Project Management

Shifting Change: Insider Tips from Project Leaders

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Today's world is influenced by change. Project managers and their organizations need to embrace and sometimes drive changes to keep up with the pace in highly competitive environments. In this blog, experienced professionals share their experiences, tips and tools to manage and exploit changes and take advantage of them. The blog is complimentary to the webinar series of the Change Management Community Team and is managed by the same individuals.

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Luisa Cristini
Nic Jain
Ruth Pearce
Abílio Neto
Vitaly Geyman
Walter Vandervelde
Steve Salisbury
John ORourke
Ronald Sharpe
Angela Montgomery
Tony Saldanha
Ryan Gottfredson
Joseph Pusz
Kavitha Gunasekaran
Ross Wirth
Carole Osterweil
Barbara Trautlein
Amrapali Amrapali

Recent Posts

More than Fun and Games

How to achieve great value

Running a blog at projectmanagement.com - what it takes behind the scenes?

Being your authentic self has never been so important – Thriving in the ‘NEW normal’

Neuroscience: The Next Frontier in Agility Development

More than Fun and Games

More than Fun and Games

At the beginning of a project excitement abounds.  There is an allure to working on the next big thing to move the business forward.  Yet, as the days turn into weeks, and the weeks into months, the allure begins to fade when the finish line is just a dot on the horizon.  The middle of a project is when it can be hard to maintain focus and stay the course.  Planning for this downturn in energy is important, and implementing a reward and recognition plan can help bolster the team’s energy reserves and keep the momentum going.

A reward and recognition plan serves as a means to encourage and reward the project team and key partners for their contributions to the project and its success. The plan should contain both monetary and non-monetary incentives that reinforce commitment.

A comprehensive plan should include:

  • Criteria for how and when project team members and key partners will be recognized and rewarded.
  • A budget.  Allocating funds specifically for reward and recognition ensures the plan can be consistently administered across the life of the project.
  • Recognition that is delivered in a timely manner, for a specific reason, and in a way the individual finds meaningful. 
  • Opportunities for team members and partners to maintain relationships. 
  • A few examples might include: Project Team recognition with a virtual happy hour; Individual recognition with a personalized award, event, or time-off.

Reward and recognition is often overlooked in a task driven environment.  It is important to remember that the individuals working hard to complete those tasks need to feel appreciated.  While providing meaningful recognition has always been a key component in the project plan, today’s fractured working environment further heightens the need.  The benefits reaped from implementing a reward and recognition plan far outweigh the cost.

 

 

Posted by Ronald Sharpe on: September 23, 2020 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

How to achieve great value

 

In my work advising leaders through major change and transformation projects in Fortune 150 organizations, I have distilled successful change to three underlying components.

  1. Active Leadership. Underlying values based, principled centered leadership that defines how a leader “shows up” to his people. This defines their degree of trustworthiness.
  2. Relationship Building. The work a leader does to build relationships with her leadership team and beyond. This defines the degree the organization will be engaged with the change.
  3. Execution. Putting the processes, structures, and systems in place to execute the change. This defines expectations and accountabilities of individual team members. As project managers we do this every day.

 

Together these three components are essential for successful change and are required to drive the most value. When executed well, I’ve observed value targets exceeded.

 

When any one of these components are missing, you sub optimize the value of the change.

  • If you haven’t based your leadership on solid values, employees will find your message lacks credibility. I remember those old westerns where a medicine salesman from back east came to town to sell those amazing elixirs that would heal your every pain. Their lack of credibility was so evident it was painful. They suppressed their values to make a buck.
  • A sizable portion of a leader’s role, particularly during times of change, is to build relationships with employees. His first responsibility is to his immediate leadership team. With their help he can extend this to the entire organization. Without solid connections to the organization – in whatever form it takes – employees will remain less engaged with the change.
  • Active leadership and engaged employees are vital to successful change, but without clear expectations and accountability, the process to achieve change will be painful, wrought with confusion, and will likely sub optimize the value.

 

With any change, these items are critical. Now more than ever with employees working remotely, these principles become even more important to keep the organization together and focused on the end goal.

 

 

 

Posted by Steve Salisbury on: September 11, 2020 09:48 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

Running a blog at projectmanagement.com - what it takes behind the scenes?

