Project Management

Lead Yourself First

Mark Mullaly is president of Interthink Consulting Incorporated, an organizational development and change firm specializing in the creation of effective organizational project management solutions. Since 1990, it has worked with companies throughout North America to develop, enhance and implement effective project management tools, processes, structures and capabilities. Mark was most recently co-lead investigator of the Value of Project Management research project sponsored by PMI. You can read more of his writing at

What is there that is possibly left to say about leadership, you might reasonably wonder. And it’s a fair question. It’s been a topic of fascination for literally millennia. A quick search on Amazon will tell you that there are more than 60,000 titles available on the topic.

Dig a little further, and you’ll discover that more than 30,000 of those have been published since January. There are also more than 4.4 million scholarly articles, including a frightening 91,700 that have been published so far this year (and that number will have grown by a few thousand more by the time you read this). We shan’t even get into the number of hits on Google, which stretch into multiple billions (three, to be precise).

Apparently, people still believe that there is something to be said on the topic. Clearly, I do as well in that I’m writing this column. Of course, our definition of leadership has evolved some. It started off with the presumption that leadership was about the unique qualities of certain men (because yes, there were numerous gendered biases on the subject, and sadly there arguably still are).

Once those lists got too unwieldly—because no one could measure up to all the purported qualities of “good leader”—the focus shifted to the behaviors. The presumption was that if it’s not about who you are, then it must be…

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"Interestingly, according to modern astronomers, space is finite. This is a very comforting thought--particularly for people who can never remember where they have left things."

- Woody Allen