If you?re looking ahead to PNG’s multi-billion Kina project pipeline and wondering how you can upskill yourself ? you?re not alone.
Now that mega-projects like Papua LNG and the PNG LNG third train are just around the corner, we are hearing candidates ask which skills they can invest in to really stand out.
While qualifications, up-to-date licences and previous experience are all important:
Projects also require deeper sets of skills that (in our experience) set candidates apart.
With that said, our team has put together a list of some of these essential project skills to start building (and putting on your CV) now:
1. Effective communication
This skill takes out the number one spot for a reason.
If you?re ever been part of an extended project, you?ll know that the importance of clear-cut communication can’t be understated.
When you have a mix of skills, personalities and expectations all coming together in a high-pressure environment, it’s the recipe for a perfect storm.
This is why it’s important to understand different communication styles, so you can meet people right where they?re at.
Listen to how other people communicate when they?re explaining and instruction, asking a question or voicing a concern.
Are they direct with their words and straight to the point, or do they add layers of detail and tell a story as they go? Do they talk while they?re thinking, or wait to speak? Do they talk about emotion and ?gut instinct? or facts and figures?
By listening for these cues, you can understand how to respond to people in a way they will receive well, and gain some insight into the real messages they?re sending.
2. Time management
A major aspect of any project manager or leader’s role is understanding and managing how people use their time.
Effective time management can be the difference between winning over the client and coming in three times over budget and two months? late?
From our experience, one of the most effective time management tools is also the simplest.
Try writing down everything you have to do (yes ? everything), and then assess it by its importance and its urgency.
- It is important and urgent? Do it now.
- Is it important and not urgent? Plan to do it later.
- Is it urgent and not important? Delegate, delegate, delegate.
- It is neither urgent nor important? Eliminate.
Take a screenshot and stick this on your desk ? because this tool originally coined by Stephen Covey can save you serious time and help you to manage your tasks like a pro:
3. Planning skills
This skill an essential part of time management, but there’s a reason it holds its own on this list.
Planning is all about managing a number of moving parts, like time, resources, people, and expertise to achieve an end goal.
By showing that you can plan processes, workloads and project timelines, you are showing that you have the capacity to think things through, accurately assess situations and take action towards results.
If planning isn’t your strong suit, you?re not alone (but there is something you can do about it). Try searching for online planning tools to keep you on your toes, and using SMART goals to set realistic objectives to achieve.
?Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.? ? John F. Kennedy
Negotiation isn’t just for politicians, it’s for everyone ? especially those in a project team. Projects (whether short or long term) are often a breeding ground for scope creep, misunderstanding and conflict that only effective negotiation can solve.
There are a few key tactics effective negotiators use to secure results:
- Prepare, prepare, prepare ? The best way to go into a conversations where tensions, emotions or stakes are high is to sit down and prepare the key points you want to cover. What outcome do you want at the end of the conversation? What recommendations can you present? What alternatives can you suggest?
- Be patient and listen ? Effective negotiators know how to take a step back and listen to what’s really being said (and not said). The next time you?re in a conversation where frustrations are rife, make sure you summarise what the other person has said to confirm you’ve understood before moving onto presenting a solution. This is an effective way to show that you are truly listening, and are not just waiting for your turn to speak.
- Ask the right questions ? To get to the bottom of the real issue, it’s likely that you?re going to have to dig a little. You want to understand what the ideal outcome looks like for the other party, why that is important to them and what concerns they have about that point. Towards the end of the conversation, make sure to ask ?is there anything else I should know?? to ensure that everything has been aired and can be worked through. Effective questioning takes a little practice ? that’s why it’s the hallmark of any great negotiator.
5. Cultural Awareness
In an age where business is becoming truly global, cultural awareness is a must. Throughout your career, you are likely to work with, sell to and manage people with diverse backgrounds and their own distinct view of the world.
The way we communicate, make decisions, view time and build relationships are all influenced from the cultures we grew up in, and the beliefs we’ve adopted for ourselves. This is why it’s important to develop a global mindset and spend some time learning about different cultures and effective strategies for intercultural management and communication.
These skills are so valuable in a project environment and really do set candidates apart from the crowd. How many of these skills have you built in your career?
At the moment, I?m looking to connect with Contract Administration professionals in the oil and gas sector who are searching for their next challenge.
If you?d like to learn more about this incredible opportunity, please click on this link:http://adr.to/bcpvk
Our team is also currently supporting recruitment for Oil Search 2020 Graduate Development Programme. Applications are open until 30 August 2019. For more information, please visit >> www.oilsearch.com/GDP