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Category: Career

Voice messages are sooo last century

A few years ago I was a contract project manager. I never set up the voicemail. Email is way easier. Instant messaging is way easier and faster. If I’m busy when you message me I may ask you to send an email instead.

I confess. I don’t know the password for my current voicemail. I keep it written down in a secret place for when I need it. In the two plus years in my role I’ve had about 10 voice mails. Nine of these were from the facilities management team telling me about office closures. The other one came from someone who was reaching out to help me with a technical issue. It took me several minutes to find my password and listen to the message. They let me know they called. They would call back again. NOOOO!!!!

It’s okay to call me. If I pick up, then we’re good. If I don’t pick up, hang up and send an email. It’s the kind thing to do. Voice mail is cruel and unusual punishment.

You can own the snarkiest project management book in print. I wrote it myself – Haiku for Project Managers.

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Why project management initiatives often fail

Generally the leadership in a company or business unit realizes they have a resourcing and/or execution problem. They know that transitioning to a project organization is the solution. They interview and hire someone who is experienced in building and leading a project team. They assure the person that leadership is committed to the success of project management.

After the new hire arrives and lays out the plan, the internal pushback begins. Everyone is too busy working on all the high priority work to even discuss how to change how they work. They explain to leadership that the new hire “doesn’t understand” how that specific industry/organization/company actually operates. The new hire lacks the connection with the employees to induce them to change and lacks the authority to bring in people with the right skills to implement project management.

The leadership team gets caught between the promises they made the new hire, and the fear that their legacy employees will be upset/hurt/jobless if they proceed forward on the agreed-upon path to success. They waiver in their commitment. They make excuses and compromise their goals.

The new hire becomes disillusioned and their engagement decreases. They start searching for another job. They leave. The company then decides that project management isn’t​ right for their organization. Whenever someone brings up the need for project management, that person will be told that it was tried, and it didn’t work. They should just learn how to function in the current environment.

What can leadership do to make sure that project management initiatives succeed?

Don’t forget to buy my almost best seller from Amazon.com. You’ll want to frame some of the haiku and hang them on your office wall.

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Change is inevitable – suffering through it isn’t

Many people dislike change. They avoid it at all costs. They feel the need to resist the evil of it.

Life is constantly changing. Work is constantly changing. We need to not only embrace change, but be the change. Instead of asking “why?”, ask “why not?”. Seek out opportunities to change how we live and work. Change is good. It’s been happening since the first person left the cave to forage for food. Humans have an amazing capacity to adapt.

Once we accept that nothing stays the same, we are able to live in the moment and feel fulfilled.

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The waiting is the hardest part

Anticipatory stress is the worst stress. It’s generally more harmful to our health than the actual event we stress over. It keeps us from sleeping. We’re not present with our family, friends, or colleagues. Our mind is stuck in an endless loop of re-runs that deny us of peace.

Dig into the issue and identify the root cause. Confront it as soon as you can. Address the issue, not the person. Do it now.

After you confront it you can move forward without all the extra emotional baggage. Most of the time the issue will be a tempest in a teapot.

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