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Do As I Say, Not As I Do

I’ve long argued that organizational practices need to be adapted to an organization if they are going to be effective. They need to fit the culture, and make sense in the way that the organization works. But what happens when you do all the right things, push all the right buttons, and the practices don’t get used? A curious case study.



Next Webinar: Culture as Operating System: A Geek’s Guide to Organizational Design

We talk about organizational culture a lot. We recognize that there are ways of working that are unique to individual organizations. That we need to learn those ways, and to understand “how things are done here.” We learn—sometimes the hard way—that we need to respect culture as we manage change. But what, exactly, is culture?…
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Taking The Time To Plan When You Are Too Busy Doing

You know the feeling. You’ve got a mountain of work in front of you. Projects that are critical are falling by the wayside to make room for the latest dumpster-fire of urgency that landed on your desk. The merely important projects mock you from the depths of notebooks that go back years, reminding you of…
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Kill Your Darlings

There is a lovely phrase that most writers know: “Kill your darlings.” When editing, throw out everything that doesn’t serve the story you are telling, no matter how in love you are or how clever you thought you were being. That’s true of writing, and it’s even more true of projects. We need to cut out everything that doesn’t serve the project. And sometimes we need to cut the project itself.



The Decisions Sponsors Have To Make

Being successful as a sponsor requires being attentive. We need to show up, pay attention and provide active support. Where this doesn’t happen, projects fail. Sadly, every once in a while, projects fail anyway. The challenge for sponsors is determining what to do next.



The Sponsors We Need To See In The World

The role of project sponsor is critical. With their support, projects have an opportunity for success. Without it, failure is almost certain, even for the most talented and capable teams. Despite this, there’s astonishingly little guidance in how to be a great project sponsor. And real life examples of awesome project sponsorship are few and far between.



So How Do You Keep Score?

We live in a world that wants concrete specifics. We have bosses that like measures. We have sponsors that demand proof, and want to know how you are going to demonstrate impact. And yet very often the more important something an initiative is, the less likely you are to be able to measure it. So what you can you do? What could you measure? And what are the cautions of doing so?



Got a KPI For That?

While this is likely to come across as controversial, I’m going to say it anyway: If you care most about key performance indicators, then you likely don’t care about what matters most. And that’s a challenge. In my view, it’s a challenge of terminology, of ideology and of narrow-minded thinking masquerading as holistic solution. But semantics are important. And the words you use say a lot about what you value.



Next Webinar: Rethinking The Project Sponsor Role

Ask virtually anyone in the field of project management about the role of project sponsor, and they’ll tell you the role is vital to project success. Ask them what that role actually does, however, and you’ll get an astonishing array of answers. Ask them for great examples of project sponsorship and—sadly—you’ll like come up empty-handed….
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You Can’t Make Me

It is a little astonishing how often people presume that change can be forced. In particular, there’s an assumption that all that’s required is for senior management to tell everyone what to do, and they’ll do it. You can try. I guarantee it won’t work; at least, it won’t work for long. Leadership has a role, but it’s not the one you think.