Project Management

Helping Project Managers to Help Themselves

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I'm all about Building Thriving Leaders™ This blog is based on over 35 years of project management and leadership successes and failures. Get practical, concise nuggets on both hard and soft skills to help you deliver projects successfully with minimal friction.

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Ten Ways to Grow your Followers into Leaders

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Agile, Career Development, Communication, Decision Making, Disability Inclusion, Empowerment, Followership, Leadership, New Job, project execution, Project Management, project sponsorship, Social Media, Time Management, Upward Management, Work Life Balance, Working from Home, Writing

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Ten Ways to Grow your Followers into Leaders

The Scenario: 

Frank and his new boss Phil are discussing an upcoming major project that Ann, the CEO, has tagged Phil to own.

“Frank, we need to talk about Apollo. Ann is very focused on its delivery and has specifically asked me to be the project sponsor.

“OK,” Frank said confidently, expecting Phil to empower him to lead Apollo.

“I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and I’m going to ask Beth to lead Apollo.”

Frank’s heart sank. “Beth?”

“That’s right,” Phil said. “I know that you’ve been wanting to take on something big like this, but I just don’t think you’re ready for Apollo.”

“What do you mean?” Frank asked.

Phil leaned forward. “Frank, I’ve got no doubt that you’d burn the midnight oil to deliver Apollo. The truth is that I just don’t think your team is ready for it.”

“My team? How so?”

“Apollo is huge and it’s going to require a strong team to get it done. Beth has done an outstanding job of investing in her team and growing them to be able to take on challenges like Apollo.”

Frank tried to appeal. “But you know I’d put everything I’ve got into delivering Apollo.”

“Frank, that’s exactly the point. I believe you’d put your all into it. It’s not about just you, it’s about the team you’ve been entrusted to grow. They’re Just not ready for Apollo. There will be other big projects in the future; let’s work to help you get your team ready for them.”

The Message:

Perhaps you know a Frank (or maybe are one yourself); a leader who will work himself to the bone to get something done but fails to grow and leverage a team of followers to help deliver results. Common excuses like, “I’m the only one who can do it,” “My team doesn’t have the experience,” or “It’s quicker if I just do it myself,” may be true in the moment, but they do nothing to build and leverage the skills that the leader’s team can bring to the table. This is a primal failure of what I call followership stewardship; the cultivation of followers to help them grow into leaders so you as a leader can scale into a leader of leaders. It’s every leader’s responsibility to acknowledge that a core purpose of being a leader is delivering results and growing followers. A leader who isn’t intentional about both delivering results and growing followers won’t scale into a leader of leaders. At some point the leader will not be able to deliver on bigger problems because he lacks the leverage of well-equipped followers to deploy. Sadly, this usually becomes evident when a leader fails to solve a problem that is too big for him or her to solve.

Do you need to work on being a better followership steward to deliver results and grow followers? Here are ten nuggets to consider:

