The Healthy Project Manager

Matching up wellness coaching and motivational interviewing techniques with project management—along with inclusion and inspiration—is my goal.

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Does joy at work even matter?

Can gratitude make us better project managers?

All about PMI Global Conference 2019

October's PMI Global Conference - Who can you meet with?

My short poem for YOU!

Have you stepped back and looked at yourself?

Have you ever asked someone to shadow you while facilitating meetings to provide feedback - with the goal to measure and improve your PM performance?  It’s not for the faint of heart, but it is an excellent way to grow.  Some ideas:

Self-improvement:  Several years ago I created a Meeting Mentoring Observation Worksheet and asked several people to score me during a meeting.  I try to do this at least 1x year.  The scoring is charted on a scale: 1 (poor) – 5 (exceptional) and I asked mentors to score me on some interesting things like:

  • My overall communication skills
  • How prepared I was for the meeting (agenda, documentation, knowledge of subject etc.)
  • My understanding/comprehension of the conversations during the meeting
  • How important it was to hold the meeting – could the information presented in the meeting have been shared more effectively in any other format (report, graph, e-mail, etc.)
  • How the meeting flow and organization of thoughts came across to others
  • My speaking tone – professionalism/respectfulness to others
  • Non-verbal communication
  • Recognition of others
  • Skill at asking open-ended questions
  • Active listening skills 
  • And more….Asking for feedback allows one to explore the perceptions of others.  It’s a great way to double check my personal style and look for opportunities for self-improvement beyond some typical things like taking a class or increasing my knowledge in some way.

Self-development:  Grow, grow, grow – I try to stretch myself.  For example – volunteering to speak at PMI chapter meetings or seminars.  It’s a great way to grow and develop personally while sharing insights with others.  Volunteering is a wonderful way to increase self-development.  In November, I will be speaking at the PMO Symposium 2019 in Denver, Colorado.  Scary, but an excellent self-development opportunity!

Self-control:  Ever get hot under the collar during a meeting or take something said in a meeting personally?  I’m trying to learn to subdue my emotions in meetings – not easy for a “Type-A” personality, but there is actually power and strength in this.  It’s allows one to step back, enabling longer pauses, waiting for responses, not spitting out the answers so quickly but allowing others to find the right answer before stepping back into the conversation.  Listening more.  Instead of sharing my perspective, I’ve been trying to spend more time asking others about their thoughts and viewpoints.  If someone uses a statement that bubbles up an emotion, I try to spend an extra moment pondering it from their vantage point before responding.  This takes self-control and is another excellent aspect of growth and development.

How do you encourage self-improvement, self-development and self-control?  I’m anxious to hear what works for you!

Posted on: July 01, 2019 05:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (10)


As my grandmother was losing her battle with cancer, I took her hand and asked her what I needed to know about life before she left me.  We were close and I felt afraid about stepping into the future without her.  Nearly daily I hear her response in my thoughts.  She replied “life is all about how you handle change, Lori.  Handle it well, handle it with grace”.  She modeled a long full life of gracefully embracing changes like moving from Russia to America, learning a new language, starting new jobs, rearing two active boys and more.  During her lifetime she witnessed incredible advances in travel, technology and even learned to embrace her terminal condition with grace.

I consider her advice in my professional life whenever a trusted coworker leaves, corporate announces a new merger or restructuring, my boss asks me to lead a new technology or upgrade I am unfamiliar with or a million other changes come my way.  Being willing to gracefully embrace change can be a challenge – especially in these times when change comes at us with such ferocity. 

As project managers, we each face enormous change – sometimes it can feel like we are living in a pressure cooker!  Below are some change management tips I use in both my personal and professional life:

  • Accept my honest feelings about change – It helps to take a moment to wallow in the idea of this change, thinking about it and considering what this change really means.  Not trying to solve or manage it just yet, instead simply considering what the change feels like – but the key here is not to linger in this stage too long.
  • Look for any positive – Is there any positive for me or others in making this change?  Can I alter how I am looking at this change by considering the perspectives of others?  Will this change help anyone or do good in some way?
  • Recount past strengths – Is there something I faced in the past when I handled change well?  Reminding myself of these successes, can help boost my confidence about facing what is ahead.
  • Reach out – Finding others to talk with who have already traveled this path to see if there is anything I can learn from their experiences can be invaluable.  This website is a great place to reach out to peers for their thoughts.  The support of others can make all the difference.
  • Make my health a priority – Even experiencing good change can be hard and stressful.  Success rates can be improved by making healthy food choices, exercising and getting a good night of sleep which will help keep stress in check while managing change.  When I am physically stronger I am better prepared to handle change.
  • Believe in yourself and move forward – Project managers model this by setting small, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-framed goals.  This works for personal changes too.  Sometimes it is baby steps, but even baby steps add up to progress.

Consider embracing and handling change well because as my grandmother so wisely offered – life is all about HOW you handle change – do it with grace.  On a final note my grandmother’s name was Grace.

Posted on: April 02, 2019 11:33 AM | Permalink | Comments (5)

"Never look at the trombones, it only encourages them."

- Richard Strauss