Video created by Luisa Cristini, Amrapali Amrapali, Nic Jain

Objective of this post is to explain to all stakeholders [e.g., Community Members, Volunteers, Bloggers, New potential bloggers, inquisitive readers too ] how the blogging process works for Change Management / Transformation Community.

Thanks to great efforts from our community, contributors, PMI staff & volunteers we have this blog up and running on top of mostly viewed pages on ProjectManagement.com. We are here with a model blogging procedure, neatly explained with the help of an interactive video and a document for records.

Video here was a live training done for Knowledge transfer amongst volunteers [We didn’t ‘polish’ it up and left it ‘raw’ :-) . So you know the inside story]

We encourage our readers to get in touch with us if they have some interesting stories to contribute.

Feel free to comment and we will respond back or edit the post to clarify.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

 

 

Posted by Nic Jain on: September 10, 2020 09:20 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Being your authentic self has never been so important – Thriving in the ‘NEW normal’

Today the most widely seen and heard term is ‘the NEW normal’ that is believed to be a very disruptive change, emerging from the Covid-19 crisis. What is this ‘NEW normal’? What relevance has it got to our way of being in general, at the workplace, home-front or at the societal level?

This article is aimed at helping us address key issues that arise in a crisis, including facing the new reality, being our true authentic selves at work and home, leading from our true north (holding important things that really matter), digging deep for the root causes and adapting to the new normal.

A crisis comes when we least expect it. So it helps if we are proactive and start predicting the probable risk scenarios, however far-fetched they maybe. The current situation has undoubtedly taught us important lessons in Risk and Crisis management:

  1. Keeping the road ahead in sight - There is a need to look at the broader implications of the crisis and what you can do and what are the scenarios you can anticipate
  2. Stepping up - We have to appreciate the implications of what's going on, no matter how terrible it is. It could throw out all our plans. Everything could be falling apart but we need to realize that we have to step up to that crisis. 
  3. Understanding the new reality as an outcome of a crisis - It is a new reality we're looking at. And the reality is we don't really fully understand it. But we've got to dive in and do the best we can and understand, who's going to be impacted by this crisis and what role do we and our organization have in helping ourselves as well as our customers and stakeholders sail through this crisis?
  4. Building resilience and bouncing back from tough situations through effective crisis management and leading through crisis

The world today is beginning to embrace the Ubuntu philosophy. It is often translated as "I am because we are," or "humanity towards others," in a more philosophical sense to mean "the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity."

According to Michael Onyebuchi Eze, the core of ubuntu can best be summarised as follows:

'A person is a person through other people' strikes an affirmation of one’s humanity through recognition of an ‘other’ in his or her uniqueness and difference. Humanity is a quality we owe to each other. We create each other and need to sustain this otherness creation. And if we belong to each other, we participate in our creations: we are because you are, and since you are, definitely I am.

Major learnings in overcoming the anxiety barrier and ensuring our emotional well-being when we carry on with our daily activities, stepping out of homes - with masks & with social distancing include:

1. Facing the reality of the 'new' normal and acceptance of the same seems to be the first step.

2. Boosting the morale of all stakeholders in our life, be it personal or professional, is a challenge, however connecting to each one of them on a personal level through genuine enquiries about their well-being and about their near & dear, their families seems to break that anxiety barrier in others.

3. Expressing one's own vulnerability in this scenario seems relatable to everyone

4. Sharing own experiences wherein one had been able to successfully take the mind-off the situation by immersing in absorbing activities be it learning, hobbies etc which resulted in a boost to one's emotional well being

5. Being grateful for the most important things in life - health and relationships

6. Choosing more transformational and/or relational social interactions over transactional ones.

 The above could serve as an inspiration for self and our efforts in enabling all our stakeholders to overcome anxiety and  face the world in a new light.

In short, predicting the NEW normal by co-creating it seems to be the mantra of surviving this crisis. And finally, let’s remember to live by ‘Ubuntu’ – I am because we are!