  1. Watch the leader/follower skill gaps – Be mindful of having too large of a skill gap between you and your direct followers. Big gaps, even if the leader has high-potential followers, can cause the leader to take on more work by having to bridge the skill gap between the leader and follower.
  2. Have at least one follower who can do your job at a moment’s notice – Secure leaders don’t view followers as a threat. Quite the contrary; secure leaders cultivate followers who can fill the leader’s shoes with minimal business disruption. Have at least one follower who can fill your shoes in the event you are unexpectedly out of pocket.
  3. Find strengths that complement your weaknesses – Leaders who understand their own weaknesses need to seek out followers with strengths in the leaders’ weak areas. The leader not only supplements the team with strengths he or she doesn’t possess, but also provides an opportunity for both the leader and follower to learn from each other.
  4. Be disability inclusive – 26% of the US population has a documented disability. Only one in four working-age disabled people have jobs. Employee turnover is 48% less for those with a disability. Leaders need to actively look to the disability community for talent.
  5. Actively encourage being challenged – Leaders need to promote an environment where followers feel safe to challenge the leader’s thinking. Leaders don’t have a corner on the wisdom market and shouldn’t behave as if they do. Set and expect a respectful tone.  
  6. Call out “yes people” – Followers who simply agree with everything the leader says not only can be labeled as “sucking up to the boss” but also don’t get an opportunity to demonstrate critical thinking. Let followers know that you don’t want to build a team of brown-nosers; just make sure you follow up the words with actions and encourage being challenged (see point 5).
  7. Always have a succession slate – Leaders need to be intentional about having a candidate list of people who can take the leader’s job. Once you have the list, make sure you have a plan to cultivate your succession candidates to minimize disruption in the event you move on.
  8. Don’t make your job look so ugly no one would want it – Leaders who appear to work day and night, never take a peaceful vacation, or can’t enjoy their kid’s soccer game without being interrupted harm themselves in two ways. First, they become prime candidates for burnout. Second, they make their job look incredibly unattractive. Why would a follower who tries to keep balance want to be promoted into the leader’s 24/7 job?
  9. Promote “leverage a skill to learn a skill” – Leaders need to set a tone for followers to both bring a skill into an assignment and learn a skill from an assignment. Assignments that don’t have growth opportunities for followers are lost learning opportunities. Be deliberate about ensuring followers not only bring experience to a situation, but also gain experience from it.
  10. In-the-moment coaching while delivering – Leaders who combine the delivery of results along with in-the-moment coaching to followers provide far more value to the follower’s growth than any amount of sitting in a classroom. Capitalize on learning opportunities by providing timely and candid in-the-moment coaching.

The Consequences:  Not being an intentional followership steward can lead to the following:

  • Your followers won’t grow – When the leader doesn’t walk the talk on growing followers then – guess what – followers don’t grow. Imagine that.
  • You won’t grow – Stagnate followers mean stagnate leaders. Your growth comes in large part through the growth of your followers.
  • You won’t scale – When your growth is limited then your ability to take on larger and more complex areas of responsibility also becomes limited.

The Next Steps: 

  • Review the 10 tips to be a followership steward.
  • Decide which ones you need to improve.
  • For any tips you’ve identified as needing work, put an action plan together to address those followership steward areas.
  • Use a trusted advisor who can hold you accountable to be a better followership steward.
Posted on: August 18, 2022 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (12)

Giving Back to the Next Generation of Leaders

The Scenario: 

Miguel and Carol, two executives who retired from MilanCo last year, are having coffee.

“Miguel, what have you been doing with your time since MilanCo?” Carol asked.

“Oh, get up, watch the news, play a little golf, run some errands. How ‘bout you?”

“Gosh it’s so much fun. Some travel, seeing the grandkids, and I’ve got five women execs at MilanCo that I’m mentoring.”

“Really.” Miguel said.

“Most certainly.” Carol took a sip of coffee. “I’ve learned so much in my career, had some successes, and certainly some failures. I didn’t want all those learning opportunities to stay only with me, so I took it upon myself to reach out to HR and volunteer my time mentoring.”

“You volunteer your time?” Miguel asked.

“Sure do. It’s such a wonderful feeling to hear someone say, ‘Thanks Carol, you really helped me.’ More fulfilling than a paycheck. Have you considered doing something like that?”

Miguel looked down at his coffee. “Nah, my working days are over, time to let the younger ones rise up.”

“That’s exactly why I’m mentoring these women, Miguel. I want the younger ones to rise up; I’m just helping them rise up faster and with a greater likelihood of success.”

After a few more minutes of chatting Miguel looked at his watch.

“Well, gotta run Carol; was great catching up with you.”

“You too, take care Miguel. I’m meeting up with one of my mentees in a few so I’m just going to hang out here.”

“OK, bye,” Miguel said as he got up and left.

“Same selfish Miguel,” Carol thought as she watched Miguel leave the coffee shop.

