Civil Discourse and Communication

Civil Discourse and Communication

Civil Discourse and Communication

The harshness of our current political culture has a way of seeping into all aspects of our lives, and yes, even into our work lives.

I find this shift rather disheartening and even disgusting. Harshness means polarization and that means an almost profound lack of communication, respectful or otherwise.

Simply put, it’s about civil discourse. How we communicate with regard to politics should be the same as when we engage our teams and vice versa.

In far too many situations, standing up for one’s self or opinion is done at the expense of caring for others.

There’s been a lot of focus in self-help circles about authenticity, being true to one’s self. That’s fine in theory but when executed, somewhat ham-fisted. I do not believe that standing up for yourself has to mean running roughshod over everyone else.

I’ve noticed that some of the worst drivers on our roads are those with Baby On Board stickers on their rear windows. If your baby is important to you then we should also expect you to be a very good, cautious driver.

It’s not about using the sticker to shift the responsibility for your children’s safety onto fellow drivers. Seeing that sticker signals to me that you are asking us to care for your children as much as you do. That is absolutely wonderful and we will. But you have to as well. When you see that sticker on a vehicle that just cut you off or roared past you on the inside lane, am I the only one who hopes that the baby is NOT on board at that moment – because the care requested by that sticker is not being exercised by that driver.

That driver is also not being respectful to our fellow citizens. This in turn circles us back to civil discourse.

For example, using your views on global warming as a cudgel rather than an incitement to make the world better, is a good example of how not to get your views heard. It’s not about you, it’s about communicating your message to achieve change.

It’s about how we speak to each other, how we communicate our ideas without slamming other’s ideas or even who they are as a person.

The ‘hows’ of communication always win out over ‘what’ you’re communicating. And in fact, it can ensure you’re being heard far more than the presumed veracity of your arguments.

How does the culture of your teams support civil discourse – respectful disagreement? If you believe it could be better we’d love to support that – info@ksppartnership.com.


Owning the Learning Curve

Owning the Learning Curve

It’s one of the most satisfying and potentially frustrating experiences in life.

Learning something new. Applying something you know in a new way.  Either way you put yourself on a learning curve.

Somewhere in growing up, however we faced an interesting choice.  It was interesting, in part, because we aren’t always aware a) there is a choice and b) we’re choosing.

The choice?

We decide whether or not we can bear the impact of not being perceived as being REALLY good at it (whatever ‘it’ is). This poses a problem all ‘round.

Our learning curves are not just ours – they also belong to and affect the rest of the teams we work within.

One leadership challenge is accommodating and even encouraging the learning curve.

Without a learning curve individuals and organizations go stagnant.

That said, with a learning curve there are mistakes, missteps, and a period when progress seems surely slow rather that slow and sure.

How much stagnation are you willing to risk to avoid the growing pains of a learning curve?

If you believe in the value of leadership in teams check out our videos on leadership driven project management on the KSP Partnership YouTube channel at https://tinyurl.com/KSP-Partnership-YouTube


Resurrecting the Project Manager Role

Resurrecting the Project Manager Role

I stopped and blinked at a headline on a Linked In post and choked back a chuckle.

It was titled ‘The Death of The Project Manager’.

The provocative title (for project people, that is) did its work. I clicked in.

The author, a professor named Andre Barcaui, suggests that the increasing use of the Agile approach with a ‘flat’ team dynamic – ‘team leads’ swapped out for guiding ‘coaches’ –  is part of the decline of the project manager’s role.

The second part is the rise of AI (artificial intelligence) and its ability to crunch data sets and proffer logical outcomes and conclusions. Theoretically, this leads to one logical outcome.

He also suggests that decisions made from ‘instinct’ may be not just outdated but even harmful.

And there you have it: ‘The death of the project manager.’

To which I say, “Hold on Huxley, that’s a huge stretch”.

But first a caveat. Christina “CK” Kerley, a top technology futurist, suggests in her speeches and sessions that we want technology to take over tasks – those tasks that require lots of processing but little judgement.

