Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - Skydiving

Earlier this week we shared a quote related to fear and how it is in the way of everything you want. To keep the theme rolling here is Will Smith sharing a moment of pure terror turning to bliss:

At the point of maximum danger is the point of minimum fear. It's bliss!

The full story from the video is 6 minutes long, which you can find here.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Leadership Quote - George Addair


At the Grand Canyon there is the Skywalk. It is a horseshoe shaped steel and glass structure that juts out over the Grand Canyon (4000 ft.) and makes you feel like you are stepping onto thin air. To get on the bridge, they take all the items out of your pockets, you have to wear little booties, and you aren't allowed to bring your phone or camera. Instead, there are people whose job is to take pictures, you hand in the ticket they give you and you get a great memory.

Erin and I are not the easily scared type of people, in fact, we were told we could jump on the glass and we did, much to the dismay of several people nearby. Someday somebody remind me to share how I was the photo-op for a bus of Chinese tourists. It's a good story.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Leadership Quote - Will Rogers

Lots of things happening in the Morey household these last couple of weeks. Moved to a new home, the family finally arrived with me, and then a trip to Phoenix followed immediately by a trip to Sweden for a client. Hopefully, things can start to settle to a level of normalcy. I apologize that I missed last week, between the short trips, jet lag, and poor internet, I just didn't have the bandwidth (get it?) to get things posted from overseas. It tells me I need to start building a repository of material. Anyway, here is this week's quote:

Thanks to Erin Morey for the meme!

First and foremost, are you on the right track? Are you doing what you want to be doing, or are you doing things that support what you want to be doing? People often find themselves doing things because it is expected of them, or they think "this is a temporary situation, someday..." The problem is that temporary can become permanent when you aren't paying attention and someday quickly becomes never in those situations. So, are you on the right track?

Second, are you making progress on that track? The world moves even faster than in Will Rogers times, which means that if you are standing still opportunity will pass you by, and others on the same track may run you over to get it. I recently read an article that a woman invented a tool to help her daughter concentrate, perhaps you've seen it:
Fidget Spinner - The Original Stress Relief Toy
As Seen on TV and Beyond
Well, for want of $400 she let the patent slip and now companies are making millions while she receives nothing, is struggling with house payments and doesn't have a reliable car. She was on the right track but has been run over. Now, I am not going to make judgments, because I cannot know her situation. All I can say is that in 2005 if she spent $400 would we be seeing this tool everywhere still today? And would she be making money from it, rather than watching it on TV and wondering?

The world is full of these situations. So, what track are you on? And are you standing still or making progress?

Monday, April 24, 2017

Leadership Quote - Anonymous

Sports history is full of teams that were full of superstars yet failed to win championships (here is a list of 5 NBA teams in recent history, but we can find more across all sports). Why is that? So many teams appear "guaranteed" for a championship, how could they not with all that talent? 

The answer is in this quote, which I wish I knew the original author. The superstars with all their talent played to be superstars and for the glory rather than for the team. Because the players were more interested (more often) in the name on the back of the jerseys, the name on the front lost. Egos got in the way of teamwork and the teams were unable to gel and win championships. 

The same holds true in most businesses. Management strives to put the best team together, however even if they bring together a group of superstars, the management team often misses the mark of getting the team to work together for the same goal. 

What are you doing with your team? Do they know what the objectives are? Do they understand what the priority is for the entire team, and not just the individual? And are you managing the people so that they aren't in it only for themselves? If you have a "player" who is brilliant, but constantly causes team dynamic issues, it may be time for a change. 

What actions can you take to make sure people are working for the team? I would love to hear your ideas. Perhaps we can make it an article for future publication?

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Leadership Quote of the Week - Darren LaCroix Part 2

This is a quick one, as I have an NSA conference this weekend, then an international trip immediately after. Towards the end of last year I shared a quote of the week from World Champion Speaker Darren LaCroix, who delivered it directly to an audience who was getting a little too empathetic for a person receiving an evaluation. Reviewing the post, the material was good, but the picture didn't work with the written material. Here's why:

I have two young boys who I love more than anything in the world. One of our favorite activities are board games. Monopoly, Risk, Settlers of Catan, Sorry, Uno, Skipbo, Scattegories, etc. etc. etc. The games are fun and the kids love them, but there is a caveat. Erin (my wife) and I DON'T LET THEM WIN. Now we aren't mean during the games, and we may go easy on them, but we don't intentionally lose.

Checkers is one of the more difficult games for the kids because it requires looking at the whole board, and they need to think several steps ahead, but they love to play against dad. When we play checkers in particular, I have a tendency to make my move to watch the surprise, then back the pieces up and ask them how they could have avoided the move (double jumps, triple jumps, king-me's etc.). The boys will look at the board and then show me how they could have avoided my move.

Here's where the not so nice part happens. I then reset the board to what it was after my original move and we continue the game. The results, thus far, are that the boys are getting better at checkers and thinking about the whole board. I'm not mean, but I'm definitely not "nicing" them in the game. Hence the picture of one of my son's hands on a checker's board with this quote.

In a similar vein, are you helping your team grow or are you being nice? Are you letting the team face the challenging situations, or are you bailing them out? It's a fine line between letting them experience the challenge but not letting them fail. Are you attempting to walk that line, or are you bailing the team out the moment they hit a speedbump?

Enjoy the weekend and look for an update next week from Europe!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - Audi Desert

My wife is a bit of an artist (see this week's leadership quote) and an amateur photographer, which means I'm often introduced to differences in perspective because of her talents and interests. This particular picture caught my attention:

audi-q2-photography-miniature-toy-cars-felix-hernandez-3 (h/t: petapixel)

Why this picture? What if I told you it was a toy car?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Leadership Quote - Guy Kawasaki

Are you doing what you want to do? What you're passionate about? Or are you just marking time in a job that doesn't motivate you? From the leadership perspective, Enchanting (charismatic) People attract other Enchanting People, and the sphere of influence for Enchanting People grows, thus improving and increasing their opportunities to lead. 

One of the most interesting (and to me enchanting) people I know is my wife, Erin, who in this picture is learning to blow glass. In this picture, she is rolling the glass in a wet newspaper to get the shape she wants. The reason I find her interesting and enchanting is that she pursues nearly everything with a drive that amazes me, and she is capable of so many things that are effortless to her, but would take significantly more time for me to accomplish and the result would only be half as good. These items tend to be artistically related because her passion is art. And I love her all the more for it. 

Myself, I have a passion for education, self-improvement, and leadership. I find myself most motivated when I am helping others grow or when I can provide some guidance to manage surrounding chaos. These are things that I do well, and people find me interesting because of it. It's one of the reasons I write this blog. 

What are you passionate about? How are you interesting and enchanting? What are you doing to pursue those interests and passions? As with last week's quote, don't put off to tomorrow, what are you doing today?

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - Mr. Bean

Mr. Bean is a character brilliantly portrayed by Rowan Atkinson. He's been the character for decades, and yet has hardly said a word. Here's a quick clip from the Mr. Bean YouTube Channel:

Many people love his material, and have started a bit of a competition. Mr. Bean is starting to appear in all types of things, and it is hysterical:

Mr Bean Photoshop
imgur obseek

Mr Bean Photoshop
Rodney Pike
There are more, which can be found here. Enjoy!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Leadership Quote - Thomas Jefferson

Perhaps one of the most common quotes people hear is this one from Thomas Jefferson. People tend to be procrastinators, putting things off until the last minute. It's in our nature, and I believe that our brain is programmed to put off until the item is absolutely necessary so that we can enjoy the "comforts" of today, even if that comfort actually puts in jeopardy something we greatly desire tomorrow.

How many times did you put off the book report in school? How about the work assignment? A sale presentation for a client? Work around the house? The list goes on and on. And even those of us that know better often fall victim to it.

