Project Management

Voices on Project Management

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Voices on Project Management offers insights, tips, advice and personal stories from project managers in different regions and industries. The goal is to get you thinking, and spark a discussion. So, if you read something that you agree with--or even disagree with--leave a comment.

About this Blog


View Posts By:

Cameron McGaughy
Lynda Bourne
Kevin Korterud
Conrado Morlan
Peter Tarhanidis
Mario Trentim
Jen Skrabak
David Wakeman
Wanda Curlee
Christian Bisson
Ramiro Rodrigues
Soma Bhattacharya
Emily Luijbregts
Sree Rao
Yasmina Khelifi
Marat Oyvetsky
Lenka Pincot
Jorge Martin Valdes Garciatorres
cyndee miller

Past Contributors:

Rex Holmlin
Vivek Prakash
Dan Goldfischer
Linda Agyapong
Jim De Piante
Siti Hajar Abdul Hamid
Bernadine Douglas
Michael Hatfield
Deanna Landers
Kelley Hunsberger
Taralyn Frasqueri-Molina
Alfonso Bucero Torres
Marian Haus
Shobhna Raghupathy
Peter Taylor
Joanna Newman
Saira Karim
Jess Tayel
Lung-Hung Chou
Rebecca Braglio
Roberto Toledo
Geoff Mattie

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Viewing Posts by Peter Tarhanidis

4 Things to Do Right Now to be a Better Leader in the Future

Categories: AI, Careers, Innovation, Leadership

by Peter Tarhanidis, PhD

Pressing into 2021, all of us must consider the skills we each need to lead through the current COVID crisis—and into the future. We all witnessed this pandemic’s damage across our businesses. And in response, many organizations have changed their ambitions and goals.

According to McKinsey, this new era of uncertainty has prompted CEOs to shift their leadership in four ways:

  1. Making bold moves and aspiring to greater heights, redirecting resource capacity gained from working remotely toward these initiatives.
  2. Taking notice of—and recalibrating—how they and their leaders “show up” and engage staff.
  3. Shifting the main tenet of an organization’s purpose from the primacy of the shareholder to stakeholder capitalism.
  4. Leaning into the power of peer networks.

While the executives at the top of an organization’s hierarchy quickly shift their mindsets, will leaders across the org chart keep up with business demands?

Here are four ways to be a more effective project leader in the future:

  1. Build trust. Ensure your organizational culture leverages behaviors that motivate your colleagues and teams. Lead by example—show you can trust your team by letting junior staff members deliver a presentation to senior leadership, for example. 
  2. Support career and talent development opportunities. Adopt new technologies that leverage the future workforce of humans and machines. Allow team members to explore the feasibility of new ideas and the implementation of artificial intelligence initiatives.
  3. Learn to lead through complexity and ambiguity and bring others along in that journey as many continue to work remotely. Set a specific time of the day or week when you can be contacted to create the “virtual open door” policy
  4. Lead through influencing abilities to more quickly respond to changing business needs. Use your peers and partners to define accountabilities and consensus on activities that can clarify one’s role to empower action.  

What are you doing to be a more effective leader in the future?

Posted by Peter Tarhanidis on: March 12, 2021 04:59 PM | Permalink | Comments (11)

8 Tips for Avoiding Burnout and Finishing Strong

Categories: Careers, Disruption, Leadership

by Peter Tarhanidis, PhD

We are now in the final quarter of a pandemic year. With many of us still isolated and working remotely as a second wave of COVID-19 emerges, project teams and leaders alike must consider how to close out 2020. Finishing strong together in a pandemic year without burnout is the goal—and it’s a crucial one for our customers, colleagues, families and communities.

But how can we avoid the desire to crawl back into bed until we’re past the pandemic? Let’s take a moment and conduct a check to see if any of us, our colleagues or family exhibit signs of burnout. This may include feelings of being overwhelmed, a lack of passion, emotional exhaustion and falling behind on normal activities. These symptoms all lead to rising irritability, conflicts and visible struggles. 

To cope with the stress and anxiety, we must reverse this cycle. We should re-prioritize ourselves to ensure we take care of our physical, mental and financial health, proactively recognizing our pressures and setting time aside to restore our mindfulness and spend time with family. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, find a strong support network. Taking action to create more balance is restorative and puts leaders in a position to be examples to others in doing the same.

As the end of year nears for me, I recognize finishing strong and limiting burnout involves adapting to pandemic tensions and refining my approach to leadership and project management

Do more:

  1. Coaching and mentoring to direct others and yourself to complete the goal
  2. Maintaining focus, flexibility and agility to adjust scope plans, milestones and project schedules by working with stakeholders and sponsors
  3. Collaborating with teams and staying interconnected while practicing transparency
  4. Celebrating and recognizing small and large milestones

Do less:

  1. Losing sight of the key priorities and getting caught up with issues of low importance
  2. Blaming colleagues for missed targets rather than gaining consensus on how to plan a way forward
  3. Taking for granted the effort colleagues have put into their work and not celebrating their efforts
  4. Slipping into disorganization instead of maintaining administrative oversight of critical project needs

Your turn: What are some of the best ways to avoid end-of-year burnout for you and your team?

Posted by Peter Tarhanidis on: December 14, 2020 01:36 PM | Permalink | Comments (12)

10 Ways to Support Team Members During Trying Times

Categories: Careers, Disruption

By Peter Tarhanidis, PhD, MBA

The COVID-19 pandemic, political and racial division, unemployment and other serious issues are casting enormous shadows across the globe. 

On top of these stressors, many of us have isolated ourselves from each other in order to lessen the spread of the virus and combat the pandemic. As such, we’ve adopted new behaviors and virtual ways of working to rightfully ensure our health and safety. And yet, these same efforts to maintain connectivity with each other have created more virtual isolation for many of us. 

