Thursday, September 21, 2017

A Texas (American) Hero - JJ Watt


A post shared by espn (@espn) on


Hurricane Harvey has been a fairly constant posting topic for this blog the last couple of weeks. A while ago, for a Wacky Wednesday, I posted a link to JJ Watt's crowdfund to support victims of Hurricane Harvey.  As of the closing of the program more than $37 million has been raised! Not bad for something that started with a goal of $200k.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - Snipers, Door Kickers, and Girl Scouts



My sons are selling popcorn to support the Boy Scouts, and are doing a fantastic job. While I was poking around the internet, however, I came across an interesting photo:

Image may contain: one or more people and text
from CHEEZburger.com

This caused a laugh because I often call the Girl Scouts outside the various stores in our areas Snipers because they are there to snipe our dietary plans. Usually, the moms laugh as I reach for my wallet and buy some Samoas.

I have to admit that these tactics might be a little too aggressive, but definitely amusing...


If you want to support Boy Scouts by purchasing popcorn from my boys, please use this link and the following codes:
http://www.popcornordering.com/Popcornordering/Store/Entry

Oldest Son:
7133107776
Youngest Son:
8127633502


Monday, September 18, 2017

Leadership Quote - Robert Louis Stevenson

Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant - Robert Louise Stevenson

We return to Robert Louis Stevenson this week for our quote. How are you judging your day? By the rewards you received or the effort you put in? Today especially people want the instant gratification of seeing rewards without necessarily doing the work.  Simon Sinek mentions in a video about "Millenials in the workplace" that people are often at the starting point of their career, relationship, or goal and they see the summit of where they want to go but don't see the mountain:

The full interview can be found here

With that in mind, what are you planting for tomorrow? You and your teams should be working towards tomorrow's harvest. Be aware of the mountain, and climb a little bit of it every day. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Leadership Quote - William James


Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact. - William James

The quote this week is from William James, an American philosopher, and psychologist. With all the focus over previous weeks related to reacting to life and how the best-laid plans can be ruined by Nature or Fate, I felt it was worth noting that you decide how you react, and if you decide that life is worth living, then it will be for you. 

From the leadership perspective, you must do what you can for your team to decide the "life is worth living" as well. Work with them to remove obstacles and see the value in what they do. Team members are happier when they understand the impact of what they are working toward and that their role has value. Communicate that to the team and help them remove obstacles, and their lives will be immeasurably happier. 

As an FYI, this is my oldest son running into the waves, enjoying a previous summer break, and truly enjoying life in that moment. How often do you have moments of pure joy like that? Perhaps it's time to find more?

Monday, September 4, 2017

Leadership Quote - Charles Swindoll


Life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent of how I react to it. - Charles Swindoll

This week's quote is from Charles Swindoll, an evangelical Christian pastor, and author, and relates well to the theme from the past weeks. Last week I shared a quote related to and the story of the missed total eclipse, with a quote about how Nature can impact plans. This week we discuss that life is mostly how you react to things rather than the careful planning you created in your life.

Way too often we've had plans for how our life will move forward, and yet rarely does life give you what you expect or plan for. Most often you have to adjust to what life gives you and then find ways to move forward, good or bad.

As a leader, your reaction is contagious. When you react with anger, your team reacts with anger or fear. If you react with confidence (even if you don't feel it) your team will be more comfortable and confident that they can handle the situation. During the eclipse, when the cloud arrived, my friends and I still had a good time enjoying the sight of Jupiter, the bats, and what felt/looked like sunset at 1:27 in the afternoon. So, how are you going to react?

Friday, September 1, 2017

10greatest.com - Top Leadership Blogger

Earlier this week, I was thrilled and a little humbled to learn that I was included in a list of the top leadership bloggers from 10greatest.com. The link to the article can be found here (my efforts are the 25th in the list of 57).

This is the second year in a row where I've been recognized as a top leadership blogger. When I first started this blog, it was meant to be a way to explore the various lessons and experiences I've had over my lifetime, to help solidify my thoughts on leadership. Apparently, I must be doing something right, as the lessons are helping others too.

