Category Archives: Young Professional

Strengthening Project Management

 

In the current business world competition and adding value to your current operation is becoming increasingly important. Every organization needs to address and strategize how to attract and sustain top talent. The specifics differ from company to company and often depend on location and the necessary skill set to accomplish a specific task. Some challenges stand in the way of companies as they attempt to grow their company with a talented and engaged workforce. Staffing and operating strong project portfolios go hand in hand and should be thought of as ways to improve the efficiency of both specific projects and the entire organization.

 

Good organizations understand that to stand out resources and focus should be placed on finding people to fit roles. Looking outside your organization as well as within can assist in understanding and using human resources and project management to establish a company culture. Getting the right personnel can help improve solutions and reduce friction among current team members. Collaboration should be viewed from the perspective of bringing in new team members.

 

To grow, companies need to address how to maintain a competitive edge in their industry while growing internally. Some hurdles stand in the way of growing and sustaining a workforce which can handle projects and helps your organization grow.

 

The focus is placed on creating effective and simple project proposals for existing external projects while building up internal systems. Quickly it becomes evident that this would be a valuable investment which would provide an additional service line. Many organizations are in the same spot as WIMS in need of investing internally to increase the effectiveness of existing operations while making plans to expand into new business opportunities. This can be difficult, and close to impossible, without a developed internal project system which allows for maximizing the value of your team while fulfilling growth and expansion into new projects.

 

The project manager must document the steps across the project lifecycle and create an environment where every team member actively documents work and changes to the project. There should be a standard procedure for documenting the project which should be communicated up front and allow for input from workers. The project manager needs to ensure that accurate progress is being communicated. Communication is critical across the entire team and when the chain of communication is well constructed with multiple ways to raise questions and provide insights the entire team can focus on issues that need the most attention. Communication can help build trust across the entire team and allow for the specific focus areas of the team to be given more attention and be build up for sustained success.

 

The time to invest in project management solutions is now. If your organization already has a project management system in place the system should constantly be evaluated and additional improvements should be made when necessary. Planning to improve project planning poses the opportunity to create a project itself which can be used as a learning experience to incorporate new ideas. Every additional opportunity to expand projects provides the chance for members of the entire team to gain meaningful hands on practice across the development of projects.

 

Creating the final projects and tasks around all of us are truly unique with many complex aspects. A project involves many internal and external stakeholders who must be in constant communication. With many complex parts and changes the need to have a robust team which can deal with the changes that arise across the project is necessary. Taking the time to invest heavily in project planning will allow for the best-case scenario for reacting to unexpected changes. By having a developed and strategic project management system in place, organizations can better handle existing projects while also bringing in new work and expanding the project portfolio.

 

March Madness and Project Management

 

Every March around the country the attention of the sports world turns to basketball. March Madness has provided some of the most memorable moments in the world of sports including NC State coach Jim Valvano celebrating on the court with his team after upsetting the favored University of Houston to win a national championship. On Thursday the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament continues with the Sweet Sixteen vying for a spot in the Elite Eight and finally the opportunity to compete in Minneapolis for an opportunity to play in the Final Four and cut down the nets as National Champions.

 

The stars of the tournament stand out through last minute buzzer beaters and crazy blocked shots. While the results and performance on the court will stand out and be remembered, decisions which shaped the teams in the tournament are varied and years in the making. A complex series of decisions must be by the staff. Coaches must make their recruiting class strong to complete their roster for game day decisions. Once players are with the staff must decide how to use players in the most effective ways with their different skill sets.

 

 

Beyond the impressive baskets which live on in highlight reels are a series of complex decisions that shape the core of the team involving which players are on the court during important times. The major actions which set up great stat lines include conditioning and focusing on making the simple actions stand out.

 

Before any major on the court play can occur the structures and support need to be in place to ensure players can play at the highest level. Great coaches can create situations where good players become great players and average players become good overperforming what many would expect of them.

