By Joy Beatty
The PMI Global Congresses have a reputation for featuring outstanding keynote speakers. 2023 was no exception, starting with a riveting talk by Cassandra Worthy of Change Enthusiasm on C.H.A.N.G.E. Traits®. She radiated energy and enthusiasm, and more importantly, provided valuable insights on how to adapt and thrive in the ever-changing work environment.
As someone who has worked passionately in the software requirements space for a couple of decades, I’m always keen to solve hard business problems with software, but I have been most drawn to solving the hard stakeholder problems. As my career has progressed, my role has shifted, and the challenge of leading people has become more important than ever, and frankly, much harder. I suppose it’s natural that I spent this PMI Conference gravitating to the talks that deal with humans and their feelings the most.
Here are a few takeaways from Cassandra’s keynote. I’m hopeful this is useful for those in the community who couldn’t attend, but also to people like me, that want to relive the excellent ideas!
Takeaway 1: Talking about change without talking about emotions is pointless. We are human. We feel. Cassandra shares this idea of “Change Growth” which sits at the intersection of change and emotion. She emphasized that while most of us understand that growth often entails discomfort, her research indicates that people genuinely embrace this unease. Ultimately, to ensure success without alienating individuals, we must be mindful of how we navigate change, being attuned to emotions.
Takeaway 2: Change Enthusiasm has developed a “simple” framework for how you show up during change: Signal. Opportunity. Choice. It’s about noting the uncomfortable feelings as a signal. The signal triggers the awareness that we are sitting in a moment of opportunity. The opportunity lies in choosing to act differently rather than merely sitting in discomfort or, worse, giving up.
Takeaway 3: In Cassandra’s words, “Be bitter or be better.” This is closely related to the 2nd takeaway, but it deserves its own call out because it’s really such an amazing phrase. I have long since believed people are well-intentioned, even when they are making me frustrated or mad. Leaning into that belief during moments of personal discomfort and determining how we respond holds significant value. Are we going to be frustrated or annoyed - or maybe even elevate to being irate? Or are we going to be calm and rational - and maybe even relaxed? We have the choice to elevate our response – are we going to be kind or are we going to be the jerk? I choose Better!
Takeaway 4: Transformation doesn’t happen to us, it’s for us. I’ve been saying a variation of this for about 15 years with clients. Sometimes it’s to business stakeholders who complain, “Why is IT doing this to me?” Or the IT stakeholders who groan, “Why do the business stakeholders keep changing their mind?” At the end of the day, we all want to do the right thing and do it well. Rooted in transformation is an end goal to make things better, no matter what seat we are in. So, what if we change the script so that transformation isn’t happening to us, but rather is intended to help us? If we do that, we will absolutely show up in a more cooperative space.
Takeaway 5: Create an environment where we can feel heard. This points back to takeaway #1 where we were reminded that people have emotions, and it’s ok. What if we allowed people to express their true emotions instead of squashing them or making people feel badly for having them? I’d argue we should go so far as to embrace vulnerability. A great way to create this culture is to be this culture. What if we were vulnerable and shared when we were frustrated? What keeps us from being honest about that today? Do you know someone who warrants feedback on creating a safe environment for open and honest communication? Then have that hard conversation. Be the leader that makes it safe for everyone to be heard.
I could go on for hours about this talk and probably will now that I’m back in office! Cassandra left a mark on my mind. She’s up there with Brené Brown in how she is changing the “HOW” we show up at work.
By: Priya Patra
I am back after attending PMI Global Summit 2023, and it was just as amazing as ever. The theme of this year's summit was "The Future of Your Work," packed with knowledge and practical tips on how to embrace the changing world of work and prepare ourselves for the future.
Here is a summary of my takeaways from the four days at Summit:
Here are some of the things I will focus on after attending Summit:
What would you do differently? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
By: Mayte Mata-Sivera
Imagine two project managers from Utah—one of them Black and the other Spanish—sharing an Uber ride to the PMI Global Summit in Atlanta. Overhearing our conversation, the rideshare driver chuckles, assuming it's a joke that both of us live in Utah. After that awkward yet fun conversation is when I decided to pay close attention to the diversity on display at the conference.
Here is what I observed…
In summary, the PMI Global Summit in Atlanta marked a significant leap in diversity and inclusivity, especially considering my attendance dating back to the Los Angeles conference in 2018.
Attendees hailed from diverse backgrounds and industries, fostering cross-cultural connections. Notably, speakers and workshop leaders addressed critical topics, emphasizing the importance of inclusion. The commitment to representation was demonstrated by speakers like Stuart Easton. Inclusivity extended to food options. These improvements are promising, and I hope to see further enhancements in the coming years—including gender-neutral bathrooms, mother lounges, and more diverse dietary choices as halal or kosher.
