3 Options for Managing Change + 7 Steps Organizational Leaders Should Take When Facing a Challenge

We've all heard it before – “if it we have not thought of it then it is not worth doing.” “No one knows our business better than we do.” This attitude is referred to as the “not invented here” syndrome. Consultants have seen it for years. Department managers and employees use it to fend off…

We've all heard it before – “if it we have not thought of it then it is not worth doing.” “No one knows our business better than we do.” This attitude is referred to as the “not invented here” syndrome. Consultants have seen it for years. Department managers and employees use it to fend off outside influence from other departments or intervention from consultants or advisers. Regardless of where the invasion is coming from, protectionism is the defense.

“Not invented here” is a cliché. But like many clichés or popular beliefs, we tend to think there is truth in the statement. However, “not invented here”, is a problem and it serves as a form of organizational resistance to change. “Not invented here” conveys an important message – “if I am not involved with defining the situation and working on solutions, then I am not interested in your ideas, opinions or solutions.”

When an organization is facing a challenge, it has 3 options:

1. Do nothing
2. Understand the challenge and create solutions
3. Hire outside help to assess and facilitate the solutions.

Assuming that the challenge is real and that it presents a threat to the organization …

. Option One will lead to a further deterioration in organizational performance.
. Option Two will work if the members of the organization possess the skills, knowledge, objectivity and support to identify and implement the required change.
. Option Three will work if it is combined with Option Two.

Using outside resources can be important for an organization, especially if the business leader believes that an objective third party may have a pioneer experience in identifying potential solutions. The danger, however, is to engage a third party who has a one-size-fits-all solution. And it is this attitude that reinforces and solidifies the “not invented here” syndrome. In fact, run quickly from anyone that has a solution to your problem before they fully understand it.

When your organization is faced with a challenge, here are 7 steps you should take.

1. Understand the Problem – Do this before anything else is done. Take the proper amount of time to talk with and listen to people (inside and outside the organization). Look at the numbers and compare it with the general marketplace, the economic trends and the trends in your industry. Objectively understand the issues. If this step is missed, a good solution will only occur by pure chance.

2. Identify Options – Whether it is in a brainstorming session, a general discussion in a series of meetings or in any other organized forum, it is important to identify potential solutions. At this stage it is important to identify solution options and not just one solution. Many people stop at the first or easiest solution.

3. Select an Option – To select the best solution as determined by the group and the evidence there should be healthy discussion or even a vibrant debate. The risks and gains of each option should be vetted before an option is selected. It is at this point when the influence of the owner, unit head or outside third party should be tempered. One person's influence, especially a person in authority or an outside consultant, will solidify the “not invented here” behavior and the chance of implementation success decreases.

4. Understand What It Will Take to Implement – You need to know what it will take in time, money, personnel and other resources to implement. When a solution is chosen, detailed planning must occur so everyone involved in the implementation fully understands the investment and commitment required for a successful outcome.

5. Prepare an Action Plan – Your plan should describe …

. What will be done (the task)
. Who will do it / who is responsible
. When it will get done
. Important milestones or benchmarks
. Resources required / anticipated

Remember, in most cases, who has assigned responsibilities for this project also has another job to do, as few organizations today can afford to put a dedicated team on a project. This is why an Action Plan with tasks, due dates and individual accountability is important.

6. Implementation – This needs to be managed and managed well. Regular status meetings must be held to track implementation progress. If the project is getting off track, awareness should swift and corrective action should be taken immediately.

7. Evaluation / Post Implementation Follow-up – After implementation, the working group should evaluate lessons learned. That is, what went well, what could have gone better, what was learned in the process, and did the change initiative have the intended impact (desired result) on the organization.

If these steps are followed, the chance of successfully implementing a change effort will increase. It will increase because the members of the organization most affected by the change initiative will have been involved with the problem and solution identification. This is a powerful engagement and retention strategy. It's your business. It's your future. Take hold of it and “invent it here.”

3 Tips for Managing Change in the Workplace

As they say, there are only three things that are certain in life – death, taxes and change. Today, a key trait that identifies the best managers from the rest is their ability to help their teams traverse workplace changes rapidly in order to take advantages of opportunities rather than be overwhelmed by change. It's…

As they say, there are only three things that are certain in life – death, taxes and change. Today, a key trait that identifies the best managers from the rest is their ability to help their teams traverse workplace changes rapidly in order to take advantages of opportunities rather than be overwhelmed by change.

It's not about the change, but how quickly you can get your team to first accept the change, and then drive forward to realize the intended benefits that will determine how effective you are as a manager.

Having contributed as a transformational coach and change agent for the past six years, here are three of my top tips for managing effective change in the workplace:

Tip # 1: Communicate early, communicate positively, communicate frequently

One of the things people resent most about change is the “nasty surprise”. As soon as you hear about an impending change, be proactive about gathering your facts about it, understand the compelling reasons for the change, assess the positives and get your team together for a communications session before the rumor mill starts.

Remember that what your team focuses on tend to expand. People with a pessimistic tendency will tend to exaggerate negatives in the absence of fact. This not only distracts the team from important duties but causes unnecessary stress.

Timely communication is important to nip the rumor mill in the bud. During such times, it is useful to keep Sir Winston Churchill's quote in mind:

“When the eagles are silent, the parrots are chattering” .

Before communicating to your team, step into their shoes and imagine what their concerns could be about the change. Your objective from every communication is to leave your staff with a sense of confidence, certainty and optimism about the change. If you leave your team feeling empowered, you will stand a far better chance of the change realizing its intended benefits. Be prepared to confidently, empathetically and positively respond to the questions they might have like:

  • “How will this affect my role?”
  • “What are the benefits to me of the change?”
  • “Why are we doing this?”
  • “Where to from here?”
  • “How will this affect what I'm doing now?”
  • “What support / assistance / resources are or will be available?”
  • “Who can I talk to about any concerns?”

When communicating change, face-to-face works best. Your team will look to you for certainty and confidence and complete congruence in words, reflected by positive, open and confident body language that reveals your inner convictions about the change and sets your team at ease. Another important benefit of meeting face-to-face with your team is that it gives you an opportunity to gauge the degree of support and resistance that's present and then plan future communications sessions to build on what you've done.

Be open and honest about the change. If you do not have all the facts, let them know that this is the case and that reinforce your commitment to keep them informed.

Be sure to follow-up with your commitment to keep them informed. This strengthens trust that their management are empathetic and that they are valued.

