Posts Tagged ‘business planning’

Resilience Engineering #29: Keep Your Wits About You

by Gary Monti on January 10, 2012

Keep your wits in chaotic situations. Success depends upon it. The irony is, keeping one’s wits is grounded in simplicity. It is challenging and can take all you have. It is a daily, constant activity.

Avoid confusing simplicity with a naive belief everything will work out somehow. Rather, it is about letting go of the urge to react when forces are demanding that you do. It is about keeping eyes and ears open and just seeing what is. This simplicity is a reflection of an on-going process rather than a goal. It has to be a process because of the fluidity of the situation. There is a constant shifting. Customers change their mind. Lead engineers quit. Technologies change. The list goes on.

A Three-part Approach

There are three aspects to being a simple leader:

  1. Practicing discipline;
  2. Maintaining awareness;
  3. Developing an understanding of the situation.

Practice discipline.  Do what is right.

Now, this isn’t a moralistic sense of right. It is more about congruence among all the principles that apply and choosing behaviors based on alignment with those principles. To use something I’ve mentioned in previous blogs:

If everything were okay, what would I do?

Know what principles apply to each profession on the project. Work within acceptable variances determined by the relationships between principles. For example, sales should be aware of engineering limitations when negotiating options with customers. In turn, the engineers should be aware of how much flexibility they can maintain in order to support sales and accept some level or risk.

Maintain awareness. Stop. Breathe. Look.

Risk letting go of thinking about consequences, especially the ones that have personal impact. Clarity will surface. The picture may be pretty and then again it may not. The point is you’ll have a clear picture! From there you can move on to the next step.

Develop an understanding of the situation. Think.

By having a clear picture you can now think in a realistic manner. What does this mean? It means moving around in the space created by the first two steps mentioned above. Thinking grounded in this behavior leads to an understanding of the situation. The ability to see how things really are and what they could be surfaces. An understanding develops as to what it takes to get the job done.

The boundary between flexing and breaking comes into sharper focus. Change orders developed based on this approach are usually right on the mark. You will see when to dive into the details and when to pull back and let the team work it out. You’ll also see when scope needs to be cut or time added.

Being simple is part of the secret of being a good leader – something required in complex situations where managing is insufficient.

Gary Monti PMI presentation croppedThrough his firm, Center for Managing Change, Gary Monti has over 30 years experience providing change- and project management services internationally. He works at the nexus between strategy, business case, project-, process-, and people management. Service modalities include consulting, teaching, mentoring, and speaking. Credentials include PMP number 14 (Project Management Institute®), Myers-Briggs Type Indicator certification, and accreditation in the Cynefin methodology. Gary can be reached at gwmonti@mac.com or through Twitter at @garymonti
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Resilience Engineering #8: Rupert Murdoch’s Folly

by Gary Monti on August 2, 2011

Rupert Murdoch and the News Corporation’s latest problems provide ample opportunity to show both what happens when resilience engineering is ignored and how important it is for success in business and project management. It also provides an opportunity to point out the shortcomings of the domino and barrier models, both of which were described in previous blogs.

If you haven’t heard, the issue is illegal hacking of cell phones of crime victims to gain inside information and “scoop” the other tabloids thereby keeping their tabloid, “News of the World (NoW),” circulation at the top of the heap in the British market and continue to maintain substantial influence in British politics. During a Parliament committee hearing both Rupert and his son, James, said they were shocked, appalled and surprised to find out that phone hacking and other illegal activities were endemic in their tabloid.

Mr. Murdoch said it was the humblest day of his life. He apologized for everything but took responsibility for nothing. He stated, “I feel people I trusted – I don’t know who, on what level – have let me down, and I think they have behaved disgracefully, and it’s for them to pay.”

He went on to claim he did not know that 1.6 million pounds were paid out to two victims of phone hacking. Nor did he know the tabloid was paying the ongoing legal fees of a guilty private investigator, Glenn Mulcaire, and reporter Clive Goodman who were convicted in 2007 of hacking into the phones of the royal family’s staff. He also went on to say he would not step down as chairman of News Corporation and that he is the best person to handle an investigation as to what went wrong.

This is the domino accident model at its finest, or should I say worst. Find the “bad apple,” punish him/her, and throw the bum out.

