Angry and Disconnected

Increasingly we are disconnected.

It is as simple as that and as complicated as that.  We are disconnected from each other.  The relationships that we have are finely strung interwoven webs of very fragile connections.   The connections are fragile because of all of the miscommunication.  Even when we stand in front of each other today and talk person to person we are still communicating less effectively than we did years ago.

People in all walks of business are becoming more increasingly angry and frustrated and as a friend puts it we are all suffering from some form of “disaster fatigue.”   As I watched the news last night, and we wrapped up and closed the latest great tragedy that will surely get a name and a conspiracy theory assigned to it, I was troubled by the thought that all we seek is closure (quickly).   After 4 days and exhaustive efforts and incredible detective work, it is finally over.  Oh thank G-d it is over! Now we can move onto the next great tragedy and forget about this one unless we want to make some great point in a position paper or argument.  The media is disgusting at times.   There is no such thing as journalist integrity anymore, shame on them.  Shame on us too, because we watch it and we let them entertain us with their constant barrage of tragedy and despair.  They keep us on the edge of our seats and then wrap up people’s lives like it is a novel.

I most appreciated and still have the images of the “experts” smiling as they discussed this case and the situation.   I am not being too sensitive, the world is no longer sensitive enough.  It is desensitized and disconnected.   We are turning into a culture of racing changes and closure.  It is as if in our lives we are rocks that are being skimmed across a pond.   Every surface contact is the experience of a major event or situation only to end sunken and somewhere.

It isn’t as if humanity is new or that we haven’t experienced changes or tragedy in the history of our world.  It seems as if there is just more for us individually to consume at a faster rate and more knowledge to handle in multiple levels of thought and conscience.  It is overloading people on an individual level.  What happens is they effectively shut off noise.   Noise may be important but can’t be handled.   It takes time to deal with noise and we have no time.

When you walk into your bosses office and you ask to talk to him or her and they are reading their email or texting or doing something else other than paying attention to what you have to say, it becomes personal to you but isn’t to them, they are simply filtering.   The problem is that this is our world.  This is what we are morphing into.  A noisy place with no time to think and no time to listen.  We get less than half of a story and it needs to close so that we can move on to another story.

When Martin Richard, 8, Dorchester, Massachusetts was murdered in cold blood by the senseless act of these young men in Boston, will you remember Martin next week?   For his family,  my heart hurts today.  It is true that my heart hurt yesterday for the senseless Newtown killings but as far as we are concerned (mostly) it is over and behind us.  How many of the children do you remember?  How many were killed?  What were their names?  Do you know? What about 911? How many were killed?  What were their names?  Time heals all wounds except the ones that are everlasting. The everlasting wounds that run deep in the families of those who have lost or the left over feelings that are underlying in our hearts.  The undertone of despair and sadness that we carry with us.   Only to be added onto by the next tragedy and the next and the next.  Never forget, always remember but if you do forget in your mind, you may not forget in your heart.  What do we do when we feel so much?  We disconnect so that we don’t have to feel.  We don’t need our tears anymore because we don’t have the capacity to manage all of our feeling input and we have nothing left in our emotional tanks that would allow us to cry.  Although there are times when someone is close enough to us that we will be compelled by overwhelming emotion to feel.  We are mostly.. away.

The only point I will add here is that this behavior and situation impacts us at work beyond the obvious.  Since we are failing to communicate effectively, we are augmenting our communication with explicit and highly technical surrogates.   One of my areas of work and great concern is Knowledge Management.   Why is KM one of the top concerns of leadership around the globe today?   Because knowledge is happening faster and change is happening faster and everything is happening faster.   The demands for fast and short term solutions and short term thinking and short term closure of issues is driving organizations around the world to dismiss the criticality of the long term and strategic thinking.   This speed need is creating demand for the 15 minute manager, the short term rockstar, the idol (American) or other.  The quick win.  Snatching the bird from the hand and forgetting that there are a few in the bush.  Lack of patience, lack of quality, lack of service, lack of value, lack of kindness and other mass effects.

