It's a Project Manager's World Newsletter with Dr. James Brown
      February 2008 Full Moon Edition      

Anticipation: The Greatest Project Management Skill - Part 3

We have been discussing anticipation as the greatest project management skill.  I stated in the last newsletter that TOP (Training, Observation, Practice) provide the ability to anticipate and the confidence to act.  The importance of training was outlined and in this issue we will define the role of observation.

Observation -- Going beyond the basics to the collection and mastery of little things also involves observation.  Once you accept the fact that there are little pieces of knowledge that when applied strategically together you are always on the hunt for them.  People often make mistakes by limiting their hunt for knowledge to whatever field or discipline they are in.  If you take one thing away from this newsletter take the following point. 

Excellence at anything is worthy of your careful observation and study.

Opportunities abound to study excellence.  Books are a very good tool for studying excellence.  Autobiographies of people who have achieved greatness are worthy of your time.  Personal interviews are worthy of your time.  You are panning for gold.

Occasionally I will stay at the Ritz-Carlton.  Their service is usually extraordinary and when there I will inquire about their excellent service with anyone from the bellman to the manager.  What they view as a conversation is in fact an interview, for I am always on the hunt for tips that contribute to excellence and achievement at high levels. 

This year while in South Florida I came across the famous jazz guitarist George Benson sitting alone at the hotel bar prior to an evening show.  I introduced myself and once he was done laughing at my name (he said he was good friends with the late singer James Brown), I asked him what he did to play guitar at such a high level?  How did he practice?   What and who influenced him?  We had a nice twenty minute conversation as he played air guitar and talked to me.  George Benson probably doesn’t know much about project management, but he knows a lot about excellence.

Excellence has common threads

Obviously you should talk to every project manager you view as excellent, but achievement at high levels goes beyond a particular discipline.  If the grocery store you shop at is well run, talk to the employees and the manager.  Not only are there common threads in excellence but often you will identify parallel applications or inspiration from what you learn from an expert in any unrelated field. 

Next month (I promise to do my best to issue it on time) we will conclude Anticipation: The Greatest Project Management Skill  with the discussion of Practice.

Copyright 2008 SEBA Solutions Inc.

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