What happens if you come across a persistent perception that stands in your way?
You get tested…so does your own perception.
It’s ok to question your optimism, in fact it’s always a good idea. But once you’ve decided a project or effort is going to fail, you have failed. That is a perception that will be self-fulfilling. Like I said in my previous blog, perception of reality, whether factual or not, influences reality. Project Managers have to monitor perception internally as well as externally to make sure the project isn’t impacted by a negative perception or an expectation of failure.
The team has to be convinced that the project is not only going to be successful but is worth their time and effort. Ignoring perception will quickly lead to mediocre efforts and that’s the beginning of a downward spiral. How do you prevent a negative persistent perception from impacting your project?
- Take control of perception. This involves open communication. If you aren’t willing to communicate with your team then they’ll make assumptions or gather their information from other sources that could negatively impact their perception.
- Set short-term goals so the team can see progress. Even a small success story can impact a pessimistic attitude.
- Don’t hide problems – be willing to face them openly. If you’re “perceived” to be hiding a problem that will be viewed as a sign that the project may be in trouble or that you as the project manager have run into a problem that can’t be overcome. Problems are opportunities for innovation…as I said in my last blog.
Perception isn’t everything but it will impact success or failure and it’s easy to handle if you take the necessary steps.