 

Lack of connection… lack of a real true connection.  The ultimate result is that there is no trust.  No trust = failure.


How Many Know Me?inmap

How many know me? My passion, my hopes, my dreams?  How many know my intent?  How many trust me?  I am connected.. I am connected digitally to a lot of people.  I don’t even know a number to tell you but let us say a lot.

So, as I said in the beginning it is simple and simply complicated.   It is not about unplugging ourselves and disconnecting from the world.  It is about taking steps to engage and listen to the noise and to turn it off when someone is standing in front of us.  It is about, responding to those who reach out to us and building trust where we can and when it makes sense.  It is about love and looking for small simple small acts of kindness within ourselves without any measurable expectations.

 We need to manage our connections and make time to disconnect.  We certainly can’t hold the world in our hands but we can grab a piece of the world when we need it, put it back on the shelf when we don’t and trust that the rest is beyond us.

To Compromise with The Sun

The Who of You

Sam sold fruit in Spanish Harlem, he would travel every day from his home in New York City to open his fruit cart and sell his fruit.  Sam could speak at least 3 languages including english and spanish.  What we know about our family is really very limited isn’t it?  Unless you are into genealogy or your family member was famous.  What we do know is that these people shared something with us that may go beyond a simple transfer of DNA.  It is our love and hate, our fears and hopes that are transferred in the hidden undertones of our upbringing.  It is more than white noise because it is thematic.  Even if you were raised by a family other than your own biological family, you will carry some familiar theme.  It is what it is.  As generations are born and raised maybe some of the themes are altered a bit and some things can change but there are still faint remains.   I expect that is what is meant when my grandmother would say to me that I remind her of my grandfather whom I never met.  I didn’t meet him physically but through my father I am given the good and maybe some of the bad as well.    We are who we are and there is no grand bargain that can change certain aspects or characteristics of our being.  If Stephen Hawking could change his condition wouldn’t he?  If he did would he be able to contribute to our world and to science as he has over and again?

To Compromise

“The man who refuses to judge, who neither agrees nor disagrees, who declares that there are no absolutes and believes that he escapes responsibility, is the man responsible for all the blood that is now spilled in the world. Reality is an absolute, existence is an absolute, a speck of dust is an absolute and so is a human life. Whether you live or die is an absolute. Whether you have a piece of bread or not, is an absolute. Whether you eat your bread or see it vanish into a looter’s stomach, is an absolute.

There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil. The man who is wrong still retains some respect for truth, if only by accepting the responsibility of choice. But the man in the middle is the knave who blanks out the truth in order to pretend that no choice or values exist, who is willing to sit out the course of any battle, willing to cash in on the blood of the innocent or to crawl on his belly to the guilty, who dispenses justice by condemning both the robber and the robbed to jail, who solves conflicts by ordering the thinker and the fool to meet each other halfway. In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win. In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit. In that transfusion of blood which drains the good to feed the evil, the compromise is the transmitting rubber tube.”
― Ayn RandAtlas Shrugged

A compromise is a settlement.  You have to let go of something and make a concession to compromise.  Can you compromise with your being?  In other words, we still don’t have the technology today to compromise on all things.   As a matter of fact, there are many things that we can’t compromise on because we don’t have the power to do it.

Compromise is the issue of today.   It is THE issue because so many of us are unwilling to do it when we can and others demand it when it isn’t really warranted.  There doesn’t seem to be a good balance today when it comes to compromise.   It doesn’t even seem to me that we are looking at compromise from a reasonable and rational perspective.

We can put on some very basic hats and come up with fairly intractable conflict.  Just for quick reference (IC)

Intractable conflicts are clearly different from other conflicts. The major characteristics of intractable conflicts can be summarized as follows:

  1. In terms of actors, intractable conflicts involve states or other actors with a long sense of historical grievance, and a strong desire to redress or avenge these.
  2. In terms of duration, intractable conflicts take place over a long period of time.
  3. In terms of issues, intractable conflicts involve intangible issues such as identity, sovereignty, or values and beliefs.
  4. In terms of relationships intractable conflicts involve polarized perceptions of hostility and enmity, and behavior that is violent and destructive.
  5. In terms of geopolitics, intractable conflicts usually take place where buffer states exist between major power blocks or civilizations.
  6. In terms of management, intractable conflicts resist many conflict management efforts and have a history of failed peacemaking efforts.

Here we are in 2013.  Martin Luther King had a dream of people being simply being treated fairly as people.   It started with compromise, didn’t it?

Now we have what I would call a dysfunction compromise system.   This is a system where we recognize that we need to make concessions or that we have a desire for concessions but we act in ways that are counterintuitive and counter productive concerning concessions.

For example, we should respect all religions except that SOME religion directs us towards violence.   We must make every effort to compromise.  This also is interesting because religion (at least in the past 30-40 years) is changing.   Religion is being forced to compromise with desired outcomes.   I want to state for the record that I am simply talking about this by observation.  My issue and concern isn’t about any one particular thing, it is about our sociological disconnect from reality that is becoming the new normal.  Hot topics of the past 40 years are racial, religion, women’s rights, jobs, economic and political gridlock, global trends, global warming, freedom and democracy for people of the world.

What changed?  I can pull open a newspaper from the 1900’s or the 1800’s and see similar issues if not the same exact issues.   And, so.. I go back just a few short years ago, maybe 50 or 60 years ago.  A middle aged guy named Sam, he gets up every morning and puts his pants on one leg at a time.  He kisses his wife or just yells goodbye as he heads out to sell fruit to his customers.   To sell fruit to people in Spanish Harlem, he had to learn to speak spanish (that was something he had to do) they didn’t compromise with him.    Sam and other immigrants from
“the old world” or from Italy, Ireland, Spain and other places came to America in search of something new, something different.  They had to change their behavior to become American but the interesting part is that they were unwilling or unable to stay where they were .   No one really talks about that part too often.  Why couldn’t they just stay where they were and work things out?  Why couldn’t they compromise?   There is a delicate balance in life, it is give and take but there are also factors in which we have little or no control.  No matter how much we want men to bear the burden of carrying a child, science isn’t there yet.   Should it get there, I am sure some group somewhere will stand up and demand that women have been carrying children for their families for far too long and that men have an obligation to share this extremely difficult burden.   You may read this and think that I am being unreasonable or maybe just because I am saying this that I am being sexist.  Well, that is exactly why I am writing this today.  If I say something that is true even if I don’t believe one way or the other that it is right or wrong, it creates conflict.  We can’t even talk about it because it is offensive.  It is offensive because we have compromised ourselves into dysfunction.   If people wonder why we can’t anything done in Washington DC, this is the reason.

Summary

The next time you write something on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, your blog, my blog, your website, company post, newspaper, chat and the list goes on and on, just consider for a moment that false compromise isn’t always the answer and further that if you have an honest belief stand up for it.  If you have room to truly compromise, consider that as well but be mindful of the truth and your intent, the world will be a better place for it.

“Quincy Magoo” You’ve Done It Again…

Do you remember Mr. Magoo?

Magoo says ” I should have known your type…” as he yells at himself in the mirror.  He is angry for all of the things that were done to him and he was the cause.

“Don’t waste your time and money..”

Magoo wanted to get dance lessons as he misread a letter in the mail.  He was thinking that he was invited to a dance when he read an advertisement  for something totally unrelated.  He was yelling about the mess he got himself into and was advising others that weren’t there not to waste their time or money on the dance lessons.  After all, the place he was in was run” like a gym.”  In other episodes, there were times that Magoo would run aimlessly into something that was not harmful.  Most of the time he would get himself into a situation where he affected others.  That is the point of the blog today.

Simply complex but simple.