Tip # 2: Strengthen Commitment through Involvement

In communicating change, a good principle to keep in mind is highlighted by this quote by Benjamin Franklin:

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember.” Involve me and I learn. “

Wherever possible “ask” rather than “tell”. Use leading questions that will help staff draw the same conclusions as management about decisions related to change. For instance, instead of saying “this is what we're doing”, use “this is the situation / trend. Instead of “here's why we're doing this”, use “imagine if the situation remains unchanged two years from now, what might the consequences be?” The more your team feels like they've been consulted and involved about the change, the greater the level of commitment and buy-in there will be to the implementation plan.

Tip # 3: Capture hearts, then minds

A common mistake managers make when communicating change is to focus on presenting the logical reasons for the change. Charts, statistics and facts appeal to “minds” but often fall short when it comes to moving “hearts”. Bear in mind that people make changes for emotional, not logical reasons. What you want to do is to create a sense of urgency, desire and excitement about the change. Apathy, fear and negativity will only result in predictable patterns of behavior that will not lead to the desired positive outcomes.

Instead, use stories, videos and dynamic language that engage both the hearts and minds of your teams. People generally are not moved by the need to “improve revenue”, “arrest declining market share”, “increase productivity” or “grow wallet share”. Instead, they are motivated to “improve job security”, “advance their career”, “experience greater work satisfaction”, “enhance work-life balance” and “make a difference to the lives of their clients, peers and family”.

Do not get me wrong. The charts, statistics and facts are important and you will want to provide them because while people make decisions based on emotion, they rationalize their decisions on logic. So, while what really makes a person, say, purchase a car is the perceived “exhilaration”, “freedom”, “convenience” and “magic moments” it offers them, they will often tell their friends and family that they did this because of “fuel economy”, “great value for money” and its ability to get from “0 to 100 mph in 5 seconds”.

In summary, to manage workplace change effectively communicate early, positively and often in order to empower your team with a sense of certainty. Get their commitment and buy-in by incorporating them as much as possible in the decision-making. And to create a sense of urgency and passion about the change, find creative ways to communicate in a manner which first captures hearts, then minds.

Determine The Advantages That Can Be Found With Environmental Management Plan Templates

In the construction environment there are always new ideas or revolutionary concepts which promise many things but often do not deliver on the opportunities people are looking to take a good benefit of. While looking to benefit from new opportunities that might be available for your business, it's important that you take the time to…

In the construction environment there are always new ideas or revolutionary concepts which promise many things but often do not deliver on the opportunities people are looking to take a good benefit of. While looking to benefit from new opportunities that might be available for your business, it's important that you take the time to outline all the significant benefits which are possible with all these opportunities. The usage of an environmental management plan is something demanded of all firms and even seeking the template resources of the online environment to reduce this demand expenditure as well as inconvenience could prove incredibly valuable. The following helps organizations in determining the value of those related with this business opportunity, by identifying three significant benefits your business can benefit from.

First Advantage: Meeting the Legal Requirements

When looking to determine if the usage of contractors environmental management plan templates are best for your business, first figure out how they could make an impact the legal demand those are related with your firm. Most businesses are required to use specialized consults which cost thousands of dollars, due to all the legal needs that exist with environmental regulations. By utilizing the on-line resource of templates, you will be able to create documentation which was designed by the same experts as well as avoid the high costs that are associated with their services.

Second Advantage: Adding Speed ​​to the Completion Process

When assessing your options associated with the construction industry, one of the largest factors which could impact any business is found with timelines. When your business is required to use consultants, you become a victim of their timeline, when it comes to completing your construction project. With the help of the utilization of environmental management plan templates, you will be able to generate your own timelines as the creation of this documentation is most often completed in as little as two hours.

Third Advantage: Saving Money on This Investment

The final benefit that is associated with the implementation of on-line contractors environmental management plan templates, could be found with the money you would save on this investment. Avoiding the high cost of consultants and the time lost with their services could prove to save an incredible amount of money. You could then apply the savings towards the opportunity of improving your overall profits or taking a good benefit of decreasing your construction bid, in order to become more attractive to potential clientele.

By identifying the advantages which a small business idea could provide to a company, you'll be capable of determining if an idea is good for you to come up with.

Three Reasons Why You Should Start Selecting an ERP Today

We live in an ever-changing world when the level of complexity is overwhelming and you might feel that not only you are falling behind with new technologies and business applications, network security features and tools to monitor performance but also every day passed you realize that your current legacy systems setup is causing a major…

We live in an ever-changing world when the level of complexity is overwhelming and you might feel that not only you are falling behind with new technologies and business applications, network security features and tools to monitor performance but also every day passed you realize that your current legacy systems setup is causing a major disruptions for the company 'environment as they all are developed based on outdated technologies and use multiple user interfaces or multiple security frameworks.

The TOP 3 WHYs laid down below came up after the direct marketing campaign when IT managers mainly in SMB sector have been approached with the offering of ERP software. In majority of cases CIO commented that as “it is not right time”. The justification was the current economic situation worldwide when business slowdowns and very little business opportunities are coming up with expectation that it will go worse.

As response to that, there are number of reasons why the company should start considering IT related issues, revise where the company stands in terms of current system setup and kick off the ERP evaluation process. It will surely turn around the perception about IT support for the business, yet it will not calm people into believing they will see the rewards of their efforts overnight. Definitely the evaluation process will educate the employees that in order to secure the success of your ERP implementation the project will require appropriate methodology and specific resources, it will take time and plus the enterprise wont see positive results until a few months to a year after going live with new system.

Here are the TOP 3 WHYs it is the right time to do it now:

• Do something. Break it into steps.

It is coming from life wisdom when we have to do at least something that will take us out of the stagnant situation and push forward. Every business owner has a dream to develop a prosperous business and nowadays its system support is a major part of the success. So break it up into steps with goals and get going, be prepared to zig and zag your way starting from evaluation towards perfect system support, fully automated, and based on the proven and reliable industry best practices.

• It will create productive atmosphere.

Since it is going to be all about ERP, the concept of which is an integration across the business, it will inevitably boost the collaboration among the different departments and people from different functional and organizational levels. It will bring the opportunity for people to start talking about “how we can solve it” rather than “what to do, the situation went from bad to worse”. Can you see the difference? A big one. People will shift from telling stories about the reasons why it's out of their control to say “yes, we can do it!”.

• Educate yourself.