The Message:

Carol’s view of Miguel’s selfishness was formed years earlier. They shared many similar leadership characteristics except for one; Carol intentionally sought to give back and grow younger leaders (who I will refer to as mentees) while Miguel did only what was required of him by his management. Half the time Miguel canceled mentee meetings last-minute because of some crisis; for those that he kept he appeared preoccupied. Word of how Miguel and Carol viewed their responsibility to scale leaders through giving back got around among the younger leaders, with many of Miguel’s mentees seeking out Carol as a mentor. While Carol wasn’t surprised with Miguel’s attitude during their coffee chat, she was disappointed that Miguel, with all his years of learning, still chose to keep things to himself versus helping others.

Want to be less of a Miguel and more of a Carol? Give this baker's dozen of tips a look:

  1. Wisdom sharing doesn’t stop at retirement – Just because you may have wrapped up your career doesn’t mean all of the great learnings you’ve had should die on the golf course. Be intentional about sharing your wisdom with those still in the workforce. You’ve still got something to contribute; so do it.
  2. Sharing wisdom is a responsibility and an honor – Being in a position to help grow future leaders is truly something that experienced leaders need to prioritize. The wisdom you can transfer to others can save time, money, and even a career. It’s your duty to share; joyfully embrace it.
  3. Courageously and candidly share your wisdom – A mentee shouldn’t just hear about your successes; he or she should also hear about your spectacular failures. That’s where some of the greatest learnings happen; don’t filter things to make yourself look good to the mentee.
  4. Allocate time in your calendar – Set realistic recurring time in your calendar to invest in your mentees and share your wisdom. Resist the temptation to chronically schedule other demands over your wisdom-sharing time.
  5. Know what your mentee needs and help him or her get it -  Maybe your mentee needs better life balance; or perhaps he or she needs help with calendar management. Take the time to truly understand what your mentee needs to scale up and help him or her get there.
  6. Don’t mentor an unwilling mentee – A mentee must want to be mentored. Trying to mentor an unwilling mentee is just a waste of time. Take the time to assess whether the mentee is interested or just going through the motions, then decide if it’s worth your time to invest in the mentee.
  7. Call out boasters – A boaster is a mentee who tries to learn about your experiences to prove his or her own superiority. The boaster mentee will tell you why what you did was wrong and what he or she did was right.
  8. Don’t let pontificators pontificate – A pontificator will use any experience to prove relevance. A pontificator mentee isn’t interested in hearing what you have to say as a mentor; he only wants to talk about experiences to demonstrate wisdom.
  9. Watch the poser – A poser really has no practical experience but will try to impress you with things she might have read or heard about. A poser mentee might be genuinely interested in learning or may simply want to dazzle you with factoids and sound bites.
  10. Don’t project a leader caste system – Some may aspire to be great people leaders, others may find a niche as a thought leader, and some may not want to be a leader at all. Don’t project to a mentee that people leadership is somehow more important than other types. Explore with the mentee where his or her strengths and desires are and assist on the journey.
  11. Don’t be afraid to pull the plug – Sometimes a relationship either was never meant to be or the relationship has run its course. Evaluate the relationship with the mentee and agree when and if it’s time to part ways.
  12. Don’t embellish your experience – So maybe you have a lot of experience in a particular discipline; that doesn’t mean your wisdom automatically transcends to other areas. Stick to your expertise areas and don’t be afraid to admit when discussions drift outside of your subject matter expertise areas.
  13. Be mentally and physically present – Taking phone calls, checking email, or appearing preoccupied when in a discussion with a mentee projects that you’re really not interested in the relationship. Make the mentee feel as if he or she is the most important person you could be focusing on.

The Consequences:  Hoarding all that wisdom and not giving back by growing future leaders could lead to the following:

  • You can lose a sense of purpose – I’ve known many people who have graduated from their career only to find that they have lost a sense of professional purpose and are quite frankly bored.
  • Someone who failed could have succeeded – A potential mentee who could have benefited from your wisdom had to experience a failure that could have been avoided had you taken the time to share your wisdom.
  • You squandered the opportunity to advance your legacy – You won’t be remembered as someone who not only had tons of experience but willingly shared his or her wisdom with others.

