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

Anticipation: The Greatest Project Management Skill - Part 4

We have discussed Training and Observation, two of the three elements necessary to anticipate effectively. In this newsletter we will discuss Practice the third element of TOP.

What good is knowledge and theory without application?


–A leader whose style and methods I hold in high regard is Ron Dittemore. Ron is a former Space Shuttle Program Manager who left NASA to become a Vice President for Morton Thiokol. Before he left NASA I interviewed him and here is one of many valuable things I took away from our conversation. He stated “You know, I have been a counselor of people, of youth and youth groups, of adult organizations and most of my experience in how to deal with people comes from those situations and not from work. I apply all the lessons that I have learned through 27 years of that experience to deal with a lot of the challenges that I face in the work place.

I marvel at young professionals who say they want big project leadership opportunities at work yet take no opportunity to lead outside of work. They say they just can’t get good experience when we have a world crying out for people willing to lead. 

Take Every Opportunity to Lead

If you can lead people and projects to success in a volunteer setting, where people are not getting paid, you can certainly do it in a work setting (where some act like they are not getting paid). Identify an issue you are passionate about and take the opportunity to work and lead for the benefit of your passion. It will be a direct carry over to your effectiveness in the work environment. 

Excellence – A lot of little things done right

As you work projects (practice) you must try to apply the little things you have garnered through training and observation. Some will work very well others may not. Keep track of what succeeds and don’t abandon what fails or what seems to have failed to soon. Analyze, analyze, analyze. Trying different things is a form of stretching yourself. 

Do not be afraid of change.

 Any golfer can tell you how Tiger Woods has changed what was a very successful swing to a new one while getting a lot of “He shouldn’t have messed up a good thing” from pundits before they were proven wrong. Tiger also practices a lot. Tiger is not afraid of change, practices and analyzes his performance. He also sets the expectation that he will be better next year than he is today. I come across many people who are content with their leadership ability to the point they have zero initiative when it comes to self development and improvement. Change, initiative and self evaluation are also necessary to your continual growth to ever exceeding greatness as a project manager or leader.

Once you start to develop great anticipation skills I guarantee others will marvel at how effectively you succeed in the uncertain environment of projects. They will marvel because they won’t be able to nail it down to just one thing and the results will be the summation of a lot of little things you have honed to a sharp edge through training, observation and practice over time. The wise observers of your success will engage you in a conversation that is really an interview because they know excellence is worthy of careful observation and study.

Copyright 2008 SEBA Solutions Inc. 

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