This is specifically for the management and owners of the company. It is time to check out the IT market. What are new trends? Who is a market leader? Is there anything new in business intelligence for executives? What are the cloud services? Are they suitable for you? Call the vendors, ask these questions and you will be glad you did.

It is not easy to even select an appropriate starting point for your ERP implementation however any initial step will do the job as it will definitely contribute into developing the strategy which will give your company the means to meet the business's increasing demands while securing its large investment into the systems.

3 Ways the Zoomers Are Creating Opportunities for Employers and Their Gen X and Y Co-Workers

A recent article in Business Weekly reported that the global population is aging and the majority of the population will be over 50 by the year 2050. This could be perceived as a problem for many reasons such as increasing medical needs, reduced retirement income and a less agile workforce. Although an incredible phenomena is…

A recent article in Business Weekly reported that the global population is aging and the majority of the population will be over 50 by the year 2050.

This could be perceived as a problem for many reasons such as increasing medical needs, reduced retirement income and a less agile workforce.

Although an incredible phenomena is taking place- Zoomers (boomers who refuse to age) are not retiring like their traditional parents- in fact they are taking cues from their Gen X and Gen Y to live well and exciting lives well into their later years.

Take Marian a civil employee of the federal government who at the age of 68 is retiring after over 30 years of service. But she is not going into the good quiet night- five years ago she went back to school to obtain her PhD. She could see her future and she could see that despite she would retire from her one long-term employer she wanted to continue to contribute and by getting her advanced education she could increase her options.

Many Gen X and Y are frustrated that many Zoomers are not retiring as planned. They see this as lack of upward promotion opportunities. Organizations are struggling to balance the long-term knowledge that the Zoomers contribute along with the new ideas and technical savvy of Gen X and Y.

If we look at the overall situation through the lens of a traditional workplace model we could perceive that Zoomers need to move on or we could create a new workplace model that will appeal to all of the generations.

Here are 3 ways that Zoomers are actually creating opportunities for their employers as well as their Gen X and Y co-workers.

1. Zoomers are forging a new creative work model- Many Zoomers who have worked for traditional organizations such as the government, finance or insurance are actually planning to retire because they have a good pension plan. The cool thing is that by leaving they do create openings for Gen X and Y but not in the form of full time positions. A Zoomer retiring creates opportunities for the organization to structure the position vacated and to even create part-time or contract positions both of which is highly appealing to Gen X and Y.

2. Zoomers are leading a trend towards 'project' work- Zoomers are recognizing that they are not 'finished' when they do retire and they are increasing numbers going back to school, starting a new business, taking a year off and then coming back on a contract basis. For employers this is a great opportunity to hire back on contract- no need for employee benefits, holidays or holiday or the need to do performance reviews. The appeal for organizations to 'hire for projects' is getting more and more traction. Gen X and Y like this because they work well with project type work and they love to lead projects.

3. Zoomers are fantastic training resources- Progressive companies are keeping their top performing Zoomers around longer than retirement and capitalizing on the 'hard drive' that the Zoomer holds about company history, practices and structures. Gen X and Y absolutely love to learn and want to soak up everything they can as quickly as they can so that they can speed up results. The benefit to the company is to hang on to proprietary knowledge and have the Zoomer create learning in the form of online forums, live training and peer to peer training.

Michael Adams the founder and president of the research firm Environics Group has the following to say about Zoomer women:

“They're the ones who have often put away their careers to the side while the guy did his thing. It's my turn. “The energy these women have in their 50's is astounding. They can go into retail, consulting, NGO's, they want to lead.

Marian from the federal government is a testament to the above quote. The exciting changes that are upon the workplace are happening based on a series of events but we can not ignore the positive impact that the Zoomers are having on organizations and with their Gen X and Y teams.

Phoenix From the Ashes – Learning to Profit From Failure

Those of you kind enough to be regular readers of my articles will know that I often make use of various lessons learnt from my first love, 'sport,' to use within my arranged marriage of 'business practice!' This article is no exception. The usual reason for this is that there is a huge amount of…

Those of you kind enough to be regular readers of my articles will know that I often make use of various lessons learnt from my first love, 'sport,' to use within my arranged marriage of 'business practice!' This article is no exception. The usual reason for this is that there is a huge amount of common ground between the two when it comes to Achievement Psychology. What has been developed to assist the sports person, can invariably help the executive and vice versa. This is a positive thing. Today however, and most unusually for me, I have another spur towards my writing, and I am going to focus on a negative thing – Failure. The reason failure is in my mind is because I have just seen my adopted football club, (where our coaching academy is based) suffer an unprecedented relegation into a lower Division. This dose of salts follows on the back of my own boyhood football club also suffering a crippling relegation this season! Now, I do not take any of this personally, I have a mental rule in life which states 'do not worry about or blame yourself for things you can not affect.' This rule works quite nicely when watching the news or reading about some disaster; but is somewhat harder to put into practice when you are surrounded by people that feel they have not only failed in their work and will quite likely lose their jobs and their security, but have also failed the collective effort. It's something of a downer to be around the office, considering another of my maxims is 'do not tolerate the negativity of others in my presence.' One might wonder why I stay around! Now, your own workplace might not be within a sporting academy, but I'm betting that in the current economic climate, the theme of collective failure is just not on the news but actually right on your doorstep in some capacity. Perhaps you've even had a part to play in it. So here is what I do to handle the situation and if it makes you think more positively about your own then I would be very happy!

Here is the big truth that all winners know – 'before one can definitely succeed, one must inevitably fail.' This is as much a universal truth as 'the only real constant is that things will change.' But why is this the case? Why must one fall before they can fly? Well, quite simply because high achievement can only happen with some level of sacrifice, and the spur to that sacrifice is always the pain of previous failure. If you want to soar into the sky like the proverbial phoenix from the ashes, then you must have already crashed and burned. If you did not then you simply were not taking enough risks in the first place. Life is inherently and instinctively about risk management NOT risk avoidance. If you want to be the best, then learn to take calculated chances. It's what living is really about. A sports person is far more likely to win the second time they reach the final of the same competition. Why? Because they use the pain of their previous failure to drive them to success the next time. Their will to win is multiplied. It is exactly the same in business. It might not be something but public but but without exception, the 'dragons' that have really achieved in the business world have also suffered humiliating failures and defeats. It's an astonishing truth that most self made millionaires have also gone bankrupt at some point. Heck, I knew a guy that made a million and went bankrupt three times over! I do not suggest you repeat that pattern though! Though there is an important lesson to be learnt here, whether you work for a company suffering through hard times or are self employed and finding business especially tougher than it had been. Remember that if you keep your belief, positivity and work hard, then failure is a precursor to greater success. That's a universal rule.

