Twitter for Managers and Leaders

November 1, 2009

Early this month, I spoke about PMI-GLC’s Social Media Initiatives at PMI Leadership Institute Meeting @ Region 4 (at Orlando, Florida).  I found out that majority of project managers and leaders are aware of the social media in some way but not utilizing that much. LinkedIn for networking and Facebook were two tools that most of the PMs knew and had profiles active. I am using Twitter for some time now and finding it very useful and informative.  Here is my Twitter page or follow me @kulveervirk.

In this post I would like to give my readers quick info on Twitter and how it can be used by project/program managers and leaders effectively to advance the profession, help the stakeholders and grow their personal network while learning new stuff.  Next you develop strategy to use Twitter effectively.

Some Basics:
It is evident that more and more professionals are interacting through social media tools and technologies to share the ideas and spread the word.  Social media includes blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, Orkut, Twitter, and many more. There are millions of people using Twitter all across the globe.

Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can’t, and the other half who have nothing to say but keep on saying it.  – Robert Frost

Twitter is very innovative way of communicating with people you choose to communicate with.  It is inexpensive and effective way to distribute information on the Internet. Twitter allows you to communicate in 140 characters.  These 140 character messages you send or choose to read are called tweets.  In this message (aka tweet) you can include a link to any article, post, or blog.  Once you are on Twitter you will choose to follow some of the folks tweeting and you will also have some followers who are interested to read your tweets.  You can choose whom to follow or if you want to block someone from following you.  You can create lists (similar to groups).

First step after setting up your account  for a professional is to search for fellow professionals in similar profession and start following them.  There is minimal lingo involved that you can find it here to get started. Once you start following people and communicating, you are already on your way create, share and discover ideas on project management and leadership.

For Managers and Leaders:
 Twitter is excellent tool to connect to your stakeholders (provided your stakeholders are on Twitter and following you).  You can provide quick info or update about your project, product, service or initiative to your stakeholders.

For example, you have a product that tracks helpdesk tickets and you have new exciting feature that you have incorporated into the beta release, you can keep updating your followers about the progress and also provide the link to your blog when you provide some update.

If you have a flagship software or hardware product and you may have loyal following (as in case of Apple and Microsoft), you can provide info and also read what others are talking about your product and support/service.

One practical use of Twitter is by Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to spread the word on health and safety; now a days on H1N1

Other best use is when you are following other professionals in your field, you can find out industry trends, what are they working on, what new things have they discovered.  If can respond to the questions that are being asked or you may have some ask for advice.

You will find and follow many industry leaders and experts are constantly tweeting and you can learn a lot from them.  For example, I follow @kenblanchard, @jack_welch, @tom_peters, @tom_peters, @Padmasree and many more whom I admire.  You may find that your boss or your CEO/CIO is also tweeting, follow him and find out what he says and asks.  Twitter also gives you opportunity to ask direct questions or share ideas.

You can use Twitter to promote your brand.  People from different walk of life might be interested in what you are sharing via tweets and learn from your experience; its nice way to give back to community as well.

There are some drawbacks as well that come with any tool or technologies.  You must be very clear about your objective while tweeting.  Always stay professional and tweet only when you have something useful to share or ask.  A nice motivational or inspiring quote is always better than saying “I am baselining my project plan 7th time in a month.”

Whatever you say (or tweet), represents you and builds your image.  You are building your network and you will get some loyal followers on the way. If you are tweeting about your organization or corporate product, make sure you are authorized to say something. 

You can receive and communicate on Twitter using your smartphone.  If you have Twitter account, you can follow me using @kulveervirk and find out whom am I following.

Thank you for reading and hope that this info will help you in some way.  Let me know what other creative ways you are using Twitter as a professional or project manager.

Useful links:
Why Project Managers Should Twitter
Twitter 101 for Business
Shorten and track your URLs


The 7 Habits For Managers

July 11, 2008

Stephen R Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is classic and most of us have read and learned from it. 

 This week, I listened to his another audio book The 7 Habits for Managers: Managing Yourself, Leading Others, Unleashing Potential. Its based on ‘classic 7 habits’ and with focus on management. 

I would recommend to listen to this audio book to refresh 7 habits and learn how managers can apply these habits.  If this is new to you,  here are classic 7 habits and start with reading ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’

Habit 1 – Be proactive
Habit 2 – Begin with the end in mind
Habit 3 – Put first things first
Habit 4 – Think win-win
Habit 5 – Seek first to understand, then to be understood
Habit 6 – Synergize
Habit 7 – Sharpen the saw

These habits are to be used as pointers for our actions.  We got to make sure that our employees understand the value of these habits and learn from these. 

Thanks.


Quotes for Managers

June 24, 2008

Quotes are powerful words to stir thinking process, give new perspective on things, motivate to take action.  Here are some quotes on planning and strategy that I collected from book Strategic Management by Fred David.

  1. Like a product or service, the planning process itself must be managed and shaped, if it is to serve executives as a vehicle for strategic decision making. – Robert Lenz
  2. Strategies for taking the hill won’t necessarily hold it. – Amar Bhide
  3. Great spirits have always encountered vioulent opposition from mediocre minds. – Albert Einstein
  4. A firm that continues to employ a previously successful strategy eventually and inevitably falls victim to a competitor. – Bill Cohen
  5. Planning is often doomed before it ever starts, either because too much is expected of it or because not enough is put into it. – T. J. Cartwright
  6. Planners should not plan, but serve as facilitators, catalysts, inquirers, educators, and synthesizers to guide the planning process effectively. – A. Hax and N. Majluf
  7. Don’t recommend anything you woul not be prepared to do yourself if you were in the decision maker’s shoes. – A. J. Strickland III

The Dip – When to Quit and When to Stick

November 3, 2007

It was my first book from Seth Godin, and he talks about strategic quitting in this book.  Here is my own interpretation of

What is a dip – its a temporary situation when you feel like stuck, the results are not convincing and success seems impossible.  Dip can also be considered as  a situation similar to a dead-end assignment with no progress and feel like wasting time and energy.

Strategic quitting is good – when we know things won’t work out in our favor or input exceeds far beyond the value of output; quitting can be right choice. Its similar to cancelling the project or closing a business when things are not working out the way expected (no profit).

When to stick– is this goal worth pursuing or not?  Are you having fun doing this work, learning some new skills and also extracting some future benefits?  Can you treat it as sharpening your saw (skill) for the next move? Can you treat it as launch pad?  Yes, then sticking is good.

Is it possible to know if its right time to quit – personally, I do not think so.  One has to take chances.  The point is, if you quit- quit without guilt.  If you plan to stick and later find out that you are going nowhere; do not make it an issue of pride; if quitting is the right thing; just do it.  If you have some clue that you can get out of the dip and it will be great reward at the end – hang in there.

My Take – Strategic quitting is just like a well thought out Exit Plan.  Every opportunity has at least some risks involved and an exit plan is always needed.  Dip is a risk if we are not equipped and inspired to get out of it.  Risk planning tells us that we should have some contingency plan in place and build plans to avoid and react to the risk.  One size does not fit all in this case and Seth Godin does not claim to offer any formula; but gives a perspective, another option to consider.

What you think?  Did I get it right?  I am open for your suggestions.  You can find more info on Phil Windley’s Technometrial page on The Dip here.

 Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!


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