In the wake of the school shooting tragedy in Newtown, CT this past week, many people are asking the question “What can I do to help?”  Many have answered that question by providing direct assistance to the town in the form of food or services.  But many others who are too far away to help directly feel the need to get involved either in the specific situation in Newtown or the larger debate on what can be done to avert future tragedies of this type. 

To lend a little assistance to all my project followers on this subject, I would like to revisit just how I started this blog in January 2010.  I wanted to share with the “project community” some of my insights gained from at least fifteeen years working in PMO and Project Office type environments.  The experiences I gained working with very capable and innovative project managers and PMO staff, I believed, would provide some great direction for those in the project community who were seeking answers to personal questions about project management.  I realized that everyone at some time is seeking “advice” from knowledgeable sources of information in specific subjects or disciplines.  That is just a fact of life.

Encouraged by my daughter, I decided to write a blog on PMO structure, activity, behavior, development and performance.  I needed a “name” or a “byline” to give it some authenticity.  My daughter suggested that I call it “MEL BOST PMO EXPERT.”  Although at firest I was a little concerned about the word “EXPERT,” some thought an conversations with others in the project community led me to realize that I was truly an “EXPERT” in certain specific PMO situations and scenarios.  That is not to say that I knew everything about a specific subject or how to react to specific actions and behavior of project managers, it was intended to provide those in the project community with some “trusting” advice about their very own lives as project managers.

Now, step back for a moment and realize that you too are an “EXPERT” in some specific scenarios you have lived through or have witnessed others reacting to in their own “communities of practice.”  Everyone is an EXPERT in some subject.

When you ask yourself the question “What can I do to enrich the discussion or questions about life experiences?” know that you are an EXPERT and can provide meaningful insights that others will value.  The “trust” they have in your advice will be built over time as you continue to step forward to offer more answers to questions.  Your insights will gain acceptance by a broader group of acquaintances as you continue to offer your EXPERT opinion.

In the weeks following the Newtown, CT incident, several former military personnel who had served in the Marines and Army stepped forward and volunteered their services to stand guard at elementary schools and offer a sense of PROTECTION and WELL BEING to the school environment.  In a sense, they were answering that question internally “What can I do?”  They were showing their EXPERTISE in PROTECTION which no one expected but everyone was grateful for.  In the face of an environment where people were all seeking answers and advice and individual expertise, they volunteered as EXPERTS.

Don’t hesitate to start this process today.  The quicker you get positive feedback from taking this action, the more you will feel involved in helping others cope with human experiences.  It’s your opportunity to give back and to say “Here is what I can help with.”

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