The Next Steps: 

  • Review the 13 tips to use your wisdom to grow future leaders.
  • Decide which ones you need to improve.
  • For any tips you’ve identified as needing work, put an action plan together to address those areas on how to grow future leaders.
  • Use a trusted advisor who can hold you accountable to be more effective at growing future leaders.
Posted on: July 28, 2022 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (7)

Genuinely and Humbly Seeking Wisdom

The Scenario: 

  1. Frank has just been promoted to project manager.
  2. Frank had worked under several project managers and is determined to show others what a good project manager is all about.
  3. Iris is a peer project manager with many years of experience managing very complex projects.
  4. Frank’s manager has asked him to meet with Iris as a peer mentor to help him on his first project as the project manager.
  5. Frank reluctantly agrees to meet with Iris, believing he is equipped to manage the project without her help.
  6. Frank meets with Iris several times, each time leaving the conversation thinking what he knows is sufficient and Iris’ advice isn’t necessary.
  7. Several major issues crop up on Frank’s project that Iris had warned him about and he didn’t take her advice.
  8. Seeing that Frank’s project is in trouble and he is not getting it back on track, Frank’s manager removes him as project manager and gives the project to Iris.

The Message:

I can freely admit that this situation happened to me. I was Frank. It was painful. It was humiliating. It was also what I needed to accept that I wasn’t “all that.” I needed to be humble enough to listen to others when they were telling me the stove was hot and if I touched it I’d get burned. That’s not to say I have always put in motion any wisdom given to me, but I can say that I now genuinely seek wisdom from those equipped to give it. There have been countless times my path was altered because of wisdom given, and I’m thankful for it.

Simply put, seeking wisdom is critical to your growth as a leader and can save you a lot of heartache. Give these nine principles a look and see if any resonate with you:

  1. Seeking wisdom must be genuine – Your purpose for learning from others needs to be because you truly want to learn and benefit from others who have the experience and wisdom to help you avoid mistakes.
  2. Don’t use seeking wisdom as a weapon – Seeking wisdom to get others to express a point of view in order to attempt to prove your own superiority is not only disingenuous, it’s flat-out rude. By all means, ask clarifying questions, just don’t use the opportunity to show someone more experienced how smart you are.
  3. Don’t worry about exposing your own lack of wisdom – Being guarded or cagey about seeking wisdom out of fear of being “found out” means you’ll likely miss out on opportunities to learn. Filtering questions to protect your own pride can lead to not getting the best possible advice.
  4. Don’t selectively seek wisdom to prove a hypothesis – You may have strong beliefs on a specific topic and want to learn more, not so much to understand the pros and cons but to support a hypothesis you’ve already formed. Be open to hearing different points of view even if they don’t align to what you want to hear.
  5. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn from others – Being silent or hesitant to seek wisdom when an opportunity presents itself is truly an opportunity lost. Seize the moment and learn what you can from others, even if your original intent wasn’t to seek wisdom.
  6. Learn from bad behaviors as well as good – Some may share wisdom not because they’re interested in candidly sharing, but to prove a point, make you feel less significant, or just plain boast. Observe not just what is being shared but how it’s being shared, then model the good behaviors and strike the bad.
  7. Look for trends – If you ask five trustworthy people for wisdom on a topic and all five tell you the same thing, that’s a pretty good sign you should heed the advice given. Look for trends to help better inform you on what wisdom you should put to use.
  8. Make sure the person providing wisdom has the credibility to share it – We all have experienced a know-it-all, the person who professes to be expert on just about any topic. Your job is to pragmatically assess the credibility of the person providing wisdom. If they don’t have the stripes to be giving wisdom, then beware of their advice.
  9. You retain the right to decide what to do with what you’ve learned – Seeking wisdom doesn’t mean you automatically put it to use. You’ll get a lot of points of view on different topics; at the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide what to do with what you’ve learned. Make sure you have a reasonable explanation as to why you’ve chosen a different path and aren’t just being stubborn.

