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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Project Management and the Circle of Concern

Project managers make mistakes. If you are a project manager and don't make mistakes then you are either lying to yourself or you are totally ineffective. Dr. Covey talks about two things we need to consider regarding what he calls our "Circle of Concern". As project managers it is critical that we embrace and understand these concepts which are, consequences and mistakes.

As Dr. Covey states, "While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequence of those actions. Consequences are governed by natural law. They are out in the Circle of Concern. We can decide to step in front of a fast-moving train (project selection), be we cannot decide what will happen when the train hits us".

To take this further, Dr. Covey says, "We can decide to be dishonest in our business dealings. While the social consequences of that decision may vary depending on whether or not we are found out, the natural consequences to our basic character are a fixed result."

"Our behavior is governed by principles. Living in harmony with them brings positive consequences: violating them brings negative consequences. We are free to choose our response in any situation, but in doing so we choose the attendant consequence. When we pick up one in of the stick, we pick up the other".

What does this mean? As project managers we have the capability to motivate and empower members of our team by being honest and ethical. We also can send our projects quickly off-track if we are dishonest in our dealings.

To quote Dr. Covey again, "Our response to mistakes affects the quality of our next moment. It is important to immediately admit and correct our mistakes so that they have no power over that next moment and we are empowered again. It is not what others do or even our mistakes that hurt us the most; it is our response to those things".

We all make mistakes. We must atone for and make amends for those mistakes quickly. In my opinion, our unwillingness to admit our mistakes is the biggest obstacle to personal growth and strong relationships. The Circle of Influence is all about our capability to make and keep our promises. Keeping our promises and commitments is a core value of integrity.

As Dr. Convey says, "By making and keeping promises to ourselves and others, little by little, our honor becomes greater then our moods.

Have high integrity and make and keep promises, and your projects (and your life) will be the better for it.

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