Monday, October 24, 2016

Leadership Quote of the Week - Henry Ford

Special Thanks to Erin Morey for the meme!

For any of my followers finding themselves fighting a headwind, this is a strong reminder. You cannot fly without the headwind. It is the adversity that eventually lifts you up and makes you soar! The real question is: Are you fighting the wind, or finding a way to use it?

For many of my friends, this has been a tough couple of years. Since 2014, a lot of my contacts are out of work because they design and build oil rigs. With oil prices fluctuating between $27 and the occasional $50+, these past two years can feel like lost years, and the horizon doesn't look much clearer. At this point, most of my friends are finding other opportunities, and I hope they soar when they figure out how to use their own headwind!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Morey's Law #12 - Unless the Rules Aren't Working

Earlier in the history of the blog I shared a post titled: Don't (Suddenly) Change The Rules On The Player which became Morey's Law #11 (Don't Change the Rules of the Game). The gist of Law 11 is that you shouldn't change the rules on your team. They build expectations based on their experiences and the standards you set. If you change the rules (suddenly) then your team will start having trust issues. In fact most of the time, as a leader you find yourself playing referee:

The counter-point of this is that sometimes the rules are wrong, holding you back, or potentially causing significant harm. Hence Morey's Law 12:

Unless the Rules Aren't Working

There are many examples of the when the rules change. Perhaps a new system needs to be implemented, liked an ERP; or a new process is required due to client expectations or a changing industrial environment (like the development of a new HSE notification system). What if there is a new standard for welding, steel forming, rolling, or for that matter, a better coding system, or more efficient program. These are all changes that will impact the rules. Times move so quickly today that the rules from yesterday can become outdated before the ink dries, and systems that were supposed to last decades instead last only a couple of years.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Wacky Wednesday - Boxed In

My apologies for the late posting. I've been traveling a lot and the internet has not always been the most stable. Today's Wacky Wednesday comes courtesy of Gerry Sharpe, who posted this on LinkedIn:

These workmen are installing cast-iron bollards to stop nurses from parking on the pavement outside the Royal Hospital in Belfast. They are cleaning up at the end of the day, can you spot why they won't be getting off home anytime soon? Ohh Bollards!"

I think they'll have a longer evening than they expected. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Leadership Quote of the Week - Colin Powell

I know I've shared this before, but it bears repeating. Leadership is about solving problems, not just for yourself, but your people as well. That's why Colin Powell's Leadership Lesson #2 is so strong. Thankfully, my wife found another way to share it:

Thanks to Erin Morey for the meme.

That picture is from shortly after we deployed to Iraq in 2003. I replaced a Lieutenant who was relieved for cause, and found myself immediately in a leadership lesson factory. Hopefully your first experience with leadership wasn't in quite so difficult and unforgiving an environment!

Take care of your people. Listen to them, show that you care. Your team will do more for you than you can possibly know. 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Parachute Project Management

For the last 12 years, I would often be called on to take over projects which were in significant trouble. I've been involved in manufacturing, engineering, procurement, installation, construction, software implementations, and even a few live events. The funny thing is that I rarely finished any of the projects I was on, because almost as soon as I brought the project back into alignment, I would be asked to take over another project. If you've spend time with me, you've probably heard me say:

I never start a project, I rarely finish a project. Too often I parachute into a project that is already on fire, put out the flames, control the chaos, pack the 'chute and leave for the next project.

Shortly after I developed a reputation as a recovery / turn-around expert I was asked to put together a program on how to recover failed projects. After discussing my process with a friend who spent time as a smoke-jumper in the Rocky Mountains, I noticed a similarity between what I was doing and what a smoke-jumper does. The reconnaissance, planning, and even the initial steps feel very similar. Hence the creation of Parachute Project Management

Since the creation of the program, it is one of my more requested programs. With many surveys saying more than 50% of projects failing regardless of industry and discipline (with some like last year's Chaos Report from the Standish Group inferring the number could be as high as 84%), there is a dramatic need for project turn-around and recovery expertise. A methodology that others can duplicate and repeat is extremely attractive. 

In fact, just last week I presented this program to the Piedmont Triad North Carolina Project Management Institute's Professional Development Day, and will be presenting the program again the day after this post lands at the Eastern Iowa Project Management Institute Professional Development Day. If you happen to be in Cedar Rapids on the 14th, stop by the Cedar Rapids Marriott to learn more about the program. Here's a teaser trailer for you:

Not to give away the whole farm, but a couple of items for your consideration:

1. When taking over a troubled project, your first instinct may be to jump in and start putting out fires. I would highly recommend that you take time to ascertain what is going on in the project first. Too often leaders will jump into fire-fighting mode without a plan, causing the leader to focus on the wrong fires, spread embers (make things worse), or become consumed by the fire themselves. 

2. Don't get too wrapped up in the original project plan. Along with number 1, take the time to look at it, but realize that if the original project plan was correct and usable, then the project probably wouldn't be in trouble.

3. Take a look at your project reports. There are two reasons for this:
     a. It is likely that the reporting to date is inaccurate at best and falsified at worst. You need to know what was reported, and you can't afford to take it at face value.
     b. As the project became hotter and hotter, as it got into more trouble, upper management may have put more and more reporting requirements on the project team in order to ensure "proper visibility." In many cases, this means your project team may be spending more time dealing with reporting requirements and accountability meetings than actually doing work on the project. It would be a good idea to determine what is really required for reporting and push to keep to that standard.

If you want to learn more about the Parachute Project Management program, and how C4 Explosive Leadership Training can improve your project success rate, drop me an email at Hope to see you at the Easter Iowa PMI PDD!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Wacky Wednesday - Passive Aggressive

I stumbled across this site while looking for Wacky Wednesday Ideas. I thought it was amusing, and actually couldn't stop myself for a good 20-30 minutes. Here is one of my favorites:
I often find it amusing how much work people will put into something when it addresses something that annoys them.

More can be found at:

Not all are work appropriate, and not all avoid foul language, but for the most part it is Safe For Work (SFW). Enjoy!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Leadership Quote of the Week - David Star Jordan

Meme provided by Erin Morey, on behalf of C4 Explosive Leadership Training, LLC

David Star Jordan was the founding President of Stanford University, and today's quote shows what I think so many people are missing. Often it is not the wisdom or skill, but the virtue to actually do it. Often we know what is right, but we are afraid to take action because it may make us unpopular, or we are afraid that we will fail by taking that next step. In fact, I often find myself stepping back and thinking about what I should be doing next, only to have to build up the courage to step outside my comfort zone and do it!

So, are you capable of showcasing this trio? Do you have the Wisdom, Skill, and Virtue?