Thoughts: Get it together with "personal responsibility"

Read a blog where this guy has so much energy and passion it is amazing!  He also links that energy/passion to a structured approach, thus he is highly successful.

I wanted to share his blog (descriptive words below) and a link to his video.

Brendon Burchard Blog Post...

Life blooms when we take responsibility for our full human experience. To be personally responsible and self-reliant means we have to get our sh*t together and decide to have command over these five areas:
1. Our Aim. What is our goal, our direction, our purpose? What is it that we are moving toward and organizing our lives to achieve and contribute? These are questions of the motivated and purposeful human.

2. Our Attention. Are the things we continually focus on bringing us joy, success, connection, growth? Or are we being distracted by a bunch of garbage and gossip in life?

3. Our Attitude. The power plant doesn’t have energy, it generates energy. Similarly, we don’t have an attitude, we generate one. When we choose to generate a negative energy and attitude, life is horrible. But when we choose to generate and broadcast a joyous, loving, and positive energy, life opens up to us, people feel something new from us, and our entire life blooms and grows.

4. Our Affections. Are we connecting with those we love and sensing the beauty of this life? The emotional quality and connections we feel in life are also a choice, and we should choose to feel again, to love again, to become passionate and emotionally open, giving, strong and vibrant.

5. Our Actions. Our destiny is dictated by our disciplined actions - what we do each day, the habits we develop, our purposeful efforts. Take no action, have no life, no adventure, no progress. But overcome apathy and fear and get going and soon there is magic and momentum and what we love to call, the charged life.

Link to his video that aligns with this topic:

His video really talks to personal responsibility and self-reliance!

When looking at your project successes and failures look first to yourself :)

Tools: Org Structure Clarity = Success in Project & Business

A system rapidly gaining popularity in projects and business is from Elliott Jaques.  A Canadian psychoanalyst and organizational psychologist, known for developing the notion of Requisite Organization from his 'Stratified Systems Theory'. (Wikipedia, see Elliott Jaques).

The more I study this, the more I realize how complex people and system interactions are within both business and project environments (you cannot have one without the other - so must link both with common platforms).  

Elliott is a supporter of innate, natural based hierarchies, where people can naturally be placed (within a structured strata or set of levels) and then excel as a collaborative group/entity. Align the role with the level of the person to prevent stress and maximize performance and happy quotient.

An article written by Elliott can be found at Harvard business review, called In Praise of Hierarchy .  In this article, he states.... to understand hierarchy, first you must understand employment. 

He continues to help remind us and clarify organizational structure with statements such as.....  To be employed is to have an ongoing contract that holds you accountable for doing work of a given type for a specified number of hours per week in exchange for payment. Your specific tasks within that given work are assigned to you by a person called your manager (or boss or supervisor), who ought to be held accountable for the work you do.

These basic concepts and definitions can be simple, yet they can be sensitive and may lead to people having different understandings.  Another reason as to why so many businesses and projects fail. Much stress is due to mis-understanding of roles, accountability and management interaction".

Can an organizational theory help us manage failure and risk (and Stress!!!)?

The requisite organization theory in its entirety is a great tool that can be leveraged.  It can be quite complex, but two core insights can be considered, as taken from the article:

Insight 1
The first, is about potential capability and has to do with an innate quality of human nature: the amount of complexity that we can handle when we make a decision. This is complex to assess and often takes 100s of interviews and training to accurately assess, but is something objective and scientific when compared to most HR methods and practices. One of the simple indicators is the length of time span that the person works on (how long does the job or task take to be completed, is the person working on 1 day,  1 week, 3 month, 1 year, 7 year, 15 year jobs).  So thus people can be placed into strata, e.g. levels 1 to 7, based on the type of work they do.