 

Sports provides valuable insights and life lessons which is much greater than the outcome of a game including how to manage a team, how to play beyond your resources, and a great opportunity for young people to gain leadership skills. Many skills from the sports world mirror difficult situations in business including dealing with adversity, working together on projects managed by a holistic team, and accomplishing tasks above and beyond expectations. Coaches and players need to work together to accomplish little goals in order to strengthen their team and to stand out and win. These ideas can be transformed from the court and into the business world with practice and understanding, by focusing on the small goals a much better final product can be produced.

 

While the big games pop up on your tv screen this weekend keep in mind how many little decisions made the teams who they are. If sports can teach you one thing it is to focus on the simple things and acknowledge what you do right in order to improve your overall work. Everyone can learn and improve by focusing on the simple things and staying on target and staying focused.  Mapping out a series of steps to accomplish your goals, reward yourself and your team for accomplishing steps, and constantly seeking feedback is the way to construct a successful basketball team as well as improving projects within your own professional and personal life.

 

Exciting Times

 

Some exciting changes will be occurring at WIMS built around the development and expansion of an advisory service line focusing on organizational consulting. This move serves as a commitment to establish an internal culture based on sustainable internal project management and organizational structure. The steps are in place to strengthen the project portfolio at WIMS as a case study for future external reference. As with any new expansion this is going to be a learning experience and the journey will be very meaningful and informative more so than the outcome.

 

The WIMS Organizational Consulting service line offers a range of organizational design and project management methodologies for organizational wide solutions as well as specific projects. These services begin with an informational interview to gain an understanding of the current situation and project management systems in place. From this initial conversation an organizational strategy will be outlined focusing on specific areas that will be focused on to ensure that a sustainable project management system can be implemented. Communication is critical and the goal of the services offered is to provide a project management system which will fit into your organization and be used for the creation of a long-term project management strategy.

 

Once communication has been addressed the focus will pivot to time management and communication to help create and expand a system for project planning and improve on dividing tasks between employees. This is when the focus will be on auditing the current operations and providing an understanding of how a well-structured project management system can lead to meeting important deadlines, improved customer satisfaction, and higher returns on investment.

 

After this stage of information gathering the WIMS team will provide a series of recommendations on what project management techniques to implement and how to stay on the right course to make these initiatives sustainable. The formation of a stronger project management system will improve the internal capabilities along with a boost in employee retention. The specific needs of your organization will be understood and enhanced by reaching out to WIMS and taking the time and effort to invest in a sustainable project management system.

 

This important initiative is going to be an exciting learning experience which will undoubtedly have some road bumps and unexpected turns but will lead to growth and reflection. Above all understand that the changing and building of project systems is difficult and members of the team must be given information about what is happening and have an outlet to provide meaningful feedback. While reviewing existing processes it is common to focus on what is not being done correctly but the time should also be taken to identify what is done smoothly and identify best practices which can help replicate what is accomplished successfully. Taking the time back and focusing on growth is a great way to create the right mind set for a successful spring and ensure that the right course of action has been set for the rest of the year.

 

Project Management means focusing on growth from the core and takes conscientious efforts and reflections to effectively be implemented. By developing the internal project management system of WIMS in a strategic way and focusing a considerable amount of time and resources on internal development the ability to scale future growth in a more seamless fashion can be created. The time spent on building an internal team and project management system will allow for an expansion of future services offerings across industries.

 

Creating internal systems and focusing on the weak points that exist in communication and executing future growth will be undertaken when the resources and systems necessary for success are in place. This growth and development will take time and reflection to understand and scale organizational design and project management solutions across industries including real estate, healthcare, legal, sports business, professional services and technology.

 

Resources from the Charlotte Alliance

The Charlotte Alliance

 

The Charlotte Alliance provides information on their website on a range of meaningful sources. This includes Data and Reports, Charlotte Regional facts, talent development, public policy positions, and a schedule of events providing valuable information to those interested in the business climate in the Charlotte region.

 

The website also provides links to recent expansion and investment projects around the Charlotte area. The information on the website shows how the Charlotte Alliance is a resource for the community which takes the time and effort to create a better Charlotte bringing the regions leaders together. This advocacy and collaboration is shown across a range of industries including some targeted industries which are important to the identity of the Charlotte business community.

