Project Management

Enduring Through Uncertainty: Move Forward with Character

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By Peter Tarhanidis, Ph.D.

Never has the new year’s greeting “wishing you health, wealth, and prosperity” rang truer. Over the last several years, we have all lived through uncertainty. This year, we hoped to lurch out of a post-pandemic crisis into a new normal with a vibrant outlook…yet quickly staggered into a slipping economic uncertainty that sharply cut short the prospects of our envisioned “normal” state.

JP Morgan’s 2023 economic outlook for the United States indicates a slowing growth rate, monetary tightening, and curbing inflation, while healthy consumer and business balance sheets could offer some growth prospects. The Conference Board observes longer-term geopolitical, environmental, labor, and inflation risks beyond 2023.

Many organizations will ebb and flow within this shifting cycle. Organizations that are well-positioned will have a better chance to adapt to the external challenges of shifting global markets to meet customer needs. They must simultaneously find the agility necessary to mitigate the internal challenges of a reduced workforce, increasing costs for goods and services, climbing interest rates, and the overall health of a company’s finances and workforce. This will challenge organizations to stay focused and chart a path forward.

This is reminiscent of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his crew of the Endurance, which embarked on a daring expedition from the UK to Antarctica and the South Pole in 1914. Along the voyage, the crew became stranded for over two years. The Endurance became trapped in the ice while the crew waited 10 months for spring and the warm weather to thaw them out—only to be horrified by shifting ice that damaged the ship’s frame, finally sinking her.

To survive, Shackleton mounted three lifeboats to traverse 800 miles of open sea to reach help on South Georgia Island—then return to the makeshift camp to rescue all 27 men who suffered frigid conditions, hunger, chaotic seas, and mental distress. This journey is one of the greatest examples of leadership, grit, and epic survival.

In order not to succumb to the current economic and global undertones, leaders must:

  1. Assess their strategies continuously to re-align with stakeholder needs
  2. Rely on project leaders who are best positioned to navigate this process

Project leaders have always been confronted with the likelihood of project failure—yet they have developed a track record of delivering results. Project leaders are adept at converting strategies into clear tactics, ensuring team and stakeholder alignment, and executing projects to achieve the goals. At the core of the project leader’s success are the character attributes of authenticity, trust, resilience, focus, and courage.

What else can you do to support your teams and move forward during this year’s challenges?

Posted by Peter Tarhanidis on: February 28, 2023 10:21 AM | Permalink

Comments (8)

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Stéphane Parent Self Employed / Semi-retired| Leader Maker Prince Edward Island, Canada
A leader understands that they need to create an engaging, encouraging and exciting environment for the teams.

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Luis Branco CEO| Business Insight, Consultores de Gestão, Ldª Carcavelos, Lisboa, Portugal
Dear Peter
The topic that brought to our reflection and debate is very interesting.
Thank you for sharing and for your opinions.

Do project managers and people in general care about character? (Principles that govern humanity)
Or do they care more about the "foam of days"?

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Peter Tarhanidis Director, Strategic Business Planning and Execution| Johnson & Johnson, Innovative Medicine Chatham, Nj, USA
Hi Stephane and Luis,

Thank you for taking the time to read the post and for your insightful comments. An interesting contract between conviction vs surrealism.

Let's see how others weigh in!

Thank you!!

Peter

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Alicia Morgan Project and Program Management Consultant | Consultant Dallas, TX, USA
It is important to constantly communicate and be direct with the team as much as possible. During uncertain times, I often find leaders isolate themselves leaving the team with low morale.

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Peter Tarhanidis Director, Strategic Business Planning and Execution| Johnson & Johnson, Innovative Medicine Chatham, Nj, USA
Hi Alicia,

Thank you for your comments and great points!

Regards,

Peter

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Latha Thamma reddi Sr Product and Portfolio Management (Automation Innovation)| DXC Technology Mckinney, Tx, USA
Nice Article, Thanks for sharing!.

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Latha Thamma reddi Sr Product and Portfolio Management (Automation Innovation)| DXC Technology Mckinney, Tx, USA


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Peter Tarhanidis Director, Strategic Business Planning and Execution| Johnson & Johnson, Innovative Medicine Chatham, Nj, USA
Hi Latha,

Thank you for your comments and for reading my blog post!

Regards,

Peter

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