Universal Principles

June 12, 2017 by · Comment
Filed under: Leadership, People, Teamwork 

Way back in 1687, Sir Isaac Newton published Principia Mathematica, where he described the concept of gravity. It’s been said that he discovered gravity then, but it’s a pretty safe bet that apples fell in the downward direction from trees before 1687, and they will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Gravity is a universal principle. Read more

What’s Your Story?

May 22, 2017 by · Comment
Filed under: Leadership, People, Resilience 

It’s a classic exchange, repeat many times on a daily basis. Go to any industry event, or even meet someone on the street, and simply ask someone “what they do”. Read more

Stages, Phases…and Boxes

May 1, 2017 by · Comment
Filed under: People, Project management 

We use models to represent and categorize the massive amount of information we process everyday. This what we do to make sense of the world throughout our lives. Read more

Lenses

March 6, 2017 by · Comment
Filed under: Agility, Leadership, People 

If you like to watch movies, you have probably found that there are movies from certain directors that fit a particular style, giving you a bit of a short cut to decide whether you are likely to enjoy another of their movies. The Wachowski siblings are likely to challenge your view of reality, Alfonso Cuarón is going to take you through some long harrowing scenes without a break, The Coen brothers are going to throw plot twists at you that you could never imagine. They all have their particular lenses through which they see the world. Read more

Stay Balanced

January 18, 2016 by · Comment
Filed under: Leadership, People 

There are a few terms that are front-and-centre these days around the workplace, with gender equity and cultural diversity often leading the pack. During a presentation a few months ago, I asked the group about the challenges they face on projects. One woman, from the back of the room, suggested there were too many men on her projects. While at face value I don’t have enough information to agree with her particular case, I do believe this thinking leads to an area where we need to focus – not on equity, but on balance. Read more

Stay Humble

December 16, 2015 by · Comment
Filed under: Leadership, People, Teamwork 

We all suffer from a variety of cognitive biases, faulty assumptions that screw up our ability to make decent decisions. One of my favourites is the Dunning-Kruger effect, where those that are unskilled tend to overestimate their abilities. Apparently the study of this bias was inspired by a bank robber who smeared lemon juice on his face (you may have used lemon juice as invisible ink when you were a kid) to hide from surveillance cameras. Read more

Choice

June 9, 2015 by · Comment
Filed under: Agility, People 

We all have times when we’re exasperated with the world around us – frustrated or scared or angry at something or someone. We’ll lash out, blame others for our predicament. Sometimes we depend on others for our own validation, relinquishing control to external drivers. In all cases, we’re setting ourselves up for a fall. We’ll rarely get the result we are looking for, and there’s a good chance we’ll fill our heads with negative self-talk, kicking ourselves in the butt for being so stupid. Read more

Transactions and Connections

May 28, 2015 by · Comment
Filed under: People, Project management, Teamwork 

When we stumble on our projects and seek ways to improve our experience and results, there is a strong tendency to establish a clear approach for future projects, based on what hurt us in the past. This might look like a particular approach, a set of templates to ensure something doesn’t fall through the cracks anymore, perhaps a collection of checklists to guide the way. These become ‘our new standard approach’, but can actually get us into more trouble than before. Read more

That Vitamin Distraction

April 14, 2015 by · Comment
Filed under: Leadership, People, Quality, Teamwork 

There’s an old (and frankly, tired) query that investors will pull out of their bag of clichés, usually when they are leaning away from funding your idea: “are you building vitamins or painkillers?”. The suggestion is that painkillers fix an immediate need and sell better – more attractive to those that want instant financial gratification as well. Hopefully, we’re not all consumed by that myopic view. Read more

Symptoms

April 9, 2015 by · Comment
Filed under: Leadership, People 

I was having lunch with a friend earlier this week, and after catching up with how our kids are doing and our shared interest in music, talk got around to the workplace. Generally things are going well for them, but a few interesting comments were made about one person that works with him. On reflection, I see these as symptoms. Read more

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