I picked up a habit of carrying a whiteboard marker with me.  By chance you may have a whiteboard that I should write on and muddy.  The circles and lines that connect them are all simple thoughts.   I draw the line from here to there and tag it to show what the line means.   As the lines and circles start to grow and I am standing in front of the board, I am telling a story.    If you aren’t there from the beginning and you walk in towards the end, the board looks to be full of lines and circles and words written between.   It is impressive and complicated looking.   The truth is that it isn’t complicated.  It is just the whole story without all of the words all smashed together in a frame.   It is not meant to be understood without me.  Unless there was a video taken, you would be lost and you may wonder.

If you were to walk into the room and look at the writing on the wall, you would automatically take what I have written and frame it.  You would apply meaning in areas where there wasn’t any or you would rationalize the connections and relationships based on your perception.

In a sense, we all have some Magoo like tendencies.

The Magoo Problem

We frame the world actively at every moment and sew together a picture based on what we believe we see.  David Eagleman in his book “Incognito” pointed out that our brains are locked into a fully enclosed and dark space.   That is the physical case, but we see or perceive light.   It is manufactured by our input, our sensors.

That is our world.  We think that things are something when they may or may not be.    We have the unique understanding of the world from our perspective.  The problem is that our perspective if skewed too far can cross boundaries and have unintended consequences.   That is why it is important to understand “intent.”   Who could be mad at old Magoo?  He was just trying to learn how to dance?   In this story, he wound up destroying the gym.

The thinking person rationalizes everything to make sense of it.  We are forced to simplify the complex.   The complex as we see it, may become the world of Magoo.

Magoo Conflict

We are wired for the world.  We are wired to frame and create context and we are also wired to inter-relate to others.  Daniel Goleman writes about it in his Social Intelligence book and other places.

Excerpt  (http://www.discoveringtherealme.org/resources/book-review/130-social-intelligence-by-daniel-goleman.html)

The first example Goleman gives of social intelligence is that of a group of American soldiers in Iraq paying a visit to a cleric to enlist his aid in distributing relief supplies. The local populace feared the well-armed soldiers. They were afraid they were going to arrest their cleric or profane their mosque. A mob quickly surrounded the soldiers. One can imagine what would have happened should a soldier, threatened by a gesture, shot off a gun. 

No one got shot and no one got hurt. In fact, the mob encounter ended amicably due, Goleman says, to the social intelligence of Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Hughes, who gauged the myriad social factors involved in record time and implemented a series of steps designed to defuse the situation: he ordered his men to kneel on one knee, point their weapons at the ground, and—most importantly—smile. Since a smile is a universal expression of friendliness, the confused Iraqi people began to smile back. The reverential posture and the signal that the weapons were not to be used also reassured them. Some of the now peaceably departing Iraqis even dared to pat the soldiers on the back. What could have been an ugly incident of resounding personal and international repercussions turned into a positive one because of the leader’s instinctive social intelligence.

It is a confusing world we live in.   We seem to stumble like the baby in the construction lot.  Somehow we make our way from girder to girder or we don’t.   When we don’t make it or we are victims of some event we are conflicted.  It seems to be the cause of so many problems that we have.   We can’t smile our way out of some of these things but we are naturally inclined to be connected and that is a good thing.   Oh, where was I going?  

Magoo Advice

I just watched him again this morning.  I initially had plans on writing about something else.  Maybe I just stumbled into Magoo?   He first appears in Ragtime Bear 1949.  He couldn’t see a thing and was pretty angry.  His perception of the world was always very far from what we see around him.   He only wanted “Peace and quiet, a man needs his rest.”   In 1956  Puddle jumper he bought a full-out electric car.   It is funny how he believed that the electric car was the better machine to drive.   How easy it is to think that Magoo has it wrong.   Magoo isn’t just nearsighted, he is perceptually mis-aligned.   His view of the world creates confusion, anger, cross talk, lack of clarity, and seemingly made him a bit crazy to us.   Although that is what comes across,  Magoo is forward thinking and has some old wisdom, he believes that his perspective of the world is the world and that others around him see it as he does and if they don’t, he instructs them accordingly.

What he is missing is the alignment to others.

