Project Management Central

Please login or join to subscribe to this thread

Topics: Career Development, Strategy, Talent Management
The impact “bad experiences” have on our personal project management philosophy
Network:17576



I have pondered this topic for years in my practice and have recognized the occasional need for a philosophical course correction on a given subject when that subject was influenced by a “bad experience.”

Bad experiences often create emotional (i.e., feeling-based) triggers that we may not be aware of. These triggers are normally based on self-preservation; that is, they are there to protect us from having that bad experience again. Unfortunately, they may not be serving us well and actually be keeping us from recognizing value in a given area.

Have you experienced this yourself? Do you perceive elements of it in dialogue we have on this site and in our workplace?
Sort By:
Network:204



Hi George,

I relate this to something I read earlier that you posted on another discussion. You had mentioned the concept of "healthy fear" and I believe that fits well into this question you have posed.

I absolutely agree bad experiences will create change in a person's work and/or behavior, whether it is purposeful or not. I have personally seen this happen to other individuals and even myself. It is an unfortunate reaction that could potentially hinder future project, or even career, development and progression.

Keeping in mind your "healthy fear" comment though, I believe this to be something individuals can overcome as long as they coach themselves that it is ok to be fearful of an outcome. Everything is not always an easy path. Bad experiences should be learned from and new methods should be sought after to avoid these bad experiences. I hope to continue referencing this mindset as well as spreading to others around me in hopes to raise work place morale.
...
1 reply by George Freeman
Oct 29, 2019 1:10 PM
George Freeman
...
Hi Victoria,

The “healthy fear” post would be a good topic, but it wasn’t what I was shooting for here. I should have been more specific.

An example of the “bad experience” I’m referring to here would be:

- A “technical PM/Lead” having a bad experience with a “generalized PM” and from that point on having a negative view of non-technical PM’s executing control over a technically-focused project.

- A PM having a bad experience with corporate politics (e.g., a clash with a stakeholder) and then from that point on avoids all situations that “smell political.”
Network:17576



Oct 29, 2019 12:54 PM
Replying to Victoria Fuglister
...
Hi George,

I relate this to something I read earlier that you posted on another discussion. You had mentioned the concept of "healthy fear" and I believe that fits well into this question you have posed.

I absolutely agree bad experiences will create change in a person's work and/or behavior, whether it is purposeful or not. I have personally seen this happen to other individuals and even myself. It is an unfortunate reaction that could potentially hinder future project, or even career, development and progression.

Keeping in mind your "healthy fear" comment though, I believe this to be something individuals can overcome as long as they coach themselves that it is ok to be fearful of an outcome. Everything is not always an easy path. Bad experiences should be learned from and new methods should be sought after to avoid these bad experiences. I hope to continue referencing this mindset as well as spreading to others around me in hopes to raise work place morale.
Hi Victoria,

The “healthy fear” post would be a good topic, but it wasn’t what I was shooting for here. I should have been more specific.

An example of the “bad experience” I’m referring to here would be:

- A “technical PM/Lead” having a bad experience with a “generalized PM” and from that point on having a negative view of non-technical PM’s executing control over a technically-focused project.

- A PM having a bad experience with corporate politics (e.g., a clash with a stakeholder) and then from that point on avoids all situations that “smell political.”
...
1 reply by Wade Harshman
Oct 30, 2019 2:22 PM
Wade Harshman
...
George, I continue to meet people who have had bad experiences with poor project managers in the past, and as a result they avoid PMP holders to this day. I suppose that's something we all have to deal with in both our personal and professional lives.

I supposed I've had my share of wrong reactions to bad experiences. I dealt with a series of bad co-workers who all came from the same college, and I remember swearing that I would never hire anyone from that school. That's an example of a faulty reaction. But conversely, I've caused some of my own bad experiences and they've become significant learning points in my career.
Network:1673



George -

I'd chalk this up to the "once bitten, twice shy" behavior which sometimes leads to confirmation bias of us finding evidence to support our negative view of a given scenario even if things might have worked out different.

I would agree that this happens commonly in the workplace, and also support your assertion that the responses some community members have to certain topics may reflect past bad experiences.

Kiron
Network:30


Hi George,

I have two thoughts
1. Once I delegate sth usually I need to wait or think it will not meet quality as if I made on my own. So sometimes I do sth myself in overtime rather than wait or accept the way others would do it
2. Invite to project / meeting a person with potential knowledge but with unpredictable behaviour. This potentially could add to the meeting content but organizationally may derail it as well

Lukasz
Network:1076



My bad experiences have taught me that I need to be in control of who I work with as much as it is possible. If I do not agree with unethical management decision I want to be in a position that allows me to walk away.
Network:6



It has been proven that ‘bad experiences’ often lead to emotional feelings of distance and numbness. In project management, I have seen managers and team members passionately engaged in a project that was interesting, exciting and professionally attractive to them. Once the project turned sour (typically related to conflicts in human personalities or corporate cultural differences), team members started to perform in a more robotic, transient manner to just perform their tasks so they could move on. I believe that it is sometimes human nature to perceive differences in opinion as ‘bad experiences’. In those cases, we should work to control our instinctive and emotional fight-or-flight response, and make a logical assessment of our standing on the project, and desire to continue.
Network:264



Oct 29, 2019 1:10 PM
Replying to George Freeman
...
Hi Victoria,

The “healthy fear” post would be a good topic, but it wasn’t what I was shooting for here. I should have been more specific.

An example of the “bad experience” I’m referring to here would be:

- A “technical PM/Lead” having a bad experience with a “generalized PM” and from that point on having a negative view of non-technical PM’s executing control over a technically-focused project.

- A PM having a bad experience with corporate politics (e.g., a clash with a stakeholder) and then from that point on avoids all situations that “smell political.”
George, I continue to meet people who have had bad experiences with poor project managers in the past, and as a result they avoid PMP holders to this day. I suppose that's something we all have to deal with in both our personal and professional lives.

I supposed I've had my share of wrong reactions to bad experiences. I dealt with a series of bad co-workers who all came from the same college, and I remember swearing that I would never hire anyone from that school. That's an example of a faulty reaction. But conversely, I've caused some of my own bad experiences and they've become significant learning points in my career.
Network:17576



I appreciate the honesty shown in the comments!

Reflecting on this subject (after reading the above comments), the phrase “mindfulness rewound” came to mind. Although not a real thing, it could represent that we should challenge ourselves to look for preconceptions of our own making that occurred due to “bad experiences.”

Normally when we think of mindfulness, we think of having the ability to be mindful of something that is to occur in the future. What would happen if we rewound mindfulness to our preconceived notions and evaluated how things would be different if we had been mindful at the time of the “bad experience.”

Hopefully, that is an interesting thought for you as it was for me – or maybe I’m feeling the effects of sleep deprivation and getting lost in my thoughts.

Jump in if you have additional thoughts.

Please login or join to reply

Content ID:
ADVERTISEMENTS

"If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door."

- Milton Berle

ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsors