The Human Factor in Project Management…

The Human Factor Project Management…

Actually is a WONDERFUL class by Kevin Ciccotti, CPCC, ACC that I recently attended through the University of Nevada, Reno Extended Studies Program at their very nice Redfield Campus. I highly recommend this course for any project manager, no matter how seasoned you may be.

It has been a week now since I have finished the course and I am still finding value in my notes and the class materials as I review them. I have been doing project management for 20+ years, and have taken just about every personality, team building,  HR touchy feely class given for managers and non-managers. NONE have been as effective as this one.

You will have a much better approach for how to respond to people’s needs and still meet objectives, and truly understand that they are indeed not mutually exclusive. You will learn if you are truly fit to lead, and if not what you need to work on to get there and stay there.

You will not stay there without understanding what you really know about your emotions, where they come from and how to utilize them on a consistent basis. You will learn to recognize when you are being tempted to go for the short-term easily obtainable instead of the long-term sustainable, and change course effectively without sending your team into change panic.

It will make you a better project manger, and we all have room to imporve. To be the best we can be.

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Are you Remote Team/worker adaptable?

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.

Paradigm paralysis

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.

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.