Paradigm rumble…

In Stephen R. Covey’s, The 8th Habit-From Effectiveness to Greatness, in chapter two is a grand pointer of one of the largest problems in many businesses today. The paradigm shift from Industrial Age to Information/Knowledge workers (both Peter Drucker and Alvin Toffler wrote well on this subject) is still rumbling under and through them. Paradigm shifts are hard for many people to accept, and harder even for institutions.

As Covey put it: “The problem is, managers today are still applying the Industrial Age control model to knowledge workers.  Because many in positions of authority do not see the true worth and potential of their people and do not possess a complete, accurate understanding or human nature, they manage people as they do things.”

So why can this be a problem for a project manager? Because if this occurring to any of the people on your project, the devaluation and demotivation that this causes can greatly impact a project.  You need to know what to look for and how to counter it.

Mission statements can help here, not one handed down; but one created by the participants. You may have to use or develop other tools to counter the effects of paradigm rumble.

If you haven’t already, or it’s been awhile, Covey, Drucker and Toffler are good reads…many time over.  My copies are well worn.

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Herding Cats

I find project managers are somewhat like cat herders.  They are trying to convince people who have competing priorities, egos, abilities, work styles, etc.; to pull together and do something for organizational good.

So how does one herd cats? Catnip, cheese, mice, and whatever else works. Not all cats are attracted to or driven by catnip. So how does this apply to people and your project? All the people working on your project are different and need to be treated thusly. You can’t succeed (at least not easily) if you treat them all the same.

You as the project manager must be fluid and adaptable. You must have many tools in your bag, the most important being good people skills. Joe likes not to be talked to for the first hour of his day, not even a good morning, so scheduling a project meeting with him before them…well you will not get his best. You may even get his worst.

Jill and Jim want to hear you say good morning and listen to what is going in their life—make time at the beginning, put it in the agenda as to limit the time for this. The bottom line is your project rests on people, they are not machines. Treat them well and they will perform.

I found this article interesting:  Share ‘Project Manager Challenge: Influencing in Lieu of Oompa-Loompas’

What do you think? How do you describe project people management?