Donna HookSpeaking & Leadership Coach, Fortune 100 IT Mngr

Presentations, Public Speaking & Leadership Coach.
Empowers individuals to speak and lead with confidence and skill
Co-Author of, "CAPTIVATE: Public Speaking Secrets from TED Talks"
Trainer, Public Speaker, and Mentor
Toastmasters International, Awarded Distinguished Toastmaster in 2012

Fortune 500 Management Experience;
Senior IT Manager
Project Management
IT Estimation
CMMI (Capability Maturity Model Integration) Certified
Healthcare, PBM, Software Development Industries.

Small Business Owner

Recent Answers

First, you need to be crystal clear if the changes to the procedure still supports the policy (or goals) mandated for the organization (ie. Compliance directive, as many HR departments have). If the change impacts this negatively you may want to think twice before moving forward, so as not to put the small business at risk. If ok to move forward, keep in mind procedures are the “recipe for success” that support policy. They are the step-by-step tasks. You don’t mention your level of authority over the acquired small business however the person in charge has every right to direct change. The most simple mentor is to introduce what’s changing, highlight the benefits and say, “effective on such and such a date we will be moving to this new workflow.’ Your procedure should be documented and part of a larger set of documented company assets. It should be easily accessible for all to access. Remembering that change can be difficult for some people you may want to ease into the discussion dropping hints about the benefits of the new method and proposed changes. You’ll also need to ensure training plans are sufficiently in place for a smooth transition. Expect that a smooth transition may take 3 or more weeks depending upon the nature of the change and addition of any tools / additional training req’d. Plan accordingly and be supporting of questions. You can also have some or all of the group pilot a project with the new steps and share feedback. Maybe there’s opportunities to learn from and pick the best of the best between what the staff currently does and what you’re proposing. Be open to learning and sharing for a smoother transition and ‘continuous’ process improvement. Good luck! If you have questions feel free to reach out.

While practice, practice, practice will help you speed up, the ultimate question is, does the audience share your same feedback? There are many questions that need to be understood to best help you, such as, What type of speech are you giving - ie. Is it purely research or factual based? Who is your audience? Is there a timeline for your speech? Is the material boring to you? Are you presenting from memory? And more... It would be best to understand your speech project before giving specific guidelines. Should you want to pursue a more in depth look into your presentation material and delivery I'm happy to help.

One suggestion I have for you is improve communication and leadership skills by joining a local Toastmasters club ( Use the Find a Club tab. This may not help with your immediate work situation but in the long run it will definitely help with your confidence building. Besides improving your communication skills there's a world of opportunities in Toastmasters to grow your leadership skills. It certainly worked for me. I was promoted in a prior job as a direct result of my participating in Toastmasters; being able to communicate and lead more confidently lead my promotion. Re. your current work situation, perhaps you can have a 1 on 1 with your boss and see what type of projects are available that can give you the kind of visibility you're looking for. Be careful of taking on your own projects on company time... It may not be what the boss wants to pay you for. Though if you do choose to go ahead and "create" something you deem useful, be sure it's not the detriment of your assigned work. Have any questions about Toastmasters or otherwise, please let me know.

Having working in multiple Fortune 500 companies as a Project Manager, and IT Delivery Manager, the head of a Production Support team, and certified in CMMI process I can tell you there are a number of questions that need to be understood before your formal structure can be fully defined. From the perspective of a 10,000 foot view there is always a starting and ending point that need to be tracked plus managing the tasks in the middle. For example, How / what initiates your IT requests? Is there a central way these efforts are communicated? Are specific approvals needed before the work can start (aka, is there a budget to do the work). Is an estimate needed first or do you go right to project? Who manages the project? How do the impacted teams get identified / notified? Does scope creep ever happen? if so, how does that get approved / paid for.? In essence, there are a lot step by step tasks that can be thought through and grouped together into logical components and recorded for tracking purposes in a spreadsheet. Ultimately your goal is to create a repeatable process with the proper oversight to ensure time / cost / quality / scope are as expected. Once you understand the tasks, you can identify who is responsible for the oversight. And then you can document the process. Some people may suggest creating the process first and assigning responsibility second, and id'ing the tasks third. Either way, having a formal structure to your projects (without overkill on the process) will serve your company well. Any need to discuss further let me know...

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