A VP friend complained the other day that “the job is OK but I can’t get myself to the office, every day.” Before that statement, he looked and sounded like a happy senior executive steady and successful on his career path. Not true, he says. He is actually envious of people who have found their direction in life.
How’s that possible for a senior manager with an admirable career track?
Just before that confession, we discussed his Q7 questionnaire results, and his feedback was somewhat disturbing. Among other things, he mentioned that although he has “more respect for Option B,” he wants his “dream teammate” select Option A – as it is “better for the business.” And that, according to my friend, makes it difficult to answer the Q7 questions.
Now I see the problem.
My friend may have a severe misalignment of values with his team. This incongruence leads to personal life-work imbalance, and that my friend can see for himself, the can’t-get-myself-to-office feeling. If not taken care of, this problem most likely affects the entire business, leads to disengagement and poor efficiency within the business, and a poor brand image projected to your customers and the entire outside world.
We will be working on it together. It is a challenging task that will take but as the desire to improve team culture is coming from the top, we will be able to achieve the necessary change, make a good company better.
Check your team with Q7 here.
As a leader, you have to always stand for your team, right?
Rather, first, you need to make sure you realize which team is “your team.”
That may sound counterintuitive but that’s life. Being a manager (team lead, manager, director, etc.), you are in charge of a unit consisting of several individuals. If you are part of an effective organization, your team consists of a few immediate reports, ideally 5 to 10, that you call “your team.” But whatever your role is, you are part of yet another team – your own boss’ team. Thus, you are a member of two teams at least, usually on two different levels, and your real team is the “upper” team. Your position within the “upper” team is the main driver of everyday actions, and your performance there will determine your career progression and professional success.
As I realized working with senior managers in various environments, the “real team” is not immediately clear to many. But it is very important to understand, visualize and accept. If you disagree with this dual team approach, then maybe you are one of the reasons why your organization is less efficient than it would like to be. This is not politics; this is how truly effective businesses work. Continue reading “Always Stand Up for Your Real Team”
Dan Pontefract gave a good rundown of the recent continent-wide racial-bias training that Starbucks developed and delivered in record time. Starbucks reacted in an exemplary manner, but has the training achieved the goal?
Unless we tacitly agree that the actual goal of Starbucks was to stomp out the public-relations wildfire, their expensive exercise has not changed anything. Not exactly a knee-jerk reaction – but far from being effective in resolving the actual problem.
Here’s what I would consider – if Starbucks want to live up to their image of the “third place”. Continue reading “Analyzing the Purpose of Starbucks Training”
(On the photo, a post(wo)man delivering mail to the residents of Freising, Munich area)
Door-to-door mail delivery to urban customers has been phased out in Canada in the last five years.
This was a major cost-saving initiative of Canada Post. As a performance improvement specialist, I doubt its value for Canadians. Without a doubt, there is a better way to improve efficiency, instead of going into this cost cutting death spiral, as Tom Peters put it in his book “The Excellence Dividend.”
Since 2013, the only rationale offered by the Crown Corporation was that two-thirds of Canadians don’t have mail delivered right to their doors already, so the other five million should not complain. And a local public servant obligingly added at the time that this is even better for the elderly citizens – to have a daily walk to the communal “super-mailbox”…
But I digress. Let’s just do the math. Continue reading “Canada Cost Post-Saving Math”
If you promise to spend this extra hour with your family (or at least out of the office), I will tell you what needs to be done. And it is free, no purchase necessary. Your only investment is a pen and paper.
I have done this exercise several times with various clients, and the results were always positive. On average, you become 10% more time-efficient after the first attempt, and that is about one hour per day for a real-life professional.
The exercise will take you 7 minutes and 7 days: 7 minutes to finish reading this post and then 7 days to implement what you have read. Continue reading “What Would You Do With ONE EXTRA HOUR, Daily?”
Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook COO) once praised her boss for “trying to make meetings as productive as possible.” According to her, Mark Zuckerberg “asks people to send materials in advance so we can use the time for discussion” and “we try to be clear about our goal when we sit down for a meeting–are we in the room to make a decision or to have a discussion?”
At first, I thought Ms. Sandberg was being sarcastic: Can you really call those “efficiency tricks”? But then I had to admit that outside a limited ‘club’ of a few strong managers I have worked with, almost none of the business meetings that I have audited could be considered efficient.
Now the good news. The ‘tricks’ that make your meetings productive are not new or hard to learn, you can easily get ahead of Zuck (although he may be getting some extensive coaching right now); it is just a matter of self-discipline. Well, almost.
Just think about your next meeting as if it’s a project.
Continue reading “If Zuck Were Project Manager, He’d Learn More ‘Tricks’”
I have not yet met a single manager who would not complain about ‘boring’, ‘endless’ and ‘useless’ meetings they have to host or attend on a daily basis. And yet most of them are literally just a few words away from making their meeting a really effective communication and teambuilding tool.
I once worked with a senior leader, let’s call him James, who had daily ‘planning’ meetings with his extended team, first thing in the morning. Continue reading “What did I do to James?”
In other words, the tool will help you see what drives you and your team and if those drivers are aligned. Continue reading “PLACE YOUR STAR ON HUMAN VALUES MAP”
Requirements can make or break your projects. Depending on your personal level of PM maturity, you will make sure that you have clarified them on one, two, or three levels. Here’s what can further improve your chances to deliver the project successfully: shared values of the team.
The secret is in the proper composition of your team. Assembling the right team is highlighted in a recent McKinsey report as one of the key practices that define the “art” of project leadership.
Granted, you will not always have the luxury to hand pick the team members. In the worst case, you are parachuted into a failing project and have to make do with what you have. Even in this worst-case scenario, what I suggest here will help – if you take personal values of your team members into consideration.
In short, personal values are needs, and they refer to desirable goals that motivate action. Thus above all, you need to make sure that at least your core team members’ values are aligned with the Goal of the project.
Continue reading “Advanced Project Management Secret: Shared Values”
The three key reasons why some projects fail are:
There is but a grain of joke in this PM joke: requirements are key. In real life, three different sets of requirements could and should be identified during the project initiation.
Requirements-1: The Spec.
First requirements that come to mind are the “standard” ones: what exactly we have to deliver. If the “what” is not defined properly, different interpretations of the requirements will lead to reworks, conflicts, delays etc.
Although requirements definition and requirements management is an important part of the PM’s job, it is important to go one level higher and make sure that we understand the business context.
Requirements-2: The Constraints Triangle.
If you’ve read this far, you are probably not new to the project management. Hence you know that the triple constraints – Scope, Time, Cost – are part of PM life, and that another PM not-exactly-a-joke insists that you can pick only two. Continue reading “The Recipe for Project Success: 3 Requirements + 10 Values”