Thank you for this recognition, I am humbled to be included with some of the other names on this list, like Tony Robbins, John Maxwell, Stephen Covey/Franklin Covey, Allison Green, and Michael Rogers. I only hope that I can continue to provide insight and clarity for years to come as we continue to explore this calling of leadership!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Hurricane Harvey - FEMA Director Brock Long



From NASA twitter account


Hurricane Harvey is a disaster on a massive scale. I cannot express how significant this particular event has been. 800-year storm, with destruction and flooding across areas in Texas, the size of several smaller states, and billions of dollars in damage (potentially $40 billion+).



People line up to volunteer
People line up to volunteer CREDIT: MICHAEL CIAGLO /HOUSTON CHRONICLE VIA AP

In the wake of the Hurricane, many local heroes have appeared. First responders and local civilians banding together to help their community. Lines around the block to be a volunteer and help. People coming from across the country to help evacuees. The amount of effort amazes me.

Image result for Brock Long FEMA
FEMA.gov



One other thing that did surprise me. FEMA Administrator Brock Long. I've watched Administrator Long spend a significant amount of time in front of cameras answering difficult questions and providing real leadership for the government's operations/activities.








A couple of things that he did that deserve kudos:

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - Hurricane Harvey

From NASA twitter account





Normally I try to share something light-hearted on Wednesdays, as a break for the week and a way to enjoy hump-day. This week I'm going to focus on a more recent and pressing concern. Hurricane Harvey has created a lake out of a place I called home for nearly 10 years: Houston, TX and the surrounding areas. Thankfully, the area of town I lived in is an island in that lake, but many of my friends were not so lucky, and even more so, with the media's focus on Houston, the damage in Rockport, Corpus Christi, and other areas of Southeast Texas is largely overlooked.  It is a sad state of events, but thankfully people are banding together to help each other out. Many of my friends who are capable are using their large trucks or boats to rescue those that are stranded, and the stores like HEB and Buc-ee's are opening their doors to first responders and evacuees alike in order to hopefully provide much-needed supplies, and Mattress Mac is once again showing how big his heart is by opening his furniture stores to evacuees and sending out his employees and trucks to help with rescue efforts.

Today I'm sharing a link to some of the pictures from Hurricane Harvey. If you are not in the area but want to help, I would suggest donating to either the Red Cross or to the Hurricane Relief fund set-up by Houston Texans superstar (and fantastic guy) JJ. Watt, which started with a $200,000 goal and is quickly rising to $6 million:


Red Cross
https://www.redcross.org/donate/hurricane-harvey

JJ Watt Houston Flood Relief Fund:
 https://www.youcaring.com/victimsofhurricaneharvey-915053

In case you were wondering, the total amount of rainfall from Hurricane Harvey is more than 9 TRILLION Gallons, and still continuing (from the Washington Post):

Monday, August 28, 2017

Leadership Quote - Arthur C. Clarke


All plans are subject to ruthless revision by Nature, or Fate, or whatever one preferred to call the powers behind the Univers - Arthur C. Clarke

This week's quote is one of many from British author Arthur C. Clarke. Human beings do so love their plans. We become so wed to them that we often don't think about the "What ifs" that could occur and thwart those very same plans. How could anyone be so malicious as to cause a failure in our efforts? Sadly, it isn't always a someone who throws the monkey wrench. Often it can be something well beyond our control, as I re-learned last week.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Set-up to Fail

For the last 10 years, my career has largely focused on fixing projects that are on fire and where chaos reigns. I often call myself a "Parachute Project Manager" who jumps into chaos and controls the fire because of this. I even provide a program based on the lessons learned from those experiences for PMI chapters and other organizations.

In point of fact, there are typically three things that cause the failure of a project: Poor Scope Definition, Poor Change Management, and non-existant Stakeholder Management.  Why are these problems so prevalent? Typically because the previous "Project Managers" were set-up to fail from the beginning!

First, I'm not saying that the projects were poorly specced (although most projects are). Second, the "Project Managers" that are given these roles often tend to be highly intelligent and technically capable people. The reason I say that these "Project Managers" were set-up to fail is that they typically don't have any training in leadership, team building, or even Project Management before being given the project!

