High Performing Business – Service – Tools and Talent
Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT
Being of service, helping others, creating value – these are innate human drives. For many, focusing on being in genuine service brings meaning and depth to life. I was discussing these deep philsophical ideas with the dirt working dude for our year round food production project in Alaska. (He has been working in the heavy equipment trades running logging camps for 30 years and is clearing land for our project). Our long awaited rental wood chipper finally arrived on the ferry from Juneau. He got right to it, and made fast work of chipping the large brush pile created from clearing the land. He was far more efficient at using that machine than I was. He had both the right tools and the right talent to be of the most service. We both agree each of us has our unique talents and when we are able to support each other with the right tools, we can best serve the greater good.
As a project manager, to ensure people are able to deliver the best service possible, I match the talent required with the best tools available and the appropriate training for using those tools. Talented professionals deliver consistent performance over time – it’s more than just having good intentions or the willingness to do the job, as I discovered with my desire to be helpful with the wood chipping project. The professional with 30 years experience clearing land was way more qualified and got the wood chipping job done in 1/10th the time it would have taken me, no matter what my best intentions were.
I saw a prime example of the impact of making a hire based on intentions rather than qualifications with an elderly relative. He had a recently unemployed son’s girlfriend take on the caregiver role with the best of intentions. She took a quick online training program to be able to get paid – but lacked the talent or tools to be of the best service. Family members calling the shots on who did the caregiving were not aware of the requirements. Not having experience in eldercare; they thought professional care meant their family member would be over medicated and left drooling in a corner in an under staffed nursing home. I understand this is a common misperception regarding professional eldercare. Everyone suffers in this situation as the well meaning but unqualified amateur driven by their best intentions, over time gets increasingly stressed and burnt out not having the proper systems, skills or training to handle the basic day to day requirements and even worse effectively navigate the challenges that arise (this is actually an issue with unqualified people in every field). The person being cared for suffers most though from these well intentioned yet misguided efforts of an unqualified amateur who often creates more problems then they resolve – especially for someone at the most vulnerable time of their life. And instead of saving the family money, this ends up costing far more than if a more professional approach was adopted from the get go. (plus it increases the chances of having to make a hasty decision for professional care when the elder in an unsafe situation gets injured – increasing the chances of the very situation they are thinking they will avoid – escalating the care level required). Yes sometimes, you have no choice but to have an amateur at the helm, but this is not one of those cases as the family can well afford the best care money can buy. They just happen to believe the amateur is actually better than the professional.
Yet how often we make this same costly mistake because we lack the insight required to hire the right person? Knowing how to hire the right professionals and providing the type of support they need is crucial to running any successful business – even if that business just happens to be day to day living as is the case in getting older.
We all know that sweet spot when talent and tools meet to deliver exceptional service. Professionals practicing their craft know it in themselves and it’s also easily recognized by others. Granted there is a spot for apprenticeship and helping people learn the ropes. And many people find much joy in their DIY efforts. But when we support (and benefit) from the level of service that the pro’s in their field can deliver – we in fact significantly improve the quality of the journey for everyone.
In the Cheetah Certified Project Manager program, students hone in on where they and others can best be of service based on leveraging innate talents. Cheetah Certified Project Managers stand out by creating the situations where delivering exceptional service is their norm.