Program Managers (PM) Conference Highlight: It Starts with Connection


Recently, our Program Managers participated in our bi-annual Program Managers (PM) Conference. This important workshop allows us time and space to discuss our Vivid Vision pillars and how we can implement them innovatively into our processes as we continue to grow and help our team members understand their Unique Abilities and how they integrate into Vivid Vision. Our Vivid Vision is structured around 5 essential Pillars that we believe cultivates personal and professional growth as an organization: People, Core Values and Culture, Teamwork, Knowledge & Imagination, and Leadership.

The aspect of collaborative connectedness ties into growth as Melanie A. Katzman, Ph.D., expresses in her book, “Connect First: 52 Simple Ways to Ignite Success, Meaning, and Joy at Work.” When organizations intentionally promote connectedness in teams, and that connectedness is reinforced by Program Managers and leaders, extraordinary results can become ordinary!

Dr. Katzman discusses how finding professional, pragmatic ways of establishing a quality relationship based on real connections is a “surefire” way to progress naturally from a human-to-human basis, to coworker, to collaborator. If it does not start with interpersonal connectedness, it will reduce saturated collaboration.

Setting aside a time for our Program Managers to mentally shift from automatic to manual and truly be present with their colleagues allows for a mutual exchange of time and interpersonal investment. This enables them to invest in the projects that they manage, understand best practices from others, and, in turn, create an environment for our team members at all levels to contribute. While Katzman’s book elaborates on 52 actions that can be implemented to facilitate connectedness, here are three that can be used routinely throughout every day to promote presence and authenticity:

  1. Generate Joy and Laughter: Katzman states that 89% of CEOs believe they would rather hire someone with a good sense of humor. Instilling joy in communication means letting go of a sense of relentless urgency, allowing yourself (and those around you) to be human, and displaying a sense of awareness about one’s idiosyncrasies. Laughter is contagious, and when a workforce starts seeing each other as people, they are inspired to collaborate out of loyalty, mutual respect and joy.

  2. Stand in Someone Else’s Shoes, Experience Their Point of View: Empathy invites us to consider someone else’s perspective. When we truly attempt to see the world through someone else’s experience, we understand the person we are sitting next to better. It allows for honest connections founded on genuine interest and goodwill.

  3. Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone; Being a Little Scared is Good for You: Resting is a place where risk and growth are minimized. Although resting enhances recovery, risk enhances growth and new experiences accelerate growth. Those who pursue the unknown, experiment, and make mistakes propel themselves into new circumstances that force us to develop new skills and insights. Pushing through discomfort and potential embarrassment encourages us to let go of our ego and opens us to new ideas.

When we reflect on our Vivid Vision, each Pillar is based on the most important first: People. When leaders and managers facilitate personal growth in their teams, they intentionally create environments that promote collaboration, connections and outcomes where the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts.

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