“The Apprentice” Project Manager – A True Representation?

It has now returned to TV and as any fan of The Apprentice will know, it’s often the case that when the role of Project Leader is up for grabs, many of the wannabe protégés either suddenly become very quiet, or they very keenly put themselves forward… perhaps in part due to naivety!Now, I know the show is pretty far detached from what actually goes on in real-life, and their version of the ‘Project Manager’ role might well be as well, however this situation does highlight how leading a team involves a certain amount of responsibility and interpersonal skills, as well as ‘putting your neck on the line’!While mishaps along the way might not mean the equivalent of a ‘fast track to a boardroom showdown’, project management can be quite stressful because when projects are delayed, or overbudget – or even fail – then it’s usually the Project Manager who is held to account… “You’re fired” springs to mind… rightly or wrongly!Below are just a few situations and the differences in how ‘The Apprentice Wannabes’ typically deal with them and how the PRINCE2 Method and/or the APM Body of Knowledge (APM BoK) would handle it…SituationThe team are at logger heads and two or more in the group can’t agree on what would make their solution acceptable.The Apprentice ResponseNaive Project Leader arrogantly goes for what they think is the best solution, because they are the Task Manager after all and are obviously in charge! Never mind what the outcome is, or what it looks like, just get ‘something’ created!PRINCE2/APM BoK ResponseAssignment Manager should apply the appropriate interpersonal skills such as conflict management and negotiation. (APMBoK).Create a Task Product Description stating the agreed scope, purpose of and acceptance criteria for the solution. Raise an issue and escalate to the Assigned Board to resolve any requirement conflict if agreement can’t be made and the situation is out of the Project Manager’s control/remit. (PRINCE2).SituationNo one knows what they are meant to be doing and why, or who they should liaise with regarding what.They all have very different and conflicting ideas and are very much in competition with each other rather than working collaboratively as a team.The Apprentice ResponseThey simply aimlessly get on with the work which they believe the Project Manager has instructed them to do and then collectively blame the Project Manager when it proves to be wrong and the outcome is unacceptable!PRINCE2/APM BoK ResponseAgree the scope and objectives of the task and the desired outcome (APMBoK & PRINCE2).Have a clear reporting structure with clearly defined roles and responsibilities, backed up by an effective communication management strategy (PRINCE2).The PM should manage the dynamics of the team through the four typical phases of its life; Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing e.g. ‘Tuckman’s theory’. (APMBoK).SituationThe Team Manager can’t get a team member to willingly undertake a task which has been assigned to them. They are demoralised and frustrated by the lack of guidance being given to them.The Apprentice ResponseThey argue, ignore each other and then do a bit of back-stabbing. The task may end out getting completed but often deliberately badly and/or wrongly!PRINCE2/APM BoK ResponseThe Project Leader should apply their motivational skills by identifying what it is that will motivate that particular person to get the task done, and also apply the appropriate leadership style to suit the situation, e.g. autocratic or democratic (APMBoK).If the situation still can’t be resolved, raise an issue and escalate to the appropriate Project Board member to resolve, e.g. if user related then Senior User, if supplier related then to Senior Supplier. (PRINCE2).SituationThe team members are in the wrong ‘social role’ for their personal strengths. They have differing needs, understandings and incompatible strengths and consequently tasks are either being done badly or not getting done at all.The Apprentice ResponseAll the team get stressed, argue and blame each other for their mistakes and shortcomings. They all look to the Project Manager for guidance and then blame the Project Manager for their lack of leadership!PRINCE2/APM BoK ResponseWhen initially building the team, apply a social role model such as ‘Belbin’ to find out what people’s different strengths are and then design the team based on the best combination and balance of roles. Motivate and lead the team taking into account and balancing each individual’s, the team’s and the task’s needs.(APMBoK).Okay, the above are somewhat negative and potentially stressful situations, but then any Project Manager would know that such situations usually come with the territory in the case of poorly managed tasks! However, delivering a well-managed project on time to the agreed budget, and producing a deliverable to a business that meets its expectations, is fit for purpose and capable of generating the expected benefits, can be very fulfilling and motivating.Having a string of successful projects as well as industry accepted and internationally recognised associated qualifications on a CV can be a significant career booster. It may have even helped those budding apprentices with their interview stages of the TV show… as ‘PRINCE2 Practitioner’ has been spotted by those eagle-eyed viewers on more than one CV during previous series!So, what do you need to know to get ahead in this profession?You’ll certainly need to know your PRINCE2 from your Prince Charles! But what does it take to be a good leader?• Can you apply the right style of leadership (e.g. know when to be autocratic or democratic) given the situation?• Can you negotiate effectively?• Are you good at managing and resolving conflict?• Can you motivate and manage people to get the most from them?• Do you know the factors to consider when designing and developing an effective project team?Do you know about health, safety and environment management?Do you understand a procurement process?Can you apply stakeholder management?These are just a few of the ‘wider’ aspects of project management not covered in detail byPRINCE2… but why not if they are deemed to be key knowledge and competency areas required of a Project Manager?…… because PRINCE2 is a generic project management method designed to be applied to any type of project in any environment, whereas such wider aspects of project management can and will differ depending on the project type and environment, as well as the preference, skills and ability of the Project Manager. For example, not all projects will require procurement and other aspects are ‘how’ something should be done, whereas PRINCE2 concentrates more on ‘what’ needs to be done and ‘why’, leaving the ‘how’ up to each organisation depending on the type of project being managed. Such additional aspects of project management should therefore be ‘bolted on’ to and applied within your PRINCE2 framework as required. They will perfectly complement the PRINCE2 method, thus creating a FULL project management environment.So, this is where having a good understanding of the APM ‘Body of Knowledge’ (APM BoK) and having the associated APMP qualification will help you be a more effective Project Manager and will ‘complement’ your PRINCE2 Practitioner qualification due to the APM BoK covering such wider aspects of project management which are fundamental to a project’s success.To find out more about what it takes to become a Project Manager and how to gain the associated and internationally recognised professional qualifications, such as PRINCE2 and APMP, which can help to boost your career prospects…… contact SPOCE Project Management Ltd, the training professionals and longest standing company in the world who specialise in delivering Global Best Practice examined training events.

