PMI sat down with the host of VES, Tamron Hall, a U.S. broadcast journalist and Emmy Award-winning talk show host who shared her thoughts about her own projects and inspirations.
PMI: What is the most challenging project you have worked on?
Hall: My most recent experience—and I think I would qualify it as my most challenging—is launching a daytime talk show. For 27 years, I was a journalist and I worked for networks. I was under the umbrella of the news division and under the umbrella of the network. Once I launched my own talk show, in which I am a partner of a major company like Disney, that I would say qualifies as my most intense, yet most rewarding experience as a project manager.
As we speak, I am managing a mini-television studio in my home, something that I never expected, leaving—just a few months ago—a studio occupied by 250 audience members and around 300–400 employees who did—and do—everything that I am trying to do in this room. And obviously they do it far better.
PMI: It sounds like what you're saying is that project management is about adaptability.
Hall: I think adaptability is what's key for all of us at this point if we're going to thrive and survive. I feel very confident that we all will, despite the unknown variables before us. It is a challenge, clearly, when you are attempting to adapt to a moving target. Nevertheless, it's a challenge we are all up for, because I do believe we know that, at some point, this crisis that we're facing will end. How will this make us better? How will it make the project that we are working on currently—and those in the future—better, more valuable and more rewarding in the end?
PMI: What's a key lesson you learned while working on your talk show?
Hall: One of the key lessons I've learned is the responsibility of leading a project: the number of things that never crossed my mind that would fall into my lap. I'm happy to have those challenges, but nevertheless, these are things that I didn't necessarily know would be a part of this journey when I launched the show. It took three years to create the idea, to bring it all to television, but the ongoing maintenance of it is the daily challenge. But again, a rewarding challenge.
PMI: What's a piece of advice to help the project management community manage projects better?
Hall: Never believe that someone is doing better than you. I think that a lot of times we believe that someone else has the secret sauce or that they have the answer. We're all navigating this space. We all have uncertainty. We all doubt whether or not our project—or the thing that we've been pouring our heart and soul into—will pay off. And, yes, seek the counsel, advice and knowledge of others, but never feel that your idea, your vision, your ability to adapt is less than the other person's. We're all trying to navigate this.
PMI: Do you have an idea for a dream project that you would love to assemble a team around and make reality?
Hall: I have an idea regarding my journey as a parent. I would love to launch a lifestyle project surrounding moms with boys. I never imagined I would have a little boy. I never imagined I’d have a child, to be quite honest with you. I'm a girly girl. I thought I'd have a daughter, and I’d visualize what her room would look like, and how she would dress, and all of these elements that I would pour into her. And yes, all of these things I will pour into my son. But there are interesting things from my perspective as a woman that I did not expect—that I'm adapting to having this young growing boy in my home. I wanted to create—and I want to create—some type of forum and lifestyle spot for moms like me.
PMI: What is your one word to describe how you’re feeling right now?
Hall: One word I feel describes my life today, and how I feel today, is unbreakable. I am determined to not allow the things around me to break me: the challenges of parenting, the challenges of reformulating this daytime talk show that was supposed to be in this huge studio not very far from where I am. That doesn't mean I can't be shaken. That doesn't mean I can't worry. But I am determined to be unbreakable.