Back to the drawing board

Synopsis: Adoption of suitable project management practices in the workplace can yield benefits over time. At a recent international sporting event, in between all the hype and excitement, the relaxed atmosphere allowed for a no-holes barred discussion to take place regarding office discontent. Two people employed in senior positions, IT and Marketing respectively deliberated on an issue that is not unfamiliar. “We (IT) built according their (marketing) needs and they okayed what we presented...
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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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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 – Imperatives

Synopsis: Imperatives are the core values of the management team and the foundation stones of corporate culture. To influence corporate culture, leaders need to bring clarity and consistency to their imperatives. This post is part 2 in the Cultures Cog’s series of posts. Click here for – Part 1 As a follow up to my discussion on the topic of "culture's cogs" I thought I would dive a bit deeper into each of the cogs. In this post I'll explore the issue of imperatives. As noted in my origina...
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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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Everything is (not always) Awesome

Synopsis: Feedback to staff is a critical tool management can use to shape corporate culture  This year's Lego Movie spawned the song that has turned into something of an Internet meme. Likely to be 2014's most cheerful tune, the "Everything is Awesome" song tells us that we shouldn't worry about the negatives in life, instead we should focus on the positives. While that happy-go-lucky message lifts spirits and is fun, from a business perspective the song's message is something of a trap that...
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Pride of Workmanship

Synopsis: The more management focuses on product quality the greater the levels of motivation at the staff level I've written before about how corporate cultures are formed and the massive impact they can have on the outcomes an organization achieves. My hypothesis is that in the longer term organizations with healthy, positive cultures (that are properly aligned with the organization's desired outcomes) are more productive and successful than organizations in which the culture is negative an...
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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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