Four Signs a Career in Beauty and Wellness is Right For You

To the chagrin of many a beauty professional, the movie Grease epitomized beauty school as a place where young women whiled away the hours while waiting to get married. Flash forward three decades and careers in beauty and wellness are growing more rapidly than many other fields according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.Blame it on high-definition television, reality programming or the surge in non-invasive procedures, but today’s beauty professionals are working in environments that extend well beyond the styling chair. The American Association of Cosmetology Schools recently commissioned a national survey conducted by Dallas-based Decision Analyst; a leading firm in conducting attitude and perception studies. The Study of Attitudes Toward Beauty and Wellness Careers interviewed young women between the ages of 16 and 34, as well as beauty professionals, to profile the characteristics that make an individual a candidate for a career in beauty and wellness.The findings: Beauty and wellness careers – defined in the survey as “careers in hair care (e.g., styling, coloring, etc.), skin care (e.g., facials, makeup, etc.) nail care, massage and other services that help people maintain good grooming, improve their appearance and increase their sense of well-being) – are a good fit for a unique personality composite. Do you meet this profile?You’re Entrepreneurial – Data collected by the National Accrediting Commission for Cosmetology Arts and Sciences reveals that approximately one-third of licensed cosmetologists and beauty professionals own their own business. Individuals are drawn to the field by an opportunity to create their own work/life balance. While traditional salaries are rare (but certainly an option for those that work in corporate salons and spas as well as broadcast and entertainment), the field does not suffer from income limits.You Like to Create: The Study of Attitudes Toward Beauty and Wellness Careers found that those that rank beauty and wellness as an attractive career path value the field for its opportunity to create. “Whether as a platform artist, educator or marketing representative, beauty offers unrivaled opportunities to create,” noted Jim Cox, executive director of the American Association for Cosmetology Schools. He noted that the respondents who favored careers in beauty tended to share many similarities with individuals interested in graphic design careers.You Enjoy Working with Others: Beauty may just be the ultimate people profession. Success requires more than an extroverted personality, however. Successful cosmetologists are adept at “reading” client’s and communicating with them in a manner that complements how the client prefers to be engaged. This encompasses skills such as sensitivity, respecting privacy and time management skills.You’re Looking for Life/Work Balance: What started with “flex-time” has morphed into a life-work balance, with young people desiring an alternative to the 40-hour, Monday-Friday week. Due to the entrepreneurial nature of careers in beauty, professionals can create their worn life/work path.

