People often ask me if I had made any mistakes as a project manager. The answer is a resounding "Yes!" When I became a project manager, IIL did not exist, there were no project management training programs in the marketplace, and those of us that aspired to become good project managers were expected to learn from our own mistakes rather than the mistakes of others. And I certainly made lots of mistakes, but never repeated the same mistake twice.
In the middle of the road of my life
I awoke in a dark wood
Where the true way was wholly lost
Commedia Dante Alighieri
“We are part of the whole which we call the universe, but it is an optical delusion of our mind that we think we are separate. This separateness is like a prison for us. Our job is to widen the circle of our compassion so we feel connected with all people and situations.” Albert Einstein
In June, 2001 I was inspired by my father to write an article about emotional intelligence. Today, I am again inspired by him. Dad died two weeks ago. He lived his life with integrity and clarity. He was a feisty Irishman with gifts for storytelling, hospitality and and generosity. Life for dad was not a spectator sport. He was fully engaged. He was generous with his time, his talent and his heart. He was a good father and an astute businessman whose mantra was: “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
All human beings are spiritual beings; so there is potential for collective spiritual energy whenever people come together. Hindus gather together in Satsang, or spiritual community, as an important part of evolving in their consciousness. Native Americans gather in Wisdom Councils for spiritual guidance about major decisions that affect the tribe and future generations. And As Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am.” (Matthew 18:20). All wisdom traditions have spiritual practices incorporating a group of people coming together for some higher purpose.
‘It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer.’ Albert Einstein
There are probably as many definitions of intelligence as there are experts who study it. Simply put, however, intelligence can be described as the ability to learn about, learn from, understand, and interact with one’s environment.
“Knock, knock!” Karen said as she stood in the doorway of my office with three other team members grouped behind her. “Do you have a minute? We need to talk to you about Gary,” she continued with a tone of frustration.
“They can ask me to step out of the window, but they cannot ask me to fly!”
“I can talk to my boss, but even he has no clue as to what is expected above him.”
“Why do I stay? …well, someone’s got to pay the mortgage!”
These are statements I heard in different corporations in the past few months. Nothing really surprising; we hear this kind of comment everywhere. Why? Because these people don’t comprehend the purpose of their work and the contribution they can be making. And leaders aren’t helping them tune into their personal purpose through their work.
What gets in the way of you and your coworkers accomplishing your goals and objectives? Are technical issues or attitude and relationship issues the most likely causes of project dysfunction?
Spiritual and emotional intelligence and methods, like mindfulness meditation, that enable increased awareness and practical action are means to optimal performance.
One of my favorite quotes is from Ghandi: “We must be the change we want to see in the world.” It is so easy to blame others and think that we cannot make a difference. If we would give in to that thought, nothing would change. We probably would still be hunters and gatherers.
Changing our Mindset
In the highly interactive leadership workshops I provide for Japanese corporations, there is an exercise where I hold an object at shoulder height above the ground and let it drop to the floor. I then ask the participants, “What caused the object to drop?” The overwhelming response is “gravity” which of course is a potential answer. After some encouragement, someone will softly say “you,” which is the answer I am looking for. Gravity is a force we have to live with and cannot change. The real reason, however, the object drops is because I let it go. Only after I let go, can gravity do its work.
Moneyball by Michael Lewis is regarded by many as a seminal text in the use of statistical performance analysis within the world of professional sports. In Moneyball, Lewis focuses on American baseball. He describes how the Oakland Athletics baseball team utilized the data-rich sport to enhance its performance and, subsequently, other areas such as player recruitment. This book and the associated film starring Brad Pitt have been reviewed on by various critics and has garnered favourable reviews from statisticians and non-statisticians alike.
- A Stroll Down Memory Lane: Project Management Without Computers By Harold Kerzner, Ph.D.
- Interview with John Furlong, CEO of Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games By Roving allPM Reporter, George Bridges, PMP
- Bigger Isn’t Always Better Do the sheer size and scope of public megaprojects doom them to fail?
- Mega Projects – Really Taking Project Management to New Heights! Frank P. Saladis PMP