But wait! There’s more! And it is worse! The flaws of the barrier model come into play when looking at the firing of the former editor of the now-defunct NoW, Rebekah Brooks, whose job it was to maintain the barrier model and validate the veracity of and methods used to obtain information the tabloid would publish. She was to make sure no ill-gotten information was used. But she consistently delivered what was desired and that was the end of it in terms of auditing.

These approaches are disingenuous by trying to say those in charge are almost as much a victim as the true victims of the hackings. But is that the case? NoW had a very robust model that consistently gained what it was after and Murdoch stuck to it.

Let’s explore and start by going back to the first blog in this series and get basic definitions for robust vs. resilient behavior.

Robust: A system is robust when it can continue functioning in the presence of internal and external challenges without fundamental changes to the original system.

Resilient: A system is resilient when it can adapt to internal and external challenges by changing its method of operations while continuing to function. While elements of the original system are present there is a fundamental shift in core activities that reflects adapting to the new environment.

So why is Murdoch’s behavior robust? At the end of the day what matters to Murdoch is getting the scoop and massing political power. For the number of years the illegal and unethical behavior had been going on employees at NoW knew this is the only standard by which they were judged. Why is this fair to say? Simple. Once the scoop and political power were achieved no attention appears to have been paid to the behaviors surrounding it. As both Murdochs said, “I didn’t know.”

The robustness (as defined here) of their news empire can be seen in former News Corporation executives being close to the Prime Minister as well as 10 of the 45 media specialists working for Scotland Yard being former NoW employees and, as mentioned before, the development of pipelines of information within the police via financial bribes. And this model definitely was robust. British politicians paid attention to News Corporation and how they are viewed and reviewed by it. This formula was working quite well and had so much influence that the purchase of the satellite broadcasting company, British Sky Broadcasting (BSB), was all but a slam-dunk. However, because of the drift that occurred that purchase is off the table for now.

Yes, NoW was sacrificed along with its editor but that actually isn’t a resilient behavior. Why? A robust approach was taken to essentially say, “We can continue with the purchase of the BSB satellite service. Look! It wasn’t us! It was irresponsible underlings who did this and we are punishing them.” This is a much bigger prize that has the potential of expanding the existing model even further.

The big plus with the resilient model is its comprehensive approach, socio-technical. It takes into consideration the attitudes and power structure that permeate a situation as well as the technology. In this case, Murdoch’s organization suffers from the same issues of robustness that contributed to the Challenger and Columbia space shuttle disasters or the Abu Ghraib prison debacle in Iraq:

  • A belief that a robust model can continually be pushed. This ultimately leads to brittleness and fracturing of the system due to inability to look ahead and prepare to respond accordingly;
  • Drift whereby an organization moves closer and closer to a disaster feeling smug the entire way because of previous successes but oblivious to the environment and the pending disaster;
  • Initial avoidance of independent audits. Those responsible for creating the context are in a position to judge the players, singling out lower level individuals for punishment while those with the power to create the situation are left untouched.
  • An ever-widening gap between work as imagined vs. work as performed

With the domino and barrier models the situation is ideal for a fragmentation to set in (which is essential when denial is practiced for the sake of achieving a goal) and powerful people can divorce themselves from culpability in who was hired and what they did (domino model) and point to the PMO or other group that was in charge that should have been making sure problems were trapped and neutralized (barrier).

So what is the lesson learned? The resilient approach keeps everyone connected. As many factors as possible that lead to sustained success or failure are considered. Adaptability is key. While several sets of standards may be involved there is an above-board balance created between those standards for all to see. Everyone takes responsibility for his or her share of the success or failure. This leads to sustainable performance and development of the most precious asset an organization can have – trust.

Rupert Sosnoff in his blog for Forbes Magazine sums things well, Rupert Murdoch is looking a lot like King Lear these days.

