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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Project Document Magic

     Bought a car once from one of the best salesmen I ever met.
     First, he asked questions about our wants, needs, preferences and financial range. He listened attentively, and asked meaningful follow-ups.
     We looked at cars and discussed them. We decided to talk at greater length about one model, and sat down to do so.
     Before long, the salesman was asking us questions about ourselves, and writing down some of the answers.

     At the time, I happened to be teaching “Personal Selling” to university students, and I found myself admiring this entire performance in the new-car showroom.
     Among the challenges in sales is winning the trust of your prospect. Another is disciplining yourself to delicately tend this new relationship, enhancing the trust while eliciting details about what could convince this person to buy . . . or not.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


     The campaign was very persistent. This ambitious entrepreneur wanted my signature on a contract tying me to his consulting company for X number of years.
     He kept after me. I kept resisting, refusing to do it.
     In the climactic conversation on the topic, he offered me three incentives to sign. The only one I now remember was the first, tickets to a boxing match. Turning that down was not a problem, since I’m not a boxing fan. The other two were no more attractive.
     No deal. We concluded that intense exchange when he finally said, “Man! Are you difficult to deal with!”
     There was a point there, although he had it aimed in the wrong direction. It indeed is difficult to persuade a person . . . when you’re clueless as to what motivates that person.
     It is a fact that you can’t motivate anyone other than yourself. People motivate themselves. I am moved to action because I expect the action to provide for me something I value.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Ultimate Project Manager Habit

     “You can’t start a successful project without a charter.”
     Ask five project managers whether they agree with that statement.
     Then ask them what a project charter contains and entails.
     Hey, ask those project managers if they’ve ever seen such a document.
     Even if they all work for the same organization, you’re very likely to get as many as five separate answers to most of the three questions – if not all of them.
     A project charter:
     Is it a detailed specification of desired actions/outcomes/constraints determined at high management levels and issued to the project manager?
     Is it the foundational description of the key project elements developed by the actual leaders of the project?
     Is it an expression of mutual agreement among all key stakeholding decision-makers, after negotiation of their interests and commitments?
     If there isn’t something called a “charter,” what do the project managers base their project planning and execution on? What do they call it? What does it do?