Tag Archives: management

The Impossible Dream: When Vision Kills Execution

Vision Overload Can Kill Execution

Some of my best leadership insights come not from the moments when I’m the leader, but from those when I’m being led. And I’m not talking about those fleeting inspirational hot-flashes that come when witnessing a moving speaker at a big conference. What’s more, when I’m being led well, I may not even notice… but when I’m being led astray, that’s when I really learn. I suppose living it is learning it, so long as you take time to stop and smell the dog poop.

And what “I now know for sure” (to co-opt Oprah Winfrey’s line) is that good leadership is sometimes about what NOT to do— a YinYang balance of push and restraint. Continue reading


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!)


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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PMI Certification: Is it Worth It?

Is Certification Worth It?

As I speak to audiences about the importance of soft skills and emotional intelligence in project management, inevitably I’m asked my opinion on the value of a  certification from the PMI (Project Management Institute) such as the PMP (Project Management Professional.) This topic is very polarizing in our professional community.  The camps generally divide into :  1) Those who sought the PMP on their own and found it to be an excellent training opportunity; 2) Those who were required by their employer or felt pressured by the job market to obtain it; and, 3) Those who are active resisters or were just never required to get one.

First off, let me state clearly that I do not have a PMI certification. Heresy, you say? Well, the reality is that the PMP certification gained prominence at a time when I was already firmly established in my career. My employers, knowing my skills and track record, never pushed for me to obtain it.

So is there a value in having the PMI certification? My strong answer is… it depends. Let’s look at the requirements and costs, and then I’ll tell you what I really think. Continue reading

The Project Manager as Orator: Top Ten Presentation Tips

Project Management requires a broad range of skills. I joke sometimes that it requires being a “coach, den mother, drill sergeant, teacher, and therapist”—all rolled into one.

In addition to understanding project management methodology and group dynamics, we are often called upon to serve as spokesperson for the team.  We find ourselves standing in front of a room full  of executives explaining the project or requesting funding.  This  adds “orator” to the long list of leadership skills we must command.

Presentation Skills Are Essential

The ability to speak in front of an audience doesn’t come naturally for many of us. It may surprise some to know that I started out twenty years ago absolutely terrified to even introduce myself in a group meeting.  I can attest that training and practice can produce a presenter who actually loves to be on stage. If this is something that doesn’t come naturally to you, don’t be concerned. For most people, it requires training and practice. Continue reading

Getting a Project Team Unstuck

Sometimes your project team gets stuck in the mud. It may be early in the project when you’re first trying to build a plan, or it might be later when choices must be made and a decision just circles the drain.  There are so many variables and unknowns, and no one feels confident about committing.

What can you, The Project Manager,  do to get your team unstuck? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Choose your words carefully. Using the word “plan” can throw everyone off.  Some people equate the word “plan” with “commitment.” What you really want to develop is an Assumption-Based Scenario. The team lays out a scenario of timelines and costs, assuming certain events, resources, technology, and so on. The assumptions are documented along with the scenario.  Now you have something to run up the leadership flagpole, to gain support for satisfying the assumptions of the scenario.  The exercise is usually iterative as assumptions are either accepted or rejected, but it gets you past the team deadlock.

2. Meet in a different place. It may seem trivial, but the change in environment will provide different stimuli to thought processes. If you absolutely positively cannot move the team to a different location, then at least ask people to sit in a different seat. I notice quite often that teams who meet regularly tend to establish a routine seating pattern.

3. Form a Think Tank. Generally on larger project teams, there are at least a few people who really “get it” and have great ideas. Sometimes, the dynamics of a larger team meeting inhibits their participation. Invite a couple of them to a “think tank” session to help you sketch out some ideas. Then, either ask them to present these ideas at the next group meeting, or if they’re uncomfortable, you can do it, saying “hey, I was kicking some ideas around with Suresh and Mariann, and I wanted to throw it out there for us to discuss.”

What other ways have you gotten a team “unstuck?”