So, we must remain ever vigilant to the programming, and strive to work toward our goals today, rather than waiting for the tomorrow that never comes. So what are you going to do today?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - April Fools

In honor of April Fools, companies, organizations, and people go out of their way to provide something creative. Some of the more interesting April Fools Jokes on the internet can be found here. A few of my favorites from the list:

1. Coffee Flavored Coffee Mate -

Image may contain: drink

Reminds me of Denis Leary "Lock and Load (NSFW!)" coffee routine.

2. All Stuf' Oreo:

This one had me excited, until I remembered the date:

3. One that didn't make the list, but I wish was real:

Lee Valley Tools

There were projects I've done where having the ability to gauge the thickness of a chisel or a filler-block while working on a project. Actually, Lee Valley has turned April Fools Tools into real items for sale in the past so there may be hope for me yet. 

So there are three that I liked. What April Fools joke did you enjoy? Comment below to let me know. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The First Thing They Want, and Why The Shouldn't Get It by mrs eva ford from flowermound by mrs vivan bennett from little rock

How Much and How Long?

Never fails, the first thing management wants to know for any project are those two things: How Much and How Long. Whether you've been a Project Manager (PM) for a decade or a day, that question will come up, and typically sooner than it should, from the PM's point of view. So, when you are responsible for delivering a project, how do you address the question?

The Project Management Institute's (PMI's) training for the PMP (Project Management Professional) certification will tell you to give a range and the earlier in the project, the wider the range:

$1-5 million dollars

12-18 months

And as the project is more defined you widdle down the answer until you know enough about the project to give an almost definitive answer:

Barring any major change orders, this should take about 13 months and $4.6 million.

The wise leader will put in that qualifier so that when things do change (as they always will) he/she has a way of responding when management says:

YOU said it would be 13 months and $4.6 million, what happened?

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - Stand Out

I've shared a video before from the Star Trek Universe, and I've tried to avoid using too many of them. This one caught my attention, because I've been assessing next steps and areas of focus, and I realized it was the lesson so many of us could use. It's from Star Trek: The Next Generation, the episode is called Tapestry:

So often we want the finer things in life, but we are afraid to make the choices to move forward. We don't reach out and grab, but instead wait for something to fall into our lap. That way unfortunately means you are left hiding in the crowd. 

What about you? Are you seizing opportunities? or are you playing it safe?

Thursday, March 23, 2017

6 Reasons To Become a Project Manager / ms tony mcdonalid from west covina
A little while ago I was asked how I ended up in Project Management and why did I want to be one. It started me thinking. Project Management is typically an accidental position/career (until recently with certifications and even college degrees offered in the profession). Project Managers (PMs) usually come from the technical side of the businesses. People who proved themselves as at least competent (if not more often exemplary) in a particular field (engineering, coding, design, architecture, etc.) find themselves "offered" the opportunity to lead a project because they've proven themselves to this point. "Offered" is in quotations because more often than not it is more order than offer. People are moved into the PM role, often with very little (if any) training, and expected to lead teams because they are considered smart and driven enough to do the jobs of nearly everyone on the project (at least at the smaller levels). This is rarely a good formula. Project Management requires a different skillset than being the technical expert, and without training and mentorship, people tend to fall back to the technical work they are comfortable with while the project suffers. Hence why I often think of Project Management as an accidental career.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - Fitness

A friend shared this video a while ago, and all I could think was: INSANE! If I tried any of this I would blow-out my knee, slip a disk, or have a heart attack. Good for him, but please don't try this at home!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Leadership Quote - General Douglas MacArthur

General MacArther was one of the heroes of World War II, specifically in the Pacific theater of operations. This quote may not be the most famous, but it is certainly true. If you want people to be motivated and inspired, to follow you with enthusiasm you have to start with WHY (A point Simon Sinek elaborated on in his book Start with Why, affiliate link). Otherwise, people will do what is right for them, and loyalty will not even be a consideration. 