 

Some highlighted industries include healthcare, information technology, and financial services. Through the advocacy and work of the Alliance the Charlotte region is displayed as a place of economic collaboration and innovation on the national and international stage with a diverse and knowledgeable workforce.

 

Target Industries

 

The Charlotte Alliance has a team that is dedicated to highlighting the unique business community in Charlotte placing a spotlight on some specific target industries. This information paints the picture of a region with a talented and diverse workforce that is ready to drive growth into the future. These industries include Financial Services/Fintech, Advanced Manufacturing, Healthcare, Information Technology, and Logistics benefit from a well-trained workforce and the presence of area universities and college who have relationships with major area employers.

 

By focusing on these industries which are expected to be of high growth and demand as the economy changes over the coming decades the Alliance has placed the Charlotte region in a good position to grow and gain momentum. These industries will attract interest and investment in the highlighted industries along with adjacent and support companies.

 

Financial Services/Fintech

 

The first image of Charlotte for many people is of the towers of Uptown and a city full of bankers who moved to the area from the Northeast and Midwest. Many of the largest employers in Charlotte are rooted in the financial services industry. Charlotte is seeing new players in the growing Fintech sector grow and invest in the area including AvidXchange and Lending Tree. These new companies along with the established banking community including Bank of America and Wells Fargo mean that some of the top financial services talent in the world reside in and around Charlotte.

 

Healthcare

 

The Charlotte region is increasingly being recognized regionally, nationally, and internationally as a healthcare center with access to some of the nation’s best talent and facilities. The healthcare industry in the Charlotte region is diverse and includes hospitals, research, and biotech manufacturing. With many schools offering degrees related to the healthcare industry the region boosts a strong talent pool to fill healthcare positions at companies including Novant Health and Atrium Health which are two of the region’s largest employers.

 

Information Technology

 

The technology sector is an increasingly important aspect of the Charlotte region combining the talent of transplants to the region, recent college graduates, and seasoned tech professionals. As companies increasingly seek out ways to incorporate better data into their decision-making processes tech companies are seeing some of the biggest growth among any industry. In Charlotte, the presence of some of the largest financial and healthcare companies means companies can use the innovation of established companies to work on projects. These companies are able to access the dynamic talent pool and provide innovative specialized technological services. Top area employers in the sector include consulting firms like Accenture and Deloitte and financial services companies including AvidXchange and Lending Tree.

 

Concluding Thoughts

The tourism campaign for the city of Charlotte is Charlotte’s Got A Lot which could also serve as the slogan for the economic development in this area. Charlotte and surrounding counties have a highly skilled talent pool with knowledge in a vast range of industries including financial services, healthcare, and technology/analytics. The Charlotte Regional Business Alliance works to foster and develop the relationships between company leaders, public officials, and companies interested in relocating to Charlotte to foster collaboration and showcase the vibrant and diverse economic activity across the region.

 

Reflections on Linchpin by Seth Godin

 

I recently read Linchpin by Seth Godin and have some reflections and thoughts from the book which I want to share. Godin an author, blogger, and speaker provides the tagline Are You Indispensable?

 

 

This book is a perfect read for anyone who is interested in answering this question: In the ever-evolving world how can you stand out from the crowd?

 

I will highlight one section of this book which impacted me the most and suggest anyone who is interested seek out additional information

 

The section which I want to focus on discusses the concept of the American dream and how it changes as the business world changes. On pages 32-33 of Linchpin Seth Godin proposes the concept of The New American Dream which shows how the concept of the American Dream changes as the business world adapts. The most common aspects of the American Dream include having a well-paying job, living in a good house, and living a comfortable life. This idea is a byproduct of the post-World War II industrial American culture where corporate America promised workers a good paying job and a sense of security.