Insight 2
The second is about managerial accountability. Every boss is accountable not just for overseeing subordinates, but for their results. It means that if people who report to you "screw up," you can't blame them. You either have to give them the support and coaching they need, or have the authority to rotate them to other posts, because you will be held responsible. A couple interesting aspects of this, is that a manager can refuse an employee that reports to them (have them moved to another job/position), and also the employee should have a Formalized Review Process (development & future growth) which should be managed by the manager once removed (two levels up) and not by the direct manager.

Granted, this type of system should have one key thing..... Trust with Positive Intent. In the end, establish that as much as you can, then remember to create a formal plan (roll out plan) as to how you will integrate systems such as Elliott's (as per above). Understanding and balance of Systems and Psychology will always create new opportunities for learnings and less stress and thus keep project management exciting!!!

Thoughts: Embrace New Technologies and Re-Frame how we think

Humans love routine and comfort in what they know and how to do things. Humans often associate change with stress and think that learning new things was meant to be done back in the days of school/university or the occasional course that the company pays you to attend and is outside work.

How can we embrace the fact that things are changing at faster and faster rates!

In 1998, Kodak had 170,000 employees and sold 85% of all photo paper worldwide. Within just a few years, their business model disappeared and became bankrupt. Did you think in 1998 you would never take pictures with a roll again?

Yet digital cameras were invented in 1975. The first ones only had 10,000 pixels, but followed Moore's law. So as with all exponential technologies, it was a disappointment for a long time, before it became superior. 

This will continue to happen with Artificial Intelligence, health, automation and electric power, 3D printing, agriculture and education/jobs. 

Some are calling it the 4th Industrial Revolution and the Exponential Age.

Couple quick points that are against the normal way of thinking when you build a business:- Uber is just a software tool, they don't own cars and are now the biggest taxi company in the world. - Airbnb is now the biggest hotel company in the world, although they don't own any properties.- Law firms are operating without lawyers (get legal advice within seconds, with more accuracy) - computers are assisting doctors/nurses diagnose diseases 

How about cars...
The complete industry will start to be disrupted. You don't want to own a car anymore it can be shared (social media style) or rented. You will call a car with your phone, it will show up at your location and drive you to your destination. You will not need to park it, you only pay for the driven distance and can be productive while driving. Our kids will never need a driver's licence or own a car. It will change the cities, because we will need 90-95% less cars for that. We can transform former parking space into parks. 1,2 million people die each year in car accidents worldwide. We now have one accident every 100,000km, with autonomous driving that will drop to one accident in 10 million km. That will save a million lifes each year.

Take a look at the link below to see innovative architects, engineers and water experts that are designing brand new communities that are already aligned with this: see full video at

Most car companies might become bankrupt. Traditional car companies try the evolutionary approach and just build a better car, while tech companies (Tesla, Apple, Google) will do the revolutionary approach and build a computer on wheels. 

How about 3D printing...
The price of the cheapest 3D printer came down from 18,000$ to 400$ within 10 years. In the same time, it became 100 times faster. All major shoe companies started 3D printing shoes. Spare airplane parts are already 3D printed in remote airports. The space station now has a printer that eliminates the need for the large amout of spare parts they used to have in the past.

Project and Business opportunities: 
If you think of a niche you want to go in, ask yourself: "in the future, do you think we will have that?" and if the answer is yes, how can you make that happen sooner? If it doesn't work with portable devices, forget the idea. 

How about projects and work: 
70-80% of jobs will disappear in the next 20 years. There will be a lot of new jobs, but it is not clear if there will be enough new jobs in such a small time.  Take control of your projects and ensure they are solution based and align with value not only today but into the future (which is coming fast).

Q - How can we manage our stress and be able to work on projects and continue to maximize success.?
Hopefully we are open to new innovations, excited to learn new things, learn how to live with change and step outside our routines.

This article has been edited by Jason Tratch but the framework was taken from a series of thoughts in a Facebook post by:  Udo Gollub with Messe Berlin, April 22, 2016 (Berlin Germany)

Tools: every project must have a WBS

It is key to break down your work into packages that make sense to the team.

