40 seconds, three words, GO!

Aug 12th, 2009 | By | Category: Items for Project Managers, News

40secondsWhether you are applying for a new position, a promotion, or just ran into a senior executive on the elevator, can you describe what you do in just three words? While this may seem to be totally unfair because, as you quickly point out, what you do encompasses so much more. After all, you manage projects, track financials, assess risks, and a myriad of other things.

To paraphrase a Hamlet, “Ah, there’s the rub.” You’re describing the functions of project management. Anyone who knows anything about project management (including that executive on the elevator) should know “what” a project manager does. Is the best answer really, “I run projects”? Rethink the question and describe instead what you produce. What is unique about you and what you produce? Maybe what is critical to your organization is more like, “I minimize risk.”

Reflect a little and think about it. I’d love to hear your reaction.

Thanks to Colin Beveridge, “Fighting the Trillion Dollar Bonfire” for the inspiration.

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  1. I deliver processes and solutions

  2. 3 words – I save lives.

    The answer is simple and says it all. I am Project Manager and Principal R&D Engineer for a Medical Device Company. It’s been my answer since I started designing / doing product development and project management 23 years ago. I know that the many products I have designed and released to market have done just that – saved lives.

  3. Don,
    You’ve driven to the heart of what the article was about. Congratulations! Whatever company you are with is lucky to have you.

  4. As a SQE (Sourcing or Supplier Quality Engineer) I …….ready for 3 word response?

    Reduce Supplier Discrepancies.

    Real world issue with real world impact on any company receiving components for assembly or resale.

  5. Drive Projects Home

  6. Make Customers Happy

  7. I increase profits.

  8. Get people thinking!

  9. Complete Projects Successfully.

  10. What’s amazing is how many different yet good ways we can approach the same idea.

  11. Descriptive:
    lead Lean initiatives

    Waxing Philosophical:
    Improve customer satisfaction
    Drive continuous improvement

  12. I improve lives.

    I am a site director for a major chemical company. In leading the site through significant changes, we are creating a sustainable plant and work place for employees. As such, they have the opportunity of furthering their standard of living for them and their families by improving the plant performance which leads to further improvement in years to come for them and the employees that will come after them.

  13. I was offline for the weekend so apologize if anyone was looking for a response to their particular posting. There have been quite a few great comments.

    I think that everyone recognized that the purpose of the blog/article/blurb was to get each individual to focus on what are the important elements of their individual position. I know I’m stating the obvious but there is no “right” answer. However, by giving the exercise some real thought you are probably way ahead of those that just go through the motions.

    As an example, one of the most striking comments I had posted on a LinkedIn group was from a Project Manager and Principal R&D Engineer for a Medical Device Company. His three words? “I save lives.”

    So here’s another thought as you post your own three words. As you look at your three words, what are you also doing that puts your personal “stamp” on your work. Whether you are part of a group or not, what do you do that makes everyone you deal with realize that you truly care about what you are doing?

  14. Make Change Inclusive

  15. Develop profitable valuestreams

  16. I find it very encouraging that we continue to have great, thoughtful comments about what we do. I wonder how this translates to each person learning how to personalize their contributions to their job/position. By this I mean, what do we bring to our position that sets us apart?

  17. I provide solutions !!!!!!!!!

  18. Improve Bottom Line

  19. I manage risk

  20. I make things happen!

  21. Map stream brains.

  22. Achieve Competitive Excellence

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