 

The Old American Dream:

 

  • Keep your head down
  • Follow instructions
  • Show up on time
  • Work hard
  • Suck it up

 

This shows how work during this era was built on showing up to the office or plant, following the rules, and not making any fuss. In this world, the role of management controls the decisions within the business world and access to a better life. A successful worker specialized in a certain task or a set of tasks where they could help the organization eventually provide a finished service or product. With most of the power held by managers the employees worked and had an understanding that they would be rewarded for following orders and not striving to become innovative.

 

The Old American Dream was around during a time when the workforce was defined by company towns and low employee turnover. An agreement was usually agreed on that when workers joined a company, they would not become burdensome to the firm by raising questions and would instead follow orders and receive payment and a means for a better life. As technology and society changed and evolved the world of work and the role the employee had in the organization changed. American companies faced additional competition from foreign competitors and technology changed the roles that employees did. Now merely showing up at work was not enough and employees needed to set themselves apart. Since the workforce has changed Godin outlined a new set of skills needed to achieve the American Dream.

 

The New American Dream

 

  • Be remarkable
  • Be generous
  • Create art
  • Make judgement calls
  • Connect people and ideas

 

These skills are increasingly soft skills and can not be written in a job description. These are the skills which the Linchpins possess. The term linchpin is the new class of workers Godin proposes between management and labor who create, bring people together, and help get the idea makers from their company into the same room. To become a Linchpin an employee needs to show their employer that they can create innovative projects and work well in teams. The changes in work shows how to become a successful employee it is necessary to have strong soft skills, be a good communicator, and work well in teams.

 

Are you a linchpin?

Do you lead others even if it is not in your title?

Take some time to think about how you can become a linchpin for your organization through creating and leading those around you.

Blanq Commercial Real Estate

WIMS Client Spotlight: Blanq Commercial Real Estate

Blanq Commercial Real Estate is a commercial real estate firm specializing in buying, selling, leasing, and Property Management of commercial real estate located in Charlotte, NC, with operations across surrounding counties. They also recently expanded to the Research Triangle Park area and opened an office there.

Blanq Real Estate is focused on providing diligent work on every project from the beginning of the transaction through completion. When dealing with commercial real estate projects, Blanq takes a holistic approach to maximize the value and understand the needs of clients. Operating this way serves as a valuable asset in the real estate industry since the ability to connect with clients and understand their needs sets good commercial real estate firms apart from great firms. Blanq combines knowledge and expertise in the commercial real estate industry with a firm foundation including strategic partnerships with vendors and service providers.

Clifford Blanquicet, Jr has sold over 20 properties and executed over 70 leases over the last three years in the Charlotte Region. This expertise and diverse experience across a range of different types of real estate holdings allows Blanq to serve clients across different industries handling commercial transactions as they purchase or lease real estate.

From a financial standpoint Blanq provides services which are extremely beneficial to their clients by maximizing the value of each property managed. This is accomplished through a personalized approach where time and energy is spent to ensuring clients’ interests are aligned with the specific location of their real estate holding. The Net Operating Income (NOI) of each property Blanq manages has grown over time through a mixture of findings cost saving measures and leasing vacant spaces to maximize revenues. The ability to focus on measures to cut costs and grow revenues directly relates to the effectiveness of the Blanq team in communicating and responding to clients and strategic partners.

Blanq also offers a shared coworking space called BlanqCanvass CoWork for those looking to looking to have a professional address, professional office, and conference room to meet clients for their business? It’s located right near uptown Charlotte, offers free parking, use of conference room, craft beer and more, it’s what is needed to take your business to the next level.

Building Personal Growth and Development

The New Year is well underway and here in Charlotte the past week actually feels like winter. The warm Spring-like weather that started the year is a fleeting memory. The beginning of the year is a good time to think warm thoughts of a beach somewhere or the fact that spring is coming. It is also a good time to think about some goals and steps to make 2019 a more productive year.

I am sure many of you have seen your fair share of articles on life hacks and ways to increase productivity to make 2019 the best year of your life on social media, another blog, or an online publication. I think the best way to move through these articles is to focus on some smaller changes that can be made to improve your outlook on life, productivity, and health. I might suggest you check out “Your Future Self”, Fast Company’s series on improvements that can be made, some simple and others more time intensive to improve your life.

