I believe that “homegrown” is better when it comes to hiring project leaders. I do not believe it is effective to hire from “without” when you can hire from “within.”
Over the years, I’ve seen many project leaders hired. They are expected to be a bright shining star from Day One. Guess what? It doesn’t happen!
The hiring people have forgotten the idea that you have to invest a lot of time and energy to develop project leaders who “fit in.” You’ve seen it before–the new project leader possesses all the basics: an MSTM degree, right personality for the company, proven work ethic, and appropriate years of experience in the field. Here comes the big problem: you have to train and mentor them with the specific skills required for your company’s and project’s unique and special needs.
During the Global Economic Crisis of 2008-2010, training budgets were either significantly reduced, or done away with altogether. Every organization tightened their belts; staff positions were reduced and the team members who were left behind had to do the work of what previously required two or more team members (doing more with less). Project leaders learned by doing because they had to.
It is time to stop the madness. You are not going to find the perfect project leader from outside your company. It is a falsehood to believe that companies don’t have time to train new project leaders from within. In fact, I believe you don’t have time not to. Time has come today; we can’t put it off any other way.
The quest for the perfect project leader from outside is like battling windmills. Workloads keep piling up, existing project teams approach burnout, due dates are not met, and customers give up and go elsewhere. Why not pick the best project team member you have and spend the training dollars to get them to be the bight, shining star? If they are at the 85% level now, then why not train them to gain the remaining 15% of the job, while they are contributing NOW, on the job?
Stop looking outside. Companies are being negatively impacted every week that ticks by and that perfect project leader has not been hired. Bypassing excellent project team members, who have the ability to contribute now, just doesn’t make good economic sense. Here is the answer: training.
It is time to bring training back. Send the best and brightest team members to project leadership/project management training–in a classroom, away from work–for at least a week. Successful project leaders are not born–they are made… one training class at a time.
Stop looking for perfection from “without” and find the find the brightest from “within”–and then train them!
Learning Tree offers a range of project management and leadership courses. Consider starting with Project Management: Skills for Success or Project Team Leadership for a solid foundation in project management.