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Stephen Wise Blog

Integration Professionals. We dramatically improve traction.

American in Paris

Focus on Outcomes

Traction Tips

A weekly action idea to improve traction on your important initiatives by Stephen Wise.

  The new and wonderful musical, An American in Paris, is doing the rounds. It weaves multiple love stories with a Jazz and Ballet fusion leading to true love outcomes.  

Milo falls for Jerry, who's in love with Lise, who is engaged to Henri. Lise shares mutual affection with Henri but falls in love with Jerry. Jerry's friend Adam is also falling for Lise. Lise the ballerina, is oblivious she is the focal point of all the story lines. Despite the complications, true love wins out in the end. In the opening scenes of the musical Jerry sets his strategy to find and win Lise. However he gets lost, becomes indecisive, and is distracted by other interests. Has this ever happened to you in business? Getting lost in the details, uncertainty over the correct next step, or being distracted by new opportunities? Unfortunately, I see it every day. So, here is my guaranteed formula for success. 1. Focus on driving the outcomes 2. Accept Uncertainty 3. Agile Mindset

Focus on outcomes

Craft a hi-level plan. List the activities required to achieve the desired outcomes.

Accept Uncertainty

Accept uncertainty. Our ability to achieve goals proscribed in the plan can vary significantly.

Agile Mindset

Re-work your plan frequently.  Consider changes in the environment and your leanings along the way. Switch around your priorities. re-evaluate desired outcomes to reflect new realities.

Weekly Traction Action

Fuse the improvisation of Jazz with the perfection of Ballet to manage your corporate outcomes. Your weekly action: 1. Ensure all your desired outcomes have an accessible, hi-level, end to end plan. 2. Schedule regular times to evaluate whether you are on track and make course corrections to get back on track. I recommend or implement these actions all the time on client initiatives. Hopefully, it will work to improve outcomes for you too.

I love Email

Please send me an email and tell me about if you have success or trouble with this action. I’m always interested to see what can happen out in the wild.  

Stephen Wise

Integration Professionals

https://IntegrationProfessionals.com

The most powerful leadership skill an expert Project Manager needs for success

No one can be an expert in all fields. A Project Manager is a skilled expert on leading teams to initiate, plan, execute and close projects. These are among the most important skills, but not the most powerful. If you aren’t feeling well you go to see your General Practitioner (GP). Your GP understands the big picture and upon identifying a specific issue or risk with your health may refer you to a specialist. In this analogy the GP is like a Project Manager – they do not need to be an expert in every field and one difference between okay GP’s and excellent GP’s is the speed and quality and follow-up related to the referral. All Project Managers will tell you that the most commonly used skill on a project is communication. However, neither communication nor planning are the most powerful skills in the arsenal. The true multiplier, the most powerful skill, is the ability to learn from others. The ability to learn from others enables the PM to absorb the nuances of the culture, mitigate the hidden risks of the processes, and allow for the complexity of the technology. When a diverse project team gets together it doesn’t matter who is the smartest or most senior in the room. What matters is learning from everyone’s skills and experience and channeling that back to the team so the whole is greater than the sum. The most powerful leadership skill is the ability to apply the greater whole in order to reach the objectives of the project quicker and with less risk of failure.

Stephen Wise

https://www.IntegrationProfessionals.com 

Team Building - Environmental Factors

Fourth in a series on Team Building.

Along with personnel factors, there are also a number of business environment factors affecting firms' ability to hire and develop quality team members. Just as the world population is evolving, so too is the world work environment, and the speed of change is leaving many firms breathless.

Businesses must increasingly compete on a global scale and deal with staff just as mobile as their corporate leaders. Virtual teams are rising, freeing workers from the confines of the office, which in turn makes it more difficult to control and train talent pools. With lower loyalty levels to organizational leaders, the global, mobile, and virtual workplace can mean a staff free-for-all when competing for talent.

GLOBALIZATION 

The blending of talent pools from around the world brings diversity of ideas, cultures, and practices to the business environment. For some firms, this is a wholly positive experience. For other firms, this is disruptive and difficult to adapt to in daily practice. Yet the shifting demographics of the world mean that globalization forces are more likely to increase than decrease, requiring staffing managers and business planners to adapt or lose at the global talent game. 

