Should you Throw Out Complex Project Timelines?

September 25th, 2009

This is exactly the subject matter of my recent article published in Project Times, “Throw Out Complex Project Timelines”. Thus, my answer is YES!

The current recession has made it all the more critical that companies deliver the expected project results – on time, on/under budget and meeting/ exceeding the intended results. Therefore, it is critical that we throw out the old paradigms, starting with the need for complex project timelines. I hear my project management colleagues thinking, “heresy!”; however, in my experience in working with companies ranging from entrepreneurial start-up’s to international, multi-billion dollar organizations, I’ve found that what “works” (delivers bottom line results) consistently is quite the opposite – simple, common sense, people-focused projects. So, what are the keys to success?

The three keys are 1) Start with people; 2) Develop a simple project timeline; 3) Lastly, follow-up is your key to success. Read about each of these three keys to how to achieve bottom line results without complexity in the full article reprinted on my website or directly on Project Times (FYI, it requires registration to view the entire article; however, I’d appreciate it if you registered and commented on the article).

I look forward to hearing your comments – and I encourage debate, as it is one of the best ways to get to an even better end result.

Reigniting Job Search &/or Career

September 21st, 2009

I was recently quoted in an article in MSNBC titled “Discouraged? Time to Reignite Job Search” about the frustrating job search process many job seekers are encountering, it’s affect on morale and how to reignite the process. click here to read full article.

Unfortunately, I happen to know several job seekers who are some of the absolute best people in their fields I’ve ever worked with over the past 20 years, across many companies, industries and borders who are having an awful time with the current market and job search environment. After all, California’s unemployment has hit a new high – 12.2%.

To me, it appears as though there is a serious crisis of confidence in corpoate America – in essence, business leaders seem afraid to make decisions. And, this crisis is affecting the job market. On the other hand, those leaders who forge forward and make solid business decisions and investments (whether it’s to hire to support your business strategy or invest in equipment to expand your product offerings etc) will leapfrog their competition. According to McGraw-Hill research, the companies that invested during the 80’s recession were more successful than the rest.

I believe business leaders must stand tall and think about thriving instead of surviving through the current recession. And, although terribly frustrating, the job seekers should not give up. Eventually, the top quality candidates will find the business leader interested in thriving, and it will be a fantastic opportunity for both the job seeker and business leader.

Tips to Start the Week

September 13th, 2009

Now that Labor Day is behind us, and we are “back to the grind”, I thought a few tips/ thoughts for the week might be appreciated. I welcome additional ideas, comments etc.

1. Make a list of what you’d like to accomplish this week

2. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize – how many of you have longer to-do lists than is feasible (probably even within a month)? The solution is to prioritize – what will make the largest impact? Which items are time sensitive? Etc?

3. Focus your efforts on the top priorities – this yields the best results… doubt about it!

4. Track progress – remember, this doesn’t have to be complicated. Just review your list and see which you’ve done and what’s left to do.

5. Adjust accordingly – after all, what’s the point of tracking progress if you do not adjust? Also, it is quite possible an unexpected priority will arise, which will require a re-evaluation of your list.

6. Remember your relationships – review your list, have you prioritized relationships? It is easy to get side-tracked on 1000’s of tasks and forget your relationships.

7. Consider developing options – not every item on your list has to be achieved with 1 solution. Think about alternatives that will meet your objective with less effort, less resources, etc. Having options can only aid in your success.

8. Is there anything on your list that will provide value to someone else? Can you add something?

9. Will you be learning anything, based on your list? It’s always a good idea to incorporate continual learning into your plans – no matter how small, it adds up over time.

10. Remember to take good care of yourself, as this will help your productivity and success. Even one step better, add anything you might not have time to do to your priorities so you remember to do it.

Secrets to succeeding during organizational change

September 11th, 2009

Undoubedly, countless organizations are going through significant organizational change with the recession – layoffs, re-organizations, new management, cash flow shortages, and preparation for the economic recovery. It has been many years since organiations have been through such an extended, turbulent timeframe. Thus, the keys to succeeding during organizational change become ever-the-more critical.

“There is always chaos and uncertainty in organizational change, and you’ll stand out in the crowd by not getting caught up in the chaos; instead be the steadfast, calm one.” This is one of my quotes in a recent Los Angeles Times article titled, “Staying calm in the face of organizational change”: click here. Read the entire article to hear additional tips and perspectives on organizational change.

How to Leverage Best Practices

September 2nd, 2009

It has recently occurred to me that businesses are missing a huge opportunity to leverage the transferability of best practices. Although as a business consultant, leveraging best practices has been an “assumed” part of the value I provide clients, even I missed the boat and forgot to leverage this value in my marketing process. After realizing this personal miss, I started to think further about the topic in relation to my clients, and I realized that it has been one of my top 3 paths to success in driving bottom line business results. So, what do I mean by transferability of best practices, and how does one go about doing this?

Leveraging the transferability of best practices involves the following: 1) searching for even seemingly unrelated best practices for your top / core business processes; 2) evaluate and trial best practices that seem as though they might have something to offer in your business; 3) modify and change as appropriate for your business (leverage the best and adjust the rest); 4) implement and monitor progress. I’ve found countless examples where leveraging the transferability of best practices has proven effective. So, what are some of the ways to achieve it? 1) Different sized businesses; 2) Different industries; 3) Across countries & continents; 4) A word of caution… If you are interested in reading more about these ways of leveraging best practices, please read my latest newsletter – click here.