I recently returned from the PMI EMEA Global Congress held in Istanbul where I gave a presentation entitled “Fourteen Project Leadership Skills to Boost Your Career.” It was very well attended: SRO (standing room only), indicating that project managers are really interesting in improving those highly valued leadership skills. I presented the results of a research project that Nancy Nee , one of my colleagues at ESI and Agile expert, conducted over the period of roughly 18 months in which we spoke with upwards of 30 of our strategic clients regarding their need for developing leadership skills for their project and program managers. In my presentation, I spoke about the inexorable trend toward online learning and the rise of the MOOC (massive open online courses) as alternatives to instructor led training. I informed the participants of how Virginia Rometty , CEO of IBM, encouraged her employees to take 40 hours of continuing education in 2013, at their own expense (IBM would pay for books, etc), and how one individual decided to take a MOOC because it was free. As part of my conversation, I asked the group this question: “Can you really learn project leadership skills online?” Because I had about 200 people in attendance, there wasn’t time for a robust conversation so I just had them vote. I gave them three options: Yes, No, or, Maybe. I asked them to raise their hands for each option.Read More
Psychologists and learning professionals have an interesting term they use for when things are, in my view, “out of whack.” They call it cognitive dissonance. Here’s an example. You’re in a conversation with your “better half” and say something that angers him or her. You recognize their anger and say ”don’t be mad.” They look you square in the eye and yell “I’M NOT MAD”! Of course they are but they don’t really see it that way. That’s cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance at work Organizations are like that when it comes to training project managers.Read More
The next time you’re in a meeting look around and notice how many people are either blatantly, or surreptitiously, checking their smart phones, tablets, or laptops rather than paying attention to what’s going on around them. Chances are it’ll be about 50% or more. Now, some people pride themselves on their ability to multitask. But we know that’s hogwash. The brain is a linear machine; it can only do one thing at a time. If it’s doing X it can’t be doing Y.Read More
Ivar Kroghrud of QuestBack I just read an interesting article in the New York Times Sunday Business section dated March 30, 2013. It was an interview with an executive who has a very interesting, and seemingly effective, way for his employees to get to know and interact with him without the need to “figure him out.” We all know how that goes don’t we? We start a new job, or are assigned to a new team, and then we spend a lot of time trying to figure out who the new boss or project manager is and how we should deal with her. What are her likes, dislikes, quirks, and so forth. What type of communications style does she have? Can I be honest, or do I have to tip toe around issues as if I’m walking on egg shells or dancing on pins and needles? Well, Ivar Kroghrud , the lead strategist QuestBack , thinks that’s a waste of time.Read More
Does your project team know how the project aligns to organizational strategy? Does it really matter?
There’s an old story that goes like this. A man was walking through a stone yard where three men were hammering and breaking large stones into certain shapes. When he asked the first stone cutter what he was doing he replied “I’m busting rocks.” When he asked the second, he said “I’m creating a stone block.” And, when he asked the third, the man said “I’m building a cathedral.” (By the way, if you were to ask members of your project team, or other key stakeholders, what the purpose of the project was, what would be their reply? I bet you’d receive a range along the lines of the three stone cutters above.) Here, we have three different perspectives of the same job. Is the third man better off? Is the organization better off because he sees the “bigger picture”?Read More