Whether leading men on the battlefield, or in a difficult project, or a small business, the WHY is what keeps the team together and focused. For many people, work is just a paycheck, and a better opportunity will "inspire" people to leave. And yet, many people will leave a solid job with a good paycheck to work long grueling hours at a startup for little money; because they believe in the WHY.

This picture is from the WWII memorial in Washington DC, the Eagles representing the United States, and the Olive Wreath supported by them a symbol of victory dating back to Ancient Greece. A fitting tribute to the veterans of WWII. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Danger of "Chaos Mode"

A friend recently posted on Facebook that he was having a hard time with procrastination, and wanted to know who else struggled to get things done in a timely fashion rather than right up to the deadline. If this was asked in a live meeting I would sheepishly raise my hand. Add to this stimuli a new audiobook I've been listening to from called Motivational Legends: Training Development and Character for Personal Success, and I've started to look at how I behave with a fresh set of eyes.

My readers know I claim to be a Project Management and Leadership expert, and that for the majority of my career since the military my work has been largely in project recovery. So much so, that I have a marketing company advising I call myself "America's Project Recovery Expert." In fact, when I get asked about what I do in Project Management I often respond with:

"Well, I've never started a project, and I've rarely finished one. I'm the guy you call when the project was set on fire and pushed off a cliff, but you still need to finish it." 

Rarely finish because too often, after I start making solid progress on a project, I'm called upon to hand-off the old disaster now under a semblance of control in order to deal with a new fireball somewhere else. Even before my civilian career I was often the disaster recovery guy in the military, handed the tough assignments which needed to be fixed RIGHT NOW, from communications blackouts to actual firefights. One of my more popular programs Parachute Project Management is based on these experiences and how to deal with them.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - Wolverine Auditions

Two weeks ago Logan was released. It's a great movie, similar to some of the best western movies, but it is (supposedly) Hugh Jackman's last outing as Wolverine. With that in mind, auditions have started already for his replacement:

Monday, March 13, 2017

Leadership Quote - Alexander Graham Bell

Have you missed opportunities? The timing wasn't right? The money wasn't there? You just couldn't make it work? Do you find yourself wondering "What If?" 

That question can be poison: "What if?" You can very easily find yourself looking at a closed door with regret. Instead, ask "What have I learned?" and then look for the next door. Regrets and "what ifs" are murder to motivation and leadership. Get beyond it, because you cannot change the past; but learn from it so that you do not repeat it in the future. 

What are you still holding on to? What lessons should you be incorporating into your life? These are the questions that one should reflect on, so that they can be prepared for when the next door opens. 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Leadership Quote - Winston Chruchill

Winston Churchill was a veritable fount of quotes and knowledge, and he was certainly the right man in the right place during World War II. Courage is the first quality because without it no growth can happen. Without the courage to take the step, there is no improvement. So yes, courage must come first, before any human endeavor.

A little background on the picture. This was the first time my oldest son and a family friend's daughter remember going to the beach (my oldest son had gone a couple times before when he was much younger, but he kept to a tide-pool and not the crashing waves of the ocean). They were both scared of the crashing waves, but eventually, together, they worked up the courage and ran into the water, splashing and playing in the surf. Which shares another lesson in courage. Courage can be easier to find in a group rather than alone. Find people to support you and help you and it will be easier to find the courage to move forward. 

In the case of leadership, this may be a little different. Courage sometimes needs to come from the leader, to show the team that they can do something. Then the courage comes from conviction and self-motives. Leadership can mean having the courage to do the right thing, to show the way, so that others will have the courage to follow. 

Courage, the first quality and so complicated. How will you show courage today?

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Primary Project Manager vs. Contracted Project Manager

Did you know there was a difference in how you should operate if you are contracted as a Project Manager to a client vs. being the Project Manager employed by the same client? A while ago I missed that little dynamic, ran straight into a brick wall, and today I'll share two of the lessons learned.

