Author Archives: Kimi Ziemski, MBA, PMP, CSM

Lessons in Social Media… What 7 weeks of double pneumonia taught me

Category : Project Management

After a short trip to Guam, my occasional walking pneumonia morphed into double pneumonia.

Let’s get the important bit out of the way. I tested for both C-19 and the antibodies – negative all ‘round. Who thought I’d be grateful for ‘just’ pneumonia?

7 weeks of bed, loads of liquids and meds to deal with the various symptoms. At times hours, even a day, when I felt less dead followed by a nasty relapse.

Social media? Not a priority. But for some folks, it is the only way they communicate. So, for a few minutes 1 or 2 times/day I would catch up on what some of my friends were doing.

Barely anyone even noticed I was gone. Humbling and instructive.

Lesson 1: if you hadn’t figured it out, each of us is just a few bits of humanity in this strange and wonderful existence.

Lesson 2: a simplifying clarity comes when you limit the time you spend in social media – even when it’s part of your business.

Lesson 3: people who truly care about you will keep up with you and inquire about you even with your schedule that included 15-18 hours of sleep a day.

Lesson 4: it isn’t not ‘real’ and it does matter. Post what you will. Your posts are not the sum of who you are. It will, however, be online forever and possibly have influence you don’t even know about.

What do you want to be your online identity?


Category : Project Management

But It Doesn’t Really Matter to YOU

But it doesn’t really matter to YOU – is what I often hear when the topic of race comes up.

It is when suddenly the other person realizes that I am not a member of the dominant society in the US.

I am a 4th generation Japanese American, 4th generation Californian living in the Midwest since 2015. Like so many, life has been a constant lesson in learning cultures, learning to bridge cultures. I've held on to some of what my grandparents gave me and, sadly, sacrificed too much of what they tried to give me because of my drive to be ‘part of’. I heard a 2014 TEDx talk titled ‘What I am Learning From My White Grandchildren’. Anthony Peterson posits that rather than the thought that race is real and it doesn’t matter, race is not real and it does matter. Race is a part of us but is not the only thing that makes each of us who we are, how competent we are, how caring we are. That is how it is not real. What makes it matter is when it is the single factor that drives how people choose to treat each of us and promote – whether socially, professionally or personally – each of us.

Pause for a moment and ask yourself ‘how many other ways might this be a valid perspective?’

I ask that you consider this: There is no one for whom it DOESN’T matter. Diminishing any of us diminishes all of us.

Here is the link to Mr. Peterson’s talk:

Video Access Fatigue

Month 2 of video chats, video conferences, video lessons (giving and getting), and video meetings is beginning here in Illinois.  As time goes on, I see two approaches developing.  There are some who are drawing firmer boundaries on their availability and some who view these times as an opportunity to break the boundaries of time. This is an enterprising, ambitious and a take-the-opportunity-silver-lining kind of approach. Here’s the silver lining’s sharp edge: breaking the boundaries of time zones is all well and good  right up until the time zone boundaries being broken run smack into the availability boundaries your colleagues and team members have established.  What you choose to do at that point can be a critical element of your relationship with that individual, that professional, for the foreseeable future. How are you demonstrating respect for the approaches of others you work with? However it is, it will give them a strong indicator of how you value them as individuals.

What Does Your Customer Need?

Have you ever accidentally gotten in your own way? Every project manager, every project leader balances the wants and needs of their clients. Sometimes, though, we forget that what we’re making, all respect to the pride of professionalism in our team members, doesn’t actually belong to us! So a shout out to my wonderful colleagues – how do you keep your team’s focus on what the customer needs?

Introverts – Evolution’s Saviors

As a extrovert – someone who gets a lot of energy from interactions with others – I have somehow managed to have some of my strongest partnerships with introverts – loners. I always figured that it was just proof that opposites really DO attract.

Well, it turns out that, according to some truly smart folks at Princeton, introverts might just save the species. In fact, apparently in their studies of various animal populations, the loners tended to be the ones who would avoid things that could kill in large swathes. For the loners who live by themselves, they are significantly more likely to not get what ever bug or virus is going around. They’re also a whole lot less likely to get stressed over strict limitations on socializing opportunities. Some of us extroverts? Not so much.

We’re starting to talk with the pictures on our desk. This sounds to me like yet another demonstration of the strengths of a diverse group. Get those different perspectives about what works and why. Ask people to put their strengths forward. In John Maxwell’s now famous 360∘ Leadership model we learned that the most effective leadership comes from who is the strongest at solving a particular problem.

So let’s keep in mind that those quiet folks, the ones who might need a bit of coaxing to verbally participate – might well be in the strongest position to survive troubling health situations with their sanity intact. They are also leading by example – finding satisfaction in things that extroverts like me don’t always reach for – activities or hobbies we may have long left in favor of sharing conversation and wine with friends at a restaurant.


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