What is Emotional Intelligence?

We hear the term “Emotional Intelligence” a lot in workplaces. We get told that great leaders have it. Our performance reviews tell us to increase it. But what is it? Here’s my own definition:

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to consciously align your behaviors to a desired outcome.

It may sound simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. That’s because behaviors are influenced by emotions, and emotions are influenced by a variety of things like personal needs, values, past experience, and instinct. The raw input of our environment passes through these filters, and our brain delivers a verdict in the form of an interpretation. And that, in turn, produces a behavior.

How The Brain "Channels & Chooses"

Basically, it’s “Channel and Choose.” Your brain receives stimulus, channels it through your own personal filters, and then chooses an action.

One of the wondrous and amazing things about the human brain is that it can operate at a meta level of consciousness, above these routine brain processes. We can become aware of our own needs and values that trigger particular emotions. We can process those emotions and then evaluate potential responses. We can learn to recognize situations that create an “emotional-hijack” and produce ineffective (or even destructive) behaviors—and change that course.

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Projects Are About People: Using Your Emotional Intelligence

Managing emotions is key to managing projects

You are a Project Manager. You may not realize it, and you may have some other title engraved on your business card, but believe me—you are. Envision a Saturday morning. Paint brush in hand, in-laws arriving tomorrow, and you angry at the realization that there’s not enough paint to finish the guest room. Your spouse is standing by, volunteering well-intentioned guidance “Don’t fall off that ladder!”

At this very moment, you are a Project Manager, trust me.
What’s more, I can predict the outcome of this project based in large part on the very next thing you do. It’s not whether you actually fall off that ladder, or whether you’re able to get more of the custom-colored paint. Sure, you’ll need to address those things… but the real predictor of how your day’s going to unfold is what you say next to your spouse:

(read the rest of my guest post at Tom’s Planner.com)

If You Could Be King/Queen for a Day…

Special Guest Bob Jewell, CEO of Omega Leadership Group

We had a great live audience turnout for the latest episode of “PDU For Lunch” featuring leadership veteran Bob Jewell of Omega Leadership Group.  Did you miss it? No worries, you can view the recording  (and still earn a PDU toward maintaining your PMI certification!)

WATCH THE RECORDING

Bob Jewell polled the audience on a number of interesting points about the PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) and challenged the use of some very common terms like “scope” and “critical path.”

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Broadway’s Spider-Man: A Tangled Web of Lessons in Project Management

A project crippled by scope, budget, and time.

The Broadway production of “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” has been plagued with significant delays, cost overruns, technical failures, scathing reviews, and most recently, the apparent dismissal of its director, the esteemed Julie Taymor. Those familiar with the Broadway community know Ms. Taymor as the brilliant creative and directorial force behind the smash hit “The Lion King”, as well as numerous other successes of stage and film.

Wondering if I could diagnose the situation from the perspective of project management, I spent a few hours reading articles that piece together a history spanning six years of this massive undertaking. Where did it go wrong? Was there a single point of failure, or a barrage of circumstances that brought this now $65MM (and growing) debacle to its knees? Continue reading

PMP Certification: Project Management’s “Family Feud”

Family FeudThe value and importance of the PMP certification is a hotly debated topic within the project management community.  One end of the spectrum vigorously defends the credential as the defining standard for competence, whereas the other end views it as a meaningless exercise signifying nothing more than rote memorization. Many fall somewhere in the middle, seeing it as a necessary evil that hopefully yields some advantage to their marketability.

Adding fuel to the debate are the results of a research study published in the Project Management Journal, February 2011. “PMP Certification as a Core Competency:  Necessary But Not Sufficient” reports the results of a study conducted by Jo Ann Starkweather and Deborah H. Stevenson of Northwestern University’s Department of Information Systems & Technology. Continue reading

Things Are Out of Control, What Do I Do?

Thanks to guest blogger Luis Seabra Coelho for this insightful contribution on what to do when your project is in chaos. See more about Luis at the bottom of this post and follow his blog Ah-Ha Moments for more resources.

Luis Seabra Coelho

Guest Blogger Luis Seabra Coelho of "Ah-Ha Moments"

Here’s a three- part guide to get a grip on things when they’re gone wild.

And I don’t mean out of control like when a task is a day late. I mean out of control like when 6 months passed by and you couldn’t even install a piece of software on a computer. Did it ever happen to you? What did you do then? My suggestion is this three- part guide. It’s a recipe of mine that starts with “Why?”, then requires some KISSing and finally, a dash of common sense (in fact, all you can use).

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A Case of the Jitters…?

emotional intelligence anxiety

We All Get The Jitters Sometimes

I had an unusual experience a couple of days ago: I got nervous right before a client presentation. It was more than the typical adrenalin surge that happens right before I hit a stage, or stare into a live camera with a reporter on the other end. This was the real jitters.

The funny thing is that I was on the phone with a friend with whom I’m partnering on this proposal, as we waited for his client to come on the line.  So you’d think I’d be even more relaxed since my pal was there with me. He happens to be kicking-“a” in his own consulting practice, and I have a high degree of confidence in him– someone I’d trust to carry the entire conversation without me. To top that off, the workplace Emotional Intelligence program we’re presenting is so authentically from our cores that we don’t need scripted pitches. Not only do we know our stuff– we “are” our stuff. So what’s to be nervous about?

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