So, amidst all the angst, that is what I am telling the troubled souls around me in the office. The lesson does not always sink in, some people take a longer time than others with their pity parties. They like to feel sorry for themselves. But once the penny drops, then the healing can begin, as can the climb back up the mountain. Yes, it is hard, but the chances are you'll reach the top this time. So stay positive and look forward.

Managing Stakeholders Within Your Project

Outside of the project team, the project community has a significant bearing on the success of your project. This community of individuals are made up of people with a variety of influence and opinion. This project community are typically termed stakeholders. Stakeholders are individuals who have a vested interest in both the project and its…

Outside of the project team, the project community has a significant bearing on the success of your project. This community of individuals are made up of people with a variety of influence and opinion. This project community are typically termed stakeholders.

Stakeholders are individuals who have a vested interest in both the project and its outcome.

The typical group of stakeholders can include customers, senior managers, users, suppliers, third-party organizations who contribute to the project and its deliverable.

Why stakeholders matter

The key reasons for stakeholders requiring management during the project is their ability to influence is income. As individuals and collectors have the ability to impact your activity together with the beliefs and impressions of other stakeholders. This can affect the support to your project.

Not all stakeholders are created equal some stakeholders will have little influence over their peers. Other stakeholders may be decision-makers or have influence over decision-makers.

Stakeholders will typically have one of three opinions.

• Firstly they may be positive about your project.
• Secondly they may have no opinion either positive or negative about your project.
• Thirdly they may have a negative opinion about your project.

The role of the project manager with regards to stakeholders is that the project manager must manage the stakeholder influence with regards to the project deliverable to ensure a successful project.

The successful management of stalkers requires a combination of things. This includes a robust communications plan, credibility, connections within the organizations down to the attitude and personality of the project team. The project manager must determine each group of stakeholders needs and expectations in order to plan and execute communications and information regarding requirements and delivery method to satisf them them.

Managing stakesholders can be complex and time consuming. Project managers must not think that this will be an easy task. Get it wrong and you could see resistance grow around your stakeholder community and your project affected.

Not all stakeholders are equal, some have more influence than others either through having a senior position within the organization or having the ability to exert influence over their peers.

Stakeholder management begins with a stakeholder analysis. The stakeholder analysis identifies the project community, its requirements and a suitable management plan. This can be regularly appreciated during the project and tuned as is necessary.

Please do not underestimate the importance of affective stakeholder management within your project. No matter how well your project plan and business case is constructed, mismanagement of your stakeholders can see your project derailed.
Summary

Stakeholders come in many different forms and they can not all be managed in the same way. Remember that your stakeholders are human beings and have many other things to worry about as well as your project – its down to you to get your message across, maintain awareness and manage resistance.

The Boomer Leader’s Responsibility: Mentoring Generation X and Y

Now is the time to take advantage of the significant level of knowledge and expertise housed within the boomer demographic group. The leader ranks, today, are dominated by members of this group and offer the perfect solution to the skills gap problem predicted to be business' primary challenge by the end of this decade. This…

Now is the time to take advantage of the significant level of knowledge and expertise housed within the boomer demographic group. The leader ranks, today, are dominated by members of this group and offer the perfect solution to the skills gap problem predicted to be business' primary challenge by the end of this decade. This skills gap will shape the majority of positions, functions, lines of business, and organization levels so today's leaders' expertise must be transferred to the next generation of leaders and it needs to start happening now. Boomer leaders need to step up and start developing the potential Generation X and Generation Y leaders.

Leaders have a responsibility to grow their organization. Organizations are dynamic by nature, consisting of individuals, they are living organizations and without pursuit of growth, destined to shrink and die. Good leaders understand this dynamic and take steps, on a daily basis, to ensure their organization is growing by creating an environment where individuals develop and grow. Untitled individuals grow, the organization can not. Recognizing their responsibility to grow the organization means leaders recognize their responsibility to grow their people. And they understand that the next generation of leaders must understand this as well.

Making the tools, processes and systems available for leadership growth are all important to creating the next generation of leaders but, more importantly, potential leaders need individual support and coaching from someone with similar strengths and passion who has a clear vision of the future. This is the boomer leader's role.

Leaders have an opharching vision for their organization and a passion for bringing their vision to life. Leadership is a journey, a journey where those on it continue to face obstacles and barriers to success. But the effective leader positions focused on the vision, the defending purpose of her tenure as the leader. Mentoring potential leaders should be an integral part of the plan to achieve the vision. Without success planning at the senior level of the organization, realization of the vision will be minimal at best. Reaching out to other strong members of the organization provides the leader with the team she needs to successful complete the journey. Being a passionate, visible, driver of the vision, and sharing that passion enthusiastically with others creates an environment of infection and inclusion where those with potential leadership qualities work diligently to succeed their predecessor.

Leaders participate in reflective talkback and seek feedback from peers, collections and direct reports on goals created and actions taken. Leaders encourage others to challenge their thinking and their actions. They seek out someone to tell them when they are in error, someone who will tell them the truth. This is one of the most difficult challenges for the leader mentor – passing on this skill, this awareness, this passion for the truth. Leaders who surround them with those who always support and agree with their thoughts and actions, where people allow leaders to make mistakes even when they themselves know better, is a business tradedy.

The better leader is the one who sees value in dissent, who encourages others to challenge them because they understand the value of being inclusive and encouraging others to participate in decisions being made. The boomer leader who is able to transfer this understanding to Generation X and Y members of their organization will be creating a future leadership group capable of tackling any obstacles that come their way. These future leaders will have surrounded themselves with people who can help and support them, as well as challenge them, during both difficult and easy times.

Leaders accept accountability for results and are committed to excellence. Successful leaders want others to be successful. They understand their own strengths and weaknesses and encourage others to conduct self-analysis in order to grow. And, they have taken charge of their own learning through their own working career. Personal growth and development is dependent upon an individual's desire to learn and to find ways to access learning opportunities. The boomer leader mentor encourages their protege to take advantage of every opportunity to learn. They view learning as an investment in the future and know excellence can only be achieved through continually challenging the status quo, but challenging it with knowledge.

Financial results are critical to growing the organization and ensuring its success. However, sustainability is reliant on the longer term more comprehensive view of results. The boomer leader takes a balanced approach to business growth by creating an environment where integrity, trust and competency are valued.

