How the culture of the company defines employees’ attitude towards projects and extra work

When working with different clients I have had the opportunity to face many different organizations and very different cultures. Some of them are strict and highly regulated, often due to legislation and own perception of outside expectations. Some are relaxed and open, often due to belief that freedom choice equals more efficiency. Most of the cultures are somewhere in between.

In a culture that is strict and regulated ‘extra work’ is not a problem – as long as it comes from your boss. For a Project Manager this means that you need the outspoken support of Managers that have clearly stated the priority of the project in question and amount of time employees can spend on it. Without it your lost. They will not prioritize your project over the work supervised by their manager. As an (outside) Project Manager you don’t have the organisational credence needed to convince people to work on your project. Their managers do; so use them.

In an open and relaxed culture people are less concerned with what their manager thinks and more concerned about how they themselves feel about the project at hand. At the same time managers are less likely to micromanage their activities.  Here you can affect them directly by appealing to them in different ways, find out what they like and show them how that is a part of your project. No need to ask the manager to prioritize their work for you. This will however require constant feedback and managing; they will need to feel they are an important part of the project and that their work matters, as this motivates them. Listen to their input – they usually have valuable insight to the company and historical knowledge you can use when implementing something new. It is important to setup a goals and have them commit to them, otherwise you run the risk of being forgotten when something new comes along.

In most cases the culture is somewhere in between with big variations. Some cultures (and people) are more hierarchical than others. This can restrict the flow of the project and it can be difficult to get the right momentum. Other cultures are less structured and hence provide less support for the project and it can be equally challenging to achieve the right momentum.

For momentum is key.

When you have the right momentum you will all get a sense of achievement on a regular basis as things (sprints, milestones, tasks) get done as expected and planned. Sense of achievement again, helps to provide positive energy and flow and prevents fatigue and negativity.

So, you need to understand the company culture in order to manage the project successfully. People are different and so are companies too, you need to find the right tools for each company.If you wan’t to learn more about which tools work for which environment, give me a call

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