It's a Project Manager's World Newsletter with Dr. James Brown
      January 2011 Full Moon Edition      

Trends and Truths

I recently came across a huge headline that read “Top 10 Global Project Management Trends for 2011:  Leadership Skills tops the list.”  Since I have a goal of lowering my blood pressure in 2011 this article was not helpful as it caused me to have a pressure spike.  Even more startling was that this article stated this trend was identified by a ”panel of experts”  although they neglected to name them.  

Saying leadership is a trend in project management is like wine experts saying “good grapes will be a trend for making good wine” or an NFL football analyst stating “blocking and tackling will be trend for success in football.”

Leadership is not a trend in project management.  It is a fundamental truth!

A truth that exists today, a truth that existed 100 years ago and a truth that will exist 100 years from now. If you are committed to being a better project manager in 2011 and beyond it starts and ends with leadership.  Identifying the right thing to do or the right course of action is usually easy.  Leading your team, customers and stakeholders to do the right thing is often where the challenge lies.

Studying and applying leadership skills pays life long dividends

We live in an age of commoditization…where organizations want to say a “project manager” is a “project manager” is a “project manager.”  Never allow yourself to be commoditized.  There is an ancient truth that basically says if a person is skilled in his work he will stand before kings…he will not stand before ordinary men.  One sure way to not be commoditized is to develop your leadership skills to a level of effectiveness where you clearly stand out above others.

This is not difficult because most project managers don’t study leadership and human behavior regularly.  They take a “I already know that approach.”  When it comes to leadership, I work my brain like it’s a muscle.  When I exercise a muscle I have no problem doing three sets and working it every other day.  A simple two step formula for continual leadership development is below:

      1.     Read one or two ancient wisdom truths daily from...
             a.    The Art of Worldly Wisdom
             b.    The Art of War
             c.    Any other ancient wisdom text
      2.    A leadership book monthly (Sales books count as leadership books)

If you do this continually after five years you would have read 60 books on leadership and well over a thousand leadership truths.  Most of what you have read will be things you already know, or have read before. However, it will give you a level of depth, perspective and sharpness that will skyrocket your effectiveness.  People will not be able to identify what makes you so effective…  they won’t be able to put their finger on it…  but the results will speak for themselves.

 Dr. James T. Brown  author, The Handbook of Program Management - McGraw-Hill

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