Inspired Project Teams

Enduring Wisdom & Guided Challenges to Help Project Teams Achieve Their Best

  • Jun 17

    Starting this month I will be publishing all my new blog posts, articles and other announcements at my WORTH SHARING website. I will continue to create articles and videos that are relevant to the topics you usually find here, including thoughts on inspiring project teams, motivation, team building, creativity, etc.  To find these at the WORTH SHARING website, just click on the “Inspired Project Teams” tab (see diagram below).

    Go to "Inspired Project Teams" tab, Mike Greer's WORTH SHARING website

    Why the Convergence? 

    The short answer is this:  To help you find all the stuff I believe to be “WORTH SHARING” in one location, no matter what the topic. (For a more detailed discussion, click here.)

    Subscribe to the News Feed!

    To make sure you never miss any of my new blog posts, articles, videos or announcements you can subscribe to my WORTH SHARING news feed via you favorite news reader or your Kindle.  Here’s how:

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    Go to WORTH SHARING RSS Feed & Subscribe!

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    Go to Amazon Kindle Subscribe Page for Mike Greer's WORTH SHARING website

     

  • Apr 28

    Image: Authority & Responsibility in Balance (scales)Remember the first time you were trusted — truly trusted — to act on behalf of someone? Maybe it was babysitting your kid brother so your parents could have that special night out or taking care of your aunt’s favorite plants and her beloved old dog while she went on vacation.  You know the kind of trust I’m talking about: the kind that weighs on you a little and causes you to take a deep breath and say to yourself, “I can do this! This is really important and I can do this!” Remember what that felt like the first time you experienced it?

    That kind of trust can be a powerful motivator. And it can be even more compelling when it’s accompanied by the full authority— money, tools, decision-making power — to take action.  Feeling the responsiblity for handling an important job and knowing you have the authority to make things happen somehow helps you stand a little taller and strengthens your resolve to do great work — to prove that the trust isn’t misplaced. So, in the end, trusting people completely can inspire them to do their best.

    So You Say You Trust Me? Prove It!

    To clarify, it’s not enough for you to say, “I trust you to do this job” and then withhold meaningful authority by requiring me to ask your permission to make simple decisions or by forcing me to beg for resources to get the job done. No. If you really trust me to do the job, then you’ll give me the full authority (decision-making power, money, tools, people, etc.) that enables me to do it. By granting me this breadth of authority, you prove that you trust me. And, given that proof, I will be more likely to work hard to ensure that your trust hasn’t been misplaced.

    This balance between authority and responsibility is an important component of all sorts of human relationships. When we strive for and maintain this balance, we ultimately prove that we respect the dignity of those whom we’ve tasked with doing a job. In ethical terms, getting this balance right is simply the fair and decent thing to do!  Whether the work to be done is within the context of your family, a formal work team in an organization or society at large, it’s critical to achieve. This little video illustrates:

    Greer’s Challenges

    The questions below can help you make practical use of these ideas.

    Reflections

    Reflect on these questions:

    • Are you conscious of the authority/responsibility balance when you assign work to team members?
    • Do you have enough authority to do all the chores assigned to you? (If not, how might you get this authority?)
    • What specific actions could you take on behalf of your project team or yourself to better balance the authority and responsibilities of everyone working on your projects?
    Team Challenges 

    Ask your team:

    • Do you feel adequately empowered to do the work assigned to you? (If not, what additional power or resources do you need?)
    • Do you recall any specific situations in which you lacked adequate authority (resources or power) to do your job? (If so, what can we do to prevent this from happening again?)
    Project Manager Challenges 
    • Make certain that everyone on your project team has the power to get and use all the resources they need to do their assigned tasks.
    • Make certain that everyone on your project team has the power to make all the routine decisions necessary to keep from getting “stuck.”
    • Make sure you don’t micromanage your team.
    • If you are currently being micromanaged by your senior managers or don’t have enough authority to make key decisions to keep your project moving or lack the resources (people, tools, money, etc) to get good results, then resolve to do what you need to do (have that “tough talk” or confront that difficult senior manager) and get your authority and responsibility in balance!

    Learn More…

    Check out these related Inspired Project Teams posts/podcasts:

  • Mar 28

    Learn more about The Project Management Minimalist Collection

     

     

     

    [This book excerpt is from “Taking Care of Yourself:  Managing Your Priorities, Time, & Energy” in The Project Management Minimalist]

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    Everybody knows you need to do these things, right? But here are some reminders why they’re so important.

    “All nighters” generally don’t work. How many times have you heard about someone studying all night for an important test, only to show up at school, “go blank,” and then blow the test? The two pictures below show why that happens.

    neurons-firing

    The image on the left represents a properly firing neuron in the brain, complete with an efficient electro-chemical exchange that permits good thinking. The picture on the right represents a neuron that’s clogged by accumulated waste products. This neuron is unable to work properly. It’s owner may think of himself as a hero-workaholic, sitting for hours and hours on end at his computer. But his brain is full of waste products and there’s no way he’s really thinking clearly. So he’s not doing anyone any favors by working too long without rest.

    These waste products can only be cleared by two things: 1) Rest… allowing blood flow to take away all the crud and bring in fresh chemicals for proper firing, and 2) nutrients that provide those fresh chemicals. The moral of the story: You gotta get enough rest and allow your brain to clear/replenish its chemicals if you want to be effective.