I've been a Project Manager for nearly 14 years, in the Army, Oil and Gas and IT cultures. At one point I was working with a company as the Project Manager for the software implementation at a very important client. I was new to the company and was hired because the original PM wanted to be a functional lead, and honestly, there was too much work for one person to be both the PM and functional lead. 

I entered the position trying to learn as much as I could about the culture of my employer and the client. As I worked with both, I realized that there was a lot of work necessary to bring things into alignment and resolve some outstanding issues, one of the largest being extended decision points impacting configurations. I was working closely with our team, the client's team, and the client's Project Management Team, but acting largely as I did in the past (although I would believe that several of my previous teams would indicate I had mellowed). 

One particular morning, we had our morning stand-up meeting, and the client's Project Manager (Let's call her Beth, not her real name) wasn't present. Not an issue, the client's Assistant PM and I started the meeting (as we had done before). As the meeting progressed, I identified 2 issues that I thought should be addressed:

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - Tanker

I thought I would share some images that remind me of a past life:

First up, not my life, but glad they didn't attempt airborne tankers when I was in. 

I think someone didn't clear their bore before sending the round down range...

Kinda reminds me of this:

That isn't photoshop, there is nothing like the feel of a shockwave hitting your face during gunnery:

I love the smell of cordite in the morning... Smells like... Victory

Images came from Brotherhood of Tankers Facebook page.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Leadership Quote - Edith Wharton

I love this quote, as it is the truth of leadership as well. I've shared it previously, but it should get its own image, don't you think? In a previous post I discussed The Quandary of Leadership, identifying that a leader has to be a realist and an optimist. This quote was shared in that post (as well as a Quote of the Day a while ago) and the use of a lighthouse is brilliant for the analogy. Think about it, a Leader should be the candle for his / her team, providing light in the form of vision and direction, as well as pointing out and increasing awareness of obstacles in the immediate area, just like a lighthouse. But a strong Leader will not only be a candle but the mirror to the team's light, helping them strengthen and direct their actions and activities (their light) in a focused direction which will do the most good.

So as a Leader, are you both the light and the mirror? Are you acting like a lighthouse for your team, providing focus and warning about hazards? It isn't always easy to reflect the light of others, especially if you are blinded by your own. This week, I challenge you to step outside your light and see what light you can direct and grow for others. You may be surprised by the result!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

400! and What Is Project Management?

As I sat down to write this post I realized it is my 400th post on this blog! 400 articles and updates, tips, tricks, quotes, and the occasional entertainment; and yet I feel like I'm just getting started.  Stay with me, as there are big things planned and this year I will start using my project management and leadership skills on the hardest critique: me!

With this being the 400th post, I offer this prize the first 2 people who post a comment (even if it's "Hi" will receive one of my programs) and the first 5 people will receive a copy of my Morey's Laws of Project Management Poster.

As indicated last week, this week I presented Parachute Project Management to the great members of PMI Nashville. It was my first time presenting to that audience, and I'm pretty sure it was well received. After the presentation, someone asked me about what I thought of Project Management, and the technical expertise required by many businesses for projects; and another asked during the presentation about business investment in Project Management Training. I think the two questions go hand in hand.

First and foremost, Project Management is about leadership; which can be hard to believe if you rely solely on the PMBOK and its focus on process and procedures. The PMBOK is a great tool, don't get me wrong. I still use the processes and procedures I learned from my PMP prep course and the PMBOK on every project I lead. But Project Management isn't solely about process and procedure, but instead another "P": PEOPLE.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - Improvised Moments

I love to watch the making of features of movies, and sometimes I catch Youtube videos of interesting making of topics. For this Wacky Wednesday, I wanted to share a conglomeration of bloopers too good to cut from movies:

Enjoy these little moments of serendipity. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Leadership Quote - Jack Weatherford

I love the mountains. There is something majestic about them, eternal. The snow covered peaks can appear desolate and devoid of life, but it seems that life always finds a way. Microscopic algae were found in 2013 14-17 miles above the earth surface, and moss / lichens have been found near Everest's peak, not counting the humans who have summited the very top of the Roof of the world. 

