As defined by Merriam-Webster one of the definitions of grit is: ” firmness of mind or spirit : unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger “–you know–the tough stuff. The stuff that makes West Point cadets not quit. The stuff that keeps navy Seals from ringing the bell.
OK, I see the eyes rolling—what does this have to do with Project Management? Well…if you are going to be a Project Manager, you better have some good amount of grit in you. You have to have endurance for difficult, agonizing and at times, totally consuming effort.
The effort given is rewarded by movement towards mastery of the field. However, one does not become a master of Project Management overnight. Like athletes or great scholars; time in pursuit, recoveries from failures and like the little engine that could-keeping the “I can do it” mindset, are of great importance.
For someone else’s take on grit see this blog post by Bret L. Simmons: GRIT
Are you comfortable with remote workers and teams? If not you had better get there quick, because if you aren’t you are already way behind the curve. Some managers are continuing to sit in the industrial paradigm. They are breeding quiet contempt, which will not stay quiet long.
Remote workers and Result Only Work Environments are gaining momentum, as they should be. There are no set schedules. People work when they want, how they want and from where they want. The only goal is to get the work done in the most productive manner. These types of team have shown time over time to produce better results faster. Johnny and Sue don’t care who’s in the office when. Remote meetings make meetings not have to be face to face; and for widely-like opposite sides of the world-impossible. For most people, M-F, 8-5 behind a desk is NOT the most productive environment.
It has also been shown in MANY studies that people who are working toward a goal they don’t believe in, with no control over the manner, are highly likely to become mediocre. This is a management = Epic Fail scenario; failure to lead by embracing a paradigm shift. Mediocrity is expensive. It quashed morale, creativity and trust. All major success needs for good projects and businesses.
Butts in seats, 9-5, M-F are not necessary for most jobs. In fact there are VERY few that require this. Get over it. Adapt. Or get left behind.
Many companies suffer from paradigm paralysis. This is because in part, that they lack true leaders with vision. Many of these “leaders” without vision are stuck in the industrial paradigm. They want to know how much time it takes to do something they don’t truly understand, and really don’t want to embrace; and demanding ROI be manufactured to validate the need and or worth of shifting. This article Social Business Time further explains the pitfalls of not embracing the Social Business paradigm shift.
Many customers, suppliers, partners and customers have made the shift and are demanding that business shift with them. Some businesses like Amazon listened and are being rewarded for it. Others sadly have not and are on the path of the dinosaur.
Restaurants, coffee houses, nail salons, even churches; need to have online presence. It needs to be inviting, current, SOCIAL. This is our new communication paradigm. It does not replace face to face, it fosters it. Tweet-ups aren’t dead. Impromptu is made easy in this digital age.
And those businesses who are not investing in a presence are missing more than just defining their landscape; they are missing a chance to capitalize on positive customer experiences and mitigating customer complaints. And customers do not always wait until they exit an establishment to tweet or yelp or send some other digital communication about what they’ve encountered. The one rule that hasn’t changed: Bad reviews travel more and faster than good.
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.