    But don’t take my word for it. Here are some quotes by a couple of guys who’ve spent their careers researching the topic of peak performance among athletes, business people, and others:

     “… our capacity to be fully engaged depends on our ability to periodically disengage.”

     “[Periodization is] maximizing performance by alternating periods of activity with periods of rest… ‘work-rest’ ratios lie at the heart of periodization, a training method used by elite athletes throughout the world.”

    —  Jim Loehr & Tony Schwartz, in The Power of Full Engagement

      Then there’s this from Evan Robinson’s review of research on working in “crunch mode:”

    “Productivity starts to go down each day after 4 – 6 hours of continuous work. After enough hours, productivity goes to zero or may even become negative due to extra errors & mistakes.”

    Evan Robinson, Why Crunch Mode Doesn’t Work: 6 Lessons http://archives.igda.org/articles/erobinson_crunch.php

    And finally, Loehr and Schwartz remind us of the value of drinking enough water:

    “… research suggests that drinking at least sixty-four ounces of water at intervals throughout the day serves performance in a range of important ways.. Inadequate hydration …. compromises concentration and coordination.”

    —  Jim Loehr & Tony Schwartz, The Power of Full Engagement

     So c’mon. You know better!  Make sure you get enough sleep, rest, and water.

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    Learn more about The Project Management Minimalist Collection

     

     

     

    [This book excerpt was from “Taking Care of Yourself:  Managing Your Priorities, Time, & Energy” in The Project Management Minimalist]

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    Go deeper! Check Out These Articles:

  • Feb 27

    Realtor selling house with modelOne of the toughest, but most mission-critical, responsibilities of a project manager is to get people excited about the project before there is anything to show. We ask potential champions to engage and connect with something that isn’t yet real — something that exists as a concept only. Once they “buy in” and become enthusiastic, they can rally the support of their colleagues, help to pull together project funding and open the doors to key SMEs and gatekeepers. But how can we inspire support for a non-existent finished product?

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • Dec 27

    Images from "Forgive Them..." & "Meditation Fact Sheet" posts

    In case you missed them, here the five blog posts I wrote for this website in 2013 that meant the most to me. And even if you’ve already seen them, they may be worth a second look. Happy New Year!

    Bonus… A Freebie!

  • Dec 9

    PM-Flashblog-Cropped-Cover-Art

    Could you use a little PM sermon to help motivate you and your team? Then you gotta get this free e-book!

    On September 25th at 0100 hours GMT project management (PM) bloggers from all over the planet published blog posts to answer this question: “What does project management mean to me? (a project manager’s sermon).”

    Conceived by Australian PM expert Shim Marom, publisher of the quantmleap blog, this #PMFlashBlog was the first-ever world-wide synchronized PM publishing effort.

    Henny Portman, a #PMFlashBlogger from the Netherlands, created this infographic illustrating the true global distribution of the authors:

    Image: Henny Portman's #PMFlashBlog author location infographic

    Allen Ruddock, Director of UK-based ARRA Management Ltd., took on the challenge of collecting, compiling and creating an e-book from all the #PMFlashBlog blog posts published. (Check out Allen’s upcoming webinar “3 Biggest PM mistakes…”)

    The result of all this hard work was a powerful collection of heart-felt (and sometimes humorous!) blog posts that will help you discover the true meaning of PM as seen through the eyes of PM experts and practitioners from all over the world.

    === Other Free e-Books & PM Freebies ===

    === Other Articles You Might Like ===

  • Nov 21

    [Link image: This is a sample from PM Minimalist]

    [This book excerpt is from “Taking Care of Yourself:  Managing Your Priorities, Time, & Energy” in The Project Management Minimalist]

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    “Interruption is the enemy of productivity…Those taps on the shoulder and little impromptu get-togethers may seem harmless, but they’re actually corrosive to productivity. Interruption is not collaboration, it’s just interruption. [These] break your work day into a series of ‘work moments.’”  — Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson in Rework: A Better, Easier Way to Succeed in Business

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • Oct 25

    Last month Shim Marom, who publishes the quantmleap blog (which he calls a “Collection of thoughts about project management and other important things”) challenged bloggers from all over the planet to step up on their podiums and share their “sermon” with the world in answer to this question:  “What Does Project Management Mean to Me.”  What’s more, in a fun twist on the assignment, Shim asked these bloggers to synchronize their blog posts so they would all be blasted out at the exact same moment on September 25!  In short, Shim organized a #pmFlashBlog!  

    The result? 70 (yep, seventy!!) blogs simultaneously issued forth words of wisdom from their creators as each alternately struggled to find and then joyfully share their “meaning of project management.”  Below are a few samples from the #pmFlashBlog world-wide event.  Read the rest of this entry »

  • Sep 11

    Image: project team motivational session

    These days most organizations are operating with the smallest possible number of employees. This means that project managers routinely find themselves having to reach beyond their organization’s “official” employee roster to find team members. And frequently this means acquiring volunteers — team members who can’t be paid or given any tangible compensation for their efforts.  But if you can’t pay them or provide any material compensation, how can you reward volunteers for their work? And, more importantly, how can you keep them motivated to do a good job and to join your project team the next time you need them?

    Below are three broad strategies for rewarding and motivating volunteers.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • Jun 28

    This is a visual parable about self-imposed constraints to creativity. It was inspired by what happened recently on my local walking path where I exercise each day.

    The video’s designed to get you and your project teams thinking and talking about these questions:

    • What boundaries, limitations do you impose on yourself?
    • Should you try removing some of these in order to see what blossoms?

    Enjoy!

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