With that in mind, no man should be so proud as to think that he / she is the greatest in the world. Something I tell myself often is "There is always someone better." The best today may not be in the future. Recently Tom Brady's name is floated as the Greatest Of All Time (GOAT) for quarterbacks. But not too long ago that name was Joe Montana, and before that perhaps Terry Bradshaw. GOATs are fleeting. 

From a leadership perspective. pride can be a dangerous thing. Remember that the most effective forms of leadership tend to be based on service and sacrifice. What is best for the team, rather than for the self. Leaders who show a lot of pride can start believing their own hype and find themselves fast approaching a cliff. To paraphrase Proverbs: Pride goeth before the fall.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Parachute Project Management - Part 2

Next week I present Parachute Project Management to the PMI Nashville Chapter for their monthly lunch and learn on February 21st. I'm incredibly excited to be able to help out, as the chapter had a speaker back out and my schedule allowed me to fill the gap. I hope you can join me.

I've shared thoughts on Parachute Project Management last October, and it continues to be one of my more popular presentations, however, I did come across something I felt I should share and will be incorporating into the presentation for Nashville and the future:

What is the attitude of the organization towards the project?

In the presentation, I mention looking at a topographical map to get the lay of the land, and I incorporate interviewing the team members and reviewing the business case / original contract. One thing I haven't mentioned before is "What is the attitude of the organization toward the project?"

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - Addams Family

As yesterday was Valentine's day and I found myself away from my wife, I started to reflect on what would most people classify as the most epic love story in the last decade, so that I had something to watch in the hotel room. I settled on the classic of course: Deadpool.

When I told my wife, her comment was: "What, not Addam's Family?" To which I pointed out it was older than a decade, but you should never contradict your wife...

So, in the spirit of Valentine's Day, for my Mon Cher (which is french, hope you get it), I chose this clip:

I love how she trims the roses. Perfect for Valentine's! Love you Honey!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Leadership Quote - Jimmy Dean

Whether you are a leader or a team member, everyone will face challenges in life. We will face headwinds that will push against us and our desired direction. Sometimes it's a little breeze and sometimes it is a hurricane type storm. These events will happen to anyone who sails long enough. What will you do when you run into these winds? Will you let the winds push you off-course, or will you batten down the hatches, reef the sails, and continue on your course (I hope I used those sailing terms correctly; after all my brother was the one in the Navy!). 

To move beyond the nautical talk, you will face challenges in life, and your team will face adversity when moving toward the team's goal. Obstacles will be placed in your path, and your job as a leader will be to either remove the obstacle or find a way to get the team beyond / around the obstacle. 

Although the name Jimmy Dean is known for the sausage company today (which he founded), Jimmy was actually an American Singer, Actor, Television Host and businessman who lived from 1928 until 2010. 

I find this quote interesting because it plays on a theme. John Maxwell has a Law of Navigation within the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, which I briefly discussed back in 2012 (link here). As another example of the theme, a quote I shared here from Thomas Fuller. 

Where are you trying to guide your ship? How close to port are you? What wind are you facing now? Is it a breeze, a strong wind, or a huge storm? Share below and let us know. Perhaps we can find a way to help adjust the sails!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - Super Bowl Commercials

This past Sunday was Super Bowl Sunday, and while it is one of the greatest championship games in any sport, I think that some games more people tune in for the commercials than the game. This Wacky Day, I share some of the best Super Bowl Commercials:

Would anyone care to venture a guess why I shared this list rather than the original list (here)? Comment below, and if you are the first one to get it right before the end of the week I'll mail a copy of my Morey's Laws poster!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Leadership Quotes - Brian Tracy

With the Super Bowl yesterday, this one will be short. Brian Tracy is an icon in motivational speaking and self-help. It's a great quote because most leaders should strive for this as a goal. I hate to show favorites but look at Tom Brady last night. He is a leader the team followed voluntarily. The team was down by 25 points, what many thought was an insurmountable amount. Instead, the Patriots won the game, and most of the analysts say that it was Brady's leadership that did so. The Patriots players wanted to be on the Patriots because of Brady and Bellicheck. They find ways to win, and in many cases, players take pay cuts to play on that team. 

