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 »

Leading organizational transformations

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“Ask your management team what a good business plan looks like, and you will probably find close agreement. But ask them what a good change plan should include, and opinions will vary widely. A CFO will insist on creating new financial measures; an operations VP, on installing a quality program; an HR specialist, on revising… Read more »

Four managerial lessons from the Premier League

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The English Premier League is a managerial cauldron. Love it or hate it, football at this level provides striking lessons in how to – and how not to – succeed as a people manager in the workplace.   Let’s take a look at the season so far. 1. Know yourself, be yourself Leicester City manager,… Read more »

More advice for ambitious managers

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KEEP THAT CV TO HAND Passport and driving licence aside, your CV is one of your most precious documents and should be kept bang up to date. Do it now and, for God’s sake, keep it brief. Nobody is going to read much beyond your first page. Remember: two pages, great. Three, max. Likewise make… Read more »

4 Things Every Ambitious Manager Should Do

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Work yourself out of a job Being irreplaceable can help you through a downturn – but it can also hold you back during the good times. You should aim to be mobile (ie replaceable) enough to grasp the next big opportunity when it arises. Make sure you have an obvious successor and – most importantly… Read more »

The Transient Project Manager

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The APM’s definition of a project is “A unique, transient endeavour undertaken to achieve planned objectives”. Don’t you just love that word, transient? Therein lies the challenge facing a project manager. He or she has been assigned a transient (that word again) team; a bunch of disparate, sometimes desparate, people who may not know each other but who… Read more »

An Outsider’s Perspective Can Work Wonders

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Half full or half empty? Or maybe the glass is just twice as big as it needs to be? Fresh thinking and an outsider’s perspective often do work wonders. That’s why using an Interim Manager (ie hiring in management talent on an as required basis) can be a very effective way to address the bijou problemette that’s just landed… Read more »

Sun, Sea, Sangria . . . and dodgy Out of Office replies

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Quite a big response to my last blog, including some prime examples of ill-judged “Out of Office” auto responses. I was particularly struck by this one. (My correspondent assures me she changed all names – and – just to be on the safe side, I’ve changed them again): I am on holiday until 1/9. If… Read more »

August is a Wicked Month – for Project Managers

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I am on vacation – back in the office Tuesday, 1 September. Meanwhile incoming email is being discarded. Please refer business critical issues to my deputy, Richard. Clare I am out of the office until 1 September but remain contactable via email. Philip Both Clare and Philip are outstandingly good project managers, highly regarded by colleagues… Read more »