Cognitive Strategy & Attained Leadership

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Guest post by Travis Anderson

We continuously read about how innovative projects execute and deliver products and services that have never been done before. In terms of formulating strategy on our programs, I sit here and wonder how cognition of strategy determines the future results on our programs. Since cognition is primarily based on past experience, does the past influence the future?

Planning a project is sometimes daunting and more or less ongoing throughout the life cycle of the project. Program managers that are responsible for high-risk, complex, innovative endeavors must cognitively formulate a strategy that will bring the project in on scope, schedule, and budget. This type of program manager must have an outstanding ability to mentally structure and organize knowledge in order to embark on such an initiative. For innovative projects or any project for that matter, I wouldn?t think a PM is selected based on luck and past experiences alone. The PM must have a different way of thinking, a different way of cognitively formulating strategy. Is this kind of cognition taught or is it purely obtained through experience?

Executing such unheard of tactics to achieve this grandeur of projects must also be a great challenge and take a great deal of influence to enact buy in from the project team. Therefore the leadership abilities of PMs are also important when evaluating the two questions presented above. Leadership is also comprised of experiences, knowledge, and competencies that are representative of the PM?s values and are displayed in his/her style. How does one attain the leadership abilities needed to be an innovative PM?

I am interested in your thought on this topic.