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John P. Reiling, PMP: Are you a ‘project management maven”?

JRPresumably as a Project Manager you see yourself, as a leader…or at least an aspiring, developing leader.  But are you a “maven”?

Being a “Maven” puts you in the leadership seat.  Others look to you as the leader.


Here’s what wikipedia says:

“A maven is a trusted expert in a particular field, who seeks to pass knowledge on to others. The word…means one who understands, based on an accumulation of knowledge.”

Being a maven is the essense of leadership!  It is the ability to put yourself in your stakeholders shoes…and to be the person “in the know”…or the “go to” person.

Did you ever listen to someone speak…and were so impacted that you thought, “You said what I was thinking!  Yes…I agree…I buy in to your ideas!!!”   That person was a maven!

Here are some key elements – mostly of a technical nature until you’re into #3 – that can help earn you maven status (but mlostly #3):

  1. Grammar – Grammar communicates a lot about you…where poor grammar is distracting and can indicate you don’t care, whereas good (not necessarily perfect!) grammar can help you easily make your point and also polish your professional image.
  2. Sentence structure and cohesive thoughts – This provides an opportunity to show your thought pattern and must be clear to others.
  3. Blend of the technical and personality – You can communicate with accuracy and without emotion, but at the same time can make listeners or readers feel comfortable, as you are speaking with them one on one.

But let’s stop here for a second.  Am I suggesting that you may need a makeover to become a maven?  Absolutely not!  Actually it’s just the opposite.

When you combine the right elements – the elements that best draw on your strengths – in your writing, you become a maven to the readers!  #3 above begins to pull it all together, where you achieve the right blend…

Having heart – being passionate, and drawing on your natural strengths – may be the key, but not necessarily!  You may be highly empathetic – or you may be highly analytical.  Being a maven simply means you are leveraging your natural strengths and tendencies to the maximum degree – and in so doing are relating to others in a special way!

And when you do that, you will more than likely find yourself at ‘front and center’ on your projects.

As a project manager, when you establish yourself as ‘front and center’ on the project, you have achieved maven status.

Here are a few tangible benefits of being a maven:

  1. Being a maven enhances your ability to communicate with upper management
  2. Being a maven stretches your skills at communicating a consistent message across your team
  3. Being a maven takes your stakeholder management skills to a new level
  4. Being a maven gives you the confidence to extend your communication outside your current environment, perhaps becoming a spokesman…

If your written communication is lacking (maybe it’s holding you back from becoming sharper at what you’re naturally good at) now could be a good time to work on your written communication to make that happen…and earn PDUs at the same time!

The question with your writing is, “Is my writing enabling me to be MORE of myself, or is it SELLING ME SHORT?”  Your goal should be to enable your writing to “work for you” at unleashing your natural strengths and style – which will enable you to become a maven on your project or program, or in some way within your organization.


John Reiling


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