Teflon part 1

Posted on: March 31st, 2013 by csaunders No Comments

Ever wondered how some people in your project team never seem to let any tasks ‘stick’ to them?

Frustrated by an inability to get certain team members doing the ‘action(s)’ that clearly belong to them?


Quote: “Teflon is a nickname given to persons, particularly in politics, to whom criticism does not seem to stick. The term comes from Teflon, the brand name by DuPont of a ‘non-stick’ chemical used on cookware.”

(Photo of some cooking pans, taken by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Wapcaplet)

How to get key project members to take ownership can be a real headache in any project.

But when there seems to be no real reason why your ‘Teflon’ pal won’t let any tasks stick to him or her, the frustration levels can rise – and before you know it you can ‘blow your top’!

Before you do anything, ask. Don’t assume. You know what they say about ‘ass-u-me’. “It makes an ass out of you and me”. Take time to find out why your task has ‘stalled’.

You might be surprised at what you hear. Listen very carefully – not just at what is being said, but also what isn’t being said as well.

Perhaps you asked the right thing of the wrong person? Have you asked ‘who’ they think should do the task?

But if you are convinced you have the right person and still aren’t getting any traction with your ‘reasonable request’, follow a few simple steps to ‘get traction’ and get moving again.

First of all take a step back and consider your goal, a lot of wasted energy can be avoided simply by considering the outcome you need and the easiest way to get it.

Don’t let it become a matter of ego.

Many a PM can be let down by their in-built need to have the team recognise his or her inner Cartman (from Southpark) “Respect my authoritah!”.

The need for respect, which particularly male project managers value very highly, will quickly cause an escalation if you loose sight of the end goal – which is to achieve an outcome necessary in the journey to complete your project, not to prove your ‘Sargent Major’ PM skills.

Whilst you’re at it, get rid of any ‘us-and-them’ type thinking which will quickly destroy any relationships, whether with team members, business stakeholders or vendors. “Don’t go there girlfriend!”.


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