Gary Monti PMI presentation croppedThrough his firm, Center for Managing Change, Gary Monti has over 30 years experience providing change- and project management services internationally. He works at the nexus between strategy, business case, project-, process-, and people management. Service modalities include consulting, teaching, mentoring, and speaking. Credentials include PMP number 14 (Project Management Institute®), Myers-Briggs Type Indicator certification, and accreditation in the Cynefin methodology. Gary can be reached at gwmonti@mac.com or through Twitter at @garymonti
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The Holy Grail for complex organizations experiencing high risk is finding a balance between stability and flexibility. This presents a very real challenge since the environment is almost always shifting and the team has to think on its feet because time, money, people, and other resources are limited. There isn’t enough time to cycle up to senior management and back down to the team.

The previous two blogs presented linear models of success and failure that are inadequate in complex situations but which are still alive and well in many organizations. They are also limited in term of being either fixed solely on the individual (Domino model) or top-down in terms of policies and procedures (Barrier model).

This blog starts the process of looking at a more realistic model for addressing success and failure in dynamic situations, the Functional Resonance Accident Model (FRAM) developed by Hollnagel. Its roots are in complexity theory and it comprises four principles:

  • Equivalence of success and failure. Successful teams rely heavily on anticipatory awareness, i.e., paying close attention to the environment as it is, without expectations. They perform early-warning weak signal analysis, and decide how best to organize for the situation. An anesthesia team might best characterize this behavior. Guiding medical principles are present but the number of hard-and-fast rules is low compared to how much the anesthesia team must monitor the surgery and think on their feet constantly assessing the entire situation while simultaneously monitoring details. Failure can occur when the team temporarily losses this ability.
  • Approximate adjustment. The team is constantly adjusting its performance to suit the situation. This includes adapting to shifts in resources as well as unique requirements for the specific task at hand. Imagine your elderly, sick grandmother is staying with you and she is very sensitive to excess heat but also chills easily. You have an air conditioner that can maintain 75°F indoors in direct sunlight only if the outside temperature is below 95°F.  On days forecast to be hotter than 95°F what do you do? You must gauge what time in the morning to turn the thermostat below 75°F. How low do you turn down the temperature? At what time do you do it? Does it vary with the afternoon forecast? Could she chill with the setting you’ve chosen? Answering these questions from day to day is making an approximate adjustment in the presence of limited resources and high risk.
  • Emergence. The constant adjustments in performance means there is constant variability. This variability can have a compounding effect, which is non-linear and disproportionately large. New behaviors can emerge. A tipping point can be reached. Think of the impact one failed safety relay has had on the electrical grid in the United States. Whole areas have been plunged into darkness.
  • Functional resonance. A whole constellation of variables can show emergent behavior and impact each other, causing a particular function in a system to resonate without there being one direct, cause-and-effect relationship to which one can point. Think of the speed with which Google grew initially or sales of the iPad or the initial impact of Palm. Failure can emerge as well. Think of Palm’s sales for the last few years before being bought by HP. In a different area, look at how the functional resonance of political dissent has changed in the Middle East. Have changes in communications had an impact?

In principle you can see that FRAM is much more robust than the Domino or Barrier models covered in previous blogs. It goes well beyond the individual or attempts to create all-encompassing policies and procedures. It addresses the dynamics of the situation, which keeps it grounded. We will go deeper into the FRAM model in the next blog.

Gary Monti PMI presentation croppedThrough his firm, Center for Managing Change, Gary Monti has over 30 years experience providing change- and project management services internationally. He works at the nexus between strategy, business case, project-, process-, and people management. Service modalities include consulting, teaching, mentoring, and speaking. Credentials include PMP number 14 (Project Management Institute®), Myers-Briggs Type Indicator certification, and accreditation in the Cynefin methodology. Gary can be reached at gwmonti@mac.com or through Twitter at @garymonti
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In 1971 I was 19 years old and freshly promoted into my first management job – assistant manager of the band and orchestra department at Jenkins Music Company.  To this day, I’m not sure exactly what it was I was supposed to manage, because I was clearly the lowest ranking employee in the building.

No Trouble

On the first day of my management career I was called into Jess Coulson’s office.  Jess was my boss’s boss.  He was a compelling, charismatic guy.  He had a huge mane of silver hair and a twinkle in his eye that told you he knew the secret and he just might let you in on it.  Jess smoked cigarettes nonstop, he drank bourbon and milk pretty much all day long and he told the greatest musician stories a kid like me had ever heard.  I was in awe.  So when he called me into his office I was nervous and excited.  Here’s what happened:

He was on the phone when I walked in and his chair was swung around so he was looking out the window.  All I could see was a cloud of smoke swirling around the top of his head.  He spun around, stood up and shook my hand and said,

“Congratulations, Kid – you’re in management now!”

