David McGimpsey has a vast experience of 25 years in the business community, having worked with teams in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, US, UK, China, and South Africa. Now, David is currently in Japan where he manages multi-cultural teams of administrative staff, facilitators and trainers.
He’s also worked in funds and banking management, marketing, software development, and business analysis, including project management, operations and staff management and training people for their future endeavours.
We’re lucky enough to have him on board for Branex LLC, so let’s get his interview started.
Question No. 1: David, it was amazing to see you helping people out, training them and managing them. It is such a difficult task, but how do you manage your day-to-day tasks ?
Answer: There is always more work than time in a working day. What gets me going is my love of training. Regardless of how much work I have to get through, I’m always going to be able to get some training done. Outside of training, I just prioritize a to-do list each day (which I adjust during the day). I’ve got a really good team who can help me in hectic hours.
Question No. 2: 25 years is a long time span. You must have learned and taught a lot, but i want to know who are the people in business community who helped you grow in this field?
Answer: The people who helped me grow are the people who trusted me the most. Without mentioning any names: one of my first jobs involved managing people and infrastructure across countries. I was really young at the time, but my boss and the people around me just trusted me which helped me rise to the occasion.
Question No. 3: You have worked all around the world. What were the communication challenges you usually faced during your project?
Answer: The biggest communication challenge centers on our diversity as humans. Effective communication for one person is confounding for another. Over the last 25 or so years, I’ve found that the most important thing for any business is to communicate clearly and often. Whether you are dealing with internal or external customers, it is important to set and re-set clear expectations.
Question No. 4: Every public speaker has a style, we wanna ask which communication style do you take up with your team?
Answer: Straight-forward and honest. Whether you are speaking from stage or vis-à-vis, people appreciate direct and honest communication. It’s also important to constantly ensure that expectations are clear.
Question No. 5: Working with teams from different parts of the world, having different opinion, views and cultures, what are some of the tools and resources you’ve used to develop your team?
Answer: Something that I’ll never stop working on are my listening and observational skills. Listening, asking questions, and observing are the things most likely to build a strong bond within a team.
Question No. 6: You have worked a lot. What was your most challenging project, and how did you tackle it?
Answer: Pushing back on a project that was doomed to fail. Having worked in many different companies, I’ve been in touch with many different management styles. The worst management style is “directive without context”. What I mean by that is that management makes decisions, and forces implementation, without all the information and facts in hand. When you are given a project within this kind of management style, it’s often a project that won’t succeed and will stain your reputation. In this case, communication and expectation setting becomes vital. Also keeping copious notes and records of all meetings and conversations helps a lot.
Question No. 7: Sometimes, one faces uncertainty during projects, If the project is not adhering to schedule, how do you get it back on track?
Answer: This is where communication and expectations come in. No matter who you are talking to on the project team, the client, sponsor, etc. it’s important to constantly set and re-set expectations. Projects often go off track because of misaligned expectations leading to scope creep. Setting expectations with all stakeholders allows you to extend the deadline, or get the most important parts of a project completed by the deadline. The project manager’s job should primarily be about communication and being the link between all stakeholders.
Question No. 8: Since you’re currently training in Japan with Presentation Blogger and Presentation X Factor, please share some of your experiences working in Japan.
Answer: Japan is a very different country to work in because it has remained largely homogeneous, leading to a strong culture. As a result, what would be business “norms” in other countries are not considered such in Japan. This leads to different experiences in the training room. An easy example to illustrate this is in meetings. In many countries, meetings are where issues are dissected in an attempt to reach consensus on what should be done about those problems. In Japan, business people have a concept of nemawashi. This is a series of pre-meetings prior to the main meeting where people are met with individually to get agreement on the main meeting’s conclusion because the chairperson/facilitator has already reached a conclusion. During the main meeting, the issue is discussed again but everyone knows what the conclusion will be because of their individual pre-meeting.
For many people coming into Japan, nemawashi is a difficult concept to understand, but there can be some benefits to an adjusted version of nemawashi for project management. Projectmanagement.com members can watch my webinar presentation on this topic here:
Question No. 9: As you know, a business can not survive without being perfectly managed. Branex gives business Digital marketing solutions and many other services related to online sustainability including Apps and Web development. At what scale do you think it is important, and how Branex can be of their benefit?
Answer: Branex is important for everyone, be it a one-person operation or a large business. One of the most important parts of any business is being able to turn new apps, websites, or campaigns quickly around. Most business operations can’t turnaround projects quickly enough to meet the market, so Branex offers a perfect alternative to completing these projects in-house.
David McGimpsey is a communication skills trainer, project manager, and computer programmer. He specializes in coaching business people to deliver compelling presentations which sell, persuade, and entertain. David lives in Osaka, Japan. His blog can be found at presentationblogger.com along with his online presentation skills course. David’s book Master Public Speaking is available on Amazon now.