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Whether it’s in-person or virtual, PMI events give you the right skills to complete amazing projects. In this blog, whether it be our Virtual Experience Series, PMI Training (formerly Seminars World) and our inaugural PMI® Global Summit 2022, experienced event presenters past, present and future from the entire PMI event family share their knowledge on a wide range of issues important to project managers.

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Viewing Posts by Kelly George

Presentation Recap: The Resilience Mindset: Tools for Navigating Uncertainty in a Post-Pandemic World

By Kelly George, PMP
Founder & CEO, Real Resilience, LLC

I presented at the award-winning PMI Virtual Experience Series, an international event held on 6-7 October 2021, and I am proud to have shared the virtual stage with many other amazing featured speakers!  Over 43,000 people attended from around the globe!

My presentation, “The Resilience Mindset: Tools for Navigating Uncertainty in a Post-Pandemic World,” focused on how the work landscape is shifting post-pandemic and on ways to build resilience as leaders within teams and organizations.  Maximizing human potential is the future of work, and in order for teams to thrive, building emotional intelligence and fostering a work culture that includes psychological safety is key. Sustaining the values of emotional intelligence and psychological safety requires the resilience mindset—an understanding that resilience is relational, and collective leadership maintains the necessary group accountability for consistent “pulse checks,” throughout the organization. I would like to expand here on doing a pulse check to identify your team’s psychological safety. Pulse checks include asking the following questions: Are we intentionally living our organizational values daily? Is there visible support and alignment from stakeholders? Is our organizational culture open and does it allow for input from all team members equitably?

  • Problem: The pandemic accelerated planning for the future of work and emphasized that thriving enterprises need to nurture human capital. Prior to the pandemic, organizations did not appropriately plan for the future of work.  In order for people to deliver their highest value, including innovation and creativity (human attributes that technology cannot replace), psychological safety and well-being must be integrated into workplace policies and culture.
  • Query: As it becomes clear that human capital is a key driver of thriving teams, how can organizations begin to integrate psychological safety practices and well-being into the workplace?
  • Takeaways: The Resilience Mindset is a practical solution to humanizing the future of work and offers a sustainable way to manage constant change and uncertainty. Human interaction and connection ask us to stay present and honor the following principles: (1) prioritize emotional intelligence; (2) lead with empathy; and (3) understand resilience is relational, and sustainable resilience requires collective leadership. The Resilience Mindset is most effective in psychologically safe spaces and in environments where there are no punitive consequences for critical questioning, risk-taking, and failure.

The Resilience Mindset in Real Time (aka Present Time)

How do we apply “emotional intelligence”? – Develop a consistent practice and process. 

First, begin by observing yourself and others. Here are some thought-provoking questions to aid the observation process: What do you respond to most in your work environment? What triggers activate a stress response? What triggers activate joy and meaningful experiences?

Second, reflect on the experience. Here are some questions to aid the reflection process: What are the physical or emotional cues associated with each trigger? What items are you most concerned about more than you care to admit? What are your most comfortable modes of communication? Why?

How do we apply “empathy”? —For me, empathy begins with implementing kindness with yourself and others and having the willingness to be vulnerable.

How do we apply “psychological safety”? — Develop a practice and culture of trust and confidence that provides a sense of belonging and empowerment where the entire workforce can thrive. Make space for different experiences of the world, including diversity of lived experience and identity.

Trust is built through authentic relationships and being your authentic self. Being your authentic self encourages others to be their authentic self. Be accountable to yourself and others. If something is said or discussed that does not sit well, investigate it and find an opportunity to address it in a tactful, respectful way. These are the tools to navigate dissenting opinions and drive courageous conversations. This may be uncomfortable for a moment but developing a practice of stepping out of one’s comfort zone is part of the process for the good of the whole.

Additionally, Amy Edmonson has a series of seven questions that can be used as a starting place to determine whether your team members consider the work environment psychologically safe. Ask team members to anonymously respond to these questions on a scale of 1 to 5, where “strongly disagree” is 1 and “strongly agree” is 5. [1] Be sure to thoroughly discuss responses.

  1. If I make a mistake in this team, it is held against me.
  2. Members of this team are able to bring up problems and tough issues.
  3. People on this team sometimes reject others for being different.
  4. It is safe to take a risk in this team.
  5. It is difficult to ask other members of this team for help.
  6. No one on this team would deliberately act in a way that undermines my efforts.
  7. Working with members of this team, my unique skills and talents are valued and utilized.

During my presentation, I received a lot of great questions, and I would like to respond to them here.

  1. With so much uncertainty around supply chain management in the post-pandemic era, how do you manage such uncertainties in project forecast as it relates to managing stakeholders?

In my opinion, the best antidote to uncertainty is current, real-time updates. There are many data tracking tools like Smartsheets, a web-based program that allows multiple users to access status updates. Tools that can house information and provide stakeholders access and visibility to real-time information via dashboards or reports can be useful. Lastly, I suggest bi-weekly checks with stakeholders to ensure they receive the necessary information (in accordance with the captured expectations in the communications plan) and whether there are any outstanding questions or concerns.

 

  1. Nice concept on emotional intelligence. Is there any way we can track and understand the level of emotional intelligence on a daily basis?

I would start with the “ground rules”— more specifically, how team members relate to one another on a daily basis. For example, observe and assess interpersonal dynamics when asking questions or gaining clarity on weekly and monthly goals. If your team has not yet discussed “ground rules” – typically discussed during initial team formation – set aside some space to reconnect now and discuss what the “ground rules” are, especially in the context of the new hybrid work environment. The HBR has a quiz that can help team members understand where they are in the present moment with regard to emotional intelligence. This quiz[2] is free and provides some helpful tips to continue exercising your emotional intelligence muscle.

 

  1.  How is psychological safety different than the 5S concept (A Place for Everything and Everything In its Place) of Lean Six Sigma? Can we consider it as a safety measure?

The concept of the 5s (sort, set in order, shine, standardize and sustain) of Lean Six Sigma refers to managing physical space. Six Sigma is a process improvement methodology to identify the root cause of an error. Psychological safety speaks to the cultural environment within the team, among stakeholders, and organizations. The focus of psychological safety is for team members to feel comfortable sharing ideas, whether fully formed or still in the ideation phase. Team members should feel empowered to take ownership of mistakes as a learning process and be able to ask questions without feeling that there may be consequences for questioning things or sharing dissenting opinions. The goal is to have a team that is high-functioning, with everyone expressing their full human potential with agency and choice.

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” - Maya Angelou

In my opinion, psychological safety stands as a humanity safety measure (translation: employee well-being). Employee services and well-being typically fall under the business function of human resources (HR) and Employee Business Resource Groups (ERG). However, this measurement is limiting. Human beings require interactions that address validation, acknowledgement, and witnessing of all the true elements of the lived experience to thrive at work and in communities. If you check your “humanity” at the door before entering a workplace, virtual space, or any space, I think you would be considered a robot, right?

 

The full presentation will be on demand through 31 January 2022.  Visit PMI Virtual Experience Series 2021 for more details.

 


[1] Source: https://www.inspirehub.com/blog/ask-these-7-questions-to-boost-psychological-safety-at-work

[2] https://hbr.org/2015/06/quiz-yourself-do-you-lead-with-emotional-intelligence

Posted by Kelly George on: October 28, 2021 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)
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