What are you doing to ensure that people follow you voluntarily? It can't always be about position or authority. Share some suggestions below, and perhaps we will discuss them in a coming blog post!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Leadership Quote of the Week - Proverbs

Leadership is about influence, but it is also about vision. A leader has to have the vision to see the "light at the end of the tunnel." If a leader doesn't have a vision of the end result that they can communicate, then people will not follow; but instead, stumble off in a different direction. I shared this thought with the post The Quandry of Leadership, where we discussed how a leader has to be an optimist and a realist. See and provide the light of the vision (optimist) and provide real explanations and understanding of the challenges the team faces (realist).  

In fact, a leader sometimes needs to be like Butch in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid:

When the rest of the team is seeing problems, you see solutions and the end goal, because you have vision while the team is wearing bifocals. 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

POG to PM - Lessons for Veterans

created by Erin Morey
Recently I worked with PMI Houston to build a transition program for veterans, and many other Project Management Institute Chapters are doing the same. PMI Global identified that there are many reasons why veterans make fantastic project managers. In fact, there are many articles about why veterans make great project managers (here's one). A few of the points that most people have said:

1. Veterans are mission focused - They will put in the extra effort to accomplish goals, and know what it means to sacrifice to meet those mission objectives (milestones).

2. Veterans are typically experienced leaders - Most veterans above the rank of Private First Class have at least some leadership experience with small teams (5-10), and many veterans have experience with teams much larger (possibly in the hundreds).

3. Veterans know how to work in a high-stress environment - Working in combat environments is one thing, but all veterans have worked in high-stress environments, with some of the highest stakes a team can be responsible for. 

But this article isn't about why veterans makes good project managers. This article is about some of the lessons that most veterans should know before becoming a PM! After working with several classes of veterans, here are the lessons veterans may not realize:

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - Magic

Sometimes it seems what leaders do is magic, and other times it can seem completely underwhelming. Well, here's a person who not only can perform magic, but does it with humor (while on Fool Us, with Penn and Teller), and is completely underwhelming. I really enjoyed the routine, and I hope you will too:

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Travel and Internet Issues

Well, my posting has been spotty of late, and I don't have a strong excuse. What I can tell you is that I am traveling quite a bit, and the internet isn't always strong where I am, in particular I've run into issues at some hotels. 

As my schedule settles down, I will become more consistent, and in the near future, I'm hoping to build up a repository of items to post, so that I'm not dependent on the mercy of hotel or airport internet. 

Look for a Wacky Wednesday tomorrow, a thought-provoking post on Thursday, and the quote of the week on Friday rather than Monday. Hopefully Monday I can return you to your regularly scheduled programming. 

Thank you!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - Science Facts

I typically share a Wacky Wednesday that is funny. Today I decided to share science. Here are 10 facts you probably didn't know:

Monday, January 23, 2017

Quote of the Week - Plato

Leaders shouldn't be afraid of the light, in fact they should welcome it. A moral person is someone who does what's right, regardless of who is watching. Great leaders do what's right for the team regardless of who is watching. If you are doing things that you don't want published in a newspaper, or you wouldn't want your team to learn of, then you aren't doing the right things. 

Leadership is often espoused as a moral thing, but what I've learned over time and through study is that leadership isn't solely the purview of good people. Good or bad, leadership skills don't make the distinction. Instead it is up to the person to use their skills for good or ill. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Truth About Success

Several years ago at the District 56 Table Topics Contest, I was "What is your definition of success?" As we start a new year, I think this is an interesting question to reflect on.