The smaller you break it down, mis-communication and risk can be managed easier.

It is a balance though - as to how much time and effort is spent on breaking it down during the planning stage. Thus be aware and align with the risk tolerance or risk thresholds that exist within the project.

Decomposition is the breakdown of project deliverables into smaller, more manageable components until the work and deliverables are defined to the work package level. The work package level is the lowest level in the WBS. Generally, the hierarchy of the breakdown levels include:
1 - Phases
2 - Deliverables
3 - Sub Deliverables
4 - Work Packages

Note: the next beakdown level is to focus on a verb-noun format and is now at a much greater level of detail but Project Management Institute ( considers this a separate part of the work plan, essentially an Activity List is a sub-set of a Work Package (however some people consider this to be an extension of the WBS which is common business practice).
5 - Activites
6 - Tasks

Decomposition of the upper level WBS components requires subdividing the work for each of the deliverables or subprojects into its fundamental components, where the WBS components represent verifiable products, services, or results.

The most bottom level (work package) is the point at which the level of cost/effort and amount of time for the work can be estimated with a strong level of confidence. The level of detail will vary with the size and  complexity of the project, knowledge/experience of the team and timeliness of project deadlines. The adequate level of detail is often when the work can be easily delegated to an owner who can complete the task with little risk of misinterpreting of what work needs to be completed.

Some deliverables may not have enough details, information available, or clear understanding of the scope so detailed breakdown can be delayed until later in the project. This technique is sometimes referred to as rolling wave planning.

As the work is decomposed to lower levels of detail, the ability to plan, manage, and control the work is enhanced. However, excessive decomposition can lead to non-productive management effort, inefficient use of resources, and decreased efficiency in performing the work. The project team needs to seek a balance between too little and too much in the level of WBS planning detail.

A good way to support this concept is to always use Nouns in the WBS. There should be no action words (verbs). A verb generally indicates you have broken down the work too far. The level that utilizes verbs will be discussed in the Activity List section.

It is critical to have a strong facilitator conduct the WBS sessions. Generally the Project Manager will act in this role. The first priority is to ensure the correct stakeholders are involved at the most efficient and effective levels that are being broken down. For example invite higher up management to breakdown the highest levels of the WBS and lower level managers, more hands on to breakdown the lower level more detailed work. Ensure all stakeholders understand the sum of all the work before starting and at the end of each session.
It is generally more effective to focus on smaller areas of the WBS at a time (not the entire WBS), unless it is the first session and you have a diverse group of stakeholders that can address all areas of the project. If you are breaking down the work and are not successful at getting to the detailed levels, reassess the invitation list and ensure the correct roles are involved in the next session.

To have a team identify and agree upon all the work that is required to complete the project requires patience, cooperation and very strong analytical thought processes. Structuring and organizing the project work into a WBS that can meet requirements of the project management team and the key stakeholders requires great effort and commitment. Any opportunity to leverage work that has been done before is highly recommended.

Although each project is unique, a WBS from a previous project can often be used as a template for a new project, since some projects will have certain areas of work that are similar. Many organizations have standard WBS templates for the specific area of work (functional departments).

The resulting structure can take a number of forms, such as:
• Using the major deliverables and subprojects as the first level of decomposition;
• Using subprojects where the subprojects may be developed by organizations outside the project team. For example, in some application areas, the project WBS can be defined and developed in multiple parts, such as a project summary WBS with multiple subprojects within the WBS that can be contracted out. The seller then develops the supporting contract work breakdown structure as part of the contracted work;
• Using the phases of the project life cycle as the first level of decomposition, with the project deliverables inserted at the second level;
• Using different approaches within each branch of the WBS, example feasibility, analysis, design, actual product, service or end result, testing, pilot, training, support/warranty, etc.