He grinned and his eyes sparkled and I’m sure I stood up just a little straighter.  He looked away for a moment like he was lost in thought and then he turned and locked in on me like I was the only person in the world.  He said,

“Kid, the big guy wants three things and only three things.”

I wasn’t exactly sure who the big guy was but it didn’t seem like a good time to ask so I just stood there.

“The big guy wants high productivity, low costs and No Trouble.  You got that?”

High productivity, low costs and No Trouble.  I got it.

“That’s good, Kid.  Now get out of here.”

I was in Jess Coulson’s office for a total of about 60 seconds.  But in that 60 seconds he outlined the essence of HR.  High Productivity, Low Cost and No Trouble.  For business owners, that’s what HR is all about.

In the 40 years since I stood in Jess’s office, the No Trouble part has become increasingly difficult for employers.  Employment laws are more onerous and courts are significantly more sympathetic to employees’ claims than ever before.  For business owners, legal attacks by employees or former employees have become a serious concern.

The bad news is, there is no foolproof way to protect your business.  No matter what you do, there is still some risk associated with having employees.  But you can minimize that risk by creating an employee handbook.  An employee handbook is the centerpiece of an effective HR program.  It explains your company’s policies and procedures and it communicates your expectations to employees.  A good handbook also helps protect your company in the event of a dispute.

Now the good news – there is a quick and free way for you to create an employee handbook.

In less than 10 minutes and at absolutely no cost, you’ll have an employee handbook with the policies most small businesses need.  And that’s a huge step toward No Trouble!

Jack-Hayhow Jack Hayhow is Chief Executive Servant of Opus Communications in Kansas City. Opus provides tools and techniques to help business owners build their business. Jack is also the author of two highly acclaimed business books, The Wisdom of the Flying Pig: Guidance and Inspiration for Managers and Leaders and, Breaking Through the Barrier: What Companies That Grow Do Differently
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Week In Review: Mar 13 – Mar 19, 2011

by Magesh Tarala on March 20, 2011

Why the iPad2 and a good datacenter might be all you’ll need!

by Marc Watley, Mar 14, 2011

The time of the tablet has clearly arrived as evidenced by Marc’s informal survey of his flight form New York to San Francisco. You can be as productive with an iPad (and soon iPad2), if not more. Lugging a heavy laptop from meeting to meeting is not necessary anymore. But before you run off to buy a tablet, you need to understand some caveats. more…

Project Reality Check #13: Embracing the Project Fog

by Gary Monti, Mar 15, 2011

No project plan is perfect. It’s usually what the team thinks will work based on certain assumptions and drawn from a large universe of possible solutions. As the project starts, “things happen” and the fog begins to roll in. You can dispel the fog by embracing it. The solution is the fog’s equal in terms of appearance and a countermanding positive performance. It is the team’s wisdom focused into a new or modified deliverable and/or process commonly called the workaroundmore…

Social Media and Tribes #31: Social Media comes through during Japan crisis

by Deepika Bajaj, Mar 16, 2011

In the recent Japan quake, most infrastructure was knocked out, but interestingly Internet availability remains relatively unaffected. And what is most compelling is that Japan turned to social media for connecting with their loved ones. Less than an hour after the quake, the number of tweets from Tokyo topped 1,200 per minute. Facebook again helped in not only connecting friends and family but also became a broadcast channel for people to share their updates and checkin with their friends. Youtube and blogs became instrumental in giving people eyes into the disaster ridden areas with the help of citizen journalism. more…

Flexible Focus #45: My Cup Runneth Over

by William Reed, Mar 17, 2011

In our pursuit of prosperity, we tend to take for granted the blessings that we already have in abundance. The Mandala Chart looks at wealth as part of a larger mosaic, and abundance as the experience of blessings in 8 areas of life: health, business, finances, home, society, character, learning, and leisure. The real appreciation of what we already have begins with gratitude. And gratitude grows into giving, and is a principle seen everywhere in nature. The quality of abundance is not something to experience in solitude. It starts with the appreciation that your cup runneth over even now, and that it gets even better when you share your blessings with others. more…