Posted by Kavitha Gunasekaran on: August 30, 2020 12:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

Neuroscience: The Next Frontier in Agility Development

Categories: Agility, Mindsets, Neuroscience

The Key to Agility

Individuals who are agile share similar characteristics. They include:

  • Innovative
  • Change-willing
  • Opportunistic
  • Purpose-seeking
  • Problem-solving

Individuals who are not as agile, generally share the opposite characteristics:

  • Traditional
  • Change-resistant
  • Risk-averse
  • Comfort-seeking
  • Problem-avoiding

As you consider these lists and the basic idea that we want to help people shift from being less-agile to being more-agile, which part of an individual controls whether or not they are innovative versus traditional or change-willing versus change-resistant?

The answer: Their mind.

How individuals’ minds digest and process information shapes how agile they are. Thus, it stands to reason that if we want to become more agile or if we want to help others to become more agile, we must focus on the mind.

Harnessing the Power of the Mind in Agility Development

How often is the mind focused on when discussing the development of agility?

In my experience, rarely.

To harness the power of the mind in agility development, we need to focus on an aspect of our brain that drives our brain’s processing: our mindsets.

Our mindsets are often described as our mental lenses that shape how we see and process our world, and therefore are foundational to how we operate in our world.

But, in reality, our mindsets are long-range neural connections in our brain that connects three different regions of the brain:

  1. Basal Ganglia (Reptilian Brain) – In charge of body sensations and impulses. It is what rapidly gets us into fight/flight/freeze mode if it senses or interprets danger.
  2. Limbic System (Mammalian Brain) - It is in charge of emotions, feelings, and implicit memory, which greatly inform and influence decisions.
  3. Neocortex (Human Brain) - It is in charge of thought, verbal expression, and emotional intelligence. Everything below this brain region is largely instinctual and reactive. This is the part of our brain that allows for rationality and responsiveness.

 

Since our mindsets are the neural highway connecting these three brain regions, they effectively serve as the circuit board for our brain that performs three primary jobs:

  1. Since our body sends our brain way more information than we can process, our mindsets first filter in the most important and valuable information (largely occurs in the basal ganglia).
  2. Our mindsets then put meaning on, or interprets, this information, largely based upon our memory and past experiences (largely occurs in our limbic system).
  3. Based upon the information filtered in and how it is interpreted, our mindsets activate the different traits and goal-regulation strategies to best respond to what we have filtered in and interpreted.

What Mindsets Do Employees Need to Develop?

If employees’ mindsets are central to how employees process and operate, they need to become a primary focus when developing agility. This is perhaps the best way we know how to focus on the mind as part of agility development.

But, something that often holds organizations up from focusing on mindsets is that they don’t know what mindsets to focus on.

I have scoured the academic literature to identify mindsets that have been researched and have been continually demonstrated to impact how people think, learn, and behave. From this research, I have identified four mindsets that have been repeatedly found to lead to agile processing and operation. They are:

  • Growth Mindset: The belief that people can change their talents, abilities, and intelligence, leading to a focus on learning and growing
    • It is difficult to be agile if you don’t believe that one and/or others cannot change
  • Open Mindset: The belief that one can be wrong, leading to a focus on thinking optimally, and finding truth
    • It is difficult to be agile if we always think that what we know is best, leading us to close down our mind to new or divergent ideas
  • Promotion Mindset: Having a meaningful destination that one is working toward (i.e., focus on winning), leading to a willingness to do the difficult but necessary things to get to that destination
    • It is difficult to be agile if we are always trying to “play it safe”
  • Outward Mindset: The belief that others are just as important as oneself, leading to one seeing others as people and valuing them as such
    • It is difficult to be agile if we are primarily focused on ourselves and what is best for us.

Conclusion

I hope this article has done three things for you:

  1. Helped you see how important it is to focus on the mind when developing agility
  2. Helped you see that a focal aspect of the mind that is optimal for development is mindsets
  3. Helped you know what mindsets you should focus on when enhancing your personal agility or the agility of those in your organization

Ryan Gottfredson, Ph.D. is the Wall Street Journal and USA Today best-selling author of “Success Mindsets: The Key to Unlocking Greater Success in Your Life, Work, & Leadership.” He is also a leadership professor at the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics at California State University-Fullerton. You can connect with him and take a FREE Personal Mindset Assessment at https://ryangottfredson.com/.

 

 

Posted by Ryan Gottfredson on: August 24, 2020 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)
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