With the holiday season at full roar, you may find your attention distracted by the season’s best holiday movies. Between scenes of holiday cheer, you can actually find lessons you can apply to your established project management repertoire. Holiday movies from ‘Rudolph’ to ‘Home Alone’ are filled with successes and failures of their own project management jobs. Either way, you can pick up the five following takeaways, and more, from these fun movies.
Lesson 1: Harness Your Team’s Strengths
In ‘Rudolph,’ Santa had to build his powerful team of eight tiny reindeer to pull his sleigh on the most important night of the year. When a foggy storm rolled through, he realized he left out the most important teammate of all, Rudolph. If Santa had already left the stable when the fog rolled through, he would have been in real trouble without this team member. You can apply this lesson to your work by closely evaluating your team members’ strengths and weaknesses to build the best team for each stage of the job. Remember to take harried situations into account to ensure your team can handle whatever comes their way.
Lesson 2: Handout Great Compliments
In ‘Elf,’ Buddy never fails to give the people around him incredible compliments. Although the stakes are against him at every turn, he continues to lift the spirits of people around him. When the going gets tough, Buddy boosts morale and continues on his mission. You can also use trying times to boost morale and help your team reach the next stage of the project. When you receive information about the successful completion of a particularly difficult stage, bring down donuts, pizza or other treats to show your appreciation. The morale boost will allow the team to recoup and start anew on the next phase of the project.
Lesson 3: Be Willing To Give
The Santa Clause follows the journey of Scott Calvin and his son, Charlie, as they deliver presents to the world’s children after accidentally knocking Santa off the roof. As he transforms into Santa over the course of the next year, he continually battles against the mental and physical changes. Since the transformation was occurring, whether he liked it or not, he eventually had to be flexible and alter his course. When it comes to project management, you also need to be willing to remain flexible and alter the plans on the fly when needed. Stubbornly staying the course often only worsens the problem. Remain willing to work around difficult problems to keep the project on deadline and complication free.
Lesson 4: Embrace Your Network
In ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas,’ Charlie strives to remind the gang what the holiday is all about by selecting the perfect tree with help from Linus. Despite having his heart in the right place, his efforts fail. Fortunately, his network of friends takes up the job and creates a gorgeous tree to celebrate around. As a project manager, you need to know who to delegate the job to after initial efforts fail to come to fruition. You may even need to reach outside your established team to have a certain part of the job completed before your main workers can continue with the given tasks.
Lesson 5: Look At The Bigger Picture
Home Alone begins with a frantic family preparing to go on vacation. The leader of the pack, mom Kate, micromanages the preparations, but still manages to forget Kevin at home while the rest of the family boards the plane. Only when a nagging feeling has her reflect on the bigger pictures does she remember her beloved child was left to fend for himself at home. In project management, the job completion process often depends on paying close attention to the details. You must take a step back from time to time, however, to keep from overlooking a vital part of the job. As you look at the bigger picture, you may realize you left out a vital step or delegated responsibilities to the wrong entity or timeslot.
By applying these holiday movie lessons, you can boost your efficiency as a project manager without increasing stress.