The beauty and challenge of success is that the definition keeps moving. In elementary school it might have been "get good grades." High school probably included "Varsity athlete, dating the quarterback, or staring in the school play, graduate." College: "Find the right major, get good grades, join the right fraternity / sorority, graduate." Immediately after college: "get a job, get married, buy a house." Mid-career: "promotions and pay raises." Post career: "beach condo, world travel, retirement"

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - Seagulls

There's a group of people who create a series of videos called "Bad Lip Reading" where they take videos from popular sources and try to change the dialog. Most are clever. This one made me laugh:

Enjoy, and avoid the Seagulls on the beach. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Leadership Quote of the Week - Thomas Edison

There is a fable that Thomas Edison was once interviewed by a reporter who asked how many times he failed before perfecting the light bulb. The response people know is:

I didn't fail. I just found 10,000 (number up for debate depending on source) ways that won't work.

Don't worry, that isn't the quote of the week. Here it is:

From the Smithsonian in Washington DC. By Erin Morey

What if Thomas had stopped at 9,999? Or for that matter, 10? Would we all still be using gas lights? Or would light bulbs look completely different from today? Would we even know who Thomas Edison was?

Persistence is the secret recipe for success, and the honest truth is that you only fail if you quit. With last week's post about NYRs, what are you working on? Have you figured out your Why? Do you have a Plan? Missing these things can easily lead quitting and failure. Until Wednesday, best of luck, and comment below to let us know what you are working on!


Thursday, January 12, 2017

New Year's Resolutions

Welcome to 2017!

The last couple of weeks I've made jokes about New Year's Resolutions (NYRs), especially about how most people don't do them right and the huge failure rate of the resolutions. Some statistics put it as high as 92%!

Why do so many NYRs fail? Because we aren't doing them right! Think about it. Resolutions often circle around several themes:

1. Eating healthier
2. Exercising more
3. Stopping a "bad habit" (i.e. smoking, drinking, etc.)
4. Starting a new habit.

We are encouraged to write them down and then start working on them. Within weeks they are forgotten or people quit. The first step is often the first problem. With the definition! When we write down our NYRs, they often take the form of:

"I will eat healthier"


"I will exercise more"


"I will quit smoking"

These are almost guaranteed as doomed before you even begun! Would you accept such loosely worded goals from you teams? Or as part of your business goals? Of course not! 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - Ninja

Sometimes people fall down for no apparent reason. Finally there's an explanation: NINJAS! Watch and learn:

I believe this is the original by Street Troller at FailArmy. It reminds me of America's Funniest Home Videos, but at least provides a reason for the end result. Some of these can only be explained by the sudden appearance of a ninja (or in some cases stupidity). I only hope the last guy managed to pull the cord for his chute...

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - New Year's Resolutions (Part 2)

As I searched for something to share on Wacky Wednesday, I came across this picture and it brought a smile to my face:

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Leadership Quote of the Week - Warren Buffett

One of the major traps of today is that of instant gratification. People want things to be be better now, not next week, month, year, decade or lifetime. It's not just related to electronics. The Harvard Business Review published an article about how most publicly traded companies can't have a legitimate 3-5 year plan because Wall Street pushes for Quarter to Quarter improvements, and if a company experienced several quarters of losses in pursuit of the plan, the CEO would be ousted for someone who could "provide" Quarter to Quarter improvements (forget being ready for the future).  A leader is supposed to have a vision for the future, plan for it, and take action to accomplish it. With all the expectations and lack of patience, this is a very difficult requirement. Hence, I find Warren Buffett's Quote even more pertinent:

Thanks again to my wife Erin for the picture and meme. The picture was taken at George Ranch Historical Park. Those two people enjoying the view are actually a statue meant to represent AP and Mamie George, the last generation of George descendants to run the ranch. If you get a chance, the family story is quite fascinating. Back to leadership.

As we progress into the New Year, what are you doing for the long term? How are you providing for the future of your team, or for that matter, of people in general? What goals and resolutions are you pursuing? Let me know in the comments. Maybe later this week I'll share a few of my own.

We may not always be around to witness the end result, but that shouldn't be the excuse not to lay the groundwork!