A typical scenario is that a company will promote or hire the most technically capable person they can find into the role of "Project Manager." The logic is that if the person is capable of doing the project by himself/herself, then they must be capable of leading a team to do it. This logic is flawed, because the skill-sets are dramatically different between designing a software solution, an oil rig, a skyscraper or whatever, and leading a team of 5-100 people who are trying to accomplish the same goal. That is why I put the term "Project Manager" in quotations up to this point. In many cases, the person who was promoted, without the skill-set, falls back into what they are comfortable with: the technicals. Instead of becoming a Project Manager, the person becomes a Lead Engineer, Drafter, Designer, etc.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - Screen Junkies



House Bolton does what it wants! And the Screen Junkies are at it again. Very amusing with some fantastic singers. Stick around to the end to hear Micheal Bolton's theme for Game of Thrones!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Leadership Quote of the Week - Bobby Unser

Today is the day for a solar eclipse, and since we moved to Nashville, we were able to enjoy a partial experience of totality (partial because a cloud decided to be mean and hide the sun just as totality happened and cleared out just after). It was still interesting to see the darkness drop, see a couple of stars, and even watch a few bats slice across the sky acting like it was dusk rather than 1:30 in the afternoon. 

This week's quote is related to the eclipse because:


Picture by Erin Morey, of a previous Eclipse, viewed from Texas

Success Is Where Opportunity and Preparation Meet - Bobby Unser (American Automobile Racer)

Some people ordered glasses early, found a place to see the total eclipse, booked the travel, and were prepared. Others sadly were not as prepared. My Facebook feed probably wasn't the only one filled with people asking for extra eclipse glasses or looking for places to crash. 

The end result was that many of us were prepared for the opportunity and met with success, others missed it, and yet others (like myself) were impacted by variables beyond our control and achieved partial success. 

The questions are: Are you prepared for the opportunity? Or are you hoping random chance will intervene? What goals do you have and how can you prepare? As a leader, how can you prepare your team for the organization's goals? Are you preparing your team to be future leaders?

I hope many of you enjoyed the eclipse and have a great week!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - Game of Ikea





I haven't commented much about a favorite show, Game of Thrones, on this blog. It is one of the few shows that is nearly always "must watch TV." For a while, we even had friends come over every Sunday night for dinner, board games, and then GoT. I can understand why some people aren't watching it, and I respect that. I enjoy the political intrigue and military strategy shown in the show, and even toyed with the idea of using the show as a leadership tool for videos and blogs.

Part of the thing that makes GoT so compelling is the level of detail for show. Sets, props, costumes, it all appears meticulous and REAL. Today, I offer a glimpse behind the glass:

Would it shock you to learn you could make a cloak/cape similar to John Snow's with an IKEA rug? It certainly did me.


game-of-thrones-cape-instructions-ikea-9


game-of-thrones-cape-instructions-ikea-1


Pictures from BoredPanda.com. You can learn more at: http://www.boredpanda.com/game-of-thrones-cape-instructions-ikea/. Enjoy and let your Night's Watch costume grow!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

You Can Get Use To Anything

I've been toying with a story and possible speech for some time now, but I'm unclear how to present it. It is related to one of my more popular posts: HD vs. Black & White, in that it is about how one makes the transition to HD over time, and can get used to anything in a rather short time.

More than a decade ago, I was 23 years old, just over a year out of college, and deployed to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom. I deployed as one of the Strategic Planning Officers for an Armor Battalion. It's a fancy name for Gopher and peon, which is exactly what you expect for an unproven 2nd Lieutenant (2LT) deployed to a combat zone. Iraq is hot, sandy, and because we were in a valley between two rivers, humid. You woke up sweaty, went to bed sweaty, and itched constantly from the sand, sand fleas, and, of course, being sweaty. Not a fun environment.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - Bad Dad Jokes

Long time no new content. Shame on me for that one. Not offering an excuse, time to keep the game going, with some really bad dad jokes:




Look for my next post on Thursday, and Motivational Monday will return next week!

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

Photo: https://www.grandcanyonwest.com/skywalk--eagle-point.htm

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
hernandezdreamphography.com (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

clipartfest.com by mrs eva ford from flowermound
clipartfest.com 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

clipartfest.com / 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 Audible.com 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: