So You’re the New Boss – Perils of the Honeymoon Period

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It’s great being the new boss. Your direct reports are eager to make a good impression; they’re showing deference, listening attentively, competing for your attention, laughing at your jokes and being tolerant of your dumb questions. Even better, your own superiors are cutting you some slack; you’re new and, although great things are expected of you,… Read more »

Internal v External Project Managers

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Interesting article in a recent McKinsey Quarterly on the challenges faced by project managers running business transformation / turnaround programmes. These are usually internal appointees who have been plucked from their day jobs. All too often, however, these internal PMs are “. . . concerned about protecting their legacy, pursuing their next role, or tiptoeing… Read more »

Fess up time: I’m a window seat dreamer

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Nice piece in The Economist confirms my view that it’s better to be a window seat dreamer than an aisle seat cynic. And anyway, wouldn’t you rather climb over than be climbed over? Whatever, enjoy the trip.

Strategic decisions: When can you trust your gut?

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Nice piece in the latest McKinsey Quarterly. “. . . take your gut feeling as an important data point, but then you have to consciously and deliberately evaluate it, to see if it makes sense.” “. . . premortem is a sneaky way to get people to do contrarian, devil’s advocate thinking without encountering resistance. If a… Read more »

How Top Managers Overestimate Their Visibility

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So it’s late August and you are enjoying your final days on the beach, afloat on a boat, hiking the hills, or whatever. It’s been wonderful: seeing the sights, exercising, spending time with loved ones, eating well and sipping mojitos. However, somewhere at the back of your mind, you’ve already started thinking about work. Maybe… Read more »

How do you boost the success of new hires?

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Interesting article in McKinsey Quarterly, How new CEOs can boost their odds of success It finds that externally appointed – as opposed to internally promoted – CEOs have a greater propensity to act: they are more likely to make effective strategic moves, such as management reshuffles, mergers and acquisitions. “External CEOs almost certainly have a… Read more »

Nobody Does It Better

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There are day-to-day business operations – and then there are projects, by which we mean all those short-term, transient initiatives to fix a problem, create a product or improve a service. Some businesses undertake quite significant projects without seeing the need to nominate a project manager. They may fail to recognise the value of the role,… Read more »

Observe more, react less

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I’m pretty cynical about the whole mindfulness thing, especially in business. It’s only mentioned in passing in this McKinsey Quarterly article. But don’t be put off – it’s a very thoughtful piece. There’s some useful stuff about coping with – nay, countering – the insidious “always on” work culture. And I agree wholeheartedly with the message to… Read more »

The Main Business of a Project Manager . . .

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“The main business of a project manager is to take the romance, the mystery, the irony, the ambiguity out of everything he touches.” (OK, hands up, it’s a quote I’ve pinched from Antonin Scalia, the US Supreme Court Judge whose death was announced today. He actually said it about lawyers – but I think it’s equally applicable to project… Read more »