Uncovering Hidden Gems; A Valuable Hobby for a PMO

A friend of mine, I met in Monroe Michigan had a hobby of collecting “hidden treasures” as he would call it.  He had all sorts of metal detectors and makes it a habit to daily go out and search.  You would be amazed at the stuff he finds.  A PMO should build a similar hobby but uncover another kind of hidden gems; the humankind.

The world is full of them; hidden gems.  I am using this metaphorically, to represent unknown people who have a lot to offer humanity and a lot to teach us about the world and ourselves.  For a PMO, finding these hidden gems can mean better performance, project success, growth and learning for the organization and all involved.

As a PMO responsible for staffing projects, you have two choices: either run after the resources that everybody is running after, which will cost you lots of money and heartache, or find your own hidden gems that nobody is pursuing, not because they are not good, but because others are not so good at finding them.  I think a combination of both is necessary, but if you do not know how to collect hidden gems, you miss half of your chances of recruiting stars for your project teams.

To be able to recruit gems there are places to start searching.  First, look for people who do not represent themselves well.  Most will dismiss them.  You, on the other hand, can make it a habit to spot interesting phrases, styles, demeanors that signal to you that something interesting can come from this person.

Another good place to catch gems is university fresh graduates.  I love finding and hiring top of their class from selected universities.  However, they might not be the only way to get the best new blood for the company.  Some, for one reason or the other, have a lot of potentials but did not achieve a high GPA.  Again, learn to find things in the CV that signal you to interview this person and find out more.

The third place to find gems is by finding people who fit a very specific function.  Now, in general, I like people who are multi-talented and can perform different roles and functions.  However, once in a while you come across someone who is wonderful at only one thing and terrible in everything else.  If you have a need for that one thing, it is your chance to get excellence.

The most important rule in uncovering gems is to always be on the lookout for them.  Make it a habit to always keep an eye for them.  Do not look for them when you are in need of their resources fast.  It is hard to spot them in the rush.  Instead, make it a discipline to always be on the lookout and make time to regularly interview people you feel might fit the bill.

Finally, you can do this in your personal life not only at work.  Some of the people who touched my life the most came from those unassuming individuals.  The benefits of finding these gems include personal learning and fulfillment.  Part of it comes from helping someone achieve their potential but to be honest the more fulfilling part is learning more about yourself and people and life from these gems.

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