Leader driven Harmony #16: Rely on the most reliable person – YOU!

by Mack McKinney, Mar 18, 2011

With the horror of the Japanese tsunami catastrophe still unfolding, ask yourself this.  If there was a 9.0 scale earthquake in the city whereyou live and you managed to survive it, what would you do then? Well, it is time for you to go back to the basics and learn some fundamental survival skills. You don’t need to move into a cabin in the wild and become a fully self-contained homesteader.  But adding a few basic skills will improve your self-confidence and your sense of self-reliance.. more…

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Week In Review: Feb 20 – Feb 26, 2011

by Magesh Tarala on February 27, 2011

Author’s Journey Update: Easy ways to organize blog posts, books and ebooks

by Roger Parker, Feb 21, 2011

You need organize what you are going to write before you start writing. It helps you provide structure, sequence and relevance for your ideas. Roger provides 10 options you could use to get organized. Make it a habit to use them and it will help you keep up your writing commitments. more…

Project Reality Check #10: Personal Resilience

by Gary Monti, Feb 22, 2011

Being centered though all situations and avoiding distractions is key for a project manager’s success. You can achieve this by being resilient. Resilience is the ability to continue functioning while adapting to a changing situation. In this article Gary lists the questions that you can ask yourself and take appropriate action. Sometimes you get the elevator, other times you get the shaft. The idea is to build resilience, think, and keep moving to get more of the former and less of the latter. more…

Social Media and Tribes #30: Virtual Valentine

by Deepika Bajaj, Feb 23, 2011

Thanks to Social Media, there’ve been very interesting shifts in Velentine’s day behaviors. This year people not only sent personal messages but wished their friends, shared their gifts, surprises, roses and even their  dinners on FB. People are broadcasting their love for friends and special ones. Moreover, there are Valentine Apps on the iPhone store, Groupon Deals, Valentine Events marketed on FB. Better watch out Hallmark! more…

Flexible Focus #42: Time Lapse as a Mandala Movie

by William Reed, Feb 24, 2011

Manda Charts show relationship between the frames in a 3D perspective. What about the 4th dimension, time? This is not so difficult to imagine if you look at the effect you get in time-lapse photography. So as you create and use Mandala Charts, try to see them from the perspective of the 4th dimension, time and transformation. It will add a new dimension to your enjoyment of flexible focus. more…

Leader driven Harmony #13: 4 P’s to get your !deas MOVING – Part II

by Mack McKinney, Feb 25, 2011

Last week Mack showed you how to be a pro and likeable when pushing for change and I showed you key actions that would get you taken seriously. In addition to that, you need to be somewhat patient and promote your !deas. When you promote your ideas to others, let them become their ideas, because people will advocate their “own” ideas more passionately than other’s ideas. more…

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Week In Review : Feb 13 – Feb 19, 2011

by Magesh Tarala on February 20, 2011

Social Media and Tribes #29: The new BLINK!

by Deepika Bajaj, Feb 14, 2011

Contrary to popular belief, FaceBook is not a distraction. This is true at least for people who can use it in moderation like everything else in life. Glancing at the news feed once in a while helps you be connected. It happens in a split second and you see something that doesn’t register at the conscious-level but provides a gut-feel about the thing. Just like what Malcolm Gladwell states in his popular book BLINK: The power of thinking without thinking. more…

Project Reality Check #9: Tyranny of the “Truth”

by Gary Monti, Feb 15, 2011

Everyone sees their version of the “truth” and this can cause tyrannical behavior. This happens if the person’s “truth” limits the available options for action. Or it could be because of the rigidity in the system or bureaucracy. A great example is the comparison between the Brits and the Germans in WWII. Even though both of them has the technology for a similar artillery piece, the Germans were adept at improvising whereas the Brits were more concerned about maintaining status.  more…

7 Key Strategies for designing an Analysis based Company

by Linda Williams, Feb 16, 2011

In today’s fast changing environment being an analysis based company is critical to survival and profitability. Different industries will have different needs for analysis but there are some key components of an analytical strategy that are foundational to the majority of businesses. In this article, Linda lists the top 7 strategies for designing an Analytical Strategy. more…