These articles are worth exploring since they include topics that are relevant to growth across professional and personal skills. For the entrepreneurial spirit, might I suggest reading “Your 12-month guide to building your side hustle this year” by Lindsay Tigar. Tigar uses this article to highlight some specific monthly calls to action over the next 12 months from building your side hustle. For example, January begins the year long journey with a period of Self-Assessment. The beginning of the year should serve as a time to outline and consider what exactly having a side hustle means for you and how it will affect your loved ones, taxes, and full-time job. Having a side hustle is hard work but by following some self-evaluation during the first three months of the year this will help build the foundation for a new side hustle or improve your existing strategy before heading into April and Q2 with an improved idea and the right attitude to succeed.

The final article, “How to redesign your days to give you back a few extra hours every week” by Elizabeth Grace Saunders outlines what steps to take to get more out of your time during 2019. While this sounds like a lofty concept, the steps to follow are quite simple. Saunders breaks down how to gain time into these categories quitting something, limiting something, pausing something, delegating something, adding something. I have chosen to limit my time on social media while filling that time with the addition of re-reading some of my favorite books to get a new perspective on them. I urge you to take a step back and see if there is an aspect of your life where you could add, delegate, limit, or pause tasks to make your overall week more rewarding and fulfilling.

As 2019 is already two weeks old which is hard to believe. In this New Year, taking a few minutes each day to focus on personal or professional development can reap many benefits. Instead of trying to stick to rigid resolutions see if making a few small changes will help improve your mindfulness and productivity going forward.

Reading List:

Tigar, Lindsay, “Your 12-month guide to building your side hustle this year” Fast Company. Retrieved 14 January 2019 from https://www.fastcompany.com/90279105/your-12-month-guide-to-building-your-side-hustle-this-year.  

Sounders, Elizabeth Grace, “How to redesign your days to give you back a few extra hours every week” Fast Company. Retrieved 14 January 2019 fromhttps://www.fastcompany.com/90280742/how-to-redesign-your-days-to-give-you-back-a-few-extra-hours-every-week.

“Your Future Self” Fast Company. Retrieved 14 January 2019 from https://www.fastcompany.com/section/your-future-self.

-Craig Oliver

WIMS, Inc.

2019 Perspectives

I might be a little late to the game, but I want to start off and wish everyone a Happy New Year! By now most of you will be back to work after what I am sure was some much-needed time with family and friends. Instead of the typical Resolutions or Trends for 2019 I want to share something different with you. A look at some perspectives of what will happen over the next 12-months with a focus on events ranging from local developments with an impact on the Charlotte area to national factors.

Instead of making predictions I want to outline a few important issues which I think will generate news throughout the year and define the year for countless households. These topics are by no means definitive and I think it will be interesting for me to look back at the end of the year to see how this post holds up after a year. Some of these includes events that will create economic impact in Charlotte including the hosting of the NBA All-Star Game. Financial topics are sure to be discussed often and I see student loans as a topic which will continue to impact the purchasing power and economic decisions of millions of Americans.

This is first year that I can remember when I will not be in a traditional classroom. After years of having classes through the winter months and spring I am now entrenched in the working world where January begins an exciting new year. In this aspect it is like how September begins a new and exciting chapter for students and teacher alike. My friends from college have graduated and are either continuing their education and working in research labs or beginning their careers. Not everyone has successfully found a career that uses their degrees and college skills.

The news shares many stories of how as the economy has grown many have been forced to work multiple part time jobs to make ends meet. A great deal of time, discussions, and stress is placed on how to payoff student loans among friends. Education is well worth the investment, but I do see some people left behind suffering from the student loans burden and stuck in situations where they face an uphill battle. I will leave the issue of student loans with the following question: Will this be the year when students loans take more of the headlines like the housing bubble did in 2008?

