Posts Tagged ‘entrepreneurs’

A little more about Projects

by Himanshu Jhamb on December 7, 2009

ProjectA while ago, I had written about “What a Project is Not”? This post is an extension of that post in which I will discuss why projects are needed and what projects, in fact, are. You will probably get as many interpretations of what a project is, as the number of people you talk with and most of them, are probably right in their own way. But, we are not talking about right or wrong here; we are concerned about what makes for a more powerful interpretation and that’s that. This obviously leads us to the question:  What makes something powerful? The answer is really simple – Anything that is in alignment with why it was invented in the first place makes up for a powerful way of existence. In Projects speak, this would be the purpose of the Project.

So, Why are Projects needed?

Projects are needed when old practices and ways of doing things no longer generate effective results or worse, generate breakdowns that we have to cope with. One of the most common sources that generate the need for projects is the rapidly changing marketplace. Today’s marketplace (as opposed to the one that existed 30-40 years ago) calls for the invention of new projects at breakneck speed. All you have to do is nothing for a month (probably, not even that) and you’ll see how your competition edges you out to obscurity.

What do you need to Invent a Project

The most fundamental thing that is needed even before a Project can be invented is – You must be “Up to” something. It can be as simple as going from point A to point B OR as complex as going to the moon. What you are “Up to” defines why you are inventing the project.  Entrepreneurs are inventing projects all the time. Projects teams are enrolled in this “Project mission” and “execute” on a “plan” towards achieving this goal.

How are projects brought into existence?

Projects are brought into existence by making specific declarations of what it is that will be produced at the end. There are, of course, other parameters on which specific declarations are made around – scope, time line and resources, to name a few but, at a fundamental level these are all declarations of producing a specific result by a certain time frame.

Projects are Costly, yet Unavoidable and Necessary

This is perhaps, the only guarantee, a project carries. Yes, it’s unfortunate, but true. Projects are inherently costly (we obviously see this as an investment – that’s why we incur the cost, but I’ll continue using the word “Costly” for now)  and what makes them so is that it takes time, energy, money and lost opportunities to learn the new practices & tools that are needed to run the project, efficiently. Then there are the costs associated with resources and then there are the many unknown costs – that only show up during the execution of the projects.

It would be a disservice to the topic of projects if I ended on the rather somber “Projects are Costly” note… Projects are also unavoidable and necessary … in that, they will continue to exist and invented as long as the marketplace continues changing and businesses find themselves coping with the changing landscape. Projects have an immense capacity to produce exceptional results to take care of the concerns they are invented for – as long as they are planned for, managed and executed well.

<Shameless Plug Begin>

At Active Garage, we keep tinkering on projects. We have two projects (one completed and one still going on) and more to come. Please check out our current projects here:

1. defiant, a social media powered eBook

2. BLOGTASTIC series

</Shameless Plug End>

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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Fishing for Success

by Guy Ralfe on September 23, 2009

fishing for successI used to crew for my uncle, who fished in game fishing tournaments. We would launch around 4:30 in the morning and finish with a lines-up at 3:00pm which made for long, hot and tiring days especially when the tournament lasted seven days and the fish were not very hungry for your bait.

One of the ways to fish for game fish  is to first catch a live bait fish to then use it as bait for a bigger fish. The challenge is catching and keeping the bait fish alive; sometimes it would die early and you would need to go fish for another, or a shark would attack your bait and leave you with half a fish again requiring you go and fish for another bait fish. In the heat of the day when you have not had a bite for hours (sometimes days) on end, or you have lost many baits, it is hard to remain motivated about rigging up the rod and casting out to try and catch another bait fish. It was often easy to think maybe we would be better off packing up and going in to shore. It was at these times that my uncle would always insist that we put an extra rod in the water, or at least always have a hook of sorts in the water and he insisted we fished the whole open fishing period. His saying was “you can’t catch a fish without a hook in the water”.

I can still recall the time during one of these quiet periods without fish for ages we dropped a line overboard and it spooled off the reel and fell deep into the water. I got up to sort the rod out and in reeling it up we caught the elusive bait we had been so desperately trying to catch. We went on to win that tournament with a great 384 lbs Marlin caught in the last hour of the day.

In business and society today there are plenty of people telling you how little chance you have of succeeding. My personal favorite is “statistically there is very little difference between having a lottery ticket and not having one at all – so don’t buy a lottery ticket!”. What everyone fails to see is that compared to not having a ticket, having one ticket has an infinitely better chance of winning the lottery. Just like if you don’t have a hook in the water when the one fish feeling hungry comes past, your single ticket might just be the one that gets called in the lottery.

Business is social and you have to participate to build identity and trust; if you are never putting yourself out there you will never know what could happen. Put another way YOU are actually not giving people a chance to recognize you and help you.  That is not to say that what you desire, happens but by continually making offers or sounding ideas in the marketplace you create situations for yourself that didn’t exist before. That is the space that might get you introduced to someone, might expose you to some technology, might ignite a new project or it might just spark something else you never imagined. These are all big MIGHTs but invariably they offer the positive possibility that something may result. Doing nothing, means you guarantee that situation stays the same or worse you guarantee that the situation is in control and not you. Now is an important time to assess our actions and make sure we are not causing our own concerns?