To inspire others to grow and change, every boomer leader should be asking themselves the following questions:

  1. What skills do the next generation of leaders need to continuously drive organization growth?
  2. What experiences should they have to help them develop their leadership style?
  3. What specific knowledge do they need to acquire to fully understand the business, the environment in which it thrives and, the opportunities that they should pursue to further develop the business?

A good mentor knows their role is to guide and coach, to help the potential leader move successfully forward in their development. Coaching effectively starts with helping them to prioritize their needs and build a timeline to acquire the competencies necessary to lead their organization in future.

Most leaders struggle daily with a myriad of challenges so they may lose sight of their responsibility for developing their people, of investing for the longer term in the growth of the organization through growth of the next group of leaders. Will boomer leaders ensure the next generation of leaders is trained and ready to take over when they retire?

Why Continuous Improvement Strategy Tends To Fail In Many Organizations? A Cultural Perspective

Instilling a continuous improvement (CI) mindset requires a change in thoughts and practices of people in an organization. To enable these changes, managers need to have the skill and knowledge to understand culture of the organization. A good respect of culture will help the managers on how to change the behaviors that will support the…

Instilling a continuous improvement (CI) mindset requires a change in thoughts and practices of people in an organization. To enable these changes, managers need to have the skill and knowledge to understand culture of the organization. A good respect of culture will help the managers on how to change the behaviors that will support the implementation of Continuous Improvement Strategy.

Key Factors of Continuous Improvement

An organization that supports the Continuous Improvement strategy will have some following key principles in their culture.

  • Customer Value focused
  • Continually engaged with customers to understand their needs in a changing environment.
  • Process focused that will lead to organizational effectiveness
  • Mistakes accepted as a part of learning process
  • Every level of the organization involved in some form of improvement activities.
  • Performance Improvement is derived from handling management systems and processes

A Simple Understanding of Organizational Culture

An organizational culture can be divided into three levels (Edgar H. Schein).

Level 1 which is an outward view of culture related to behavior. This is also called as artifacts. Artifacts include physical arrangement in the organization, language used, communication styles, slogans, traditions and etc. This level of culture is easily observable by anyone.

Level 2 is an inward view of culture. This relates to values ​​and beliefs in the organization. This is not easily observable.

Level 3 is also an inward view of culture. This is the deepest level of culture. At this level organic members make assumptions of certain basic actions in the company that is accepted as unquestionable truth about how things work. At this level most of the actions will be derived from a sub-conscious mind. In most cases values ​​and beliefs that have been well grounded will be turned into an assumption.

Why Lack of Understanding of Culture Can Lead to Failure

It is important for the manager to understand that the three levels are inter-related and the relationship is very dynamic. Each level influences the others. But unfortunately most Continuous improvement strategy attempts to manage change at Level 1 through policies, statement of intent and etc … A change that is focused on surface level is doomed to fail from the start.

It is important to understand that the outward behavior may not represent the real belief or assumption held by the people

As an example:

A CEO of large organization militants all the key people to communicate his intention of embarking on a Continuous Improvement strategy that will bring improved revenue to the company and will indirectly increase the company to a higher level. This growth means many opportunities for the people in the organization. He sets a working committee and launch buzz words and posters.

After a few months into the initiatives, he has not seen the response or the reaction he was expecting from the employees. He started asking asking around what has gone missing in the strategy. He found out that this is not the first time the organization has launched this strategy. For many people they have heard that before and this will also go away just like the previous initiative. It is a generally assumed that management will initiate something and after couple of months it will see a natural death. It is just like before. Previously, the organization has embarked on suggestion scheme and later followed by quality circles. Both of this did not survive for long.

How the CEO could have done differently? He could talk to some key people at different levels and try to understand what is actually running in their mind. This is especially true when implementing initiatives that will change the way things are done. Or he could have commissioned an independent study on the above, if he thinks people might not want to share the truth with him. Based on the findings he will be able to strategies his communication methods by also addressing some of the assumptions that is already deep-roaming in the mind of the people.

Another example of failure is when the value of the company to “Trust and Respect of People” is always disputed with micro-managing of sub-ordinates by managers. This will lead to mistrust of the people on what the management is saying and what they actually do, which contradicts with one another. Overtime, people will assume that whatever the management says will be opposed to that.

Conclusion

In conclusion, a manager trying to introduce new initiatives needs to have a clear understanding of how organizational culture developments and what prompts people to have the way they have. The manager also needs to understand if the setting of the organization is aligned to the values ​​it is pursuing. A strong value in quality should be reflected in the way importance is given to quality principles.

Addressing all 3 level of culture in change initiatives will have a higher chance of success.

Effective Change Management For Your Business

What is Change Management? Change management is the procedures put in place within an organization to manage various forms of change. If that sounds like a mouthful let's see if there is a simpler explanation. Take a company that needs to make a change, there are specific issues that have to be addressed if the…

What is Change Management?

Change management is the procedures put in place within an organization to manage various forms of change. If that sounds like a mouthful let's see if there is a simpler explanation. Take a company that needs to make a change, there are specific issues that have to be addressed if the changes are going to be successful, therefore the business needs a clear-cut method for putting the changes into place.

Barriers

If you need to effect change in your business, you must first understand the common barriers. Change management means overcoming the common barriers without losing key members of your staff. The main problem companies encounter is an inherent resistance to change.

Resistance to change is a huge problem in the business world, and unfortunately, many management teams never figure out the best way to overcome it. Too often leaders in a company will simply steamroll over the employees resulting in lost production, excessive quits and quarreling amongst staff. When you understand that, a lot of the problem is fear of losing personal relationships rather than the actual technical changes. Asking employees to participate actively in the changes is one way to address this issue.

Research

As you prepare your company to go to the next level, it is important that you research the current state of your business compared to where you want to go. This will give you an overview of the distance between the two points and an idea of ​​the steps you must take to achieve growth, productivity or other corporate goals.

Communication

Once you have a tentative plan for moving forward it is time to begin implementing change management. Communication with your staff will be key to overcoming barriers and making a smooth transition. Discuss the plans and why they are important to the continued success of the company. When people understand that their continued employment is contingent upon the success of the company, which also means change is inevitable they are more inclined to get on board. In the best case scenario you could even get everyone excited about the changes.

Education and Retraining

Your change management may require the implementation of education or retraining. The difficult part is creating a seamless training or skills upgrade situation for your employees. Preparation and scheduling will be key to this section of changes; you may consider hiring a professional training firm.