I want to continue with some trends that I think will be greatly talked about from the media to boardroom from a national perspective. One trend which I have increasingly seen is that people are taking a break from social media to start the year off with a different perspective and away from the clutter and mess of social media. I myself have decided to use social media less this year and allocate some of the time I would spend online away from screens and instead read. This brings up privacy and data security, issues which are increasingly important as 2018 progressed and I can only imagine will stay important into 2019. I will be interested in seeing how tech companies’ stocks will perform into 2019 and what this will mean for the stock market. No market predictions on my end but I imagine investors are in store for another roller coaster ride of a wild year. Some other terms that I think will continue to be in the lexicon include sports betting, increasing marketing for Generation Z, and digital detoxes.

I want to highlight a few local topics from the Charlotte area. Basketball is big in North Carolina and the NBA All-Star game is coming next month with expectations of economic impact that could cross $100 Million. While North Carolina lost out on Amazon to suburbs of Washington, D.C. and New York other important economic news made headlines to end 2018 including IBM’s purchase of Raleigh based Red Hat. November also saw news in Charlotte when Honeywell announced moving its world headquarters from New Jersey to Charlotte which will eventually create 750 jobs. Charlotte is a great city to build and grow a company landing on Inc’s 50 Best Places to Start a Company at 22 with an emphasis on fintech growth.

I believe that companies will continue to invest in the Charlotte area as building projects through Uptown Charlotte and across the region continue to show the robust economy from new building to the continued need to build affordable housing for all the new employees moving into the area. Charlotte has a chance to show its new design to the world during the All-Star game and this year will see continued development and investment centered in Uptown Charlotte. Like across the country growth is focusing on major metro areas with access to universities and transportation which I believe will shape future investment in 2019 and beyond.

Growth and volatility are not often said in the same sentence but those are two words which I think are two words which will shape the next 12-months. Issues that have been under the surface for years will continue to impact the purchasing power of Americans including student loans and greater need for affordable housing. At the same time growth at companies and investment in education will continue across Charlotte and the nation. As privacy concerns continue Americans will decide to take control of their data which is one of the most marketable and valuable pieces of information they hold. The place social media has in our culture will likely be shaped by how it is used throughout the year.

WIMS Client Spotlight: IntellyDoc (AI Contract Management/Automation for Lawyers)

Meet IntellyDoc (website/platform is going live this week): The platform designed specifically for lawyers that serves all your end-to-end contract management needs, and will soon leverage artificial intelligence (AI) technology as well. IntellyDoc easily solves every lawyer’s greatest problem – time management.

You can manage your contracts – from start to finish – without having to leave the IntellyDoc platform. IntellyDoc empowers you to leverage and take back the greatest commodity in the practice of law – your time. Which means you’ll draft contracts, automate document review and approvals (including e-signature functionality), gain critical insight with contract analytics, and close deals faster and more efficiently than ever before.

On the IntellyDoc platform, you get access to the following powerful capabilities:

  1. Smart Contract Template Design
  2. Automated Contract Review
  3. Custom Workflows
  4. Collaboration
  5. E-Signatures
  6. Data Analytics/Reporting and Extraction

The Real Benefits of IntellyDoc:

  • Less email tra­ffic
  • Less legal grid-lock and pressure
  • Less time in the weeds
  • More time to practice high value, meaningful work
  • More efficient workflows
  • More metrics to inform decisions & ensure compliance.

Here’s how it works:

  • Create, review, negotiate, execute, and store a document without leaving the cloud-based platform.
  • The built-in, smart workflows automate document review and approval, enhancing speed and accuracy of your workload.
  • Collaborate securely within the platform to edit and track changes, manage several versions of documents, and execute documents with electronic signatures.
  • Gain powerful insight into your contract repository with real-time reporting and analytics.

Why it works:

  • Our simple set up with on-going, hands-on support means zero installation rigmarole but on-boarding training support is here, if needed.
  • The platform supports various file types you interact with daily on Macs or PCs including: doc, docx, and pdf.
  • The secure and compliant cloud-based approach delivers metrics and transparency.

The website is being finalized this week, but if you’re interested in learning more about the platform, please email sales@intellydoc.com or click here to schedule your demo today.