The Agony of Finding Virtue in Organisations

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Dear Agony Aunt,

I lead a highly profitable multi-national software company that plots maps for use in personal GPS devices. We navigate the world well, but our organisation lacks a moral compass. What’s your advice?

Anonymous.


Dear Anonymous,

If only leaders could punch “Shangri-La” into a Navman then the corporate world would be a more virtuous place! Engage with your people and agree on non-financial measures to expand your profitability model – for instance consider the net environmental and social impacts of your work – then see your organisation soar. Or plot the definitive route to weight loss and become instantly virtuous globally.

Agony Aunt.

The Agony of Making a New Year’s Resolution

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Dear Agony Aunt,

Last January my New Year resolution was to start smoking but one day in I gave up. I need to set myself a challenging goal for 2016. Have you got any advice?

Anonymous.


Dear Anonymous,

This year I resolved to connect with my inner self and encourage everyone around me to express their feelings about me openly. I soon despaired at the flow of wildly inaccurate and libellous character assessments so, like you, quickly aborted my resolution. Keep it simple but achievable. In 2016 I’m resolving to actually finish an entire chap-stick.

Agony Aunt.

The Agony of Managing Christmas

 

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Dear Agony Aunt,

Lacking the Gantt Chart structure that governs my life as a Project Manager throughout the year, come holiday season I struggle to apply the same order to our Christmas lunch menu. This year is chaos, since among the 12 guests we have two vegetarians, two gluten-free, one anaphylaxis, one vegan and a toothless aunt who consumes only pureed solids through a straw. Any advice?

Anonymous.


Dear Anonymous,

Christmas is no time to depart from your winning ways. There are plenty of online project management resources solely designed to manage your Christmas menu. At my place, nothing happens unless it’s in the Gantt Chart. One time, our  family sat immobile and starving for a week since the predecessor task for lunch (food shopping) was incomplete and in amber. Apply your project management skills to event management and have a great Christmas!

Agony Aunt.

The Agony of Charisma

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Dear Agony Aunt,

Can charisma be learned? Too often on projects I work with uninspiring men who believe they’ve inherited a charisma gene when in fact what they really need is a charisma transplant.  How can that delusion be corrected?

Cheers, Anonymous.


Dear Anonymous,

Some men do believe that charisma is “God given”, along with the capacity to pack a dishwasher, mow grass, and successfully navigate from place A to place B in a car. Charisma is a positive force of personality and can be a great asset for project leaders, regardless of gender. Charisma can indeed be learned and development starts with empathy, authenticity and clear communication. Speak to your Business Transition Team for more guidance.

Agony Aunt.

The Agony of Tapping into Emotional Intelligence

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Dear Agony Aunt,

I’m an effective program manager and meet all my stage gates. I’m always on budget and the Finance guys love me. But I feel alienated from the project team. They love regular pub dinners but I’m not into that. What to do

Anonymous.


Dear Anonymous,

I’ve been there! You need to balance your technical performance with team-member sentiment. Take tome to associate yourself with their own personal journey. EQ is hard work but very satisfying. Clint Eastwood managed the transition, from his early ruthless Dirty Harry to the benevolent William Munny in Unforgiven. If I’m struggling with issues I turn to the business transition team for advise – you should too.

Agony Aunt.

The Agony of Scheduling

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Dear Agony Aunt,

I’ve never really understood program scheduling and consequently the projects I manage get chaotic and invariably run over time and budget. What can I do?

Anonymous.


Dear Anonymous,

Divergent views on program scheduling mirror cultural approaches to international relations. It took a nightly disciplined focus for a resurgent Germany to re-arm itself in just 20 years between the wars, under the nose of a notoriously laissez-faire France that was distracted turning its champagne bottles to augment the fermentation process. Start by balancing your project objectives and the reality of delivering your program and you’re half-way to formulating a sound schedule.

Agony Aunt.

Agony Aunt – The Agony of Accountability

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Dear Agony Aunt,

“Accountability” is sadly absent from the project I’m working on. No one is taking responsibility for their actions and timelines are slipping as a result. How can this situation change?

Anonymous.


Dear Anonymous,

History shines on this that assume accountability for their actions. US President Hary Truman famously said the buck stopped with him, Richard Nixon was impeached for passing the buck while George W Bush retired on all the bucks he made while in office. Accountability needs to be documented for individuals and enshrined in project governance controls. Request this from your leader and communicate it to the team. Then stick a ‘Buck Stops with Me’ Post-It note to your colleagues’ desk. And if all else fails paint a bullseye on everyone’s back and leave a bow and arrow in the kitchen.

Agony Aunt.

Agony Aunt – the Agony of Staying Relevant

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Dear Agony Aunt,

Netflix is to my DVD rental franchise what the ice age was to the dinosaur. I’m continuously fighting the tide of extinction. Any advice on how to regenerate?

Anonymous.


Dear Anonymous,

Yours is not the only business to be wrecked by seismic environmental shifts. Witness the carnage wrought on global media and telco dynasties by the hyper download speeds offered by fibre optics. Sustainable operating models need agility to anticipate environment changes and an appetite for re-invention. Except for Hollywood’s Die hard movie franchise, which continues to baffle film critics, scientists and clerics by defying mortality. Whatever future you choose, stay ahead of the environmental curve and you’ll leave your competitors for dead.

Agony Aunt.