Spotting a leader

Synopsis -  Effective 'leaders' know what quality is and feel a sense of responsibility for achieving quality.  If a person waffles, waivers or avoids discussing quality, chances are they will not make an effective leader. It's pretty clear that project success rates are higher where projects have effective leadership and lower where there was either no leader, or where those in the leadership roles didn't discharge their duties effectively.  Effective leaders align people, focus people a...
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Agile’s Achilles heel

From its birth in the software development community, the idea of ‘agility’ has risen in prominence to the point where organizations of all shapes and forms are now leveraging agile principles (or at least trying to).  Since being conceptually formalized in the 2001 ‘agile manifesto’ the ideas have matured to the point where agile practices have worked their way into the mainstream of the Project Management Institute’s PMBoK® Guide. As I’ve written about a number of times, agile concepts are ...
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Yes we can!

Synopsis: People can be productive! What most often holds them back is management's failure to take ownership of the concept of "efficiency"... It is amazing how fast humans can respond to a situation when they need to!  A recent story from Japan helps illustrate the point. When a 30M wide sinkhole destroyed a road in Fukuoka, Japan, the problem was resolved and the road fully repaired in just 7 days. As the video below illustrates this was no minor pothole. This was a 15M deep crater that cu...
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RIP Ideas

An organization’s future prosperity is of course directly correlated to its ability to remain relevant in the market place.  As we all know, to remain competitive organizations need to both innovate and invest. They need to stay in tune with their customers, be aware of shifting trends or disruptions and maintain a level of situational awareness that supports effective decision-making.  Most organizations are aware of those basics and CEO’s make efforts to stay on top of them. The “value” creati...
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Culture’s Cogs – Feedback

Synopsis: Feedback is the mechanism that keeps a culture alive...  This post is part 4 in the Cultures Cog’s series of posts. Click here for – Part 1 In the two prior parts of this blog series we looked at the role "imperatives" and "expectations" play in giving rise to a culture. In this final post we'll look at how feedback is the link that keeps a culture alive. Feedback is the interaction between people that tells them whether or not expectations are being achieved. Feedback can eit...
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Culture’s Cogs

Synopsis: Imperatives, expectations and feedback are the mechanisms through which management's desire for high performance are translated into a functioning corporate culture. Regular readers will know that I've been studying corporate cultures over recent months. My goal is to understand how corporate cultures come to be and what management teams can do to shape positive cultures (i.e. cultures that improve quality and productivity while simultaneously lifting employee engagement, morale and...
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Christmas Blunderland

The following entry is a record in the “Catalogue of Catastrophe” – a list of failed or troubled projects from around the world. Christmas Blunderland - UK Project type : An assortment of Christmas themed entertainment parks Date : Nov-Dec  - 2008, 2013 and 2014  Cost : Unknown Synopsis : One definition of success is "meeting or exceeding expectations". Satisfy expectations of the customer or stakeholders and the project is viewed as a success. Fall short of expectations and no matt...
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Corporate Culture – Part 3

In parts one and two of this series, we've looked how corporate cultures affect the outcomes a project attains and where cultures come from. In this final post in the series we'll look at the mechanisms through which cultures spread and what organizations can do to promote a healthy culture. Pretty much every business leader understands the value of having a positive corporate culture. The state of many businesses however illustrates that not every business leader understands how to shape...
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Corporate Culture – Part 2

Last week I posted thread that outlined some of the different types of corporate culture and started the process of looking into how corporate culture influences project outcomes. In this week's post we'll look at where cultures come from. Part of the reason corporate culture is so poorly understood is because few organizations appreciate how cultures form. Cultures are invisible and they are hard to define. They develop out of ongoing interactions rather than a single moment in time and ...
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Corporate Culture – Part 1

Culture is a powerful force in any human system. It establishes the norms of behavior and acts as a reference point for the expectations we have of each other and ourselves. While we are all used to the idea of culture in our public societies (cultures driven by national identity, religious affiliation, generational groups and /or fashion), culture in the workplace gets less attention. While the phase "corporate culture" is banded around, few organizations really have a grasp of what it is, how ...
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