RISE OF THE VIRTUAL WORKPLACE 

In the United States, 58 percent of companies consider themselves to be virtual workspaces, according to the Insight Research Corporation.[1] This rise of virtual work and virtual office environments presents a challenge to hiring and developing quality team members. Culture and fit to culture is a prime driver of employee success, but how can this be assessed if the employee will never spend time in the office? What is the role of workplace learning culture over Twitter or via Skype conferencing? How can team member development be instigated and monitored remotely to ensure training and development investments are paying off? These questions and many more are becoming larger and larger issues for recruiters and managers worldwide.

DECREASED LOYALTY/INCREASED MOBILITY 

Adding to the challenge of managing virtual work teams is the challenge of managing less loyal and more mobile workforces. While previous generations of workers were bound to one company for the effective duration of their careers, some 80 percent of modern workers are ready to go work for another firm if it appears more attractive according to research firm Right Management.[2] Over the course of their working lives, the average American worker will have 8 – 11 jobs, and up to five different careers. While this represents greater mobility than other parts of the world, it is not unusual for top talent in developing nations to switch jobs annually in pursuit of pay increases or promotions. Brazil, facing a 7.5 percent annual growth rate, can't keep up talent wise, while India and China face broad-based skill shortages as workers routinely jump ship to pick up the double-digit wage increases that are expected even in a down market.[3] Firms can no longer expect that workers will stay with them throughout their working life. On one hand, this makes organizations reluctant to invest in talent that may head for the door at the first opportunity. Yet on the other hand, firms who can grow talent become less dependent on individual workers and better able to pass knowledge between team members to reduce the impact of a highly mobile workforce.

Adapting rather than complaining about the turnover rates is going to provide smart firms with real talent advantages.

Stephen Wise

www.IntegrationProfessionals.com


[1]  Insight Research Corporation.  “The Mobile Workforce and Enterprise Applications 2007-2012.”  Retrieved August 5th, 2011 from:  http://www.insight-corp.com/reports/mwf.asp
[2]  Harnish, Tom.  “Be Flexible To Modern Staffing Challenges.”  Open Forum March 25th, 2011.  Retrieved August 4th, 2011 from:  http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/be-flexible-to-modern-staffing-challenges-1
[3]  Kazmin, Amy, Robinson, Gwen, and Weitzman, Hal.  “Talent Shortage Adds To Growth Strains.”  Financial Times, published May 19th, 2011.  Retrieved August 4th, 2011 from:  http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/5d288c4-816a-11e0-9c83-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1UNIic5IA

Two themes for Portfolio Agility

I have seen the future and it is agile. The agile I am talking about is not a tool, or methodology, or a movement. It is the outcome when Project Managers have discussions with Sponsors on how to go faster, or how to beat competitors, or how to win new business. Portfolio management is listing, prioritizing, selecting, and controlling business ideas/investments in the context of the top success drivers and constraints affecting the business. In my experience, many projects are handed to the Project Manager that have risks or budget or schedule issues that the PM can’t even quantify. Unfortunately, these very items are likely to be the root cause of missed expectations, budget overruns or schedule delays. Our challenge is to enter into an ongoing conversation to ensure the right investments are being made at the right time. We need to develop and design a new way of thinking to respond to the needs of the business. Here are two themes to help support this change: 1. Focus on enhancing the collaboration and communication between the person managing the work (Project Manager) and the person who wants the work done (Sponsor).
  • Create visibility anytime and to any desired level of detail.
  • Speed everything up so that we can see business benefits/failures faster.
2. Gain trust by eliminating multiple sources of data/truth by bringing data integrity into the project and program environment.
  • Ensure culture is conducive to increased reporting.
  • Communicate better about those things that people care about.
I first head the following from an industry research analyst, “We need better brakes … so we can go faster”. How true! By investing in portfolio management skills and tools to improve communication and data quality, the organizations we support will have improved agility to amplify successes and reallocate resources from underperforming projects.

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