Viewing Posts by Judy Umlas
Establishing a Culture of Acknowledgment
| Editor's Note: In response to a recent comment on the "The Power of Acknowledgement," by Judy Umlas, commenter Lina asked, "Would you mind explaining or giving the steps to start implementing the acknowledgment culture in a team?" The following is Judy's response.|
Lina, I think you have asked a very important and worthwhile question.
Here are some steps you can take to establish or enhance a culture of acknowledgment (and appreciation) on a team:
1. If you're a project leader for a new team, all the better. At your project kickoff meeting, announce that you have heard about the value of acknowledging team members for their accomplishments, and for who they are and what they bring to the team.
Be clear that people should only acknowledge team members that they truly feel deserve it. Otherwise, the acknowledgment will fall flat and be considered insincere. If the project is already underway, set up some specific time to discuss this at one of your regular project meetings.
2. Make the statement that everyone has a unique talent or gift that they bring to the team. Stress that they are all tasked with finding these gifts and talents.
3. In my book, The Power of Acknowledgment, I discuss 7 principles of acknowledgment, which can be summarized as follows:
4. Share with them Stephen R. Covey's quote from 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: "Next to physical survival, the greatest need of a human being is ... to be affirmed, to be validated, to be appreciated."
Keep the conversation about acknowledgment going throughout the life of the project. Then, do a wildly successful job as a team. The culture of acknowledgment and appreciation will allow that to happen.
How do you create a culture of acknowledgment within your project teams?
| Normally, I encourage and promote the use of heartfelt and spontaneous acknowledgments. Now I want to talk about the possibility of instituting and practicing a more formal process of recognition simultaneously. |
I recently held a webinar with about 60 project managers from Finland. I had been told before the webinar that they didn't believe acknowledgement even existed in their culture. Shortly after this webinar, though, I received an enthusiastic e-mail from Dean Pattrick, PMP, telling me about an internal program introduced at Nokia in Finland. It's called the Peer-to-Peer Recognition Award.
Below is a copy of the certificate he and the company's human resources department put together to recognize achievement in one of the company's four core values, Achieving Together.
"So I filled in this certificate for eight people and the response I got from each of them was jaw-dropping," Mr. Pattrick wrote.
Remember, acknowledgment supposedly doesn't even exist in Mr. Pattrick's culture. Yet people were thrilled and delighted with the recognition certificates and the heartfelt comments.
He achieved these results because acknowledgment is a human need, especially at work.
Many companies are starting to institute formal practices like Nokia's and I wholeheartedly applaud them. I also acknowledge Mr. Pattrick for putting this practice into action.
Does your organization have a formal process for recognizing its employees? If so, please share it with us and let us know how you think it is working.
Photo copyright of Nokia and was published with permission.
| One of the attendees at the Fifth PMI National Congress held recently in Brazil said something that really resonated with me: "I want people on my team who truly believe in the project." That statement is so simple and yet so elegant. It made me think of the project that my company is working on now: International Project Management Day 2010.|
A senior consultant at IIL, Frank P. Saladis, PMP, created the idea for this day of recognition and acknowledgment of project managers worldwide.
Now in its seventh year, the event brings together project management thought-leaders in a virtual conference accessible to anyone and everyone around the world.
Gregory Balestrero, president and CEO of PMI, and Harold Kerzner, PhD, will each deliver a keynote address. The event launches on 4 November, and attendees can earn up to 11 free professional development units (PDUs) for participating. There will also be a virtual recognition booth where you can name people you think are great project managers.
This project is a joy, but often a challenge, for all of us to pull together and make it happen. We do it to help realize the goal and intention of the special day: to make sure that all of you are being celebrated. It's certainly a project that every one of us truly believes in and is proud to be a part of.
Head over now -- it's not too late for you to join in the celebration. If you can't make it, the content will be up for three months and you can still earn those precious (and price-less) PDUs.
Does Work-Life Balance Really Exist?
Categories: Career Help
| I spent a good part of a recent weekend doing a final edit of an upcoming project management book. Ironically, one chapter referenced a 2004 Fast Company article called "Balance is Bunk!" ('Bunk' being a slang term that basically means 'absurd.')|
There I was, giving up my well-earned leisure time on a beautiful fall day, but wanting and needing to get the job done. So I went to the article, which states:
"The truth is, balance is bunk. ... The quest for balance between work and life, as we've come to think of it, isn't just a losing proposition; it's a hurtful, destructive one."
Now we're really getting to the core of the dilemma, I thought to myself. The author then quotes John Wood, who at the time the article was written, had been working seven days a week, 365 days a year. In regard to the elusive, so-called state of "balance," Mr. Wood said:
"I don't look at balance as an ideal. What I look at is, Am I happy? If the answer is yes, then everything else is inconsequential."
That made a lot of sense, I thought. I love and am passionate about what I do. I want to get this book published and out the door -- but what's on the other side of this supposedly unachievable quest for balance?
Rodney Turner, PhD, recently made a presentation entitled "Work-Life Balance in Project-Oriented Organizations." A preview states:
"Companies should treat their employees with respect and allow them to have a work-life balance. It is good for their physical and psychological health and therefore good for social sustainability. ... The need for profit and responding to client demands often takes precedence over employee wellbeing."
So is work-life balance bunk? I think the answer is both yes and no.
Sometimes when a project grabs us or is imposed on us, we have to say, "I surrender" -- either out of passion, guilt or intense pressure. I chose to give the book I was editing my all -- even when a "balanced" work-life scenario would have had me walking in the woods on that beautiful day. But I know it was worth it, and I know other beautiful days will come. I need to make sure I take advantage of them -- at least once in a while.
What do you think about the work-life balance challenge?
Apart from the challenge of letting go of my 18-year-old "baby," I was thrilled and proud to bring my son to the Rochester Institute of Technology, a university in Rochester, New York, USA last week. At orientation for first year students, James Miller, PhD, senior vice president for career services, invited the 2,650 new students gathered there to create an education and a life that included three critical elements: balance, passion and making a difference.