Does it make « sense » to « add sense » in our daily professional life?

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does that make senseBeing understood and readable, while getting the reader’s attention, always seems complicated. Reasons are numerous: data everywhere and in a constant flow, multiple channels, multiple speakers not always consistent, time constraints. And if you’re not understood, the risk is very high that the message for the projects, and/or company will not succeed!

So, how do you make sure you’re efficient in this context? How do you keep focused on your goals and succeed?

To me, “sense making” is one of the best ways. Being understood is in fact very much about “sense”! As soon as “it makes sense”, it is easier to understand what is expected and how it is to be realized… “making sense” is about “why” doing things – not only how – it is about “vision” of the big picture and, for individuals, the part they take to it. This is true in project management, organizational change management, pre-sales activity, and, obviously personal subjects. Let’s keep focused to professional aspects – but don’t hesitate to extrapolate on your own for your personal sphere..

If you’ve read previous posts about coaching, you’ll maybe see the direct link to the “sense approach”. Being coached is about “how to find your own resources to succeed” and “how to build your own solution”. The first – and key – step of the coaching process is to help find “sense” for the objective to reach (measure positive and negative goals): without “sense”, you’ll find it harder to engage yourself – and it is proven that without engagement, success is harder to reach.
Know why you have to do something, find how (and not the way round) and then, “just do it”.

Coaching is proposed to help “doing” things. Sense making is a very strong rampart against stress when you’re “doing things”! A coach is a “partner of your success” – “sense making” is part of the coaching process and toolkit.

My preferred audience in coaching is project management: how to help project leaders to deliver a successful project, in terms of cost, quality and planning. A good project manager needs to have authority and enthusiasm: his leadership is reinforced if he doesn’t forget to “give sense” of each and every stakeholder of the project.

A project life is often very hard…being focused doesn’t change daily difficulties – it helps going through them! Explaining and giving sense makes project life even easier.
Know who has to do what and when is the basis of project management: explaining why is often forgotten but is THE key success factor! It is not only a motivation accelerator: finding “why” often leads to better decisions and avoid mistakes (the false “good idea”)!

My last experience about “making sense” gives an effective proof of concept : in one critical project for Sogeti, it appeared, while the whole team was suffering – endless hours at work, stress, low quality of deliverables and high customer expectations, that it was time to help the project manager and team leader. I needed to coach the project manager.

Situation was tense: motivation was lost, goals were forgotten. Confusion was everywhere and communication was broken: inside the team, and even worse, with the customer. Confidence was lost – project was in crisis…. After no more than 4-5 weekly sessions the project manager understood that he was no longer able to explain what the project was heading for – or what he expected from each member of the team. Even decisions were no longer consistent, because they were taken without the consistency given by “sense” of the project.

In fact, coaching was not hard … the problem was easy to fix – the project managed realized that no meeting had ever been done with the whole team to explain who was doing what, what was really expected and why!

The meeting happened – motivation grew, efforts were done, deliverables quality improved. Project manager changed his relationship to team members – and communication was facilitated.

Nothing was perfect at a glance, but the chance to succeed was real! Today, the project is under control and meetings occur regularly. J

What is true in project management, where stress is present almost every minute, is obviously effective elsewhere. Sense making optimizes wellness in the professional environment. To me, it is also probably the new warranty of economical performance.

What do you think? How do YOU take this into account? How do you help giving sense to your job and contribute to your company – for yourself first, for your accomplishment? Make it simple!

Ask for explanations and explain to others … give sense 🙂

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SogetiLabs gathers distinguished technology leaders from around the Sogeti world. It is an initiative explaining not how IT works, but what IT means for business.

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  1. jacques July 14, 2014 Reply

    Makes sense !, great post Marie-Flore. How to engage with people on project before crisis and be sure that all actions are well oriented to prevent and make projects smooth and easy to live. I know, it’s a dream 🙂