An easy way to further understand the WBS concept is to view the numerous types that exist and can be leveraged as "boiler templates" for your work.  One can easily conduct a search on the web for WBS Templates or check out the link below:

WBS Sample Templates

Tools: "Business" Success in Project & Business Management

Project & Business Management have many technical aspects that can easily follow logic. This can also thus be easily learned (business school, conferences, books, memorization).

This leads to many people that understand detailed project methodologies and systems, but don't really know how to link it to Business Success.

They lack understanding in the difference of getting the job done - so you can check off your requirements box  VS  delivering high performance value that leads to making a business impact.

Many businesses identify and assign project/business goals (quarterly/annually), then go into a zombie type of work mode that focuses on "working hard, putting in time, checking the boxes and then getting a bonus once it gets done" attitude. This gets work done and can be perceived as success, but then so much "is left on the table".

The opportunity is that typical businesses lack clarity on definitions of business value and performance and focus too much on requirements. I also think this can in part be attributed to the fact that projects and business involve people and people sometimes do not follow logic.

Solutions evolve and risk events occur continuously (small, large and are cumulative). People are the greatest influence on risk management and they themselves can be very unpredictable month over month based on many, many variables including:

  • things at home, 
  • personal conflicts, 
  • lack of trust, 
  • past history, 
  • variance in knowledge/skills/experience, 
  • culture, 
  • expectations, 
  • vested interest, 
  • personal strengths/inhibitors, 
  • capability performance index, 
  • etc

This is why so many businesses are turning to smaller, more modular projectized environments.  To help get work done try to break down the work and then also the definitions of value/success and performance into smaller, simpler, more manageable pieces. Take shorter term views (temporary with a distinct start and finish) with staged, formal milestones from the very start to very end. Understand there will be uniqueness to the project based on variables of the people and the risks at that given time. Draw upon the past, leverage a common platform from which to work from, but then be agile and open since if a business process is not working, persist, persist, adapt and overcome.

Sample tools include:
1) Intangible Assessment:  once you have the requirements, step back and reassess from the higher level (put your CEO hat on) and question the theory side of things, the value definitions, the justifications. Clearly formalize how you define value, success and performance.  Then understand a process how to adapt if those definitions start to change as the project gains clarity (so if the project changes, then revisit and adapt the definitions as needed - be realistic).

2) Tool Re-Assessment: re-assess the concrete systems, tools, templates and technical practices, confirm if they are well aligned with both the work and the team, understand the difference between policies, procedures and guidelines (which are which)

3) Org Design Assessment: assess the team in place, do not be afraid to change it, it is nothing personal, tooooo often we do not properly allocate the people to the prioritized work, we set the people into their jobs, then new jobs take who ever is available, ensure the culture is open that people will be moving around based on the business priorities and the fit between the job and the people

4) Milestone Check Points:  schedule far in advance (entire project) the milestone checkpoints that focus on critical success factors (CSFs) and have a formalized process to do so. Try to avoid pure gut-feel decisions and utilize graphs to supplement the progress.  Some checkpoints may take days to prepare and execute, other checkpoints may take hours. If things are not working to plan, do not be afraid, you need to understand why (not only what) and then understand who are the right people to involve.  Often the opportunity for improvement (OFI) is with the people and how they understand and respect the processes and technologies they have available - in order to help everyone achieve "Business Success".

Tools: Communicate so people do not feel threatened

Humans often feel threatened in projects when being assigned new work or asked about things not going so well.

This correlates well with periods of project stress, anxiety, change, risk and unknown (due to the constraints of time, money and subtle increases in scope).

Everyone (Managers and Non-Managers) can get more skilled in the identification of key things that make a person feel threatened. Once a person feels threatened, then so much more effort, time, money, etc. is required ..... so stay ahead of the curve.