Especially for those working in isolation, it is critical to stay connected. While tacit interactions drive human behavior and develop relationships, what can leaders do to re-create and sustain team members’ engagement?

Below is a list of ten action items that can help project leaders improve working relationships and performance during these tough times:

  1. Display compassion for colleagues and create a supportive environment.
  2. Listen to colleagues’ professional and personal needs, and provide support to help them maintain their best selves.
  3. Make it a point to meet and greet new colleagues.
  4. Arrange introductory sessions for new colleagues to support their onboarding. 
  5. Communicate the organization’s unique cultural attributes that bind teams and drive performance.
  6. Recognize colleagues’ small wins to provide encouragement and motivation throughout these trying times.
  7. Celebrate the track record of wins to recreate your company’s “flywheel.”
  8. Identify development and training opportunities to undertake new challenges.
  9. Ensure working parents have time to be successful at both home and work.
  10. Take time off to recharge, stay healthy and be there for those who rely on you.

What actions would you add to this list to benefit our community and colleagues?

Posted by Peter Tarhanidis on: August 24, 2020 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

Believe It or Not, You Were Built for This Time

Believe it or not, you were built for this time

By Peter Tarhanidis, PhD

No one could have expected the reality of what a pandemic unleashes on each of us—our families, communities and places of employment. A once booming economy filled with demand and focused on the deployment of strategic investments and projects has now changed. This global pandemic has brought on uncertainty, sparking leaders and NGOs around the world to step up with varying approaches to crisis management, emergency response and the critical need for communication.

The implications of COVID-19 have exposed us to new health risks, limited healthcare capacity, challenged supply chains and the need to operate in the new normal of isolation and social distancing.

Yet we all have witnessed how leadership can stand up, rally and partner with government and industry to provide guidance to avoid undue risks, maintain connections and guide us through this pandemic. While this entire episode may be distressing and taking its toll, YOU were built for this unprecedented global crisis. Your development as a leader and manager of teams and initiatives has established an excellent foundation to rely on to guide your teams through this time.

As I continue to evolve and flex my leadership style during this time period, I’ve developed a list of key habits to offer some guidance to all project leaders:

  1. Reset your leadership style with compassionate behaviors.
  2. Connect with your team and continue to maintain your relationships.
  3. Stay in control by collaborating with your team to redesign the team’s guiding or working principles.
  4. Set clear boundaries to enable the balance of work and family time.
  5. Enable healthy habits for you, your family and your team members.
  6. Celebrate small wins and keep everyone motivated.
  7. Streamline unnecessary activities and prioritize new activities to combat the pandemic.
  8. Leverage technology to maintain professional and personal connections.
  9. Communicate and support your organization’s leadership messages to mitigate the pandemic.
  10. Consider re-prioritizing your milestones and initiatives, and realign goals to meet long-term business strategies.

Please comment below with any tactics that have helped you and your teams endure this time and keep moving forward.

Posted by Peter Tarhanidis on: April 09, 2020 03:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)

Plan for the Velocity of Change to Keep Increasing!

Plan for the velocity of change to keep increasing

By Peter Tarhanidis, Ph.D., M.B.A.

Today, developments in emerging technology, business processes and digital experiences are accelerating larger transformation initiatives. Moore’s Law means that we have access to exponentially better computing capabilities. Growth is further fueled by technologies such as supercomputers, artificial intelligence, natural language processing, Internet of Things (IoT) and more across industries.

Emerging Tech
The global IT industry is valued at $5.3 trillion in 2020 and is poised to grow 6.2 percent by 2021, according to tech market research firm IDC. Emerging technology like augmented reality and robotics will make up an increasing share of that growth.

Business Process Maturity
Organizations are improving the maturity of their business processes. They’re doing this by automating tasks, eliminating them, improving performance or finding the lowest-cost way to perform a task. Organizations are connecting with experts to collaborate across a wider network of colleagues. This enables strategies to be integrated across the value chain to quickly drive business outcomes.

According to market research group IMARC, automation and the IoT are driving growth in business process management (BPM); the BPM market is expected to grow at a 10 percent compound annual growth rate between 2020 and 2025.

Customer Experience
In addition, having a formidable customer experience strategy can make the difference between customers choosing your brand or your competitors in 2020. That’s according to Core dna, a digital experience platform vendor.

Customer experience is redefining business processes and digitizing the consumption model to increase brand equity. Gartner reports that among marketing leaders who are responsible for customer experience, 81 percent say their companies will largely compete on customer experience in two years. However, only 22 percent have developed experiences that exceed customer expectations.

Economic Forces
Lastly, the potential for cash flow growth remains high in 2020, despite economic risks, according to the U.S. Corporate Credit Outlook 2020. This will likely lead to capital investments and a fair portion of companies funding transformational projects.

The Way Forward
While transformations have evolved, they encapsulate the way we think and operate. Old methods may seem encumbering and administratively difficult, creating bureaucracy and delays in decision making. The challenge is the velocity of change, which is very disruptive to organizations.

I’ve developed a few guidelines to help navigate this change:

  • Work with an agile mindset.
  • Fail often and fast to ultimately filter out winning initiatives.
  • Define the cultural attributes that propel staff and colleagues to succeed on their endeavors.

Change is now inherent and pervasive in the annual planning process for organizations. Given that, I like to ask: What is the plan to prepare staff and colleagues to compete in this hyper-transformation age?

What observations have you made to keep up with this new era’s velocity of change?

Posted by Peter Tarhanidis on: February 13, 2020 04:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm."

- Winston Churchill