, we can empower ourselves to make better, faster decisions and to approach both every day and never-before-seen problems with a new perspective.

Author Bio:

Nadine is a technical marketing director at Strategy Execution, online project management training providers with over 20 years’ experience in the global B2B sector, hands on, creative marketer, Nadine demonstrates a passion for cutting-edge technology and a proven ability to effectively translate client priorities. Nadine is passionate about Project Management, managing and contributing to the company PM blog servicing 40,000 monthly users.

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this article, although I have worked with Strategy Execution in the year previous to when this was first published.

About Elizabeth Harrin

Elizabeth HarrinElizabeth Harrin FAPM is a professional project manager and award-winning blogger behind A Girl's Guide To Project Management. She's passionate about demystifying project management and making tools and techniques work in the real world. She's also the author of several books including the PMI bestseller, Collaboration Tools for Project Managers.
Elizabeth lives in the UK with her family. She uses her organisation and project management skills at home, and also to help other bloggers at Totally Organised Blogging.


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