Learn to fail

Yesterday I had a perfect day that ended badly and it was all my fault.

I woke up at 05:00 and went out for a run, took a shower and then I wrote a little bit in my journal, including a plan for what I wanted to accomplish during the day. Then I drove to work and had a fun and good day at work. The only downside was that I was not able to finish a task of putting a plan into Microsoft Project, a plan that I made with the team in a planning workshop. I thought this was all ok, I would just finish it in the evening,, I knew I had approximately 2 hours available there.

Well it is not always that easy to get 2 hours to focus on finishing something at home when you have 4 kids and the oldest one is only 9 years old. There were too many things to finish before I could do my work, I finished painting a wall at home, I helped to prepare the dinner and cleaned after it, and then the problems started,,, putting the kids to sleep. This dragged out to 1,5 hour, one after each other they were all set on to ruin my plan, which meant that I only had 30 minutes to work before I went to sleep. I lost my temper and became very angry,, everything and everyone was conspiring to ruin my plans. When the kids were finally asleep, I felt horrible for having yelled at them and saw how short sighted and unfair I had been.

What I forgot was how productive the day had been, how low priority this task really had,, I could just as easily do it the next day, and that I had really not spent enough time with my kids this day. For the future I want to become better at remembering that I can not finish everything always on the schedule that I put for myself, it is OK to reschedule once in awhile. Another important lesson is to remember my priorities,,, yes the work is important, but it comes second after my family.

Don’t become too stuck and inflexible in the plans of improvements.

Google´s Project Management

I came across an interesting internal study made by Google in 2008, the study was set out to prove that Project Managers do not matter. The results concluded that Project Managers are necessary, but only if they are good Project Managers. But what makes a good Project manager according to Google, and do I meet the requirements?

Here are the eight requirements for a successful Project Manager (and my own rating of myself on a scale 1-5):

  1. Be a good coach, 2
  2. Empower the team and do not micromanage, 3
  3. Express interest/concern for the team’s members success and wellbeing, 4
  4. Be Productive and result oriented, 4
  5. Be a good communicator, 3
  6. Help with career development, 1
  7. Have a vision, 4
  8. Use your technical skills to advise, 3

Wow,, that hurt. I can be too honest with myself. The positive thing is that I have many things to work on improving. During the next two weeks I am going to explore these topics more, and write about how to improve them.

 

 

Reboot

I have never done a New Year’s resolution. I know the statistics of how many fail.

I am still not making a New Years resolution, I am rebooting, the great things that I have been evolving over 2016 are going to be instilled as habits.

On a side note. One great quote I came across somewhere:

“No, I do not make New Year’s resolutions, I have a plan for my life”.

I wish this was true for myself, my wife and our growing family, and I plan to make it so 🙂

The Christmas vacation has been the best recharge and reboot time I ever had. Over the vacations I have been reading Simon Sinek´s, “Leaders Eat Last” and Seth Godin´s Linchpin. I can not recommend these books highly enough, they have given new perspectives and insights on what I have been doing, why some of the things I am doing work so good, and why other aspects have not been as great. During the vacation I also saw many videos on youtube featuring John Maxwell and from Robin Sharma.

This morning I woke op at 05:00 and went straight out for a short run and a shower. The clock is 06:00 here in Denmark as I am writing this. I almost can’t wait to get to work, to kill the procrastination, do the basic already charted tasks to good enough level, and then go on to focus on making some art, emotional labor and chart new maps.

Happy New year.

Short term financial goals

I work in a company that could be categorised as an industrial giant, think Ingersoll Rand or the Motorola type. The company’s culture has changed alot since the financial crisis, which could have laid the company to ruins.

Before the crisis the company was lead by the founder’s son, it was a comfortable workplace, and in many cases too comfortable.

In the crisis a new CEO took over and changed direction. The actions taken, to secure the company’s future, where for most part necessary very understandable and efficient.

In the later years I have seen an ever increasing focus on the bottom line, reaching the growth targets while also keeping high Ebit margins. This has led me to wonder where this is heading, there might be a risk of putting short time financial goals ahead of long term customer satisfaction, and employee loyalty. Like in some of the listed companies where shareholder value often is of first, second and third priority.

Two years ago there was an incident where I saw people being laid off, and many thought that it was done to cut on fixed expenses just to be able to get higher Ebit Margin. At the time I thought this was the right decision because the market had stagnated, and this is just how you run a efficient company. Now I am not so sure anymore, the company’s survival was not at all at stake.

Has anyone seen the same trends in the big international companies?

Create fun

One idea for creating fun in a Project is to let the Project team make a fun or cool name.

Think if the project’s name was, “The Top Secret Project” or “The WOW Project” or “The most important Project” or “The Great Project”.

Everyone in the organisation would know about it, everyone would at some point talk about it, and the team members would show a bit of smirk every time they say the Projects name.obama-smurk-300x239

By the way, this is the definition for Smirk:

“a smile that expresses satisfaction or pleasure about having done something or knowing something that is not known by someone else.”

A very detailed post about how to choice great Project Name can be found over at Articulate.

First steps in leadership

Earlier this year I got a new job, my first Management job, I am now a Project Manager.

I started with eating all books and informations I could find about Project Management, and found out that actually, I do not want to be a Project Manager, I want to become a Project Leader.

management-vs-leadership

Susanne Madsen explains the difference in a great way over here.

The posts on this blog are reflections and attempts to put my thoughts into words as I move on towards becoming a Project Leader.