Project – Finding a topic

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One of the things we have to do for the strategic leadership course is an ongoing project. I think this is great, I love projects as a way of tying things together for long term practice and experiential learning. But what to do? Projects are my bread and butter – Project Manager is right there in my job title. If I’m going to learn and develop my leadership through this it can’t be one of my normal projects.

Funneling the mess mass

It needs to:

  • develop my leadership – something that is for my unit or the schools I am working with.
  • be a natural part of my position
  • use my strengths
  • contribute to sustainability, through well being and distribution of leadership.

I was originally thinking of doing something on how we work with outside stakeholders and contractors, as that was an area I was new in at the time.

I knew I wanted to do something on how we work as a unit – I love creating processes and structures. I see it as giving people the freedom to be creative, if they don’t have to go back to the beginning all the time and waste energy thinking of what to do. All they have to do is follow the process and they can go wild with how to do it. It plays to all my critical thinking, learning and analytical strengths.

Thinking time

I find it really necessary to mull over things in the background, it allows me to tie everything together and find the connections, in this case between my work and what the course is trying to achieve. It also allows time for serendipity to turn up, which it did on schedule.

My work unit has had some staffing changes and my Director took the opportunity to do some group strategic development, reviewing our ways of working.

The topic

This  has made my topic bigger, but at the same time given it more coherence – rather than looking at one part of our work in isolation, it is firmly centred in our priorities.

As part of our re-organisation and ongoing improvement as a unit we are capturing our ways of working and developing some internal policies. We are trying to build our corporate knowledge and capacity, rather than being dependent on individuals.

My project is to capture some of our procedures and tie together project management theory, the experience of people in our unit, and the needs and culture of our workplace. Then review and refine these procedures as we use them, so we end up with a responsive system that gives us the structure to be free.

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