Often project management is criticized for adding overhead to a project (and when executed poorly, it does). Words like documentation and methodology make leadership think of productivity loss and non-value added activity. Project management is rooted in some very good principles, but much like anything else, in its extreme forms it is dangerous. The positive principles I am speaking of are planning out your activities, providing accurate budgets, reaching your goal when you said you would, steering around roadblocks before you hit them, etc. Because of this, project management is growing in popularity every day. So why are some people opposed to it? I am going to explain why leadership doesn’t like project management and show you how to NOT live up to the stereotype. Leadership doesn’t like project management because time spent planning or working on documentation is time not spent working on deliverables. They have trouble connecting the idea that hours of planning and pages of documentation help you achieve the goal faster and cheaper. They simply want the project done faster, cheaper, and leaner. The irony is that project management can do all of this if executed properly.
https://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.png00Mike Figliuolohttps://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.pngMike Figliuolo2008-09-24 09:53:002018-06-21 13:20:12Project Management Without the Paperwork
It’s been a rough year in the market. Mortgage crises. Bad corporate behavior. Bankruptcies. M&A. Hideous. Lloyd Bridges said it best: “Looks like I picked the wrong year to quit sniffing glue.” But undoubtedly the most bizarre behavior I’ve seen this year comes in the form of the “stay bonus.” Let’s hit rewind and explore some underlying axioms about business. Sure, many of these are cliche (probably because so many folks have abused and perverted them that they often ring hollow) but they’ll set a context to explore this issue. 1. People are our most important resource 2. It costs much more to hire someone new than it does to keep the associates you’ve already got 3. People are always searching for growth opportunities (for proof of that one, see the poll at the bottom of the page and if you haven’t voted yet, VOTE for heaven’s sake – it’s an election year don’tcha know?) Here’s the issue: those three axioms set many organizations up for a colossal form of organizational stupidity.
https://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.png00Mike Figliuolohttps://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.pngMike Figliuolo2008-09-22 06:01:002018-12-21 13:35:51The Perversion of the “Stay Bonus”
Let’s face it – there are days at work you wish there was ANYTHING you could do to break through the tedium. A few years ago, I came across a list of office dares that was absolutely hilarious. A colleague and I actually played (and scored quite well, mind you). It definitely made the days more enjoyable. Along those lines, I’d like to offer a refreshed list of office dares you can do to break through the monotony. DISCLAIMER: IF YOU DO ANY OF THESE AND BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO YOU, I INVOKE THE KRUSTY THE CLOWN DEFENSE OF “DON’T BLAME ME! I DIDN’T DO IT!” AND ACCEPT NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANYTHING THAT HAPPENS TO YOU. (My lawyer made me include that clause…). To be clear – many of you indicated in our poll below you enjoy our “balanced lifestyle” posts (of which this is one). Life without humor is inherently unbalanced. Given that, I present to you a 2008 list of new office dares:
Our professional world has experienced a proliferation of acronyms to distinguish an individual’s qualifications. It used to be there were only a few: MBA, MD, PhD, Esq., CPA. Those were the really relevant ones. Now, every time I get an email I’m introduced to a whole new kind of alphabet soup. CIPP, CFP, CCC, IDFK, MSU, LIE. There are so many that even Google can’t keep up with it. Folks can get credentialed for anything these days. News flash: I don’t care. I really don’t. The letters don’t mean anything at all to me. They don’t impress. And to be clear – you shouldn’t give a crap about my degrees or certifications. These “certifications” aren’t helpful in and of themselves. They don’t clarify. All they do is annoy the pixels on my screen that have to light up to display the letters. On the flip side, there are things I find much more important. As usual, let me tell you a story. One time, in band camp… wait… focus. A headhunter called me about a sweet role at a technology company. Great company. Great role. I shot him a copy of my resume. “Hey Mike, I got your resume but you must have sent a working draft accidentally.” “Oh. Sorry. What’s wrong?”
