This year I had a project manager in a training workshop whose team called her the “Honey Badger.” She didn’t know what they meant by that until one of the team members told her to watch the viral YouTube video on the Honey Badger. She watched the video and accepted them calling her honey badger as a compliment. If you are not one of the previous 45 million viewers of the honey badger video please be forewarned that it is laced with profanity.
The signature line in the video is “Honey Badger Don’t Care.” Basically no matter the distraction the honey badger is undeterred. The honey badger accepts the distraction as part of the landscape and proceeds through the distractions to accomplish the objective. The typical project manager’s world is filled with distractions, yet the project manager needs to be delivery focused.
Delivery. Delivery. Delivery.
In the end they (customers, sponsors, and stakeholders) forget about all of the distractions (most of which they created in some companies) during the project. They only know/remember if you delivered. As Vince Lombardi said “Some of us will do our jobs well and some will not, but we will be judged by only one thing-the result.”
Project management is not complicated.
Project management success is about executing the basics and ensuring the basics are executed. Doing what it takes to assure your team members are put in positions that allow them to be successful. As a project manager your job is to remove/minimize the obstacles (distractions) that prohibit success. This means you handle it yourself or of it is beyond your control you escalate to assure its removal. My opinion is great project managers do this aggressively and persistently in the face of distractions, set-backs, and snake bites.
The word aggressive has negative connotations in some cultures and to some individuals. These are the traits from the definition of aggressive that apply when dealing with distractions… “making an all-out effort to win or succeed,” “vigorously energetic, especially in the use of initiative and forcefulness,” “boldly assertive.” You can/should be polite and aggressive. You can/should treat people with respect and be aggressive.
Success with aggressiveness in project management and leadership is not done at the expense of others.
At least as project managers we do not have to be stung by bees like the Honey Badger. But I think the snake in the video is scope creep and should be handled appropriately as the Honey Badger would.