Realizing the Power of Connecting - It’s All About the People
By Matt Hoffman
This October, I experienced a lot of firsts. Although, I had been to Chicago several times, I had never actually had the opportunity to visit downtown Chicago until I was invited to attend the 2017 PMI LIM (Leadership Institute Meeting).
This October, I rode the “L” for the first time, walked the streets, gawking at the gorgeous skyscrapers at night, had an impossibly thick and delicious Chicago style pizza, and visited a blues club with many other PMI members, hailing from chapters in Japan, Italy, France, Canada, the USA (of course!), Peru, Argentina, Ecuador, Paraguay, Brasil. Most profound of all, it was the first time I felt and realized how connected we, in Portland, are to our global community of PMI friends and colleagues.
This realization is the most significant impression that I wanted to bring back to share with the Portland chapter - the fact that we are part of a vibrant global community of professionals from diverse cultural and professional backgrounds. Already on the opening day of the conference, I found that people were enthusiastically making new connections with each other. There was a brightness of energy and enthusiasm in the conference center and the sessions I attended. I pondered the question: “What makes this place, these people different?” Then the answer hit me. I’m in a group of PMI volunteers from all over the world - each at a different level in their careers, their volunteer experiences, but all present at the conference to engage, to connect, and to learn. At that moment, I realized what our PMI leadership community was: a community of connectors. We had all arrived at LIM looking to make connections with volunteers from other chapters in order to share our knowledge, ultimately building stronger local communities for PMI members in our hometowns. This realization made a profound impression on me as I understood that volunteering had given me the opportunity to experience the PMI community in a single, concentrated area at this global conference. It was truly amazing!
When we gather as PMI peers, colleagues, friends, students, and professionals, we experience what it is to be in a community with a shared energy and vocabulary that has the power to make meaningful connections and uncover the most vital aspects of any engagement. Through our engagement with fellow project managers, we continuously learn to channel our efforts towards a skillset that provides the world with a higher degree of success in professional and private endeavors.
PMI Global representatives were present at the LIM Conference as well, sharing training on various topics like volunteer on-boarding, PMI branding innovations, and our emerging professionals community (young professionals entering the field of project management).
As project managers, we provide structure and clarity to our organizations, helping everyone to meet their project objectives. Part of what makes us capable of doing that important work is our ability to function as connectors. While at times it can be difficult to make connections, particularly meaningful ones, they are an essential part of project management. They can be made on several levels: personal, organizational, technical, contractual, however their common denominator is that the connections are made with people. Learning and practicing the skills of making meaningful connections makes project management such a powerful and transformative field.
Between huge bites of a 3-inch-thick slice of Chicago-style pizza and the bustle of a downtown Chicago restaurant, I shared my own experiences as a volunteer and a career professional with my new acquaintances and friends from the Sioux City Chapter of South Dakota. In our conversation, we discussed a challenging project they were facing of merging 14 separate IT Service Desks into a single solution for their organization, while also sharing techniques for managing the marketing aspects of our own local chapters. That conversation serves as a prime example of how the opportunity to attend LIM, or participate as a volunteer in any local chapter, reaches beyond the PMI organization and stretches into the professions that we share.
Life is made up of a series of incremental steps and experiences: family, friends, college, certification, career, volunteering, the connections we make… Some steps are more intentional and determined than others and will bring you closer to meaningful goals. Eventually, you might find that you’ve built an entire career from those purposeful steps. They all contribute to the incremental story that, over time, becomes a vibrant tapestry of character and experience, weaving the picture of ‘you’ and your connected career.
About the Author
Matthew Hoffman, PMP, ITIL, Asst. Dir of Content Marketing
Matthew has a passion for life, which defines both his professional and personal endeavors. His career, characterized by a hybrid focus on engineering and management, reflects a broad range of interests and an entrepreneurial spirit. Recently, this unique blend of skillsets has made him a key change-strategist at XPO Logistics, assisting the company in consolidating the post-M&A global network infrastructure. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from Linfield College with a B.S. in Business Information Systems Management, and completed his PMP certification in 2017. Matthew enjoys team building and collaboration with colleagues from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. He has interests in virtual reality, philosophy, neuroscience, psychology, and emerging management theories. Additionally, he enjoys composing music, story writing, and digital artwork.