Conclusion

Change management is a big deal for businesses of all sizes, and learning to implement it is critical for continued success. Remember your employees during the process and do your best to address their fears, this is best done through open communication about what you are doing, why it is necessary and how it benefits everyone involved. Once change is in the works, it is also important to continue monitoring the procedures and fine-tuning when necessary.

The Importance of Determining What Customers Value? – A Cultural Context

Introduction Organizations need to make a paradigm shift in order to compete in the global business arena. The battlefield has changed and has become crowded with many different troops trying to outbid and outlast each other. The crowded battlefield does not stop new troops to parachute-in and making the field more messier. How do you…

Introduction

Organizations need to make a paradigm shift in order to compete in the global business arena. The battlefield has changed and has become crowded with many different troops trying to outbid and outlast each other. The crowded battlefield does not stop new troops to parachute-in and making the field more messier. How do you get out of this mess as a winner?

In-order to survive in the new market place, organizations need to develop a number of key competencies to adopt to the external environment. While developing this key competencies to face the external threat, the organization need to align the internal structures, systems and processes: – an effort where many of organizations start to struggle and eventually going out of business. It is a pity that these organizations go out of business without really knowing or understanding what caused their business failure.

This write-up intends to throw some light into the issues and help organizations to get into the right footing.

Key Principle: DETERMINING AND UNDERSTANDING CUSTOMER VALUE

This is one of the key principles that is required by an organization in order to survive in the current and future business world. This is easier said then done. Very often leaders, believe they know everything about the customer and what the customer wants. This in fact might not be very true for the organization. Even if they know, very often they fail to transfer the knowledge and execute relevant action plans to support the principles.

The failure would most likely due to failure to align the organization to support the principle. This could be lack of understanding of organizational culture

A Simple Understanding of Organizational Culture

An organizational culture can be divided into three levels (Edgar H. Schein).

Level 1 which is an outward view of culture related to behavior. This is also called as artifacts. Artifacts include physical arrangement in the organization, language used, communication styles, slogans, traditions and etc. This level of culture is easily observable by anyone.

Level 2 is an inward view of culture. This relates to values ​​and beliefs in the organization. This is not easily observable.

Level 3 is also an inward view of culture. This is the deepest level of culture. At this level organic members make assumptions of certain basic actions in the company that is accepted as unquestionable truth about how things work. At this level most of the actions will be derived from a sub-conscious mind. In most cases values ​​and beliefs that have been well grounded will be turned into an assumption.

Behavioral Alignment

What behavior do you need to establish to support this principle?

a. Having a structured discussion internally and externally to understand what the customers want and need.

This will require spending a great deal of time by going into the customers organization to understand how business is done, the key business drivers of the customers, customer product differentiation. One of the key behavior expected here is the involvement of key holders in understanding the customers. This is called the cross functiona l approach. The marketing, manufacturing, R & D and the procurement team at minimum should be involved together with the sales team. Here, the message here is this is not the job of only sales to know the customers.

b. Product / Service Development With Customer in Mind

Understanding the customer need must be translated into product development cycle. Teams must come together to ensure the products developed are in-line with the customer need and provide value to the customer. The discussion session can be intense as each member ensures customer interest is taken care.

c. Develop Listening Skill of Front Line Executives and Managers.

Well this seem to be very obvious and simple thing to do. But how many organizations really get this simple thing to be a DNA of the organization.This simple and yet powerful skill is a must for the people to display especially when they meet the customers. It is listening to the customers, what they say, how they say it will give a clue what the customer has in his mind.

The same listening skill can be useful to be used internally. Sometimes, we have situations where people at the shop-floor have many things to say but because they are not one one will listen to them. Well the assumption is not unfounded.

We need to develop skill of managers who will be able to sense if something is not right with a customer and they will approach the customer to listen to their concerns.

Values ​​and Belief Alignment

a. Belief in Flexibility in Approach.

The organization need to create a culture of being flexible and risk taking to meet the market need. Feedback coming back from market may require change in the products and services being offered. Here, the organization will need to be flexible to enable making the changes required. Certain level of risk taking is also required. This belief contradicts with many senior managers who have set their mind that they have the best formula to solve the customer's problem.

b. Cross Functional Approach

Understanding customer value is not only the job of the sales, rather the job of everyone who are directly and indirectly involved in the design and delivery of products and services. A cross functional approach brings the entire team together to work out solutions in the interest of the ultimate customer. The same approach should be extended internally. Any initiatives undertaken, it is best to get it done through cross functional groups.

c. Recognition

Teams or team members who are able to bring to the table what customers would be recognized. Here is a recognition system that supports teams or individuals who spends time with customers to understand their needs must be put in place. This will further spur the teams to improve their understanding of the customer.

Assumptions Alignment

There could be many assumptions that might go around the organization that contrast with the direction the organization is taking. In order to support the customer value principle, these requirements must be identified and addressed by the organization. The assumptions might be valid or maybe pure assumptions.

a.The Management Do Not Listen to us

Who knows better the customers then the people who are directly dealing with them. The front line people who deals directly with customer will have ton's of information from the customer. The same can be said about the shop floor people who have indirect dealing with the customer.How do we get this information channeled correctly? There must be a process established that will ensure that all information can be done without fear. And information given will be acted on, where it is possible. A feedback must also be in process to ensure to communicate the status of information given The worst action can be done is not to listen to people. The people make assumption that the organization does not listen to them and will never listen. Here, with this assumption, no information will be given to the right person.

b. Every one is equal in this game.

As the organization encourage cross functional activities, the right message this sends is that every department is equally important in this endeavor. In the past, usually the front line people are rewarded better compared to the supporting department. Here, people will form an assumption that only front line people with get royal treatment. This will lead to under performance and uncooperative attitude among team members. This assumption, if it exist must be addressed quickly.

c. Department Key Performance Indicators is more important then others.

In the past, organizations reward people based on departmental KPI. Here, the teams are more likely to be focused on internal performance that supports the KPI. This will lead to silo mentality. To address this, departments need to have common KPI that supports the customer value.

d. Selling on Price

The past practice of selling on price, would have been very well grounded in the minds of sales personal and many senior managers. Throwing and matching price may be the name of the game. Because of this practice many sales people will assume that selling on price is the right strategy. A strong compelling argument need to be developed and communicated to al sales personal because selling on price is not the right strategy in the long run. It will take a while to get the conversion to selling on value to implemented. For fast buy-in, the SE's must be included in the value selling process much earlier. For those Sales who are not able to convert into value selling, this might not be the right organization.

