April 24, 2014

Why your PMP prep doesn’t feel like reality (and why it shouldn’t)

A Break in Reality
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I feel lucky to have the benefit of my time spent trying to understand the Lean paradigm because it is offering so much insight into what the PMI framework is trying to do. It is establishing a standard. It is offering a methodology for managing projects against which all other management styles, and outcomes, can be measured. In a way, it depicts the ideal – if all projects, everywhere, operated in the way the PMI describes, then all projects would deliver on time, within budget, and with inputs from all stakeholders at every level of the organization – including customers.

Is that reality? No. Of course not. [Read more]

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Product Innovation vs Operational Excellence (or, Magic vs. Might?)

Warrior vs Sorcerer
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Product innovation appears to be the realm of the unexplainable – that the way to go about that business is to assume a muse, or some divine spark is, ultimately, going to descend upon the workers bees and imbue them with the powers of insight and creativity. You have to create innovation space, and adopt managerial styles and practices, that allow creativity to flourish.

Process innovation, on the other hand, is seen as something a little more grungy and foul-smelling. It is the world of brute force and awkwardness, no matter how elegant it tries to become. [Read more]

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Everyone owns their own shop

curiosity shop
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Hail the shop owner. The relentless, never-ending driver of continuous improvement. The person who, with utter conviction and dedication, is constantly seeking a way to increase sales, improve quality, gain word-of-mouth, lower costs, retain staff and improve customer experience in every way.

These folks understand that value is what customers are after – and that the only obstacle between delivering that value and mucking around with sub-standard nonsense is their own pride of ownership. People who are proud of their shop always want to have that pride. They want it to sustain and grow. They never want to see their pride diminished.

In your workplace, do people act like shopowners? [Read more]

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Last Week’s Top Tweets

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TweetIn case you missed it, here are some tweet & re-tweets of articles & other things that caught my eye last week: MUST READ: From Dan Markovitz (@timeback): Respect for people — treating them more like machines. bit.ly/zVyKew   From Others: From Boston College Center for Work & Family (@BCCWF): Need more leadership support + manager training: Flexible [...]

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Typical Recruiting: The first step to the last straw

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From time to time I am contacted by recruiters, usually third-party folks who are looking to gain a commission, and once in a while I get a message from an in-house recruiter who has found my resume on monster.com or LinkedIn. The typical introduction, whether by phone or email, tends to go something like:

Hello, I am ___________, a senior recruiter with ___________. I have a position I think you are a perfect fit for. Please forward me your resume and I’ll give you more details about the position.

Now, all of that sounds normal, right? It’s just business as usual and part of the HR hiring process. Sadly, if we’re looking at it as part of an acceptable process, we’re looking at it all wrong.

[Read more]

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Understanding that Results are an absolute

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As I continue to contemplate the machinations of the Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE), I’ve had a few conversations recently with people who are trying to understand how ROWE works. While I am far fom an expert, I have come up with a few things in order to share my understanding. [Read more]

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Scholtes: The workplace visionary no one’s heard of

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In recent years, we’ve seen some thought leaders offer up best selling books, visionary programs and torrents of articles and other works describing what is wrong, how to fix it, and attempting to explain the science behind their approaches. In particular, Dan Pink gave us Drive, Best Buy gave us the ROWE experiment, and Lean thinkers continue to encourage us to think of front-line emplyees first, as in Jim Womack’s Gemba Walk.

What I find interesting is that all of these approaches to improving the workplace, at least in part, have some basis in Peter Scholtes 1998 Book, The Leader’s Handbook.
[Read more]

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Making Your Network…Work

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Recently, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to witness several strong examples of the positive impact that real, strategic networking can have.

Being a part of these particular examples got me thinking a bit more about networking and what it truly means in the age of Facebook and LinkedIn. [Read more]

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More Mura Muri? (or, the reasons behind changing everything)

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The truth is, the way we live our lives is broken. We see reformers in education, healthcare, management, personal organization, stress relief, motivation, and nearly every other area continuing to talk about ways to address the same things, over and over: Adjusting to an ever-changing, unpredictable world and finding a way to keep yourself, and others, from going crazy while doing it. Or, in other words: Mura and Muri. [Read more]

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Article Review: Supply Chain at the C-level

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Tweet  Michael Koplov over at softwareadvice.com contacted me last week to write a review of his article, Consumer-Driven Technology Creates the Need for a C-Level Supply Chain Focus. The article focuses on the ascension of Tim Cook to the CEO position at Apple, following Steve Jobs’ decision to step down from the position due to [...]

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