The last time.

As an experienced Project Manager and Leader, one thing that I’m using every day is my experience. I recall best practices, lessons learned, funny anecdotes and memories of colleagues, projects and organisations. Most recently, I was in a team discussion where we posed the following question: “When was the last time you….” And everyone had the opportunity to finish the sentence. I wanted to share the questions but also ask you to think about your answers.

  • When was the last time you: felt like you added value to the organisation?
  • When was the last time you: wanted to quit your job?
  • When was the last time you: questioned a serious life choice?
  • When was the last time you: learned something new?
  • When was the last time you: felt out of your depth?
  • When was the last time you: were content and happy with your day’s work?

My answers were:

  • When was the last time you: felt like you added value to the organisation?
    • Last week. I could use my experience to help a Junior PM with a best practice around stakeholder management
  • When was the last time you: wanted to quit your job?
    • I’ve not had that for quite a while and I would say its mainly frustration focused rather than an active desire to look elsewhere
  • When was the last time you: questioned a serious life choice?
    • A week ago.
  • When was the last time you: learned something new?
    • 2 weeks ago in my coaching training course. It was such a valuable knowledge session and learning for me.
  • When was the last time you: felt out of your depth?
    • This morning! I sometimes struggle with imposter syndrome and I was in a very technical meeting discussing a very technical infrastructure topic and I definitely felt out of my depth!
  • When was the last time you: were content and happy with your day’s work?
    • Last Friday. I had checked off everything on my to-do list and could close my laptop down to finish off the week on a high.

We then discussed the “Critical questions” that you can ask yourself/your team’s and I was surprised that instead of this being productivity focused, it was more around emotional development / continuity.

I then discussed the topic of when it can be a bad idea to discuss /rely on your experience and how this may cloud your judgement or impair your impartiality. Most of the team agreed that having the experience can also lead you to see potential impediments where there is nothing, but most of the time, the gut feeling they had around the “last time” was relatively a good one.

What questions have you asked your team lately? What have been the big questions that have added the most value?

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