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Monday, April 27, 2009

Relationships in Project Management

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” —Dale Carnegie

Friday, April 24, 2009

100ft. = 100 miles or 30.48 meters = 160.9 kilometers

In one of Tom Peter's many free presentations on his website he had the following quote from his book "In Search of Excellence".

I found the quote in regards to communication distances troubling, but true.

Tom's quote goes:

"It was the only chart we used in In Search of Excellence! It arrived courtesy of the research by Tom Allen and his colleagues at MIT. Studying communication patterns, they discovered that people more than a hundred feet apart might as well, in terms of communication frequency, be 100 miles apart!. Internet or no Internet (these days), that is nothing short of … stunning! And the implications are nothing short of profound!"

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Heart of Business Strategy - Tom Peters

Tom's wisdom is awesome. Find lots more at his website

The post below was taken from a document Tom wrote called the Heart of Strategy.

Start Tom's Message below:

"We usually think of business strategy as some sort of aspirational market positioning statement. Doubtless that’s part of it. But I believe that the number one "strategic strength" is excellence in execution and systemic relationships (i.e., with everyone we come in contact with). Hence I offer the following 48 pieces of advice in creating a winning strategic that is inherently sustainable*:

"Thank you." Minimum several times a day. Measure it.

"Thank you" to everyone even peripherally involved in some activity—especially those
"deep in the hierarchy."

Smile. Work on it.

Apologize. Even if "they" are "mostly" to blame.

Jump all over those who play the "blame game."

Hire enthusiasm.

Low enthusiasm. No hire. Any job.

Hire optimists. Everywhere. ("Positive outlook on life," not mindless optimism.)

Hiring: Would you like to go to lunch with him-her. 100% of jobs.

Hire for good manners.

Do not reject "trouble makers"—that is those who are uncomfortable with the status quo.

Expose all would-be hires to something unexpected-weird. Observe their reaction.

Overwhelm response to even the smallest screw-ups.

Become a student of all you will meet with. Big time.

Hang out with interesting new people. Measure it.

Lunch with folks in other functions. Measure it.

Listen. Hear. Become a serious student of listening-hearing.

Work on everyone’s listening skills. Practice.

Become a student of information extraction-interviewing.

Become a student of presentation giving. Formal. Short and spontaneous.

Incredible care in 1st line supervisor selection.

World’s best training for 1st line supervisors.

Construct small leadership opportunities for junior people within days of starting on the job.

Insane care in all promotion decisions.

Promote "people people" for all managerial jobs. Finance-logistics-R and D as much as, say, sales.

Hire-promote for demonstrated curiosity. Check their past commitment to continuous

Small “d” diversity. Rich mixes for any and all teams.

Hire women. Roughly 50% women on exec team.

Exec team “looks like” customer population, actual and desired.

Focus on creating products for and selling to women.

Focus on creating products for and selling to boomers-geezers.

Work on first and last impressions.

Walls display tomorrow’s aspirations, not yesterday’s accomplishments.

Simplify systems. Constantly.

Insist that almost all material be covered by a 1-page summary. Absolutely no longer.

Practice decency.

Add “We are thoughtful in all we do” to corporate values list. Number 1 force for
customer loyalty, employee satisfaction.

Make some form of employee growth (for all) a formal part of values set.
customer satisfaction. Steal from RE/MAX: “We are a life success company.”

Celebrate “small wins.” Often. Perhaps a “small win of the day.”

Manage your calendar religiously: Does it accurately reflect your espoused priorities?

Use a “calendar friend” who’s not very friendly to help you with this.

Review your calendar: Work assiduously and mercilessly on your “To don’ts.”—stuff
that distracts.

Bosses, especially near the top: Formally cultivate one advisor whose role is to tell you the truth.

Commit to Excellence.

Talk up Excellence.

Put “Excellence in all we do” in the values set.

Measure everyone on demonstrated commitment to Excellence.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Stuff I Really Believe!

