Friday, June 8, 2018

The Plague of Training....

This post is dedicated to personal development and a commitment to training.  In my experience, I watch organization after organization remove or shorten the length of their projects by two categories:  Testing and Training.  Why?  They are generally at the end of the project and get squeezed in between a date that is arbitrary and project overruns.

For example, after purchasing a system, a company finds out that managing a long project plan can be harder because they do not understand the new system.  It was rolled out hastily and to save costs, they did one training for the user group and expected them to understand a complex tool.  Learning properly would take roughly 8-10 hours of reinforced teaching and changing the way that they think currently.  The company will claim that there is not enough time or money to invest in this level of training and reduce it.  As the users start to use the new system, they become frustrated and begin to create workarounds.  They store high level plans in the new system and create longer plans outside the system that fits the way they used to perform this task.  This then creates 4-6 hours of rework depending on the number of project they are running because most of the information is outside of the new system and they have to enter data twice for reporting.  The chore becomes keeping everything in sync.  Assuming each resource takes 2 weeks of vacation, this turns into 200-300 additional hours of work without value because it is "easier."

What if we invested this time to learning the new system properly?  Those hours could be invested in value generation versus rework.  

This is also true of personal training.  The almighty PDU.  I am constantly being bombarded with quick and easy training opportunities that give me a PDU to hold my certification.  I often wonder if the PDU is adding value or just taking score?  I watch so many people waste time looking for the easy or cheap PDU versus finding something that will enhance and grow their career.  

John Maxwell states, "Everything worthwhile in life is uphill, but many people have downhill habits."  This is very evident in how people pursue or grow their knowledge.  Personal development and training should force you out of your comfort zone and help you understand new skills and habits.  This is not an easy undertaking, but nothing worthwhile is! 

No Day But Today,


Radio Show - June 08th 2018:Melissa Agnes - Building an Invincible Brand

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The Work/Life Balance

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Friday at 2 PM Pacific

June 08th 2018:Melissa Agnes - Building an Invincible Brand
Rick will interview Melissa Agnes, President of Agnes + Day, Inc. Melissa is a Crisis Management Expert and will help you understand how to build an invincible brand. All businesses face difficult situations. It's the way you choose to respond to them that sets you apart. When your company is “crisis ready”, your entire team—whether you’re a team of 1, 10, 100, or 10,000—knows how to respond to any type of negative situation, be it an issue or a crisis, in a way that increases stakeholder trust and goodwill in your organization, making it invincible to any type of difficult situation that ma

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Melissa Agnes

Author of Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World, Melissa Agnes is a leading authority on crisis preparedness, reputation management, and brand protection. Agnes is a coveted speaker, commentator, and advisor to some of today's leading organizations faced with the greatest risks. As a strategic advisor and keynote speaker, Melissa Agnes has worked with many organizations helping them understand risk and build invincible brands that can withstand even the most devastating of events. In 2015, she gave a TEDx talk in Los Angeles where she discussed the secret to successful crisis management in the 21st century. Agnes is the editor of the Crisis Ready Blo

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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

I am fired up!

In my daily reading, two articles peaked my attention today.  The first was called The Blair Witch Project Manager.  It talked of a horrible project and a horrible experience the person had with a project manager.  He then went on to say:

"I get, though, why awful PMs enthral senior leaders. The PM ‘Body of Knowledge’ features lots of complex tools and techniques that make ‘planning’ seem like rocket science. There are equations for calculating work and projecting trends that look absolutely stunning on a dazzling ‘status tracking dashboard.’ Clever PMs give their bosses the illusion of being totally in control. They’re strut about like business auteurs, so scientifically and artistically advanced that mortals can’t appreciate their genius.
In reality, I can put a couple of Eagle Scouts or infantry sergeants into a PM role and almost always get a much better product. Real PM is just careful planning, clear communication, and some advanced what-if preparedness. It’s supposed to be operational oversight that supports the delivery of work. It’s not what the Bobs of the business world would have you believe; an indulgent exercise in self-promoting cleverness that diverts effort away from real work for entertainment’s sake."

This is the exact message that I am fighting.  You can't put unqualified people in the role and then question the value that the role provides.  He clearly stated in the article that the project manager was trained by their company and that the project manager was not following the process.  Yet, the profession catches the blame.  

The other article is titled Phoenix an ‘incomprehensible failure’ of project management: Ferguson.  In this article, it was clear that executives had mandated a date, did not heed warnings to delay the implementation, and did not establish proper controls.  Again, the failure is placed on project management and not poor leadership.  In fact, what is the impression if you only read the title?

