At a recent Innovation Conference in Toronto, a seminar focused on "What is the key characteristic/trait of a Successful Leader/Manager or PM in today's day and age".

It must be noted this continues to change as our business and personal worlds evolve.

I find this so interesting.  We can be successful, then this can creep up on you and you realize, you need to adapt because the world around you is different.

Humans have an internal desire to get into a routine, feel comfort and then move forward along a defined path.  Then once we get bored, we want a little change (but just a little!!!). Then back to the comfort of a path that we can see for miles and miles ahead.

Unfortunately, this world is gone.  Every quarter there is a global crisis, merger, bankruptcy, terrorist threat, new competitive product, disruptive technology, etc.  The train has left the station.

Okay, lets get back to the question at hand, what is the top characteristic/trait???

  • in the past, knowledge and technical competency seemed to be the top choice
  • then we moved to Communication, which is still very powerful
  • people have stated that the top choice is Leadership, however, that is too broad of a characteristic if you ask me
  • other top qualities have included:  quality focus, problem solving, compassion, passion, humour, ethics/honesty, confidence, etc.   

I am really taken by the one that was selected at the conference, it was:

In today's economy and market, information is readily available, global interconnectivity is exploding and technology continues to advancements (once you get comfortable with a tool or software, be ready to change it next year).

It is becoming less and less about what is delivered, or how it is delivered.  It is becoming more and more about learning from the activity, then continuing to move forward in a more modular, agile approach.

One can do all the risk planning they want, but there will always be road blocks that were unplanned. With a more interconnected world of business, these risks become higher in number and greater in impact.

I align this with project management,  This does not mean you are allowed to fail and screw up and just keep going. You must learn and not repeat.  You must also understand and balance the impacts of the risk events, if your project cannot handle the impact, then the risk must be mitigated.  You must create a project environment so when stuff happens, you must not stop.  You must find the positive, create an environment of innovation, trust, calm and collaboration, and then maximize the resources at hand (use what you got) and move forward!!!

Merriam-Webster defines Persistance as:


noun per·sis·tence \pər-ˈsis-tən(t)s, -ˈzis-\
: the quality that allows someone to continue doing something or trying to do something even though it is difficult or opposed by other people
: the state of occurring or existing beyond the usual, expected, or normal time