Generally, people under threat either:
1) put up their defenses
2) attack or withdraw

So lets use a simple tool that has become common in so many fields, called:

If you are working with someone or see someone start to feel threatened, then go through the SCARF Model and ask your self:

  • S - Status (what are the roles, are you coming in as a superior, are you showing you are above them and they are small, not able to handle it or are they feeling that they are being treated like a child, does the role have clarity)
  • C - Certainty (how accurate is the information/message, is there chance it is not true or misinformed, how sure are you, what are influencers on this)
  • A - Autonomy (does the person feel they have a say, any choice in the matter, are they simply being dictated what to do)
  • R - Relatedness (are there other people related to this, is there a team that can be there to support or help and be safe with, how are others involved)
  • F - Fairness (does the person feel it is fair.... this is interesting since it does not really matter if it is logical fairness or perceived fairness, in the end.... how they feel is their reality and they will act on their reality)

A few links that further elaborate on this tool are below:

Also a two minute video below with one of the founders of the model:

Tools: Mantra = Great Value in a Project Environment

Every project has change, risk, stress - thus teams need to be re-assured, learn from mistakes and then move on.

We forget, every project is built on estimates.  Thus, every project will not go according to the original plan, we will hit bumps in the road, that is where the Managers and Team pull together, leverage their skills, adapt and overcome.

Be confident, collect your thoughts and keep the trust and collaboration. A team mantra is a great tool that can be utilized to "re-group and move forward"..... people may laugh, but laughing is also a great tool so leverage that too!!!

Simply put, a Mantra has the power to enhance positive energy.  Check out video below...

NOTE: if video link does not connect, goto:

Few more links and comments on the power of a mantra............

Link below talks about a CEO that embraces mantras in his business, and shares a few that he uses:

Thoughts - when is democracy the wrong decision making process

British government used a democratic process to name a $300 million research vessel. Results came in, guess what name won in a landslide...

Then the back-tracking, quarrels, finger pointing and negative press began.  Sad state, they meant well but did not do well.

In the end, the government has now cancelled the democratic process and assigned a name (using a process that is unknown and was not shared to the public).  Government released a story on what happened, using a deflective and smoothing strategy, and has since focused on moving forward and trying to sweep it under the carpet   lol.

It is a reminder about the power of social media - they get more votes then city elections!!!

It is also a reminder, you cannot take things on without having a project plan.  The plan has to take into consideration the process of planning, monitoring, execution and play out multiple scenarios based on risks.

A key thing they mis-understood was the decision process that was selected.

There is such a high variance and set of risks when going to such a large group. They could have selected a Consultive decision making process, as per definitions below:

Decision Making Process Tools:
1) Autocratic - one person makes the deicsion, take it or leave it
2) Consultive - get collective feedback from the group, however, then one person makes the deicsion based on taking into consideration the feedback that was provided by the stakeholders invited
3) Democratic - openly ask the group and majority rules
4) Consultive - must have 100% agreement by the entire group

They all have their strengths but also their weaknesses, leverage each one strategically.

A couple other links that touch on decision making process are below:

If you wanted to get more formalized, technical and systematic, below is a link that also has a ton of other good sub-links:

Thoughts - Is Justin Bieber Trying to become a PMP (lol)

Humour is an important and strategic tool in project management!  People need to be able to relate and laugh at themselves.

Level the playing field - feel like we are all on the same team and use anything we can to help get through tough times - find a way to smile and move forward.

A humour example.....

Could it be that Justin Bieber is reading the PMBOK and studying the profession of project management ??

Bieber's song "What Do You Mean" is politely asking a stakeholder that seems to change their mind frequently, possibly regarding changes to scope, schedule, budget, quality or a decision.....  we never do find out.  But we can easily relate how people often try to move forward in a project without firm clarity or prioritization and at times try to avoid hard decisions (which cause many secondary/tertiary risks and negative impacts to the project).

Check out his lyrics below, could be useful in your next meeting to help manage expecations, lol

What Do You Mean:
What do you mean?
When you nod your head yes, But you wanna say no
What do you mean?
When you don’t want me to move, But you tell me to go
What do you mean?
What do you mean?
Said we’re running out of time
What do you mean?
What do you mean?
Better make up your mind
What do you mean?
You’re so indecisive of what I’m saying, Trying to catch the beat, make up your heart, Don't know if you're happy, or complaining, Don’t want for us to end where do I start
First you wanna go to the left and you want to turn right...... etc.

