90% of project leadership involves communication.  Leadership skills that motivate people to reach both business and professional goals are critical to organizational and personal success.

 

View the PM World Journal online for my review of Adil Dalal’s book The 12 Pillars of Project Excellence.

21.05 20140

Getting Real

By: michelemuse Categories:Agile

I recently read a quote from an unlikely source for life advice ...Mike Tyson.  Mike said "Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." There is a lot of truth in this quote and in boxing in general because a boxer is forced to "get real" very quickly.  In the heat of opposition, agility and reflexive training become more critical than having a plan.  The ability to maintain composure and adjust a plan means the difference between staying in the fight or being laid out on the mat.  Personally, I never have been a big fan of boxing. It is hard for me to want to cheer on raw aggression, but I have been somewhat intrigued by the sage advice that comes from the ring. Boxers say that a fight is won or lost before the opponents step into the ring.   You are either very prepared for your opponent, or you are at a loss almost immediately.  Effective preparation comes from making a realistic assessment of your opponent's strengths and your own weaknesses and inversely making a plan to take action to maximize your strengths, while drawing out the opponent's weaknesses. Even as you plan and prepare for a match, you must realize that once in the ring, anything can happen.  The most admired boxers are known to be very agile ... adjusting movements quickly and fluidly while maintaining a steady rhythm and pace.  Muhammad Ali's trainer said "float like a butterfly and sting like a bee."  In a world of heavy weights, you must be somewhat unsuspecting to your opponent. You must move around lightly, but at the time of execution you must pack a very direct punch. As an agile coach, from my observations of boxing here are some takeaways for my team trainees: 1.  Always take time to know your strengths and your weaknesses 2.  Build on your strengths, but don't ignore your weaknesses 3.  Have a plan 4.  Be prepared to change your plan, quickly and seamlessly 5.  Find your own rhythm and pace 6.  Take feedback from observers that have an outside view of the situation-- use the wisdom and experience of others to become a contender 7. Keep it real when dealing with the present situation no matter how unfavorable it may be Boxing ...a case study in agility.

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05.04 20140

Anew

By: michelemuse Categories:Agile

Winter is over; the cold weather is almost gone.  I am so glad; I hate the bitterness of the cold.  I love it when plants and flowers begin to bloom again.  It gives me hope; it reminds me that no matter how bitter the winter, that there is the renewal of spring, and the chance for the world to be beautiful again.  I recently read the unattributed quote that “what distinguishes what’s alive from what is dead is growth, whether it be in plants or in you.” It is important to remember that no matter what the setbacks that we may experience in life or in our careers that as long as we focus on growth through continued learning, we will prosper.  Continuous learning is a valued principle in the Agile world.  At the root of this concept of continuous learning is the belief that no matter how strong we may be, we all will be challenged with setbacks and failures.  The teams that prosper are those that self-examine regularly and use the power of inspection and introspection to make the changes necessary to be successful in the future. The individuals that are the most successful in life are those that make ongoing learning a part of their everyday lives.  Continuous learners use learning to stay active and alive, and vibrance from their knowledge pollinates to all around them.  Continuous learning helps us grow upward toward the sun, avoiding the weeds that would choke away the light.  This spring, stop in your busy life and take a moment to look at the renewal going on all around you.   If you like what you see, then consider making continuous growth and renewal a part of your personal world.

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11.01 20140

Escaping Gravity

By: michelemuse Categories:Agile

Gravity holds us to the earth.  What if the earth is not a pleasant place for you to be at the moment?  Should you allow yourself to be held down by gravity?  After all, gravity comes from the same root word as grave…serious or deadly.  When we allow ourselves to be defined by the current situation, we are killing the potential we have to rise above it and find a lighter place with a better view. As an agile coach, I failed recently.  I hate when that happens.  I gave advice instead of coaching.  I did not seek to understand “why” before I made a judgment.  I put quantitative analysis before qualitative assessment.  Calculations have to make sense in terms of the present situation; however, we need to understand the context of a situation before we begin to determine what statistics and measures are required.  When we open our minds to the world of possibilities, many answers can be correct. Imagination is genius, not numbers.  Imagination allows us to escape what is not working and to move toward a different place where we can create a new reality.  Sometimes we have to use what is not working to imagine what possibilities there are to create as alternatives. We need to project ourselves forward to the ideal, instead of letting reality rule and hold us down.  Greatness is achieved when we do not accept our limitations.  We win when we redefine our situation in new and creative ways.  Cut the cord pulling you down and drift upward.

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27.11 20130

Lost

Have you ever been lost in the woods?  It is a scary feeling.  There is a sense of being overwhelmed and then panic sets in.  Finally, an unexplainable calm takes over as you begin to summon  all of the rationality, knowledge and keen observation of the present situation that you can manage. As kids, my brother, cousins and I loved to hike to a cave with ancient drawings on the walls that was located deep in the woods.  On one occasion, we decided to go it alone without adult guidance. After we made it to the cave and as we started to leave, there was a dispute about the right way to go home. I decided to follow my cousin who was local to the area.  My older brother advised against this and took my cousin's younger brother with him.  As it turns out, my cousin really didn't know the way home ...she was over confident, and it was not long before she began to panic.  I, knowing nothing of the area nor hiking, had to calm her.  I had gotten "in deep"  by choosing the wrong leadership.  I began leading her against the stream's current as I remembered something about the way we walked in. After a while, we came upon a group of hunters but decided that it was not safe to approach strangers alone in the woods.  We finally came to a road and heard voices calling us.  My brother, who was very familiar with the area because he had spent time hunting,  had gone to get our family, and they were searching the woods for us. How do you reverse a negative situation when you have followed the wrong guidance or leadership?   How do you avoid asking for help from a dangerous source? Many other life circumstances are like being lost in the woods.  The instructions we must follow are the same ...stop the panic and remain calm, observe closely, and proceed forward leaving a trail to prevent circling, tiring and getting nowhere. When in business you are lost in the woods...let a sense of calm take over, use your knowledge that you have accumulated over the course of your career and develop a keen sense of observation of the present situation. Take very deliberate steps, slowly proceeding forward with caution.  Don't take an easy out that may lead to more trouble...most importantly, be careful of who you trust to lead you out of the woods. At Thanksgiving, I am thankful for those who come  looking for me when I get lost in the woods.  Let's all be thankful for the people who support us and help us in times when we have trusted the wrong people and made bad decisions.  Let lessons learned guide future action.

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Central

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