Welcome Back. Today I am here with Robert Joslin. Program and project management specialist. He is talking about planning and other elements that make up the ten core elements of time and energy management. So many of them are involved in managing projects.
P: In this segment, before we close out, I want to talk about time and energy. Projects are time specific, right? Also, there is an amount of energy that needs to go. We talked about the purpose that creates a certain energy and value. I am a firm believer that energy is the x factor in productivity. I also believe in the dynamic of? How a team will work together and be effective. What is your perspective on time and energy?
R: Projects are all about people. People will put energy in if they see a benefit for it. Invariably people doing something for personal reasons. If you can have a group of highly motivated and see the benefits themselves, then they will put their all into that project. It reminds me of a book I read a few years ago. A British doctor who looked at his diet and also drew blood samples to determine and measure specific levels. From changing diet, they made phenomenal discoveries. It comes down to diet, motivation and beliefs about what you can achieve. That is the energy required to succeed.
P: If energy is coming down to the individual, then what does communication play?
R: Communication is considered by project management. It’s one of the key strengths that are required. As a manager, you have to communicate what is going on. But also, it is listening as well. It is listening and talking. You need to actively and passively be able to communication.
P: You can actively see how well your communication is actually being received. If it’s not being received the way intended, then you have to shift your strategy.
R: When I work with project teams, I can tell right away what needs to be adjusted by listening and observing their behaviors. One of the key factors of project managers is watching people and understanding their traits and habits or what their choices mean.
P: It is what people are saying and what they are not saying. By listening you can determine that.
R: Also, it’s the body movement and language that is so important to watch while they are in meetings interacting.
P: I always say that the quality of our life is directly related to our language. So thank you PMI that is verifying what I am saying is true in the way of project management. We are talking about people, what are the biggest resistance factor in project management?
R: One word: Change. People don’t like change. Even if it is the solution to a better working environment. Many projects or programs, where you will get people that are for the program and people who are against the program. If you can actually work with the people who are against the program, and they are passionate, if you can understand that motivation and their concerns, you can turn them around to be the biggest supporters for the program. The key word is passion. If it’s negative, they can destroy your program. If it’s positive they may go to the end of the world. They will go the extra mile to make sure you will succeed. The answer is change.
P: Yes, it brings people outside of their comfort zone. They are not used to it. I like what you said about people who are passionate. Whether negatively or positively passionate that you can tilt that scale from one level to another. That comes back to the point about energy. Someone who is negative and against something, that is a lot of energy. I agree with you that with understanding them in the right way and being able to address that person in the way they see the world, and what is important to them, may bring them to the biggest supporters. It’s shifting that energy from negative to positive. Energy management is so important in teams as well as in individuals. Do you agree?
R: I totally agree with that. If you look at the types of people that like change, and the people who like stability, like operations, when you observe their specific behaviors and see what they are like, then you can get a very good idea of who may be potentially resistant and also like a warning sign of how to approach these people. You can see their values and it makes it easier to communicate with them. That is the difference between success and unsuccessful project managers.
P: That doesn’t only go with projects that is relationships. That is dealing with your spouse, children, in laws, whoever you know, whether it’s your coworkers and someone at a store. Your clients your customers. It’s the same thing. It is understanding the best way to communicate.
R: The difference between the working environment and the personal environment is the working environment you can be more objective. In the personal environment, you sometimes get clouded by your feelings and then you may not understand the situations because of the bias. That is why once you start getting personal in the work environment, then you will lose.
P: By keeping that disassociation you will see things objectively and makes a world of difference. To your point about emotions coming in and creating additional challenges, myself and Dr. Dunkin have a program around that called trigger management. It’s a method to help people to deal with triggers and emotional responses. It helps them to take a step back and look at something more objectively. We are talking about people and change and complexity. Not that this has ever happened to our listeners, but sometimes projects don’t go well and we don’t meet the objectives and timelines, what do you do?
R: Normally you will have traits in a project that will show up. Frustration. Issues are becoming increasing. This is where you have to stay cool. This is where you see the difference between an experienced and inexperienced project manager. An inexperienced one will start to blame get stressed and start to micromanage. That is the last thing you want to do. You need to have an objective approach and bring in the key people. Look and see what the problem is or what the problems are and then if you know the schedule, you have two ways to address this. Crashing and fast tracking are the official terms. Adding more people. More people is great when you have a lot of money. The downside is that you lose control. You have to think carefully when adding more people. Another option is fast tracking is where you overlap the tasks as much as possible. If you fast track, you may increase the risk of things going wrong. So, these are options that are ideal but do come with potential risk. Talk to your team members and stay calm.
P: Tell us about your book and how people can get a hold of you.
R: I have a forum on LinkedIn for my students and for program managers for discussions. I don’t have website because of time I want to devote to my books and my PhD. In due course, I will create a web presence for all us like-minded people.
P: Anything else you want to share with our listeners before we close out?
R: Take time to listen and observe and to think. It’s so very important. Spend less time rushing around and spend more time planning. If you plan properly, then you will spend less time running around. Also, understand the difference in cultures. America is a multicultural environment. If you want to be productive, don’t force it. Try to be as natural as possible. It will come to you. If you enjoy doing it, it will be far better than if its forced.
P: Thank you so much for sharing your insights and expertise in project and program management.
R: Thank you for having me. I wish you and all of your listeners the best.