5P’s of Successful Project Leadership…

World-class performance is less a natural gift and more a daily decision. The best just practice more – Robin Sharma

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Perhaps you are familiar with the 5P’s of marketing, who were defined in the sixties by E. Jerome McCarthy. They are also called the marketing mix. He started of with 4P’s and years later a fifth P was added. Any marketing professional has heard of them, among many others, and up to today they are still influencing go to market strategies and other related marketing activities.

When the thought of the 5P’s of marketing came to my mind while I was driving to work this morning, I almost immediately tried to find the 5P’s of successful leadership. Perhaps that was because I was listening to an audio book about leadership and transformation.

Before I go into the 5P’s of successful leadership, I want to share with you a refreshing definition of what leadership is about. It is the one from Robin Sharma, a well-known author of books about leadership and also business coach:

“Leadership has nothing to do with the title on your business card or the size of your office. Leadership is not about how much money you make or the clothes you wear. Leadership is a philosophy. It’s an attitude. It’s a state of mind. And it’s available to each one of us”.

Enough said I think. Get rid of your stripes, get rid of your tie, put on your comfy clothes and lead. Think about what you want, make a change, mobilize, engage, manage, do, and you will achieve your goals.

What are those 5P’s of successful leadership?

Let’s start of with passion. We have a major responsibility in our lives and that is to understand what you want. Whether that is on the personal or business side doesn’t matter. When you have truly identified what you want, the passion to change and achieve it is instant. You don’t have to think about it, because it is already happening. People who are passionate about what they do, know what I am talking about. If you don’t, it may well be that you still haven’t found what you are looking for. Keep looking, because it is out there and perhaps just around the corner. If you feel that you need assistance, you may want to sit down with a coach to find that talent and go from there.

Talent is all about potential. You want to unlock your potential and bring that to a world class level. That means making an investment in terms of time and resources. Awhile ago I read a book about performance coaching, and the author mentioned that it takes about 10,000 hours to master any kind of talent. It does not matter what, 10,000 hours is what it takes. Whether you want to be a premier league soccer player for Manchester United with Louis van Gaal as coach, or a super model like in New York City, or a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, you need to learn and you need to practice continuously. Successful leaders understand that, embrace that and make it part of their daily routine. Learning and personal growth has become a habit.

Another key dimension of successful leadership is personality. There are ideas in the big world that say that to be a successful leader you need to be outspoken, an extrovert, master small talk, be the prime focus in social events, and be many other things. Good news is that some of these traits definitely help, but they are not the primary ones to be a successful leader. There are other more important personality traits. Think about the following: being humble and kind, being mindful about others, listen with empathy, work smart, learn and share, foster growth, being open and honest, being aware and creative, build trust, etc.

Successful leaders are positive minded. They are able to deal with set backs and turn that around in opportunities. They share that positive attitude with their environment and influence others to grow and become better. They maximize output by putting emphasis on the things that matter most. They prioritize and balance things at work and life very well. It is a way of life that inspires and motivates themselves and others.

Last but not least, perseverance. According the Meriam-Webster’s dictionary it means: “continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition”. In other words, successful leaders never ever give up. Because they know what they want to achieve (have a dream) and are so passionate about it, there is only thought that comes to their mind all the time: “make it happen, no matter what”. If you really think about it, perseverance is a build up of the other 4P’s of successful leadership. You must know what you want in order to change and achieve it. With passion you unlock your potential, leverage the best traits of your personality, trigger your positive mind, persevere and overcome obstacles and finally manifest your goals. That is what successful project leadership is about: 5P’s!

Bas de Baat

Program Manager Enterprise Applications, PMP©

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