Flexible Focus #41: Your 100 year life span

by William Reed, Feb 17, 2011

Irrespective of what ages determine the boundaries of each stage, the truth is that there are stages to life. And you cannot see some things clearly until you take the 100 year perspective. The 100 Year Life Span Mandala Chart can help you gain clarity. It takes a while to thoughtfully fill it out, but that is a small investment of time compared to the perspective it gives you. Think of it as climbing a mountain to the summit of your life, and getting the view of everything below. You owe it to yourself to go there at least once, and if possible at least once a year. more…

Leader driven Harmony #12: 4 P’s to get your !deas moving – Part 1

by Mack McKinney, Feb 18, 2011

The four Ps to move your ideas are be Pleasant, be Professional, be Patient and Promote like crazy. But very often you may not be able to find the traction in your organization. If that’s the case, Mack suggests some ways to rectify that. more…

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Week In Review : Feb 6 – Feb 12, 2011

by Magesh Tarala on February 13, 2011

Developing Organizational Bench Strength

by Sean Conrad, Feb 7, 2011

Identifying your core, differentiating competencies, and then developing them in your entire workforce, but especially in your high potential employees helps to ensure your organization has the bench strength it needs to compete and succeed. Developing bench strength is about developing pools or groups of employees, not just individuals. It’s vital that you identify these high potential employees. If they’re valuable to you, they’re likely also valuable to your competitors and to companies in other industries. more…

Project Reality Check #8: Project Execution – Fantasy vs. Reality

by Gary Monti, Feb 8, 2011

No good deed goes unpunished” is a common project reality. It happens in spite of the best of intentions because of the disconnect between the various truth systems. One of the project manager’s jobs is working the interfaces between all those truth systems and doing so in a way their integrity remains intact. more…

Brilliant advertisements = Phenomenal Sales. True or False?

by Vijay Peduru, Feb 9, 2011

Don’t expect your product to sell more with brilliant ads and average product. 1984 Superbowl commercial for Macintosh computers is a great example. This strategy does not work in the Industrial age anymore. A product has to be first really useful to the customers before advertising helps. Now we need remarkable products or remarkable ideas, which can spread virally. more…

Flexible Focus #40: The 8 frames of life: Society

by William Reed, Feb 10, 2011

In today’s world, your place in society is not longer controlled by birth, circumstance or fortune. The amazing impact of technology to connect people and facilitate communication is firmly put you in control of your personal identity. There is plenty of good and generous advice searchable on the Internet about personal branding through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Linkedin, and many other popular social networks. The challenge is not so much how to get online but rather why, knowing your role, mission, and purpose in engaging in Social Media. Download a Social Media Mandalato help you think about which aspect of social media you might want to include or improve. more…

Leader driven Harmony #11: Know your Boss’s job and Your Replacement’s Name

by Mack McKinney, Feb 11, 2011

Succession planning in some organizations happen more methodically and maybe only for key positions. But in most cases, it may not be thought out or planned for. And when circumstances arise, you may be in your boss’s shoes… soon. You never know. Learn about how to get ready to take your boss’s job. more…

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Week In Review – Jan 30 – Feb 5, 2011

by Magesh Tarala on February 6, 2011

Pop-up retail, meet pop-up office

by Marc Watley, Jan 31, 2011

Pop-up retail stores is a recent concept that’s enjoyed immense success. This is applicable to B2B focused organizations too. For example, consider a SaaS company in Dallas needing exposure in Silicon Valley in order for the new product to succeed. They should consider setting up a pop-up office in University Avenue in Palo Alto or Castro Street in Mountain View, for example, which are both hotbeds of Valley activity – with everyone from Googlers to Facebookers to VCs constantly rushing along these thoroughfares to coffee/lunch/dinner meetings. Despite the recent corner-turning of the economy, most cities’ central business districts like these still have plenty of empty storefronts and ground-level offices. Right now is a particularly good time to consider a pop-up office. more…