I love having data crunched by tech. That allows me to do critical thinking, the creative problem-solving that is the sweet spot of any project manager or team. There are absolutely large data sets that I am happy to have crunched and parsed for me.

But that isn’t what the article suggests. It sees a world where leaders are replaced by a sort of group dynamic.

Nice try. Groups and teams are essential to the development and production of a project but there always needs to be one that takes the lead and ultimate responsibility for the process and end result.

In practical terms in the scenario by Barcaui, there would be a room full of well-meaning people on deadline day pointing fingers at each other for the failure to deliver. Blaming the AI will never get anyone very far.

The role of the project manager gone?

If you agree that the project manager’s leadership means more than creating massive archives of records, and you agree team dynamics, the culture of the team’s productivity and progress, are primary responsibilities of the leadership role of the project manager, I would suggest that the opposite is true.

Better tools mean the best project leaders will shine, and a project team will stay tightly focused on the process and deadline.

If you believe that how your people shine as project leaders counts, please sign up for KSP Academy where leadership driven project management respects people – and uses tools and methodologies.


Is Happiness at Work Over-Rated?

Is Happiness at Work Over-Rated?

After reading an article from a Robert Half newsletter that I saved in my ‘to post-fodder’ file, I starting thinking about the whole subject from a different angle.  The article’s main suggestions state there are:

  • universal factors that affect workplace happiness
  • unique elements that drive joy for each age group, experience level and industry
  • a link between happiness and performance

This connected in my mind with the book ‘Drive’ by Daniel Pink. He outlines the changes in thinking regarding motivation. Pink’s research into what makes motivation work now versus the old carrot and stick approach is interesting. And it took my curiosity down to this question:

What is the link between what you can call happiness or what I would call motivated performance, and productive performance? And do you need happiness in the workplace or fulfillment?

Just semantics, you say?

I would argue no.  The way that people interpret words ultimately decides what that word means for each of them – and for each of them as they connect with the person who said it. Clearly defining anything in a practical sense includes context.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary: (for brevity I’ve shortened the actual definitions – you can find the full definitions in the hyperlinks)

happiness /ˈhapɪnəs  /
noun [mass noun] the state of being happy:

Hmm. So let’s go one step further with this one.

happy /ˈhapi  /
adjective
(happier, happiest)
1 feeling or showing pleasure or contentment:
2 [attributive] fortunate and convenient:
3 [in combination] informal inclined to use a specified thing excessively or at random:

And now let’s look at the other side of the question:

fulfilment /fʊlˈfɪlmənt  / (US fulfillment)
noun [mass noun]
1 the achievement of something desired, promised, or predicted:
2 the meeting of a requirement, condition, or need:

As leaders, project managers are held to high standards – and some of the highest come from within ourselves. One of those high standards is how we work at keeping a balance between what the people on our teams need and what the project needs from our people.

Which do you think we have the strongest responsibility to help our teams develop – happiness or fulfillment?

If you find these types of discussions interesting, if you enjoy stretching your ideas around leadership, join our video academy and continue the conversation (and collect PDU’s)!


Why Negotiation…

Running Project Management workshops, I turn a few heads by suggesting additional skill sets for Project Managers.

Negotiations, Public Speaking and Sales usually don’t show up as required skills for Project Managers. They should.

Why negotiation…

Consider this: Project Leaders have to deal with conflict – in the team and with the stakeholder community. It’s to be expected. Bright people have various ways of communicating with others and, since that means you, it means you need to be ready to take on the role of peacemaker.

Conflict resolution is negotiation. Getting people to agree to a way forward is negotiation. And, let’s face it, you know how important it is to ensure a project stays on track.

The bottom line is this: Enhancing your team’s skill levels is a key part of being a strong leader. Adding negotiation to their array of skills is essential to their development as a team and your skill at managing.

Your team is the most valuable aspect of every project. Tapping into their growth potential is key to smoothing the bumps on the road to completion.

Grow your skills at leadership-driven project management with easy, action oriented videos – join the Leadership Driven Project Management On-Line Academy.

Learning, PDUs and fun! KSP Leadership Driven Project Management Academy.


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