These are two shining examples of the exact reason that I speak, blog, do the radio show, and these e-mails.  The profession continues to be devalued.  These are perfect examples of  wanting to have the results that project management can promise while not allowing the process to exist.  

I was told recently that sometimes I write from a standpoint of assuming that we as project managers have more power than we do.  I feel it is exactly the opposite.  I recognize that most project managers are assigned the impossible and expected to deliver the unreasonable.  It is the power of influence that we can wield.  If we can push a date off or negotiate better terms for our people, then we are doing our job.  The PMBOK and all of the training is to arm us with the proper information.  What I feel the profession lacks the most is the application of those skills to turn cultures around.  This is why I put together the Project Management That Works Masterclass.  It is fueled with techniques, tips, and standards that can influence an organization no matter where you sit on the organizational chart.

In any case, these articles continue to prove that we have a long way to go to teaching organizations the value of the profession.

No Day But Today,


Friday, May 25, 2018

The Turnaround....

Most of my content comes from my personal life.  This post is definitely personal.  Something happened this week that caused me to really reflect on several things.  First, the background.  I have massive ADD.  When I was growing up, we were just the wild kids.  ADD was not something that was diagnosed or medicated.  I remember struggling to keep my focus and manage impulses.  This caused my first two or three years of school to be a struggle.  Then like magic, in the fourth grade, I learned how to manage the focus.  I learned how to control the impulses.  I was a straight A student from that point forward.  As an adult, I feel much of my success is based on the fact that I can see, hear, and process a ton of information.  It is the way my brain is wired.  I can have a full conversation with someone and hear two other conversations going on and still be present with the person I am talking to.  It is hard to explain.  Distractions are a part of every day life and my brain can segment out what is and is not a distraction while I am focused on a task.  In the end, I feel that ADD is a blessing.  A recent article from Inc. shares the 8 superpowersthat people with ADHD have.

This is all leading up to my son.  He also has ADD.  In the age that we are bringing him up, it is a common diagnosis and almost immediately everyone wanted to put him on medication.  My wife and I discussed this at great length.  I think to medicate is an individual decision and the results certainly vary case by case.  So if you are reading this and did decide to medicate an ADD child, this is not to call you out nor is this a post to advocate one or the other.  This was a personal decision.  Understanding the struggle, I worked with my son and tried to teach him what was happening with me and how I was able to control my focus.  

Just like me, my son struggled in school.  This year especially.  I was called in by the 5th grade teachers after the first nine weeks.  They all suggested that we take Remo to a doctor and get him medicated.  He was constantly getting into trouble and coming home with pink slips.  Again, my wife and I struggled with the decision of what to do.  I kept working with him and establishing routines so that he could learn the appropriate times for his mind to wander and times that require focus.  Then, in the middle of the second nine weeks, things just clicked in his brain.  You could see the routines get executed consistently and his confidence growing.  We started seeing less pink slips and saw his grades improving to A's and B's.

On Wednesday, I received a call from his teachers.  The end of the year celebration was happening and Remo had said he didn't want to go.  His teachers begged me to bring him to the school.  I quickly took my son to the event.  At the event, they were giving out awards for MVP student, most improved, etc.  Each teacher presented the awards to their class.  There was one award that was the only award voted by all the teachers.  They called it the "Rising Star" award that was the most prestigious to the teachers.  It described a student that they all felt in the beginning of the year was going to be the problem child.  Through the year, they watched him improve every aspect of his behavior and turn into a leader in the classroom.  They gave the award to my son.  He was absolutely beaming.  It was one of the proudest moments in our relationship.  He connected the dots of effort and sincerity to the award.  I couldn't agree more.

I wear many hats.  Entrepreneur, project manager, business owner, radio show host, and more.  The proudest hat I wear and the one that will create the greatest impact is that of father.  I lost my dad at 19 and my world has never been the same.  I cherish each day and interaction with my kids and seeing Remo accept that award created many emotions inside of me.  There is no manual that comes with your kids.  Recently when my daughter was having a rough time, I started looking through all of my books.  She asked what I was doing and I told her, "I am searching for the manual that came with you when you were born."  She said, "you don't know how to solve this?  I thought dad's knew everything!"  My daughter is 17.  I laughed and told her no, in fact I would let her in on a secret.  I have been making it up as we go along!  There is no manual and every child is different.

The blessings they bestow upon me far outweigh any of the issues that I deal with.  

No Day But Today,