CELEBRATING WOMEN IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT 2020 SERIES
Location: Brisbane, Australia
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Michelle is the current Queensland winner for the ICT/Telecommunications Category for the Project Management Achievement Awards (PMAA) 2019. This award recognised the lifesaving transformation work she led for Queensland 24/7 domestic violence crisis service improving the call response times by 20%.
Delivering rapid results for organisations so that people thrive is what Michelle is most passionate about. Michelle is a charismatic and engaging leader who believes in uniting diverse stakeholders so that shared goals are achieved, and results are lasting.
Her list of credentials is impressive, but it is her extensive experience of over 25 years working with government, non-for-profit and private organisations leading business and digital transformation programs that makes her unique.
What is your project management super power?
Now that is a tough one. I wouldn’t call it a super power but what works for me is my combination of strategic leadership, organisational change management and delivery management using an agile and collaborative approach. Putting people first is at the core of each of these. The better we work together with people the more likely the project will deliver lasting results.
How can gender diversity be improved in the project management profession?
I believe gender diversity can be improved through a culture that is genuine and psychologically safe. We as leaders need to create this culture. We must do this through our actions, our words, our presence and our values. Holding each other to account if any of these deviates from what is needed to demonstrate our commitment to gender diversity.
As the profession evolves, what skills do you think will be key for future success?
Leadership skills based on the core principles of kindness would be my top pick. Leading with kindness transcends positively across every element of our profession. More focus on skills associated with the people and culture aspect of any project, regardless if your project team has a dedicated OCM as a project manager having those core skills will be more and more critical. Developing skills in agile principles and the art of tailoring and integrating these to best meet the needs of every project.
How do you recover from difficult situations?
My approach is to reflect and find the learnings from these difficult situations. Difficult situations help us grow, it might not feel like it at the time but, if you take the time to reflect by yourself or with others you will be surprised by the learnings. I am a very resilient person with a growth mindset which I believe enables me to not only recover but thrive from it. It’s important to remember to be kind to yourself, take time out to restore your energy for your next challenge.
What are your tips and techniques for conflict resolution?
What works best for me is to find the highest common ground that no one can disagree with then keep bringing the conversation back to that. Be respectful always, really listen to understand the situation from their point of view. Ultimately there is a problem that needs to be addressed and we all know there are different ways of addressing a problem. So, it comes down to the circumstances surrounding the problem, who is involved in the conflict and who will be accountable for the resolution.
Which 3 words best describe why you enjoy being a project manager?
People – Diversity – Change
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