Guest post by Mike Clayton (author of Smart to Wise).
What is the difference between smart and wise?
I believe we all know smart when it is presented to us. I will be honest and say that most, if not all, of the PM Student readers are smart. Smart people can get things done. You will be able to sense the direction of the wind and will want to invest in future opportunities.
One word that is often used in conjunction with?smart?” is?savvy? Is?savvy?. Savvy is derived from the French verb “savoir?” It means?to be knowledgeable?. If you are smart and savvy, you will know stuff. That’s great. But how do you make use of that knowledge?
Smart to Wise defines wisdom as:
The ability to use your knowledge well
This is a great asset for project managers. I also identify seven pillars on which wisdom is built. This blog will summarize one way each applies to project management.
Self-mastery is about knowing what you want so that you can concentrate on it. This should be easy for any smart PM to grasp. However, it is also important to be able practice detachment. This does not mean that you should be a laissez-faire, don’t-care attitude towards your project. This would be disengagement.
You should not become emotionally involved in your project to the point that you lose your objectivity. Worse, if you get too attached to your project, you run the risk of losing your self-respect. So that you can see your project as an intimate reflection about yourself, and if it succeeds, you can also see it as a learning opportunity.
Personal resilience is a key skill at the highest levels of project management. It makes the difference between a competent project manager or an exceptional leader.
It is essential to be able to use all your senses to evaluate the evidence in front of you. Project managers are immersed in a sea o of opinions, data, and personalities. When you can synthesize all of this into an accurate assessment and an insightful forecast of the future, people will turn to you for guidance and advice.
This is a part of what you already have if you are a PM Student. It is the drive to learn, grow, and develop. Too many PMs settle in to a PM role after passing their exams and then stop learning. They are project managers, so they are too busy.
The harvest metaphor is however instructive. If you harvest, but don’t fertilise or sow until later in the year then the soil will soon become dry. You must never stop learning as a PM. You must learn from outside the project management discipline. True wisdom requires a wide range of ideas and inspiration. This includes the arts, science, and modern culture.
You will spend a lot of time as a project manager in front of your team, representing your client or organisation to others. What is more important than the conduct you set for your team and instil in others? ?
In any field of life, good judgement is essential. If your job involves making decisions or advising others (as PMs do), then critical thinking skills are a must. However, PMs are particularly skilled in forecasting, which is a key area of judgment.
Wisdom is the ability to use your experience and evidence to create a solid plan that is rooted in rational assumptions, based on care.