Conclusion

In ensuing the principle of understanding customer value is effectively implemented, the organization need to consider all aspect of the culture and create a seamless alignment between the three levels. Failing to do this, will lead to doom for the organization

What Is a Feasibility Study and Developing the Project Definition

The first phase of project management deals with determining what projects will be performed, as well as preparing preliminary documents to validate the project approval decision. The following activities are critical and should be performed during the project management initiation phase: Feasibility – Identifying the Opportunity and Qualifying It: Aims to examine each project opportunity…

The first phase of project management deals with determining what projects will be performed, as well as preparing preliminary documents to validate the project approval decision. The following activities are critical and should be performed during the project management initiation phase:

Feasibility – Identifying the Opportunity and Qualifying It:

  • Aims to examine each project opportunity to identify what is feasible and what is not. This will ensure consistency with corporate objectives and support business objectives, requiring verification of capacity through integration with other initiatives.
  • Requires an understanding of the current situation and this may entailing carrying out an investigation, observations, business and workflow analysis, focus groups, surveys, questionnaires, a desktop review and using similar methods.
  • Once a good understanding of the problem or opportunity gained in this way, realistic options can be identified. The first option is always maintaining the status quo, the second is what is the least we can get away with, the fourth is one of the most we have to do and finally, the third option is in the second and fourth and is constantly the most realistic. The fourth option can be considered to be the all singing, all dancing option.
  • Ideally each of these options should contain some detail on the business need, risks involved, intended time and cost requirements. They should also be some detail on what is the intended exit, or final out, of this option.
  • The last stage of the feasibility study is when one of these options is presented as a recommendation, with a full set of reasons to support this recommendation and the impact of this recommendation on the current situation. It must not be forgotten that the business operation has to be maintained while at work is going to be carried out.

Preparation of the Business case

  • Some of the content of the business case can be taken from the results of the feasibility study, or if this is not available, by asking the customer what the changes are likely to be about.
  • Requires the compilation of all pertinent business information about the project opportunity to facilitate a project selection decision.

Project definition

  • This activity, which can be a separate or combined element of the business case, provides a high level description of the project in a single document (used in conjunction with financial data so that decision as to whether to proceed or not, can be made) .

There are others after this still within Project Initiation and they are discussed later.

Produce a Clear Project Definition

Before the decision has been taken to start the project, it is essential that a good idea of ​​what is involved, who will need to be sourced, the key risks, any assumptions, timescales, stakeholders, costs, quality criteria of the finished product as an output and benefits to be delivered, are all captured.

This is sometimes called a Project Brief or Terms of Reference (ToR), although strictly speaking, it is intended to be in more detail than a ToR.

A Project is intended to be temporary in nature, have a definitive start date and specified end date and is set to produce a new product or existing product in a new way. It will have team members who may not have worked together or have not worked in the way they will in this project, will have a distinct output as its target and will be aligned to the organizational aims, objectives or strategies.

The project can be considered to be completed when:

  • Its goals and objectives are accomplished to the satisfaction of the stakeholders
  • The final product has been produced, signed off and handed over to operations
  • Project performance has been reviewed and any lessons about the project performance (the way risks and issues were handled or managed, any new strategies utilized to manage new developments during the project) have been recorded, ideally in a Lessons Report.

The decision maker at this point will be the Sponsor for the intended project, which will be provided with this Project Definition, the Business Case, a Plan to cover the work required to plan the project should be approved and a Risk Register.

The Risk Register will in addition to listing the risks which are identified and could manifest in the project, provide detail on their likelihood and impact and the mitigation strategies to be employed.

The Project Sponsor will either approve the project to start, or terminate it before it has started and thenby, eliminate any unnecessary spending and produce real savings.

Capturing key risks

During this Initiation Phase before the project has started the PM will need to identify the factors or eventualities that could affect the project, both positively and negatively.

A risk is an unforeseen event or eventuality, which if it occurs, could impact the project either positively or negatively.

How do we capture these risks?

Is it a given that the PM will know what these are?

The answer is no. It is not a given and without the PM has an in depth understanding of what the project is all about, he / she should not even try to do it all on their lonesome.

This is where we involve others in a formal meeting and call it a Risk Planning Workshop. More details on this are given later.

Each risk should be assessed for how probable it is that it will occur – it's likelihood. And also for the impact it will have on the project should it happen.

It is normal to use a scale of either 1 to 3 or 1 to 5. One = Very Low; Two = Low; Three = Medium; Four = High and Five = Very High.

This scale can be applied to both the Probability and Impact metrics.

Another useful metric is Severity and this, by multiplying Probability by Impact for each risk, allows the risks to be prioritized quite easily and scientifically, even allowing for the fact that there is a degree of subjectivity in allocating the results in the first place.

All of this information will be recorded in the Risk Register which will in addition, provide details of the mitigation strategies to be employed for each risk.

Three Actions to Help You Navigate Change at Work – Managing and Thriving in Times of Change

Do you ever struggle with change at work? It's easy and natural to resist change, is not it? It's understandable to get kept up in the old “If it is not broken, do not fix it” mentality. Consider how to manage changes going on at work. Your company / organization / agency is organic. It's…

Do you ever struggle with change at work? It's easy and natural to resist change, is not it? It's understandable to get kept up in the old “If it is not broken, do not fix it” mentality.

Consider how to manage changes going on at work. Your company / organization / agency is organic. It's an ever-changing, ever-evolving entity made up of people to serve people.

And what do we know about people? Always changing.

Recent research reflects that part of your “happiness factor” is how much perceived control you have over your life. (Funny to call it 'perceived' control.)

With change, we often feel we've lost that sense of control, control over our job security, money, livelihood.

Yeap, change can be scary. But let's see if we can manage some of that lack of control feeling that comes with change, shall we?

These 3 Actions will help you take control of change at work:

Here are three actions you can take to give yourself a professional edge when it comes to controlling change happening at work.

Action # 1: Be open-minded and positive about change at work. A while back, Harvard Business Review published an article about how to protect your job in times of economic upheaval. It mentioned of course, change. The bottom line here is that you want to show that you are open to changes and on board to try new approaches.

Action # 2: When changes start to happen, and part of the plan fails, and it will, remain open to tweaking the process. People who are closed-minded and resistant to change like to point out parts of the plan that fail as proof that the entire idea of ​​change was a bad idea. It's the old, “See, told ya it would not work mentality.” You do not want to be that person.

