You may believe that Valentine’s Day is about flowers, chocolates, expensive watches and other material goods, but you’re wrong: it’s about Project Management. When we think about it - whether you’re happily single, coupled or hoping to find that special someone – treating every one of your Valentine’s Day pursuits like a project might just be the key to your success. Let’s explore how.
If you and your partner choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day, there can often be a lot of media and peer pressure that stress you into thinking you need to conform to a specific romantic ideal. Similarly, you’ll often come across clients who are so rigid in their expectations for a project that the subsequent stress and inflexibility can result in an unhappy project, and an even unhappier project manager. You’ll often be very familiar with your target market and find yourself straying from what you know is effective in order to meet client demands.
Unfortunately, “the customer is king”, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to follow their instructions to the letter. Great customer service takes many forms, and your primary objective is to deliver as successful a project as you can. If your partner, for example, demands a ridiculously expensive Valentine’s gift (or, on the other end of the spectrum, completely refuses to celebrate it with you!) you should make attempts to bring them round while respecting their opinion. Keep their tastes in mind, and compromise their demands with your suggestions. Taking this soft approach and staying focused on exceptional results can often win your clients round, while helping you to further understand their approach.
It can be frustrating when you have lots of fantastic hopes and ideas, but never seem to be able to get others on board with them. This goes for dating and project management! You can often go on date after date, or to meeting after meeting, repeating your intentions until you’re blue in the face, but still seem to get nowhere. Some people may even appear interested to begin with, but that interest soon fizzles away as they turn their attentions to their own pursuits.
What can you do about this? Non-pushy persistence is key. Project managers must be patient, controlled and capable of spotting the key moments where they can maximise their ideas and opportunities. Secondly, share your ideas as broadly and clearly as you can – chances are you’ll find at least one person on the same wavelength as you who will help you achieve your goals. Once you’ve managed to pique someone’s interest, be sure to follow up with them in a positive, collaborative way. Ask them questions about their ideas and intentions, and if they lose interest and back out from your project, be courteous and understanding. There will always be other interested parties, and a polite farewell can even encourage people to return to your project if they feel ready to.
People’s expectations of Valentine’s Day can also put a lot of pressure on single people, even when they don’t want to be part of it! Sometimes you’ll have your own ideas and projects you want to focus on, and you may only be ready to share these should the right partner or client come along. This is perfectly ok! By looking after yourself and ideas, you can often make them better both for yourself and potential collaborators. If people why you aren’t willing to enter into a project you’re not interested in, you’re well within your rights to tell them to back off.
However, it can be useful to help out with others’ projects sometimes, and support them in spirit. For example, if your friend’s partner comes to you for advice about Valentine’s gifts, or a client asks for your help with a project, being uncooperative and impatient may come back to bite you at a later date. Also, if you’re not involved in a project, but are aware of it going on, we don’t recommend going on social media to complain loudly about them rubbing the project in your face, or having a massive rant about how the entire concept behind the project is for idiots (no-one likes Valentine’s Day moaners). Instead, stay focused on you and your work, help if you can and politely decline if you can’t – it’s what you set out to do to begin with.
So, if you’re single, coupled or looking to find that special someone soon, we seriously recommend reading up on your project management methodology. Empathy, organisation and persistence are all fantastic traits to cultivate as a project manager. For more information about our project management training, click here.