jim@millikenproject.com

jim@millikenproject.com 207-808-8878 Our book "Life is a Project: How are you managing?" is now available!


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Project Management Certainty

      It seems pretty unfair, when you think about it. Project Management demands certainty, but it doesn’t give you any.  You have to bring your own.
     My earliest experiences with project managers in a large corporation, decades ago, included listening to a raft of complaints about this. Those project managers often were the target of what really were attempted cons, by their own managers.
     Boss: “When will the project be finished?”
     Project Manager: “It’s ‘way too early to tell. We have to get a lot of quotes and estimates before we have any idea of how long it will take.”
     Boss: “Well, how about just a rough idea? I won’t hold you to it.”
     Baloney. If the project manager should mistakenly breathe anything, however circumscribed and conditional, that could be interpreted as a number or a date, it instantly became carved in granite.
     At least, that’s how the story went, and I have heard it countless times. Still do, now and then.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Leadership Is Customized

     “You’re being unfair. You let her do X or Y, but you won’t let me do it.”    
     That particular personnel problem confronted me early in my first managerial job, as a daily newspaper city editor. A basically fairminded person, at least in my own opinion, I was buffaloed.
     It took a while (never mind how long) for me to understand how to deal with the issue. Fairness is essential to effective leadership, but, it turns out, fairness to people does not mean identical treatment.
     Over the years, I have added to my management consulting the concept of customization of leadership. The good leader accounts for all the circumstances in relationships. Fundamental circumstances are the ability and commitment of the particular staff member.
     Back in the day, my leadership behavior would be to issue instructions (relative to my opinion of the ability of the staff member involved). Sometimes that would be quite a brief conversation. That’s it. I’d just wait for what might happen.
    

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Little-Things Leadership

Leader? Me? You’ve got the wrong person, buddy. I don’t do leadership. That’s for that gifted, articulate person up there on the stage. I just do my part and leave the leadership to the leaders. . . .

Stop right there. You may already be providing leadership, or you may be just a couple of words away from doing so.
Here’s an example. This woman saw on Facebook that a person she had known years before was now a prominent psychologist.
The woman remembered what a fine young person the psychologist had been back then. Doing just a clerk’s job in a store, but always dependable, always pleasant, always volunteering to take care of this or that little thing, or to help out.