Project managers are expected to be many things: proven leaders and consultants on industry trends, knowledgeable about world and economic conditions, even experts on technology and procurement. It is critical to prove your worth, or return on investment (ROI) that you and your department delivers to the organization.

Management often looks for advice on whether airport security is really secure, for example, before sending out the entire sales force. And executives look to project managers to scrutinize content and ensure that it meets their objectives for the meeting.

Fulfilling all those expectations takes more than mere knowledge. I have summed up a few of my techniques that you can use to demonstrate your skill in these areas — and your value in these uncertain times.

Communicate with members of senior management on a regular basis01c2fb95e6ad78ff0c7740ef5fe86e642a-main-article-6638

Under pressure, the immediate knee-jerk reaction is to cancel or postpone meetings, in spite of the penalties and fees. It’s your job to address the two real problems — fear and security — and to keep management apprised of how you’re doing that. If security is a concern, initiate a discussion of the various ways to provide a safe environment. Play out different scenarios and come up with contingency plans, or consult with a security expert.

Keep meeting content fresh

Or, take that thought a step further and volunteer to lead a brainstorming session on what suggested content changes would sound like or look like. This strategy will position you as a consulting resource with your finger on the pulse of your industry.

Develop new strategies for routine events

For example, recommend a multi-city product launch at several smaller venues instead of a single location. This can provide a greater sense of security and, possibly, eliminate some cancellations. It will also demonstrate your flexibility and your ability to adjust to change

Stay on top of new technology

Become the expert on the alternatives face-to-face meetings. Provide a cost analysis of videoconferencing versus cancellation fees, for example.

Be proactive about changes within your department

Rather than wait and see if people will lose their jobs because of the sluggish economy, initiate a conversation with senior management about budget adjustments and possible consolidation. You will be viewed as a leader who is able to adjust quickly to changing market conditions.

Remember to continually prove your worth and demonstrate your value to the organization — or you will be left behind.

Michele Wierzgac, MSEd, speaker and author, promises that you will leave her solution-driven keynotes and workshops with at least one passionate, life transforming, leadership tool – something that will change the way you seek out a solution and practically apply it without getting stuck.

Email Michele at or give her a call at (708) 710-7055!