Balancing Your Mind, Body, and Spirit

Keeping a balanced life is essential to walking in prosperity. Your mind, body, and spirit must be equally nourished. There can be no overbalance or under nourishment in any of the areas.Mind. Your mind guides you and has shaped who you are. In order to keep your mind active, you must fill it with new information on a consistent basis. Reading is one sure way to keep your mind stimulated and active. The newspaper, magazines, journals, articles, and books, are great resources of gaining new information. Reading is a sure way of acquiring knowledge and keeps the mind active. Keeping abreast of political issues and world news is yet another way and being aware of current events in your city, state or community is yet another. Exposing yourself to other cultures and ways of living is enlightening as well as informative, and traveling to distant lands to learn about the lifestyles of people in other countries is yet another way to keep one’s mind stimulated. However, to live solely for the stimulation of the intellect is to be out of balance and out of harmony with God. Satisfying the intellect is only a fraction of what is needed to be well-rounded and balanced.Body. Your physical body must also be taken care of adequately because your physical body is what houses your mind, spirit, and soul. You are actually a spiritual being clothed in a fleshly form, and although your spirit and soul goes back to God, your physical body does not. Your physical body is temporal, subject to decline, decay, deterioration and goes back to the dust. You must do your part in helping to maintain this body until it is ready to completely shut down. While your spirit resides in your physical body, you must eat, sleep, drink, and breathe accurately and adequately. You must get plenty of exercise and proper nourishment. However, to live solely for the body alone is to be out of balance and out of harmony with God. There is a principle of health in every person and when in full constructive activity, it causes all the voluntary functions of your body to perform at optimal levels. When the mind, body, and spirit are sufficiently nourished, there is a balance and a power that you walk with that causes your mental attitude to be positive, harmonious, and constructive. This attitude opens the door for good to be manifested in your life. You are always guided by divine intelligence.Spirit. Your spirit is who and what you are. You must continuously feed this spirit to keep it healthy just as you do your physical body. Spiritual renewal takes place as the Word of God is studied with an open heart led of the Holy Spirit. However, having knowledge of the Word without the Spirit of the Word is ineffective. What does it profit a person to be able to profoundly discourse the Word of God, if he or she is void of the Spirit of God, which leads to humility and a balanced life? Your goal is not just to know the book of the Lord, but to know the Lord of the book. This is why prayer is the foundation upon which every aspect of your life is built. Prayer is keeping the lines of communication open to God, casting all your cares upon Him, praising and honoring Him, and confessing your misdeeds to Him. When there is a balance between prayer, study and fellowship, you can fairly say that you have a pretty balanced spiritual life with some room for improvement. Attending Christian services and fasting for a specific purpose builds upon your spiritual life and further helps to strengthen and feed your soul. However, to live solely in the spirit is to be out of balance and out of harmony with God. Being spiritually strong is only a fraction of living a balanced life. To be overextended in one area is to be weak in another.Keeping the mind, body and spirit balanced is a necessity and is essential to healthy living. If you find that there is an imbalance, try and rectify it quickly. Many people are over-extended in one area and under extended in another. For instance, some people have a very strong spiritual life, but they have neglected their physical bodies and therefore find themselves having medical and physical challenges. Some people are very much in physical shape. They eat properly and get plenty of exercise, but are malnourished in their soul because of deprivation of prayer, study, and reading the Word. We must stay balanced in order to experience a life of fulfillment and satisfaction. An excess in any one area causes a deficiency in another area. Make sure that you have delegated sufficient time for the growth and development of mind, body, and spirit.