As I mentioned in my last article, project management has become a critical skill for efficiently and effectively aligning valuable resources to achieve an organization’s important operational, strategic and sales projects. In this article, I’d like to address something that all three of these categories of projects have in common. They are all constrained by three elements – Time, Cost and Requirements.
In any organization, work can be broken down into two categories – operations and projects. Operations are the organization’s on-going, repetitive activities, such as manufacturing, staffing or accounting. These activities are primarily focused on keeping things running. On the other hand, project work is temporary in nature, having defined start and end dates; project work produces unique outputs. Though both categories of work have some things in common (people, resources, goals), they require different sets of skills and tools.
Can you answer yes to the following question? At work, do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day? According the author Tom Rath in the book Strengths Finder 2.0, those who answered yes to this question are six times more likely to be engaged in their work and three times more likely to have a better quality of life in general. According to this study by the Gallup organization of over 10 million people, only a third of them “strongly agreed” with this statement.
Say the phrase, “We need to hold people more accountable” to your team and most of them will likely have a negative reaction. Why? Because for many, the connotation of the word “accountability” was created by an unpleasant experience involving blame, coercion, criticism and more work. What we say we mean versus what they perceive is often contradictory.
Providing difficult feedback to an employee is one of the most challenging tasks for a supervisor. Nobody likes having to tell someone that they are not doing a good job. And certainly nobody wants to hear it. Employee defensiveness, even complete denial of the situation, can often be a typical employee response.
As we approach another end to the business year and, hopefully, are planning for the coming business year, I genuinely encourage you all to reflect upon the past year’s successes and failures to determine where that one extra degree of effort either made the difference or could have made the difference in your businesses.
In my last article, I wrote about two of the common traps decision makers can fall into. In this article, I’d like to share two key questions that must be addressed when making a decision – who should make the decision and who should be in involved in the decision. The answer to the first question is pretty straightforward – generally it’s the individual who is in charge. But the decision maker has some options when it comes to the second question. Let’s explore them.
Gather in a circle? Ned, are you crazy? This is a workplace not some hand holding kumbaya love fest! No I am not crazy and you don’t have to be part of a kumbaya love fest to pull this off. The circle is the most prevalent geometric shape natural to nature. Everything you see has a circular shape to it; the moon, earth, sun, clouds, trees, animals, (some of us are a little more circular than others) and so on.
Some very interesting people attended the leadership skills programs I’ve taught. One was Dan, a recently promoted supervisor who’d spent many years in the Navy. In the program, we talked about the value of having discussions with employees regarding work assignments, upcoming changes and decision making. It was critical, I explained, to listen to employee input and concerns, and then reach consensus on the best way forward.