As with fishing you need the bait to fish for the big game, which is where the prizes are. In a marketplace being crippled by insecurity, making a move could be the glint that  opens up future possibilities – go fish it’s a far better proposition than sitting on the shore!

I have a wise uncle who used to fish for our country that I crewed with in big game fishing tournaments. We launched around 4:00 in the morning and lines up was at 3:00pm which made for long, hot and tiring days especially when the tournament lasted seven days and the fish were not very hungry for your bait.

One of the ways to fish for big game fishing is to first catch a live bait fish to then use it as bait for a bigger fish. Apart from the small detail of catching the bait fish, this was a good strategy as your fish not only looks like the real deal but it is also gives out distress signals which attracts the type of big game fish you want to catch.

What would often be the challenge is catching the bait fish, sometimes it would die early and you would need to go fish for another, or a shark would attack your bait and leave you with half a fish again requiring you go and fish for another bait fish. Often in the heat of the day when you have not had a bite for hours (sometimes days) on end, or you have lost many baits, it is hard to get motivated about rigging up the rod and casting out to try and catch another bait fish. It was often easy to think maybe we would be better off packing up and going in to shore. It was at these times that my uncle would always insist that we put an extra rod in the water, or at least always had a hook of sorts in the water. His saying was “you can’t catch a fish without a hook in the water”. I can still recall the time during one of these quiet periods without fish for ages we dropped a line overboard and it spooled off the reel and fell deep into the water. I got up to sort the rod out and in reeling it up we caught the elusive bait we had been so desperately trying to catch. That bait from the accidental line overboard won us the tournament with a prize marlin.

In business and society today there are plenty of people telling you how little chance you have of succeeding. My favorite is “statistically there is very little difference between having a lottery ticket and not having one at all so don’t buy a lottery ticket!”. What everyone fails to see is that compared to not having a ticket, having one ticket has an infinitely better chance of winning the lottery. Just like if you don’t have a hook in the water when the one fish feeling hungry comes past, your single ticket might just be the one that gets called in the lottery.

Business is social and you have to participate to build identity and trust, if you are never putting yourself out there you will never know what could happen. That is not to say that what you desire, happens but by continually making offers or sounding ideas in the business place you create situations for yourself that didn’t exist before. That is the space that might get you introduced to someone, might expose you to some technology, might ignite a new project or it might just spark something else you never imagined. These are all big might’s but invariably they offer the positive possibility that something may result, where doing nothing, means you guarantee that situation stays the same. How is that working for you?

As with fishing you need the bait to fish for the big game which is where the prize money is. In a marketplace being crippled by insecurity, making a move could be the glint that hooks the bait and opens up future possibilities – go fish it’s a better proposition than sitting on the shore!

Guy RalfeThis article was contributed by Guy Ralfe, co-founder of Active Garage and co-author of the upcoming book ProjectManagementTweets. You can follow Guy on Twitter at gralfe.
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The Likability factor

by Himanshu Jhamb on August 3, 2009

ilikeyouI’m sure you’ve heard this many times: “The first impression is the last impression”. The good news is this is not entirely true; the bad news is its not entirely false, either. Though first impressions may not be the last impressions… they do matter and what really matters is what the other person is thinking after they just associated with you – Are they thinking “I didn’t like him” or “Hmmm…. I really liked him”? The difference in these two might seem trivial but it’s not. The difference is that one side of the coin opens possibilities for you and the other side does not… Perhaps even shuts them down in some cases… and the tricky part is that all this happens “Silently“. People usually do not make this assessment loudly in public. They usually show up in conversations where you are not present.

Here’s a little example of how this once worked for me. A friend of mine arranged for me to meet up with a friend of his, who was a powerful person, and I was going there to talk to him about enrolling him in my vision of what I was doing. The meeting went fine (though I was, admittedly, a little critical of myself at the end of it) and I did not hear back from the person I met for a while. Then, one day, my friend called me and asked me “Did you see the email from the person you met?” I said “No” and checked my mailbox. It was very much there and he had accepted my offer… so, then I asked my friend that it did not appear to me that the meeting went all that well – so how come he accepted? My friend’s response was “Well! He thought the meeting was alright but the reason he accepted to work with you is because he said he liked you!”

That got me thinking and a question came to my mind: How do you assess someone as likeable… or not?

What I have found is what’s important is how people leave me … that is, to say, if someone leaves me in a better mood that I was in, when I met them, I make the assessment that they are likable!

… and then I came up with a more powerful question, for myself: What thoughts and feelings do I leave people in; after my interactions with them?

I’ll leave you with a term, a few resources on how you can show up as more likable and a couple of questions on likability.

  • The Term: The term you can use to think further on this is the “Likability factor (LF)“. Incidentally, there’s a book titled “The likeability factor” by Tim Sanders. The concept is really simple: If your likability factor is high, you usually come across as a likeable person and if it’s low, then you don’t.
  • How to increase your Likability factor:

    1. A short video by Rajesh Setty, our very own deeply respected “Active” mentor at Active Garage:

    2. A short real-life example by notable author and speaker Robin Sharma.

    … and finally,

  • The questions to think about (answer these immediately after reading this post, to get the maximum benefit from having read this)
  • 1. What do you think is your likability factor?

    2. If you do not think its high enough, what are you going to do about it?

    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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