https://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.png00Mike Figliuolohttps://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.pngMike Figliuolo2008-09-15 07:12:002018-12-21 13:34:31I Don’t Care About Your Degree
So which exercise do you prefer – push-ups or pull-ups? Push-ups are so basic and easy. Back in my “in shape” days it was no problem to knock out a hundred or so in a shot. Pull-ups? They can be a bear. The funny thing is, in business, push-ups are much harder to do. Of course I’m speaking about two ways to get promoted. As usual, I’m speaking in tongues. I’ll explain, but first let me set some context. Many folks spend a lot of time figuring out how to get promoted into that next role. They do a great job of goal setting and execute the plan in an exemplary way. Despite all this, the promotion proves elusive. At that point, they start wondering what they need to do to get to the next level. Their three options become clear: wait (not attractive), do a pull-up, or do a push-up. Waiting Clearly waiting isn’t exactly the long suit of someone seeking out a long awaited promotion. Over time, that strategy becomes frustrating and eventually they’ll depart the organization in search of greener pastures (seriously – check out our poll at the bottom of the blog for why people leave jobs… they want growth opportunities). Let’s keep things simple and take the waiting approach off the table because if you’re reading this blog, you’re probably a real go-getter.
So it’s been a while since I spouted off about customer service but I just had an experience that peeved me so now is a good time to tee off on the topic again. I was driving home and suddenly had a sweet tooth so I stopped at one of America’s iconic fast food joints and spun through the drive through. It went something like this: “Welcome to Make You Die of Congestive Heart Failure’s! Can I take your order?” “Yeah. I’d like an artery clogger super sweet sugar booger special but give me the small… I’m trying to watch my diet.” “That will be $1.29. Please pull around.” I spun around to the window and handed the young lady a wrinkled up dollar, a shiny quarter and a nickel with some pocket lint attached to it. And then it happened… Her words reverberated throughout the cosmos, shattered stars, and spawned black holes. “Thank you sir. Have a good night.” Have a good night? Look, I wasn’t great in 2nd grade math but I was pretty sure she owed me a penny. A penny. I know – get over it. But it’s the principle of the whole thing. It came across as “I’m too busy to make change for you and, well, it’s only a penny so I know you don’t care so move along so I can clog someone else’s arteries.” Knowing the food she served me would merely kill me slowly, I believe she had the sinister intent of doing it more rapidly by causing an embolism. Folks, this is customer service math 101. Sure it was a penny. But it’s one penny on the path toward creating a customer-hostile culture.
https://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.png00Mike Figliuolohttps://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.pngMike Figliuolo2008-09-01 07:54:002018-06-21 13:48:42Customer Service Math 101: It Ain’t Just a Penny
And then there are those times you overhear a conversation that stops you dead in your tracks. You actually have to hit rewind in your brain and ask “did they actually just say that?” Ever have one of those moments? Clearly I did recently. I was heading to a client site the other morning. As I headed out of my hotel room, I was rumblin’ bumblin’ stumblin’ down the hall (can I get a Chris Berman “holla holla!”?). My sole mission in life at that point was to get a second cup of coffee from the lobby (and anyone who knows me knows The Rule – don’t speak to me until after my second cup o’ Joe). Clearly my mind was foggier than Yoda’s swamp on Dagobah. As I passed two housekeepers who were conversing in the hallway, I heard it – the statement that shocked me more than hearing “I’m your father Luke.” One housekeeper said “Just look busy when she goes by. That’ll keep her off your ass for the rest of the morning.” Note: this was VERBATIM! Despite the caffeine-deficiency-induced lack of a solid connection between my brain and my eardrum at that point, I was still able to process the enormity of this statement. “Just look busy.” Wow. I was floored.
I’m pleased to bring you the second installment on employee engagement from Dave Willis, one of our thoughtLEADERS instructors. Here’s Dave: In my previous blog post I talked about why employee engagement is critical to any business endeavor and is your most important job as a manager. I referenced part 7 of Mike’s Leadership Principles, He Drinks 7-Up, as a key lesson in how to create highly engaged employees. But of course, the point of that story is not that you need to know your employees’ preferred brand of soda. The point is… well, let’s hold off on that for a second. I’ve got a beverage story of my own. Several years ago I was mentoring a rising star in the consulting firm I worked for. Let’s call him Darren. Darren accompanied me on a number of client presentations. After several of these sessions, I asked Darren if he wanted to take the lead role in the next one. He was more than ready, and he eagerly agreed. Unfortunately when the day came, it was a disaster.
https://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.png00Mike Figliuolohttps://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.pngMike Figliuolo2008-08-13 08:49:002018-12-21 13:33:28Employee Engagement is More Than Motivation (Part 2)