The short of it

How Magoo relates to you.   We all see the world through our own eyes and though it may be obvious to us, the things we see and believe may be wrong.  If we consider that we are in some ways like Magoo; blind to things that we believe we see.   This may be a step in opening ourselves to other possibilities.  If we can manage and have the patience, it is possible for us to learn and teach.  In other words, Magoo didn’t always have it wrong.  After all, he loved the electric car in 1956 and we are just a few short years behind him.   He didn’t always have it right either and his mis-perceptions of the world caused devastation in a lot of episodes.  It takes a balance of ideas, knowledge, and patience and the ability to recognize that we individually may be wrong and further that we can only learn that we are wrong though discussion , open dialog and empathy.  If we open ourselves to this, we may wind up being wrong together or right together, regardless maybe it would lead to more happiness.

These are some of my thoughts this Sunday morning.   Cheers

How Microtransactions are Making you Bankrupt

It isn’t just In-APP

Microtransactions are commonly mentioned in or referenced in mobile computing.  For this blog I am saying that this is the transaction model for more than just mobile devices; this is now our way of life.   We need to collectively stop this from being the business model of our future.

Definition:

A “Microtransaction” is

Microtransaction (also referred to as in-app billing or in-app purchasing) is a business model where users can purchase virtual goods via micropayments. Microtransactions are often used in free-to-play games to provide a revenue source for the developers, although they can also occur in non-game software. While microtransactions are a staple of the mobile app market, they are also available on traditional computer platforms such as Valve Corporation‘s Steam platform.

Free-to-play games that include a microtransaction model are sometimes referred to as “freemium“,[1] although applications offering microtransactions should not be confused with free applications that offer additional features via subscription services. “Pay-to-win” is sometimes used as a derogatory term to refer to games where paying for in-game items can give the player an advantage over other players, particularly if the items cannot be obtained by free means. The objective with a free-to-play microtransaction model is to get more players into the game and provide desirable items or features that players can purchase if they are interested in them – it is hoped that in the long-term the profits from a microtransaction system will outweigh the profits from a one-time-purchase game. –Source Wikipedia

… dolla

Microtransactions — In-Everything

  • Our payroll taxes went up 2%-That isn’t bad, right?
  • Cable goes up by 6% http://www.omaha.com/article/20120414/MONEY/705139987
  • Power company (here in Virginia) “the typical residential customer’s bill will increase by $1.85 per month”–Power Company.  Some articles show increases of 18 spread over the course of a few years.
  • Water
  • Sewage
  • Food
  • Bank fees
  • Phone fees.. phone taxes

The cost of everything is going up just a little.   Our taxes are going up and our salaries are staying the same or actually going down because of health care going up and other factors.

We all know about http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle-class_squeeze but this is beyond that.  This is about everyone.

You start adding up all of the services that you have that only cost $7.00 here or $5.00 there.

We are getting taken to the cleaners.

Cloud Computing  

From a business perspective, we are facing the same issues but the business media would have you believe that cloud computing, web services and other fee based services will save your organization money.

I say.. do the math.. we are getting lifted.   If you take the time to perform total cost of ownership and return on investment analysis that accounts for microtransactions, you may find that doing in the business in the cloud can cost you more.  This is especially true if you factor in a risk assessment.

Sure AM pointing out the obvious

At home, my wife and I look at all of our expenses on a regular basis.  It is almost a full-time job to account for all of the microtransactions.   If you don’t do it, you will simply wonder where all your money is going.

“How could we have spent so much money this month, we didn’t do anything different?”

This is different from budgeting for your monthly expenses because you now have to account for your son or daughter buying $1.99 worth of coins on Temple run.  The amount of money that is outgoing from small almost unnoticed transactions is insane.

Summary of considerations

  • Check your bills every month.
  • Look at the history of what you spent every month.
  • Call your service companies every few months and ask them about decreasing the service fees or current specials.
  • Set a budget for your normal expenses and put that money in a separate account . Note- You will learn quickly when you are spending too much or things went up because you will be out of money in that account. 
  • Learn to coupon.
  • Think about the small things. (Don’t look at $1.00 as “only a buck” , look at it as a part of your whole budget.
  • If you are in a relationship where you are working together on your income, talk to your partner about money.

