Crossing the Rubicon

We cross a point of no return when we decide to take specific action towards achieving a goal. Until we are definitely committed to action, the danger is great that our goal will remain an armchair adventure.

2018-01-25T10:39:29+00:00 10 October, 2016|Tags: , , , |

Bright lines

The new year means new opportunities, experiences and... new goals. But the goals we set in January are often long-forgotten by July. Or worse, they hang around our neck like an albatross reminding us of our inaction. Bright lines can make the difference between success and failure.

2018-01-30T09:03:06+00:00 25 January, 2016|Tags: , , |

On Gifts and Giving

According to Wharton Professor Adam Grant, it’s time to rethink the common notion that “nice guys” finish last. More often, they finish first! Grant’s research shows how givers—people who do more for others than they expect in return—rise in organizations. But not all givers succeed equally.

2018-01-30T09:24:56+00:00 16 December, 2013|Tags: , , , , , |

The Language of Leaders

The language of leaders is we. Psychologist James Pennebaker shows how little words like "I", "we", and "the" reveal much about our relationships, honesty, and social status. The results are not what you might expect!

2018-01-30T09:30:28+00:00 19 November, 2013|Tags: , , |

Put Your Signature Strengths To Work

What are you exceptionally good at? What do you love doing so much that you lose track of time when doing it? Chances are, your answers to these questions reveal what psychologists call your “signature strengths.” Learning how to use your signature strengths at work can mean the difference between success and failure—between flourishing and burnout.

2018-01-30T09:40:07+00:00 30 August, 2013|Tags: , , |

The Positivity Tipping Point

Do you know your positivity ratio? That’s the ratio of positive emotions to negative emotions you experience over time. Research shows that people who experience at least three times as many positive emotions as negative emotions are more likely to flourish.

2018-01-30T09:49:23+00:00 11 April, 2013|Tags: , |

What it Takes to Follow-Through

Both talent and effort are necessary for achievement. Without talent, you can put in lots of time and not get very far. And talented people often fail for lack of stamina. While talent depends on intelligence (the smarter you are, the faster you learn), effort is directly related to self-control or "grit." Psychologist Angela Duckworth defines grit as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.” It’s grit that keeps a person going long enough to put in the 10’000 hours of dedicated practice needed to achieve mastery in a field.

2018-01-30T10:02:12+00:00 12 March, 2013|Tags: , , |

Keeping Stakeholder Relationships On Course

Managing stakeholder expectations can feel like steering a boat through rough seas. The “seascape” surrounding your project is constantly changing. The project is moving full steam ahead under its own power. Corporate politics blow from different directions with varying intensity. Resource availability may buoy the project up or cause it to crash on the rocks. [...]

2017-08-11T22:09:48+00:00 3 November, 2009|Tags: , , , |

Keeping Stakeholder Relationships On Course, Part 2

Part 1 of this article introduced a process for identifying stakeholders, analyzing their impact on the project and setting a strategy for each stakeholder group. Here I will discuss how to plan communication actions to influence stakeholders. Plan Communication Actions Once you have set a strategy for each stakeholder group, you need to identify communication actions [...]

2017-08-14T15:14:06+00:00 3 November, 2009|Tags: , , , |

Mental Simulations and Other Ways to Make Better Decisions

If asked how you make decisions, you might say it depends on the kind of decision and how quickly you need to decide. Do you follow a formalized process or framework for making decisions? Probably not. Although many of us are familiar with the classic decision-making process of understanding the problem, identifying and evaluating alternatives, [...]

2017-08-22T18:17:53+00:00 1 July, 2009|Tags: , , , |

Learning to Have a Difficult Conversation

Tom Truly is project manager on a project that has recently missed a deadline and lost a key customer. Sarah, the project sponsor, has called a meeting to discuss progress. Sarah has been under pressure from senior management to "fix" the high-visibility project. She is angry that Tom didn't inform her in advance about the [...]

2017-08-25T15:44:36+00:00 2 March, 2009|Tags: , , , , |

How to Interview Stakeholders, Part 2

In the first part of this series I explored what makes a good stakeholder interview in general. In this article, I will write about how to use open questions, sketches and thinking out loud during stakeholder interviews. These techniques from the fields of usability and user experience can make interviews with project stakeholders more effective. Let's [...]

2017-08-25T15:50:43+00:00 27 February, 2009|Tags: , , , , , |

How to Interview Stakeholders, Part 1

Journalists are experts at interviewing people. However, we can all benefit from better interview techniques. A good interview helps us understand expectations, gain insights and win people for our cause. For project managers, interviewing is an important technique for clarifying stakeholder requirements. Software developers should read Scott Ambler's essay on interviewing techniques for Agile Modeling. [...]

2017-08-25T16:49:45+00:00 1 February, 2009|Tags: , , , |

New Years Resolutions for Project Managers

Most of us make resolutions for the new year. And almost as many of us break them. "Research shows that about 80 percent of people who make resolutions on Jan. 1 fall off the wagon by Valentine's Day," says Marti Hope Gonzales, associate professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota, according to the New [...]

2017-08-25T16:05:48+00:00 5 January, 2009|Tags: , |

In Focus: Twitter and Storytelling

In the last few weeks I have stumbled upon a lot of discussions on "digital storytelling" in the media. In their Educause article Web 2.0 Storytelling. Emergence of a New Genre, Bryan Alexander and Alan Levine encourage learning professionals to use blogs and microblogs to create a narrative that captures the interest of the audience [...]

2017-08-25T16:13:34+00:00 18 November, 2008|Tags: , , |

The Storytelling Approach to Note Taking

More and more people seem to be sharing their colorful sketches and presentation notes on Flickr. Sketching is on the rise! I enjoy seeing how people combine words and drawings to capture information or explore an idea-using what I call a storytelling approach to note taking. Many of us first think of mind maps when [...]

2017-08-25T16:38:14+00:00 23 October, 2008|Tags: , , , |