They Won’t Like You

The purpose of delivering projects is not to get people to like you.

The goal is to deliver projects that are a positive change. The change must be a better way to provide the business’ purpose. If you provide a plan that improves the way that the company delivers its product or service, not everyone will like you, but the people who have bought into the organization’s vision will be thrilled about the change. The people who understand the big picture will appreciate the difference even if it means a change in the way that they can do things.

As a project manager, one of the first stakeholders to consider is the business entity itself. The best way for you to understand the current mission and destination of the business and how the project fits is to listen carefully to the project sponsor. The project sponsor should understand how the resources allocated to a specific change (your project) will help the business achieve the mission. With this understanding, you can connect with other stakeholders and ensure that everyone has the same knowledge.

You should work to make sure that everyone likes you. As a project manager, don’t think that the responsibility of delivering change means that you understand the company’s objectives better than other people. In fact, it is your responsibility to assimilate all of your stakeholder’s feedback into the way that the project is delivered. Assume that your stakeholders also have the best interests of the business at their heart. As you gather perspectives from everyone, you will be introduced to methods of meeting the corporate objectives that you weren’t aware of before. Listen to everyone so that you can create the best possible plan forward.

When you deliver a change, it is likely that someone won’t like you. On the one hand, be comfortable with the fact that they won’t like you. On the other side, you must always fight to ensure that you can deliver a project result that everyone loves. Your project result must further the business, and further, the people have an interest in the success of the enterprise.