By: Somnath Ghosh
I presented at the PMI Global Summit 2023 in Atlanta. This was a great event with featured speakers, exhibits and networking activities. My presentation Lean Portfolio Management (LPM) to Align Enterprise Strategy focused on data-driven decision making, disciplined intake mechanisms, incremental funding, and consistent feedback loops to inform portfolio planning.
We discussed how LPM aligns your organization's strategy with initiatives, enabling you to prioritize them based on their value to your customer and increase your ability to pivot when necessary. It enables you to fund projects based on performance and customer feedback rather than just blindly following a plan, ensuring you build value, see results, and meet customer expectations.
Attendees learned to leverage data to enable Lean Portfolio Management, build guardrails for their portfolios, measure what matters, and establish value flow to the customer, while taking advantage of a modernized Portfolio Management approach.
During our sessions, we delved into a few intriguing themes, such as “How long does it take to change traditional portfolio management to a LPM”, “Culture and the need to maintain status quo will be a challenge”, “How to get started on making the change”, and “How do you handle initiatives that do not make the cut or get defunded”. The questions posed and the active participation were exceptional.
I had a great time presenting, and the full presentation will be on demand through 1 January 2024. Visit PMI Global Summit 2023 for more details.
By: Michelle Venezia
Each year I look forward to the PMI Global Summit as an opportunity to bring home innovative ideas, profound insights, and, most crucially, to network with like-minded colleagues from around the world. 2023 did not disappoint! As a PMO leader, this may have been my most exciting global conference to date. Right away, from the exciting announcement on Day 1, the event felt as if it was tailored just for me!
Taking Center Stage: PMOs
Let’s start with the exciting Day 1 announcement from PMI’s CEO, Pierre Le Manh, which set the tone for me from the beginning. During the opening session, Pierre unveiled the acquisition of PMO Global Alliance (PMOGA), an organization well known by PMO leaders around the world as a community focused on meeting our needs. Founded by Americo Pinto, PMOGA has grown tremendously over the last several years as an organization that fosters a community for those of us serving the Project Management Office (PMO) space, while advocating on our behalf and recognizing the unique contributions of the many strong PMOs around the world. I’ve long looked to PMI as my “home” as a project professional, as a place to find “my people” when I need to collaborate or explore new ideas. This announcement underscored for me that I also have a home in PMI as a PMO leader.
Coming off this announcement, I was excited to join a small group session hosted by PMI Chief of Staff Lenka Pinkot, PMI Board Member Sarina Arcari, and CEO of PMOGA Americo Pinto, as well as other PMO thought leaders and professionals to immediately begin brainstorming on how we can leverage this new alliance to support PMO practitioners around the world and create immediate impact in 2024. There were many amazing thoughts generated, and I can’t wait to see the impact moving into 2024.
Change management has been a key topic of discussion in my daily role at University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), and Cassandra Worthy’s keynote did not disappoint. While many of the change models I’ve been using have focused on the “process” of change, Cassandra tapped into the emotions associated with change. I loved how she started with emotions first, and the need to focus on people and equipping ourselves to have resiliency as we inevitably continue to face change in our work and our daily lives. Rather than addressing the process of changing others, I loved how she shifted the perspective to leveraging inclusion and emotional intelligence to help our teams through change.
Strategy: Seeing the Forest and the Trees
Another personal highlight on Day 1 was the honor of leading the session, "Organizational Strategy: Seeing the Forest and the Trees." In this presentation, I emphasized the importance of enabling an intentional leadership culture where staff is included, engaged, and supported to create an environment where culture can thrive (or as I called it, planting the seeds for strategy to thrive). We then moved into the success factors for creation of organizational strategy (your organization’s forest) while also having the tools in place to achieve that strategy through strong program and project execution (taking care of the trees). The participants in my session brought amazing energy and questions, and I walked out with a larger network of colleagues who I’m continuing to engage with even as I return home.
The URMC team continued to shine on Saturday morning, with Agile Coach Lori Gacioch and Enterprise Data Warehouse Program Manager Barb Ryan, leading a session on “The Marriage of Program/Project Management and Agile.” They drove home the story of strong execution in realizing our data & analytics strategy at URMC, effectively marrying program management structure with Agile ways of working to achieve extraordinary results.
Networking and Connections
The connections made at PMI Global Summit 2023, the exposure to cutting-edge ideas and global thought leaders, and the opportunity to share my expertise in my session have left a lasting impact. I return to my organization with a renewed sense of purpose, armed with the knowledge and inspiration needed to drive positive change and elevate our PMO’s strategies. PMI Global Summit 2023 has been a testament to the ever-evolving nature of project management, and I am excited about what the future brings.