The Consequences:  Not genuinely seeking the wisdom of others can lead to the following consequences:

  • Avoidable mistakes – Thinking you know better than those with more wisdom can lead to mistakes that could have been avoided had you taken the advice.
  • Wasted time and money – Recovering from an avoidable mistake can take extra time and money that could have been avoided.
  • Greater difficulty seeking wisdom in the future – If you gain a reputation for not heeding wisdom given to you, then others will be less likely to offer up wisdom in the future. Why would someone waste their time trying to give you wisdom if it’s unlikely you’ll use it?

The Next Steps: 

  • Examine past situations where you either sought wisdom or someone offered you unsolicited wisdom.
  • For each situation, be honest and ask yourself:
  1. Did you genuinely seek the wisdom?
  2. Did you do it to prove superiority?
  3. Were you guarded about asking for wisdom, or (4) Did you squander the opportunity to seek wisdom?
  • If your motivation was to not genuinely seek wisdom, assess what your typical attitude was and is about seeking wisdom.
  • Decide that you want to genuinely seek wisdom. Remember that you can choose whether or not to accept the wisdom, but have a rational explanation as to why you didn’t do something with the wisdom provided to you.
Posted on: July 01, 2022 08:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)

Your Swiss Army Knife Skills

The Scenario: 

  • Samir had a reputation for being the best in his field.
  • Samir could solve any customer’s problem with adeptness and speed at a fair price.
  • Samir enjoyed his reputation and relished solving his customers’ problems.
  • Over time, fewer and fewer customers visited Samir.
  • Samir was dismayed, “I know this product better than anyone, yet my business is declining!”
  • Samir tried everything--more advertising, special price promotions, but nothing seemed to work.
  • With bills mounting, Samir decided he had to close up shop.
  • On March 1, Samir’s Typewriter Repair shut its doors for good. He had to take a job he hated just to pay the bills.

The Message: Over the years, the Swiss army knife has become a figure of speech for having the right tool for the right situation. The tools, which can include a nail file, large blade, wood saw, scissors, and screwdriver, are designed to solve a range of problems. Similarly, a well-balanced professional will have the right mix of skills to fit the needs of their current (and future) jobs. Those who understand and intentionally pursue the skills needed to advance their career know exactly the tools needed in their career Swiss army knife. They understand which tools are well-defined, those that don’t exist, and those that need to be sharpened to function well. A Swiss army knife that only has a screwdriver won’t do well when a saw is needed; similarly, skills that are applicable to a specific function (like the typewriter repair skill), may not be applicable to more pressing problems (like computer repair). Your job is to know what your Swiss army knife needs to contain and how to build the skills to complete your own Swiss army knife.

Give these eight tips a look to see how you can intentionally build your Swiss army knife skills:

  1. Create your pro forma resume – Think about what you’d like to be known for as a professional then write a pro forma resume that demonstrates your achievements. By all means, be aspirational but also be realistic enough to motivate yourself.
  2. Match your current skills to your pro forma resume – Identify the skills needed to achieve the pro forma, then categorize them by those you’ve already mastered, those you still need to work on, and those you don’t at all possess.  
  3. Create your plan - For skills that you have yet to master, articulate experiences you need to address the skill gaps, such as new jobs, additional training and certifications, or volunteer work. Know what you still need and put things in motion to address the need.
  4. Leverage a skill to learn a skill – This is something I did a lot in my career. For every new job I took, I brought something into the job that was of value to the hiring manager, knowing full well that I would build new skills to take out of the job.
  5. Commit you’ll get out of your comfort zone – Learning new skills means hard work, increased potential for failure, and possible uncomfortable interactions with those who have mastered skill areas you’re still working on. Joyfully embrace being out of your comfort zone; it’s worth it.
  6. Don’t set yourself up for failure – Getting out of your comfort zone is good, so long as you have aligned expectations between yourself and your leader on what you do and don’t know. I’ve seen too many people oversell themselves to get a job only to crash and burn because the leap was too great and the expectations too high. Be transparent with what you do and don’t know and ensure your leader is willing to work with you to grow those skills you have yet to master.
  7. Realistically execute – When given the opportunity to master a new skill, do all you can to capitalize on it. But, it’s crucial to know upfront your level of desire and ability to take on that opportunity. For example, someone with significant out-of-work activity, like a new baby or ailing spouse/partner, may not be able to take on significant skill-building and keep life-balance. Don’t compartmentalize your life; look at everything you’ve got going on and decide how much change you can accept.
  8. Periodically review your Swiss army knife – Samir had two issues; his Swiss army knife was dominated by one tool that over time became obsolete. Make it a point to periodically review your Swiss army knife skillset to avoid going the route of the typewriter repair person.

