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  • Writer's pictureAnn Chow

Happy Endings: Ann's first blog post

I'm starting with the ending.

I know it's a trite trick we see in Hollywood plotlines.

However, as a Project Manager, it seems an appropriate starting point for my blogging life.

When I'm approached for my Event/Conference and Project Management expertise, I often sense anxious feelings over the big looming question: "Where do we start?"

This question was, in fact, one that loomed over my own head in considering my new website launch this month.

And it's a question that warrants some attention, so I'm dedicating my first blog series, Where Do We Start? to 5 posts addressing 5 strategic starting points for projects.

Who's in charge here?

What's the time?

What do we have? What do we need?

The question of purpose.

The ends.

A broad stroke that immediately pays dividends for stakeholders is to take a breath, and a step back, and ask "What endsdo we hope to achieve with this project?". Simple as it is, it's one of those simple course-correcting questions that can help you break down a daunting task into more manageable components.

I was enormously gratified to work on one project with a large international non-profit organization with autonomous members in 160+ countries. Two years prior, they had asked their members what they needed to strengthen their organizations in the future. One specific response kept coming up: they required more and consistent training of their board of directors and staff. The answer was clear, which helped keep their purposes and goals in mind as they developed the project.

It took two years, but surveys were completed at every level of the organization, funding was acquired and administrative structures were built to carry out a project to train sixty of their member organizations over a three-year period, with the goal of long-term impact at the highest levels. Trainers from every region of the world were selected who were senior in the organization, had strong relationships and trust with each organization, understood the cultural context of their work, and spoke their language.

I was hired to coordinate the project since I already understood the culture and values of the organization and already considered the trainers as friends. We brought the trainers together to be trained in board governance, set to work adapting the material to our organization, ensured it would be easily understood by an international audience, and translated the materials into 4 languages.

By the time the announcement went out that we were ready to launch, we received fifty requests from around the world for training in our first three months! The overwhelming response was confirmation that we were on the right track, which motivated us to keep going. Since then, fourteen more trainers have been trained and the total number of boards of directors to be trained has been vastly increased. I'm still inspired by the long-term effects of this project and how it was developed.

I'd love to hear the happy endings you've achieved, or dream of achieving.

Add them to the comments, or use my contact form to let me know the happy ending you'd like me to help you "write"!

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