Managing Project Relationships – 3 cheers for Jackie Weaver!

It looks like it could be the brainchild of satirists, perhaps a distinctly British new series from Parks and Recreation head honcho Michael Schur. But it is, in fact, a slice of real life that is only too familiar to people the world over, which is why a Parish Council meeting in the village of Handforth, Cheshire, England has gone viral. 

The full 18 minute video on YouTube shows that the whole thing got off to a bad start with one councillor swearing under his breath and the clerk trying to bring the meeting to order. It went downhill from there. There were open insults, puce-faced shouting, and a stoic woman called Jackie Weaver taking no-nonsense by calmly removing people from the Zoom call. 

We have all been Jackie Weaver – trying our best to move forward with matters in the face of people being argumentative, disruptive, negative, or just not contributing in any productive way. So what are the best strategies for coping in Salesforce Project Management? 

Here at The Architech Club, we provide training to our Architects in managing project relationships so that they never have to declare “Please refer to me as Britney Spears from now on.” (honestly, you have to watch the video). Chris Harvey, our Relationship Manager has developed the training using his experience both inside and outside the Salesforce ecosystem. These skills are why The Architech Club is trusted by our customers to deliver end-to-end Salesforce project management, making sure that teams and partners work well together even in the most challenging of times. 

We asked Chris for his top tips on how to manage difficult situations, and this is what he recommends, especially when you’re looking for the right skills in a Salesforce Project Manager:  

  • Set the ground rules for your meetings and reinforce them by printing them at the top of the agenda. Also, never have a meeting without an agenda. 
  • When you’re in a meeting, encourage all participants to speak up, don’t let anyone dominate. Everyone is there to contribute. 
  • If you have to make a decision in the meeting go back to your V2MOM – that should guide you on whether or not it meets the first V – Vision – for your project. It has already been agreed upon and acts as a judgment device. 

 

Even if you do set rules, negative conflicts can still occur. So Chris has some tip on managing negative conflict:

  • Avoid placing blame and making accusations.
  • Listen to conflicting views. If you have an opinion that differs, then set out what that is, why you have that opinion, the evidence for this, and the impact of the action. 
  • Refer back to your V2MOM to resolve differences – conflict is often driven by Values and that’s the second V in V2MOM. 
  • Be aware of your own words – don’t make it personal. it’s not about the person so don’t use personal language that could seem accusatory, it’s about the resolution of the problem or challenge. 
  • Look for a win/win so that everyone feels they have contributed.
  • Communicate respectfully to everyone at all times – save the swearing for afterward! 
  • Use a positive tone even if others are being negative
  • Stick to the items on the agenda. If the conflict persists, take the issue offline and talk about it after the meeting or in a follow-up meeting, innovation is encouraged.
  • There has to be zero tolerance for personal attacks – never allow it to happen, call it out and stop it when it does. Tackle it on the spot by asking to pause the meeting, make a brief, factual summary of what just happened, explain the negative impact of this, describe how the incident made you, or one of the team members, feel (frustrated or disappointed, for example), then state how you would like to see that behaviour modified, and agree some targets to continue the meeting. 

Chris also recommends a useful article he found on LinkedIn on dealing with difficult people in project management

If you’d like to discover more about how The Architech Club uses the V2MOM tool to manage projects or you’d like Chris to offer you some advice on project relationships, then get in touch.

About the author

Gemma Blezard

CEO and Salesforce MVP

Gemma is founder and CEO of The Architech Club and a great inspiration to anyone dealing with life’s challenges. Gemma is also co-founder of Ladies Be Architects and an Award-winning advocate for diversity.
She is in demand as a conference speaker at Dreamforce, World Tour and Community events. She is open about being a Breast cancer survivor, and somehow balances being a mother, Salesforce MVP, 18 x Salesforce Certified (so far) and now an entrepreneur.

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