The Consequences:  By not being mindful of the skills you need in your Swiss army knife you risk the following:

  • Wasted time and effort – You squander opportunities either building skills you don’t need or not building skills you desperately need to achieve your pro forma resume.
  • Obsolescence – Your market value diminishes because you possess yesterday’s skills that don’t align with today’s problems.
  • Career dissatisfaction – Your career aspirations nosedive because you’ve chosen not to grow with the times and equip yourself with the tools you need.

The Next Steps: 

  • Create your pro forma resume.
  • Articulate the skills you need to achieve your pro forma.
  • Be realistic about skills you possess and those you don’t.
  • Put a plan in place to get the skills you need.
  • Use a trusted advisor or colleague to help you on your Swiss army knife journey.
Posted on: June 02, 2022 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (10)

Stresspensation: Evaluating the Impact of Stress in Career Decision Making

Brad was an incredibly bright young executive with a very promising future. Ever since graduating college, he seemed to take on increased responsibilities in his company like a duck to water. He married his college sweetheart, Nancy, right after graduation and has two small children.

Brad's talent didn't go unnoticed in the industry, with several competitors approaching Brad about his willingness to join another firm. He steadfastly resisted, that is until the offer of all offers came his way.

ACME Corp, a larger and more prominent competitor to his current company, wined and dined Brad and ultimately offered him a VP position with a higher salary and better benefits. The offer was too good to pass up so Brad talked with Nancy about the job and they both became enamored with how this was going to advance Brad's career and what they would be able to do with the extra money. Brad joyfully accepted ACME's offer, gave his current company two weeks' notice, and started in his new VP role.

Within a year of joining ACME, he noticed some unexpected side effects of his new position. He was required to be in weekly global executive virtual meetings which could happen at any time of the day or night. He was routinely working 60+ hours a week, missing dinner with Nancy and the kids.

He traveled at least once a week, many times to put out fires at clients. His eating habits were horrendous and he wasn't exercising due to his schedule. He began putting on weight. Nancy was frustrated with him not being around and his kids missed their daddy. The stress was unbearable and led to Brad one day grabbing his chest and collapsing during a customer meeting.

While the above story about Brad is fictional, each one of us knows of a Brad (or perhaps is Brad) who made a career choice without considering the effects of the extra stress. The American Institute of Stress (yes there is such an organization) has quantified the cost of stress to employers at $300 billion annually due to things such as absenteeism, accidents, turnover, diminished productivity, and medical costs.

Add to that the personal costs of stress (i.e., poor health, weight gain/loss, sleep deprivation) and the relationship costs of stress (i.e., fractured relationships, friends or loved ones alienation, missed school plays), and you have a perfect storm of negative factors which make any kind of work-life balance virtually impossible to attain.

In my 30 years of working with career professionals, stress typically takes a back seat to compensation and when considered, it is usually only a slice of the true stress level that the professional will endure. In the first ten years of my own career I saw stress as a given and gave it no consideration when evaluating career alternatives.

This was a big mistake and a lesson I learned the hard way. Fortunately I learned it early in my career and was able to make some positive changes. However, some professionals never get it.