Project Reality Check #7: Cage Wrestling – Project vs. Operations Management

by Gary Monti, Feb 1, 2011

Inherent conflict between projects and operations might be called white-collar cage wrestling. Participants are focused, strong, and may carry the belief – winning means dominance of their approach. Who’s right? They both are. What is at stake is delivery of a product that performs well and is sustainable. more…

Social Media and Tribes #28: Social Media on the GO!

by Deepika Bajaj, Feb 2, 2011

In today’s world, we are no more rooted to our computer for staying connected. This is largely because of the advent of smart phone and mobile apps. If you have an iPhone and a friend of yours complains about your delay in responding to his/her email…you better NOT say, “I was away from my computer”. Similarly, if you are a smart phone user and you say to someone “I don’t have time to Tweet or FB”; most likely they are wondering if you are using any smarts of the smart phone! more…

Flexible Focus #39: The Principle of Gratitude

by William Reed, Feb 3, 2011

One of the hardest lessons of flexibility is letting go of the ego’s attachments. Pride prevents you from achieving flexibility, because it insists on being right, being first, or being better than others. It’s companions are alike, inflexible, stubborn, righteous, and condescending. The ancient Greeks called it hubris (hybris), excessive ambition or pride leading to a fall, or to total ruin. There is away to flexibility, based on a Mandala Principle from Buddhism, the Principle of Gratitude (慈悲喜捨 Jihi Kisha). You can download the Mandala of Gratitude, and start using it in your daily life. more…

Leader driven Harmony #10: Don’t Be a Baby Bird (Part II)

by Mack McKinney, Feb 4, 2011

You can spend an (enjoyable) lifetime in anything, if you get all the way IN IT. Business, retail, real estate, banking, dentistry, chiropractic, farming, nursing, appliance repair, EVERY FIELD can provide you with a lifetime of thought and involvement if you will just dive in and commit to being the best at it. Do you have a “fire in the belly” to stop being a baby bird? more…

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Week In Review : Jan 16 – Jan 22, 2011

by Magesh Tarala on January 23, 2011

Still busy? – Even with all the productivity enhancing gadgets

by Vijay Peduru, Jan 17, 2011

A recent article in NYT  talked about how kids are wired for distraction by always being online . Every Gadget they use is connected to the internet and the kids are always distracted. It is not just the kids even we grown-ups do this. Each one of us wants distractions and these tools are just another avenue for our distractions. We want distractions because we want to escape from things which are bothering us. Choose to face the problem and use the time previously used for distractions for more enjoyable tasks. more…

Free eBook: Freedom, money, time and the key to Creative Success

by Himanshu Jhamb, Jan 18, 2011

In Mark McGuinness’ own words: Creative people are those who work hard, but because they love what they do, it doesn’t feel like work. Your key to success doesn’t cost a dime… Get your FREE copy of Freedom, Money, Time and the Key to Creative Success by clicking here OR by going directly to the download page. It’s a light read – 34 pages in all. And it’s full of practical advice you can apply to your own situation. more…

Project Reality Check #5: The Devil is in the Details

by Gary Monti, Jan 19, 2011

Expected Monetary Value (EMV) connects the customer with the team. This tool is very powerful. At the core, an EMV calculation comprises probability times impact to get a weighted number. The EMV model is a great way to connect with stakeholders and work rationally while keeping relationships intact. more…

Flexible Focus #37: Navigate with Nanba!

by William Reed, Jan 20, 2011

Earlier in this series in an article called Mobile Mandala, we introduced an exciting new iPad Application called theMandalaChart for iPad, which is available in the iTunes Store. We are proud to announce the first of these templates, a set of 30 Mandala Charts for the iPad application called the Nanba Diary. These pages explain how the MandalaChart and Nanba Diary work for you. more…

Leader driven Harmony #8: Get a FIRE going in Your Belly!

by Mack McKinney, Jan 21, 2011

Let’s pretend you have a major, life-threatening disease and are seeking treatment.  Do you want to be treated by a physician, physician’s assistant or nurse who just kinda likes their job?  Who just muddles through the day?  Who is about as good at the job as most other physicians?  OF COURSE NOT! Same applies to you if you are providing some service or product to someone. In this article Mack tells you how do you get to be the best and how you can rise past the others in your field and become the “go-to” person?. more…

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