Action # 3: Keep your professional skills sharp and current. What have you done for you laately? Can you prove to your boss that you've attended training of some kind? There are so many high quality on-line courses, teleseminars and live and in-person workshops, seminars and coaching available that you have countless opportunities to make sure you're staying on top of professional development.

As always, a bonus tip to help you manage change at work:

Action # 4: When you do attend a class, whether by webinar, teleseminar, or workshop, be sure to write up (that very day!) An Executive Summary. Here, you write in one page, in bullet statement format, the highlights of that training.

And an extra bonus tip to help you manage change at work:

Action # 5: Offer to share these ideas with others in a 20-minute briefing. You will now be showcasing the fact that you continuously update your skills AND you share that knowledge with others. This is a great way to toot your horn without blowing it!

Change is inevitable. To help you be prepared, recall the words of hockey legend, Wayne Gretsky. When asked, “How is it you score so many goals?” He answered, “I skate to where the puck is going.”

Individuals and organizations ignore this at their own peril.

Just ask Cisco.

Two years ago, Cisco bought the Flip Camera business for $ 590 million. The Flip Camera has been made obsolete by the smart phone. Who needs an extra device to capture video when your phone will do the same thing?

Cisco is now, two years later, closing that part of their business. It will cost them an additional $ 300 million toructure their company around this closure. Five hundred and fifty jobs will be lost.

If you think change is hard, try being irrelevant. You do not want to have a Flip Camera in a smart phone world.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” Charles Darwin

Here's to skating to where the puck is going.

When Times Get Tough, the Tough Get Going To Improve Communication

Charles Dickens had it right – these are the best times and the worst of times. Many organizations are feeling under attack and protecting every asset. In some, the pressure is mounting for leaders to find the answers, and employees who need to stay focused and productive are often numb out of fear of losing…

Charles Dickens had it right – these are the best times and the worst of times.

Many organizations are feeling under attack and protecting every asset. In some, the pressure is mounting for leaders to find the answers, and employees who need to stay focused and productive are often numb out of fear of losing their job, taking on more work, or focused on the unknown.

Hidden in these tough times, is a defining moment to create real, meaningful connections to maintain – if not drive – productivity and minimize the disruptions that come with change. It's a time to ensure communication is a top priority to minimize the downside of change and accelerate the upside.

Now more than ever, we need leadership.

I used to work for a manager who said, 'Lead, follow, or get out of the way.' This is a litmus test for leadership, which means sharing with employees what we know and what we do not know. This is a time for courageous conversations and straightforward communications.

Specifically, this is the time to talk about how the organization is positioned for the future and / or how changes are being made to set the business up for future success. It's also critical to clearly outline specific expectations for employees and what's needed of them.

Here are some tips when communicating during tough times:

Remember the shadow that's cast by leaders and the company – if in a situation where layoffs are happening, keep in mind that they may be tomorrow's prospects, clients, boss, or future job candidates someday

Be honest, human, empathetic and show you care – delivering tough news is tough and it's okay to let employees know it; do what you can to make them feel comforted. Hold a mirror to yourself – as you prepare to share updates and / or tough news, consider how you would like to be communicated with if you were in the employees' shoes.

Outline expectations clearly – it's the fastest way to find out if employees are on the same page as you and engaged, and if they're not, it could be a safe way for people to gracefully opt out of their job.

If layoffs happened, help the remaining employees “mourn the loss” – do not pretend that nothing happened or that the people left in the company or group are not affected.

Do not wait to communicate until you have all the answers, then then it will be too late – if you wait, someone is going to speak on your behalf and fill the information vacuum whether the information is right or wrong. Provide context and relevance so employees understand the meaning behind what's said and understand what it means to them; have a message platform of core messages and actions.

Consider creating online and real-world networks for alumni – a place to keep in touch with others, network with each other, and keep a fond connection with the company so your organization is seen as a connector and you have ambassadors. Remember, talking about the state of the business – whether good news or grim – makes good business sense to avoid significant distractions at a time when a steady hand at the wheel is needed.

Now more than ever, employees want to know where they stand and they need to stay focused. To do this, they need the right direction and information from their leaders and communicators.

What tough message are you sitting on ….. waiting for the “right time” to share it? What's holding you back from sharing that message now?

– David Grossman

Why Change Management Requires That You Listen to Your Critics

Project management requires the ability to manage multiple tasks at one go and one of the key ones of this is stakeholder management. Stakeholder management will typically involve • Assessing your stakeholders • Grouping them • Developing communication and management strategies for each group. As project managers we like to think that everything in the…

Project management requires the ability to manage multiple tasks at one go and one of the key ones of this is stakeholder management.

Stakeholder management will typically involve

• Assessing your stakeholders
• Grouping them
• Developing communication and management strategies for each group.

As project managers we like to think that everything in the garden is rosy. We have our project, our schedule our budget and we've set on down the road to deliver it. However one thing that can get in the way of that is our project community.

What is a project community?

The project community is typically those individuals that are affected by our project. They may be decision makers, consumers / users of our deliverable, peers and suppliers. Given that these are all made up of individuals – individuals are often opinionated and have their own objectives and goals which may or may not be aligned with your project

Resistance is futile

In project terms, our project community will typically fall into one of three camps

• Positive about our project
• Passive – no opinion
• Negative about our project

Its unrealistic to think that everyone will be positive and a negative opinion may result in anything from just a disgruntled employee to one that can create a sufficient movement of like minded people that can be sizeable enough (or have sufficient influence) to de-rail your project.

Communication is king

So in all of this the key to success is twofold
• Communication
• Managing perceptions and expectations

Resistance can result from many things but typically one of the key drivers is fear of change and fear of the unknown. Mitigate this by creating compelling communication that simply and succinctly describes your project and its benefits – make this available to your project community and re-iterate it at regular intervals.

Do not be afraid of criticism learn from it

Project managers are often protective of their projects – and rightly so. No-one likes to hear bad things said about something they are passionately wrapped up in and we can all get a little protective for our own good at times. Do expect parts of your project community to voice concerns or criticisms of what's going on. Try not to take it personally but consider first that

• The criticisms are there because I have not communicated effectively
• The criticisms are correct and I need to adjust my project accordingly

Do feel free to also validate criticisms and disprove them if necessary but do not merely discount them out of hand – they are there for a particular reason so learn from them