Latest "Leadership Skills" Posts

Project Reserve: Eight Tips You Should Know

Project Reserve: Eight Tips You Should Know

A key aspect leading to  a successful project outcome is having adequate project reserve.  Adequate project reserve also ensures a smoother, less stressful journey to the successful project outcome.  Inadequate project reserve is rarely cited as a cause of project failure, but it is a contributing factor to the failure of many projects. Having adequate reserve is just common sense.  Below are eight tips you should know about project reserve.

1.       Make sure you have it. –  Ask for project reserve.  Use all your pervasive influence skills (Influence the Psychology of Persuasion, How to Get People To Do Stuff, Magic Words) to get the reserve.  If you cannot get adequate reserve through influence of the proper channels, then sneak it in.

Posted by Dr. James Brown in Leadership Skills, Program Management, Project Management.

Project Managers or Bean Counters?

A second-career program manager (who retired as program manager for one company and came out of retirement for another company) confided in me that he believed his organization would perform better program management without any of the automated project management tools on the market today.

He further stated that too many people think the tool is the solution—that the tool will solve all the communication problems and virtually run the project as if it is on cruise control. His point was that he thinks many project managers today have become simple administrators, essentially bean counters rather than implementers of the project. As such, the bean-counting project managers rely on the tool to send automated e-mail messages to team members informing them that a task is behind schedule or completed.

Posted by Dr. James Brown in accountability, Leadership Skills, Program Management, Project Management.

Busy, but not important work – the consequences

I had just arrived in Antwerp Belgium for a client engagement and decided to go to the Starbucks at the Antwerp Central railway station. Antwerp Central is a busy railway station and so is the Starbucks. The place was packed and the early morning customers were squeezing in the door. A Starbucks barista was taking our order about ten yards ahead of the register to expedite the preparation of our drinks. I had myStarbucks Antwerp Venti Americano with an extra shot in less than seven minutes.

Despite the large number of orders, the Starbucks crew was a well oiled machine behind the counter and there was the constant call of customer names as their drinks were ready.

In an attempt to stay awake as I adjusted for the time difference between Europe and the United States, I returned to the Starbucks in the afternoon to find no line and walked directly to the register.

Posted by Dr. James Brown in Leadership Skills, Project Management, Team Building.

Consistency – A Critical Leadership Trait

Consistency – A Critical Leadership Trait

When I say “consistency,” I am not advocating that all leaders act the same. What I mean is that whatever style, management techniques, or leadership traits you employ—implement them consistently. A leader must be predictable, as consistency and predictability are positive traits that provide stability for the organization. Most work environments are very dynamic, involving a virtual whirlwind of change, and the leader must provide stability “anchors” wherever possible.

Consistency in style, management techniques, and leadership traits are important anchors for any organization and contribute to a stable work environment. If you have ever had the unfortunate opportunity to work with or for, or to observe a leader who is inconsistent, you can attest to the frustration and problematic nature of the work environment the inconsistent leader creates.

Posted by Dr. James Brown in Leadership Skills, Program Management, Project Management, Team Building.

The Seven Gym Personalities You Must Deal with at Work

The seven gym personalities you must deal with at work.

It is the time of year when gym membership sign ups and attendance peaks, as we all make renewed commitments to get in better shape in the new year. As I climb endlessly on the stairmaster at Planet Fitness it is interesting to observe the seven “gym personalities” that also show up in the work environment and must be dealt with. The personalities are:

  1. The Talker.  The talker does very little exercise because they use the gym as a social experience and are constantly chit chatting with anyone who will listen.  The talker is in the work environment and seems to find time to discuss every current political, personal or pop culture issue with co-workers, but never seems to have time to get their work done on schedule.

Posted by Dr. James Brown in accountability, Leadership Skills, Team Building.