The show must go on, No. 4

The only place we all know you're having issues, you need to fail faster, lead they heed, and where’s my sorting machine?

Note: I’ve moved my newsletter to its own home @ TheStakeholderReport.com.

Hi there everyone 👋,

I was able to make my deadline, issue-four is here, and it was worth it. A big welcome to the 46 new subscribers since last Thursday! 🙌 As I work through the right content for you, I’m heeding some of the emails I sought from the previous week’s newsletter. However, I still need you to let me know if you like (or don’t) the new format (now less than a 5 min read!).

Speaking of format (actually, it has nothing to do with format), if you’re not currently a subscriber to this labor of love, you can be! If you are subscribed, thanks! Be sure to get the word out if you enjoy it.

Here we go!

The crossover event of the year 🍿

I’ve begun to loath reading anything having to do with COVID and [insert anything], as I’m sure you have too. But I happened upon a fantastic article on MPUG covering the crossover of project management and emergency management with a COVID-19 flavor (my reality of the Crisis Project Manager is nearing!). “At this point, we seem to throw systematic approaches out the window, or can’t figure out where we filed them. The non-technical term is running around like chickens with our heads cut off.” If you think your processes have gone sideways throughout the pandemic, you’re probably not wrong. Oh, and be wary of counterfactual thinking, it’ll ruin any risk matrix you think you had. 🤔 Now, where have I seen that happen before?

Better luck next time

While failure isn’t anything one looks forward to, it’s an inherent part of life. We fail, we learn, we don’t fail again (on that task at least). I’m personally an anti “failure’s not an option” person (unless life is at stake) as it creates a false sense of wants (as opposed to needs). Failing is almost always an option; it’s just not one that we like to put into the multiple-choice answers of the current task. I am, however, a massive fan of the “fail and fail fast” mantra. That is, do, fail, do again better/faster. “… while failure is obviously disappointing, it is not debilitating and disheartening. It is part of the reality of always asking ‘how can we do this even better?’” This is how business improves and becomes number one. Here’s a reminder that failure is an option.

How about your ad here? 📇

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🗝 You are the key [master, they’re the gatekeeper]

When was the last time you took a moment to think about what you do as a project manager, or what you can accomplish with what you know? Our craft isn’t one that’s “only” fit for this or that. However, as a historical note, the practice of project management has been around for centuries. While Scrum wasn’t used to establish the Great Pyramid of Giza or Agile in constructing the Great Wall of China, the theory of straightforward PM is as old as homo sapiens planning their next meal (as it chased them into a cave!).

I wonder if they used the Waterfall-Method to build the Hoover Dam? 🤔

The above are indeed examples of projects that surely used some PM-like skills, but were these people project managers? Maybe, though, they were most likely just the smartest or most organized in the room at the time.

Today

Learning the principles of project management, even without being “certified,” is necessary today, and that brings me to the point of this post: I have a challenge for you.

I challenge all of you to mentor at least one person in your life. The skills you’ve learned over the years or are learning now are, without a doubt, some of the most useful articles in life’s toolbox. I’m not talking about the job’s nitty-gritty here. I’m talking about simple organization, time management, scheduling, and above all else- leadership.

Applying these to everyday work and life will give your chosen mentee(s) a different outlook on what “done” or “success” is. Providing people with the ability to do their job better not only helps them move forward, but it will also aid in your growth as a “personal growth” manager. Be not only the practitioner of project management but the educator too.

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Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.” ― Sheryl Sandberg

The mail fraud of leadership (where’s my sorting machine?)

Let’s set the stage with, “To call it dysfunctional barely scratches the surface of our challenges.” And here we go!

How do you work with or for someone who’s not able to make a decision? Well, as my six-year-old daughter will tell us, you need to steer the conversation. (No, I’m not joking. Between four older siblings and YouTube, she’s snarky and smart.)

The topic at hand is not how to steer the conversation, but how to deal with absentee leadership. That is, while a “good” person, the manager doesn’t make any decisions and lets others scramble to figure it out. “An absentee leader will struggle with offering guidance and feedback, but if you listen closely, they might just communicate it in other ways.” Making it easy for sure. While it’s not impossible to work with this type of manager/leader, it can make life more difficult. Yet, Steven (our author of the linked piece) does a fantastic job with navigation; we just need to stay the course.

Parting Shot