I hope this helps.. people ask my wife all the time how she manages to save us so much.  I jokingly call her the “Executive Money Spender” but the fact is she is “The Executive Family Saver” and because she is diligent and persistent in watching our in and outbound flow of money, we can do the things we love to do as a family and have some left over for savings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being Realistic looks like Pessimism

Is the glass half empty?

Is the glass half full?

Some friend you are.. calling me a pessimist..  I think of myself as a person who is realistic.

The glass is always full, just not full of what you want or expect.

Walk around in a bubble and you are bound to see the world from your own 360 degree perspective.  This doesn’t really reflect what is truly going on in THE world, just YOUR world.  It is shame really when you think about how business is today. Long gone are the days when you trust anyone.  I second guess almost everything because I have a hard time with trust.   I can trust but let us say I am cautious about it at this point.   It is kind of sad because growing up in Co-op City in the Bronx, I could trust people.  Of course we had our challenges but the only people that would steal from you would be the kids taking your lunch money.   Business people, every day people had honor.

That is what this is about.  You have a code?  Do you honestly care about your business or the people working for you or with you?   We don’t trust each other but you give all sorts of content to Facebook.   We don’t seem to trust each other but Amazon wants you to trust them with your business.  The truth is that we are being robbed and that is just real.   We are losing ourselves in text and media.  We are losing our honor and our ability to treat each other with kindness.  We don’t trust each other and we have to find a way back to that.   We have to find ways to trust each other and build trusted partnerships.  We also have to realize that we are being robbed.

How can we trust each other or learn to trust each other?

It seems to me that businesses need to start talking about trust and honoring their word.

  • We need to start practicing honest behaviors and proving ourselves as honorable people.
  • We need to define and follow up on a code of ethics and actually mean what we say.
  • We need to start communicating better and we need to start this by active listening.

This is our world today.

The WheelBarrel Story

There are many variations to this story.  I have seen a lot of churches use this in their literature but it isn’t religious.

There once was a man who worked at a factory. He worked at this factory for 30 years. And
about 20 years into his time there, the owners of the factory decided that the workers were
stealing things, so they set up guards at the gate to check all the workers every day as they left.
And every evening for those 10 years, five nights a week, this guy walked through those gates,
trundling his wheelbarrow, and the guards could see, every evening, that the wheelbarrow was
empty. They checked his pockets and all. They were sure that this guy wasn’t stealing anything.
Finally he retired, and the next week one of his co-workers commented as he left the factory,
“Well, we’ll see a lot less theft now that he’s gone.”
“Why? What was he stealing?” the guard demanded.
The co-worker grinned: “Wheelbarrows.”

Where are your wheelbarrows going? 

Just a thought..

 

Teaming on DoD projects … Tackling Fuel

If you are a team leader working on a DoD project there are challenges that you face which are unique simply because you are working for the DoD.  There are some very basic concepts to understand in order to create or facilitate success.

1) Do what you can with what you have.

You have to play the cards as dealt.  You are in a situation where turkeys are all around you!  Expecting things to get better is unreasonable and won’t help you.   Working to get everyone to see things the way you do, MAY not work either.   People that you work with or around may not give a crap about what you are doing and there may be no adverse impact to them if they ignore you.   What I have found that seems to work somewhat is to be clear about what you are working on and be clear as to what you expect your team is expected to accomplish.   I normally come up with a Plan of action with milestones but I add mission, vision, scope, objectives and a mapping of what we are doing to why we are doing it via policy, standards and guidance.

Historically speaking about 70 – 80% of the team is ok with this and on board to do the work.  If you think that is a low number, chances are you a commercially oriented person or a military commander.  What I am talking is somewhere in between those two guys/gals.   The difference is that even though YOU are supposed to be in charge, YOU have no real ability to enforce a consequence.   In that situation, some people ignore you.  When that is the case, I don’t ignore them but I talk to them about the situation and try to come up with an understanding. Sometimes it works, sometimes they wind up playing solitaire or reading the news paper all day, everyday.