A link to his 1st PM song is below (play it at your next PM meeting and if you can relate, then remember you are not alone  :)

After he released this song, I think he wanted to provide another one for PMs that bring news to project teams that is not well received (e.g. over budget, over time, etc).  

Lyrics to his 2nd PM song (Sorry) are below....

You gotta go and get angry at all of my honesty
You know I try but I don't do too well with apologies
I hope I don't run out of time. Could someone call a referee
Cause I just need one more shot at forgiveness
I know you know that I made those mistakes maybe once or twice
And by once or twice I mean maybe a couple of hundred times
So let me, let me redeem, redeem, myself
Cause I just need one more shot, second chances
Is it too late now to say sorry
Cause I'm missing more than just your Scope Statement
Is it too late now to say sorry
Yeah, I know that I let you down
Is it too late to say I'm sorry now
I'm sorry, sorry , sorry
Yeah, I know that I let you down
Is it too late to say I'm sorry now
I'll take every single piece of the blame if you want me to
But you know that there is no innocent one in this game for all of us
I'll go, I'll go and then you go, you go out and spill the truth
Can we both say the words and forget this

A Link to his 2nd PM Song is:

PMTip - If it works great - Do not stop thinking how it can be better!

Often if things are going well, or we win, or we achieve our goal/complete the project, we then go into "cruise mode".  

We lose our sense of creativity to try new approaches and even more common, we lose our desire to take risk (with risk comes failure, stress and often finger pointing so lets just do the same old thing as long as it works - don't touch/play with it).

After seeing a show about rock climbing, it reminded me how humans have some type of inner desire, to constantly grow.... it is an exciting aspect of our species. But we can always learn to be more comfortable with risk and innovation.

A famous rock climbing site is in the USA, called Nose of El Capitan (Yosemite National Park).

The site was considered one of the top challenges a climber could face.  Then, people started to set their focus on it and finally, someone set a new record:

1 - an assisted climb was completed in 45 days (this made the news and he became famous, he dominated the sport and stated how it had to be done)
then, years later,

2 - an assisted climb was completed in 1 day (how is this possible, people could not believe it, again, the climber became famous and legendary... obviously that record will not be broken)
then, years later,

3 - a free climb (no ropes/assistance) was completed in 1 day (now this is making people think differently about the sport, and what people used to think, how is that possible). Also, even more troublesome for some people to wrap their brain around it, is that the climber was a woman (Lynn Hill).
then, years later,

4 - a free climb was completed in 12 hours (wow, what next......)

I was amazed, so many stories are right there in front of us, constantly teaching us about continued growth, learning and advancement. Look at old problems from a new angle, things can always be better.

I had to read more about the sport and the stories and the history, since it is a fairly new sport.  It consisted of so many people that went into a new level of thinking, innovation and creativity will lead down paths that the previous project/person had not even considered - and could lead to earth shaking results.

Somehow, people find a way!   How do they find a way.......  after reading more about the climbers that broke the records, and continue to do so, a few things I believe they all had (tools that they posses to break into new levels of success):

- persistence 
- passion
- creativity 
- confidence
- collaboration
- discipline
- understanding the important link between physical body and mental mind
- non-judgemental and open

Lynn Hill
On May 9, 1989, she fell during a climb in Buoux, France; after forgetting to tie a safety rope, she fell 85 ft (25 m) into a tree, and was knocked unconscious, dislocated her elbow and broke her foot. She had been training hard for the World Cup and had to stop competing for a few months to recover; she was devastated to miss the first World Cup in the sport. This is where she could retire and live out her life.
However, only six weeks after her fall, she was back climbing.

Tools - All Business Needs a Platform

Quick, in 30 sec, define how you carry out your business?  

