Posts Tagged ‘challenge’

The Soul of a Project #28: The Wisdom of Doubt!

by Gary Monti on November 1, 2012

On Apollo 1 what would have happened if someone had asked, “What happens when you combine a spark with elevated oxygen levels in an iron rich environment?” Those 3 astronauts might have gotten to live out their lives telling their grandchildren stories about the early days of space flight. Avoiding Monday-morning-quarterbacking, the question is worth asking in terms of determining when confidence bleeds over into over-confidence. In resilience engineering that bleeding over is referred to as drift.

What stems drift is doubt. A muscular approach to projects can easily push out doubt, which is unfortunate. Doubt has a real value. It encourages us to seek others opinions and get as many eyeballs as possible on a problem or solution. Evolutionarily it has a real benefit. Darwin talks about the survival of the fittest. It is commonly thought of as the strongest. That isn’t what he meant. Survival of the fittest refers to having the best fit, i.e., finding the sweet spot among all the possibilities when swimming in a sea of possibilities.

Doubt is connected to another important evolutionary development – a conscience. In The Sociopath Next Door Martha Stout, PhD, explores the social consequences when a conscience is lacking and the associated lack of doubt. It is a very interesting read.

You might be wondering where this is going. After all, we need to develop a sense of confidence so we can get things done. But if my confidence is high does it mean I’m a sociopath? What to do?

The answer lies in wisdom.  Wisdom is choosing what to do (or to be still) when there isn’t a clear-cut path that would bring a tear to Euclid’s eye. And this is where we get back to the group. Use doubt to provoke, to dig deeper, to make a game of the situation. A little cage rattling will go a long way towards waking people up and getting them energized, which leads to better solutions and gives everyone on the team a chance to feel significant. At that point work is no longer a job, it’s a quest. It’s a chance to get lost in the problem and feel alive!

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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If it ain’t broken, break it!

by Himanshu Jhamb on January 4, 2010

What Matters NowThis post is inspired by Tom Peters. In fact I have taken the topic of this post from Tom’s write-up on “Excellence” straight from the free e-book “What Matters Now” that Seth Godin recently released on his blog and a number of other sites (including Active Garage).

I fell in love with this quote as soon as I saw it and was deeply moved by all that it could mean. Here are a few that got triggered in my thinking:

  1. It challenges mediocrity at all levels… because mediocrity deals with accepting what is, as-is. Being in status-quo. Adjusting. Compromising. Coping.  Mediocrity does not produce stellar results. It always produces the same, common result and thus gets priced in the marketplace. That’d explain the gap between the movers and shakers, and the common people.
  2. Call for Action: It is a beautifully constructed statement that clearly Calls for Action. Nothing happens without action… Nothing that you intended, actually.
  3. It is Purposeful: It is Purposeful, in that, it is a step that needs to be taken in order to do something new.
  4. It is a Precursor to Creating: Without creating a space where something new can be brought about, no creation is possible. In other words, until the old takes up the space, the new cannot get in!
  5. It is Risky! – Yes, it is… because it will take us to the unknown. But, the unknown is not always undesirable. Just ask Christopher Columbus OR Albert Einstein OR Yourself (when you last stepped into the unknown)

I invite you to reflect on this for a while with work, your entrepreneurial venture, and your life and contribute to this incomplete list of what all this could mean… perhaps this could even make it into your New Year’s resolution list!

Happy New Year!

Himanshu JhambThis article was contributed by Himanshu Jhamb, co-founder of ActiveGarage and co-author of #PROJECT MANAGEMENT tweet. You can follow Himanshu on Twitter at himjhamb.
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