To help the professional evaluate the impact of stress when deciding on a career change, I've defined a comparative increase/decrease method to evaluate the impact of stress, based on three stress types:

  • (a) Relationship Stress
  • (b) Work Stress
  • (c) Personal Stress

For each stress type, a qualitative degree of stress is defined as follows:

  1. Minimal Stress
  2. Moderate Stress
  3. Significant Stress

In evaluating the impact of stress, each of the three stress types is assigned a value for the current and new job alternatives, then a comparative increase/decrease assessment is derived for each stress type. Let's put this to an example.

Lets say that a systems analyst (I'll call her Ann) is currently in a job paying $90,000/year and she's been offered a new position paying $100,000/year. On the surface, Ann likes the idea of a $10k raise and looks at the three stress types for each job, as follows:

Current Position

  • Relationship stress = 2 due to infrequent evening meetings only.
  • Personal stress = 1 due to ability to keep up with personal interests without sacrifice
  • Work stress = 2 due to some tight deadlines

New Position

  • Relationship stress = 3 due to evening meetings and four international trips/year to work with offshore developers
  • Personal stress = 2 due to having to alter exercise schedule, and having to drop book club
  • Work stress = 3 due to mission critical deadlines and regular status updates to senior management

When you look at the three stress types the following pops out about the new position:

Ann is now faced with the following decision: Is the salary bump of $10k worth the incremental relationship, personal and work stress she'll endure? Depending on whatever other decision criteria Ann factors into her decision, the answer could be yes or no. Whether or not she takes the job is still her decision; what the process has done is forced her to consider the three stress types and derive data points in which she can use in her overall decision-making.

There are a number of important considerations for you to digest in using this methodology:

  1. First, this is not an autonomic decision-making tool where the numeric answer is the sole job determinant. The impact of stress methodology is meant to bring relationship, personal, and work stress factors to the forefront of your decision making process.
  2. Second, you need to be realistic about stress levels. "Wishing down" a stress level doesn't make it go away; it just sets you up for a letdown (or worse) after you've made your decision.
  3. Third, you need to let your friends and loved ones come up with the relationship stress value and not assume a value for them. The real benefit in the methodology is the thought process and discussions you have along the way. Don't shortcut how your stress type values are determined or you'll miss out on some valuable nuggets.
  4. Fourth, the methodology applies to any type of career change which involves new or different responsibilities, including promotions. Most of us are wired to blindly accept promotions without regard for the additional stress which may accompany the promotion.
  5. Fifth, there will likely be stress in any job change; make sure you look at your steady-state stress level versus the "learning curve" stress level.

Your Go-Dos
When faced with your next career decision, follow these six steps to assess your impact of stress and help you decide on your career choice course of action:

  1. Ask a lot of questions about the job and the degree of relationship, personal and work stress entailed in the job. Seek out others who may have done the job before or others who have some inside perspective.
  2. Look at the job responsibilities (both stated and those you derive through interviews) and determine how much stress each of the responsibilities will create for you. Decide on a 1-3 work stress value.
  3. Write down the personal activities and goals you have (i.e. exercise 4x/week, sleep at least 7 hours a night) and determine how the career choice would impact each of the activities and goals. Decide on a 1-3 personal stress value.
  4. Openly discuss with your friends and loved ones what the career choice would mean in terms of impact to relationship time (i.e. not being home for dinner, availability to help with homework) and ask them to decide on a 1-3 relationship stress value.
  5. Derive the increase/decrease in stress for each of the three stress types.
  6. Decide how you're going to factor the impact of stress into your overall decision.

Remember, the real benefit in utilizing the impact of stress methodology is in the discovery process you'll go through to understand relationship, personal, and work stress drivers for different career choices. Be real with yourself as to how a career choice will affect you and those you love.

Posted on: November 19, 2021 10:46 AM | Permalink | Comments (6)
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Love can sweep you off your feet and carry you along in a way you've never known before. But the ride always ends, and you end up feeling lonely and bitter. Wait. It's not love I'm describing. I'm thinking of a monorail.

- Jack Handey

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