“The deepest human need is the need to be appreciated.” — William James

“What creates trust, in the end, is the leader’s manifest respect for the
followers.” — Jim O’Toole, Leading Change

“The most successful people are those who are good at plan B.” — James Yorke,
mathematician, on chaos theory in The New Scientist

“People want to be part of something larger than themselves. They want to be
part of something they’re really proud of, that they’ll fight for, sacrifice for, that they trust.” — Howard Schultz, Starbucks

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” — Charles Darwin

“If things seem under control, you’re just not going fast enough.” — Mario Andretti

“We have a ‘strategic’ plan. It’s called doing things.” — Herb Kelleher, founder, Southwest Airlines

“I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living, or get busy
dying.” — The Shawshank Redemption (Tim Robbins)

“Nothing is so contagious as enthusiasm.” — Samuel Taylor Coleridge

“A man without a smiling face must not open a shop.” — Chinese Proverb


"Leadership is all about love...


Appetite for Life,
Great Causes & Determination to Make a Damn Difference,
Commitment to Excellence,
Shared Adventures,
Bizarre Failures,
Growth Beyond Measure,
Insatiable Appetite for Change" - Tom Peters

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Is Project Management a Profession? - Not Again!

What is your opinion? I believe that project management is a profession, however I have met many "project managers" that don't have a clue about project management and aren't very professional.

The following story comes from

"Is project management a profession? The experts in the matter of establishing conditions for a profession say no. Why? Most of it has to do with the accumulation and study of theory. I've been on the fence about whether or not we should seek professional status for project managers. I'm married to a registered nurse. Her brother is a registered engineer. My cousin is a licensed physician. One son is finishing his law degree so he can sit for the Bar while the other is studying for the landscape architect's exam. I know what these people have done to become professionals. It's time that project managers do the same.

Click here for the rest of the story...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Weekend News - 1.75 Trillion Dollar US Deficit for 2009

The Treasury Department said Friday that the budget deficit increased by $192.3 billion in March, and is near $1 trillion just halfway through the budget year, as costs of the financial bailout and recession mount.

Last month’s deficit, a record for March, was significantly higher than the $150 billion that economists expected.

The deficit already totals $956.8 billion for the first six months of the budget year, also a record for that period. The Obama administration projects the deficit for the entire year will hit $1.75 trillion.

A deficit at that level would nearly quadruple the previous annual record of $454.8 billion set last year. The March deficit was nearly four times the size of the imbalance in the same month last year.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated last month that President Barack Obama’s budget proposals would produce $9.3 trillion in deficits over the next decade, a figure $2.3 trillion higher than estimates made in February in the administration’s first budget proposal.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Ugly Power

Power changes people. It changes people’s attitudes about themselves, and how they feel about others. POWER CHANGES PEOPLE!

The ugly side of power gives the powerful a distorted opinion of themselves and contempt for others. The ugly (powerful) leader continually seeks and requires the approval of his/her subordinates, but over time the ugly leader finds flaws with these same people because they don’t share the same level of power.

The ugly leader likes to blur the line between their successes and the organization’s successes. They often take credit for successes that aren’t their own. They rarely give credit to others. They sometimes use the word “we”, but they find it tedious and annoying to do so. They find fault with the successes of others since they weren’t involved. They are masters are creating spin (positive for them, negative for others).

Great leaders love people and use things. Ugly leaders love things and use people. Ugly leaders are bad listeners, are intellectually dishonest, and often use their power for corrupt or unethical purposes. They love to communicate using jargon and techno-babble. They are rarely personally accountable for failure and almost always responsible for success. They have few close personal relationships (that last) and are usually held in low regard throughout the organizations they represent. They are often smart, but small minded. They are rarely available, often invisible, and pathologically self-centered.

Ugly leaders are everywhere, and they behavior is a cancer that can kill an organization’s/team’s spirit.