2) Write and remember.

I normally keep a high level log of events, like a journal without all the feelings!  I do this for a few reasons, firstly because I have no idea what I did last week without it.  Think back to September 29th, 2011, you were supposed to have the project implemented already.   You needed to get your IA accreditation, your system needed updates, you were supposed to be supporting 2000 users and you had 15 client deliverables.  Oh by the way it was a Thursday.   How would you know what happened that day or any other?  Make and keep those notes.   They are important for many reasons.  You need them for Project memory, and for turnover if you need to do that.  You need those notes for reporting on deliverables or reasons why you failed to deliver.  If you are looking to win other contracts, you can use those notes to discuss and document your quals.   These notes are critical to your project because chances are no matter what you are working on you will restart at some point in some fashion and you should be able to get a head start with what you have already.   For my notes I use the personal brain now called “thebrain”, mind maps, discussion threads (in my case on Forge.Mil).  I do use documents as well but I normally map them by linkages in a system so that everyone can see what I have written.

3) Too much information is bad.

Just kidding, I think it is up to you to know how much information to use.  Every client is different and it really depends on your trust relationship.   If you are a civilian project leader meaning a GS-type,  this is still relevant.  Sometimes too much information is presented at one time and leadership is overwhelmed by the sheer amount of data.   In that case you just go with something like the 10-20-30 rule.   10 slides max, 20 minutes at the most and 30 point font.   Even that can be too much, General Mattis who now is in charge of CENCOM didn’t seem to like power points, he just wanted the facts on one sheet of paper and as I remember (tell me if I am wrong) you had to keep it to 10 things.   Other leaders I have personally worked for liked marathon all day planning and discussion sessions.  I have seen 8-10 hours of work breakdown and discussion.

4)If you are angry chances are you care.

If you are angry or frustrated, there is a good chance you care and/or you are taking yourself or this project too seriously.   Here is a note about me,  I get frustrated because I care .  The problem is that caring is great but it doesn’t get results.   A senior leader and friend once told me “Howie, worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair, you can do it often and get nowhere.”  I am sure that he took that from somewhere but that is what and how he said it to me.   Fact is, he was and is right.  At the time when he told me that I was working on a multimillion dollar project that had “must have” deliverables and kept me up nights and weekends.   Not long after I left the project all of the work was put on a shelf .  It was like watching Indiana Jones when they boxed the Arc.    I was like “whhaaaa”  That being said, of course we should care about our work but we should not allow it to bleed us.

5)Any project or program method is OK as long as at the end of the day your client, customer, boss etc gets what they need.

If you like Agile project management or you are a PMP it really doesn’t matter.  How you choose to run your project is really up to you and your team.   By the way, if you think it isn’t up to your team see 1) and take the number from 70-80% to umm 5-10% because the only one that will be working is you if you don’t get your team on board.   Once you figure out what you are doing and what process you are going to use, go back to the person you are working for and make sure you align what you are doing with what they need.   What this means is that you are going to do things the way you know how and meet their needs.  A lot of people would say figure out what the client needs first but I am not talking about requirements, I am talking about how you are going to work your project.  Those are two different things.    “Howie, I want you to build me a race car… make sure it is fast and has lots of lights!”  OK… yes I can do that..  Of course there are lots of questions I would ask to get the car specifications but unless my client hands me a “how to” guide, I need to be trusted to execute the process with my team the way WE feel we should.  The METHOD is up to the project manager or team leader.    This is where trust comes into play, and you need trust.   So.. SCRUM if you want!

 

Really, what I am saying here is that as a team leader you aren’t alone and there are people out here that understand your frustration (pain).  Working together we can help each other by sharing ideas and information.  Ultimately, everything boils down to communicate, collaborate, cooperate!

 

Happy Sunday