Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Don't Tempt Fate...

As many of my readers know, I have a list called Morey's Laws typically of Project Management, however I've been asked why they don't apply to Leadership in general. I couldn't provide an answer. So today, we meet the item at the end of the list: Don't Tempt Fate... It Can Always Get Worse. 

This is one of those laws that is meant to be a catch-all. Like in a bad (or sometimes really good) movie, a leader should know better than to say "It can't possibly get any worse" or some derivative thereof. It is almost always an invitation for fate to prove you wrong.

A couple of real life examples:

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Leadership Quote of the Week - Dwight Eisenhower

In Preparing For Battle I Have Always Found That Plans Are Useless, But Planning Is Indispensable
- Dwight Eisenhower

Since we are discussing the Eisenhower Decision Matrix, it's appropriate to share one of his most famous quotes. The irony here is that in the blog post earlier I am telling you that you need to spend more time in Quadrant 2 (Planning), yet now I am posting a quote that says the plan is useless, what gives? 

Well what gives is that the action of planning is where the real pay-dirt is. To paraphrase another military general (Field Marshal Helmuth Karl Bernhard Graf von Moltke): "No Plan Survives First Contact." This statement is true, because no matter how well planned, situations change and things will not always go according to plan. As such, a leader needs to understand that plans cannot be final. While planning, (s)he should consider contingencies and "what if" scenarios during planning. Having these contingencies ready when the plan changes will make the team successful, and why planning is indispensable. 

When working in project management we call it Risk Mitigation. A significant portion of planning is the detailing of Risk into a matrix which shows the impacts of an event happening, and then details out how the risks will be addressed if the event occurs. I may share the techniques in a future blog post, as it's important to know how to do this during planning of complex projects which could have serious and (sometimes) dramatic consequences if something goes wrong. 

As a note, what you are seeing here is a picture I took from the back of a M113 in Kuwait as soldiers of the 4th Infantry Division are about to be briefed on the plan to cross into Iraq and convoy to Baqu'bah in 2003. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wacky Wednesday - Planning

A couple of Demotivational style images for you (from motifake.com). Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Where Do You Spend Your Time?

The one thing in the universe we cannot buy back is time. We are here for a limited time and then we are gone, which means we should try to make the absolute most of our time. But our time is under a constant barrage of constraints, requirements and requests; to the point where we often feel overwhelmed and not sure where our time went.

Dwight Eisenhower wasn't only the 34th President of the United States. During World War II he was the Supreme Allied Commander, responsible for the actions of the United States, British, French, and (arguably) the Russian military organizations. Can you imagine the amount of requests on his time? Military strategies, political maneuvers, and anything that he wanted to do. General Eisenhower had to build a model in order to determine how to address the requests on his time. What he developed was the Eisenhower Decision Matrix, which has found its way into the management lexicon. In fact, Steven Covey included it in one of the most popular self-help books of all time Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. 

As I built my C4 concept, I realized that an understanding of the Decision Matrix is critical for Conceive, mostly because Leaders don't know where they are spending their time and need to be aware of where they get the most bang for their buck. In fact, this is more of a preamble to Conceive, as Conceive is largely a Quadrant 2 activities (but I get ahead of myself). As I researched the Eisenhower Decision Matrix, I tried to find a graphical representation which would properly illustrate the concept, but what I found was a lot of quadrant diagrams with a lot of words, require too much explanation. So instead, I worked with my graphic designer (who happens to be my wife, so lucky!) to build a graphical representation of the Decision Matrix that should allow understanding without a lot of explanation (but I probably will over-explain the images during this blog). I now present the C4 Leader version of the Eisenhower Decision Matrix:

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Leadership Quote of the Week

Another picture with a personal connection to my past. My other set of grandparents lived in Vermont, and my parents retired to Vermont. Near the house of my parents is an old covered bridge that I loved to walk down, made me feel like I was in a Robert Frost poem.

The quote comes from Charles Lauer is a keynote speaker who has a background in healthcare and is a public speaker and author. "Leaders don't force people to follow, they invite them on a journey." Hopefully, if you are doing your job right, you have set a vision and laid out a path that people would want to travel. Just like the old adage "You can take a horse to water, but you can't make him drink" we are well past the time where you can force followers to travel your path. Instead, invite them to participate. A strong leader will find himself or herself with a strong group of other leaders, and the accomplishments will amaze!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wacky Wednesday - Coworkers

One of my more popular posts in previous years was about the different type of coworkers you interact with. College Humor has a great video for some more coworkers you will interact with (or may be guilty of becoming)!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Leader's Most Common Mistake?

I see it over and over again. A person moves into a Leadership role because he / she was a superstar when working alone, knows the technicals, gets work done and might even show strong communication skills. But once they are in the role, they flounder. Even experienced Leaders can suffer from this as they are given more responsibility and bigger roles.  What’s the problem?

Honestly, identifying the answer is easy; fixing it not so much. Most Leaders have proven themselves to be self-reliant, self-starters to begin with. Before becoming a Leader, they’ve learned how to get things done and are completely comfortable taking care of work themselves. They know how to plan and execute their work. They are already Superman or Wonder Woman in their own minds.

Photo by Jeroen van Oostrom, freedigitalphotos.net