Ugly leaders surround themselves with yes men/women. These “supporters” love to reinforce the ugly leader’s self-delusionary perceptions. They filter out bad news which causes the ugly leader to lose touch with reality. Ugly leaders require praise from their followers, but over time the ugly leader devalues the feedback because it comes from people that are inferior. Over time they come to love the praise, but have contempt for the praise giver.

Ugly leaders are blinded by power and usually don’t realize they are caught in the throws of ugliness. Their egos, unethical behavior, and delusions are easy to spot by everyone but themselves. They are pathetic, but often a curiosity.

Ugliness can be overcome, but it takes the ugly leader to conduct an honest self-appraisal and seek out the opinions of those leaders that are held in high regard. They then must take this feedback and act on it. This rarely happens because of ego.

Power by itself is not good, bad, or ugly, but ugly power almost always corrupts. Remember Lord Acton’s quote, “All power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Quotes to Ponder

In this economy we need to think differently. Here are some quotes to ponder.
Our business needs a massive transfusion of talent, and talent, I believe, is most likely to be found among non-conformists, dissenters and rebels.”—David Ogilvy
"The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible.”—David Ogilvy

“The Bottleneck Is at the Top of the Bottle” - “Where are you likely to find people with the least diversity of experience, the largest investment in the past, and the greatest reverence for industry dogma: At the top!” — Gary Hamel/Harvard Business Review

“Diverse groups of problem solvers—groups of people with diverse tools—consistently outperformed groups of the best and the brightest. If I formed two groups, one random (and therefore diverse) and one consisting of the best individual performers, the first group almost always did better. … Diversity trumped ability.” —Scott Page, The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies Diversity

The short road to ruin is to emulate the methods of your adversary.” — Winston Churchill

“Beware of the tyranny of making Small Changes to Small Things. Rather, make Big Changes to Big Things.” —Roger Enrico, former Chairman, PepsiCo
Kevin Roberts’ Credo
1. Ready. Fire! Aim.
2. If it ain’t broke ... Break it!
3. Hire crazies.
4. Ask dumb questions.
5. Pursue failure.
6. Lead, follow ... or get out of the way!
7. Spread confusion.
8. Ditch your office.
9. Read odd stuff.
10. Avoid moderation!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Weekend Diversion - Is the "Depression" Over?

I like Jim Cramer, and he certainly is a smart guy.  But I wonder if we were/are in a depression?  If so, is it really over?

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Project Management Paradox

In Tom Peter's book "Liberation Management", (Peters, Tom. Liberation Management. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1992) he talks about the paradoxes of project management. In the book Tom outlines a few things we need to keep in mind when managing our projects.

Total Ego versus No Ego - On the one hand, project managers must be consumed by the project before them. On the other hand, they must have almost no ego. They deal with many outsiders and insiders whom they can hardly command. This means the project manager must take a smaller share of the credit for accomplishments and give a larger share of the credit to other participants.

Autocrat versus Delegator - When the chips are down, the project manager must issue orders fast. At the same time, the project managers must turn ownership over to the contributors.

Leader versus Manager - Effective project managers must match their passion for inspiring others with a passion for the grubby nuts and bolts of doing the job.

Oral versus Written Communication - Communicating orally and on the run comes easily to effective project managers. But, the must also be masters of the detailed plan and the daily checklist.

Complexity versus Simplicity - Nothing is more complex than dealing with a sophisticated, multi-organization project. The effective project manager must juggle, sometimes for years, hundreds of balls of differing and ever-changing shapes, sizes, and colors. On the other hand, the project manager must be adept at keeping it simple.

Big versus Small - Project managers must appreciate forests and trees equally. They must be able to see the relationship of the small to the big and the big to the small, and do so at every moment simultaneously.

Patience versus impatience - Smart, independent leaders spend lots of time on relationship building and networking. This is a s important as pushing project participants for action.

As long-time readers of this blog know, I value the insight of Tom Peters. I believe he hit the nail right on the head in regard to a Project Manager's behavior when managing projects.