If you do not mention "Methodology" or "Management System", then how are you instilling confidence?  How can I truly trust  that you can "do what you said you would do!"

It is amazing how we still try to instill confidence by saying:  Sure.... I have done it 100 times so this will be no different - it is all about my experience.

Now granted, that is very important, but the world is wayyyy to dynamic and year over year, using an Analogy of the past is fine for budgetary purposes, but it will not give enough accuracy anymore for planning and delivery of the solution.  Also, if you don't have a best practice framework, what if you have been doing it inefficiently for the past 10 years, and just getting by, or riding a bubble? 

How well can your business grow without you, how well can it operate when you go on a 4 week vacation?

The video below emphasizes the importance of a common platform from which all your business work (both project, operational and strategy) stems from in order to deliver successful solutions.  

The video also lists a list of the major aspects of a business framework/methodology that you should be very comfortable talking about at any time, between customers, employees, investors, alliances, regulators, associations, academics, etc.   

Note: if link does not work, go direct to blog to view

How fast can you gather and present well organized "Formal Documentation" of the guidelines, processes, tools, templates, techniques and overall framework/methodology that is followed (collectively and collaboratively by the business as a whole).   The scary thing is when this documentation is stored in the brains of a select few.

Things happen to people all the time, we are all replaceable.  People get sick, take vacation, get pulled into other jobs, quit, new people join the team, people also can have delayed/faulty memories based on what else is going on in their life/work at that point in time!  Know your systems, then create a culture around those systems.  Then you can pursue the ultimate goal:  be creative, innovate and evolve (in a systematic way :)  

This is now becoming very common in Saskatchewan, every major Association has a Standardized Course they teach to the Public and their Memberships.  The really cool thing is that each Association (Construction, Manufacturing, Innovation, Agriculture, Mining, etc.)  are all using the same common platform methodology -  which is the Project Management Institute and it's Manual called the PMBOK (

A simple article helps explain the importance of a methodology and also I really liked their last bullet, how they emphasize to align your methodology with:
1) Strategy,
2) Software,
3) Community Learning
PS: the only other two I would add to this list is...
4) Operational work,
5) Project work)

The link to the full article is below....

Tools - Diffuse conflict and emotion before they begin

The term "Why" is so important within project and business planning. It also is key to help manage potential conflict and prevent mis-understanding and mis-communication.

Do not get sucked into the cyclone of crisis, that is common enough in the work world and we all have responsibility to diffuse it before it begins.  Is always a two way street between two people that communicate..... Sender - Receiver.

A key tool is to formalize these questions so they become habit.  Utilize them when someone is in a high state of stress, anxiety, anger or frustration, or are quickly jumping to things during times of diress or conflict or uncertainty.

Start out by stating the term in neutral as possible voice, the word:   " Interesting"

Then pause.... maybe a few silent nods of your head, with a neutral look on your face.....  this presents a non-judgmental message which should have low risk for the other person to go into fear, hurt, defensive or attack mode.

Then ask two types of questions, based on the situation:
1 - Tell me more

2 - Why did you
a) say that
b) do that
c) ask me this

The more I look at this tool, the more I also see that I should not only use it at work, but also in personal life with partner, friends, family!   Is a great way to live and a great foundation tool!

Tools - 7 Habits of Success - start with # 1 = Be Proactive

Another new year, what will be different?

Take on the new year, spend 6 min on this Stephen Covey video!

7 Habits of Highly Successful People (beautifully animated)

1 =  Be proactive
2 = Begin with the end in mind
3 = Put first things first
4 = Think win – win
5 = Seek first to understand, then to be understood
6 = Synergize
7 = Sharpen the saw

To be successful at project management or business, you must integrate your personal life habits and systems with your work habits and systems.  Have a culture of success, that means you live and breathe it, your family does it, your friends do it, like grows with like!

Thank you to  you-tube, ability to access fast, free, rich media to help learn AND retain!