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.

Emotional Intelligence: A Contemporary ‘Must Have’ for Change Leaders

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BY CERTUS3 & BLUESEED CONSULTING

In his first interview as Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called out ‘emotional intelligence’ – also known as ‘Emotional Quotient’ (EQ) – as his defining characteristic. Anyone embarking on large-scale transformation should heed his remarks.

In isolation, good IQ (‘Intelligence Quotient’} and sound EQ are commonly accepted to be desirable capabilities. But the right alchemy of both is fast becoming a requirement for contemporary change leaders.

EQ is not the opposite of IQ. We need to understand how they work together. Deficiencies in either space can be detrimental to advancement. That’s why Australia’s new Prime Minister has sought to supplement his high IQ credentials with EQ commitment before promoting his change agenda.

Turnbull said: “The important thing is to have the emotional intelligence and the empathy and the imagination that enables you to walk in somebody else’s shoes.

To be able to sit down with them on a train or in the street, hear their story, and have the imagination to understand how they feel. Emotional intelligence is probably the most important asset for – certainly for anyone in my line of work.”

One assumes the ‘ability to relate to everyday Australians’ would be part and parcel of the Prime Ministerial brief. But let’s not go there. Instead let’s explore what EQ means as a differentiator for Leadership.

EQ has been the focus of much executive research, particularly in the U.S. A recent study conducted at the Centre for Creative Leadership (CCL) on derailed executives, “The rising stars who flamed out” discovered that each member of the ‘derailed group’ exhibited an ‘interpersonal flaw’ and not, as many would have expected, a technical one.

The research carried out on top executives in the U.S and Europe uncovered several flaws, including – poor working relations, authoritarianism, ambition and ‘prone to conflict with upper management’. Such flaws, not surprisingly, fell firmly within the emotional frame.

When it comes to the field of Change Management, or Business Transition as described within the Certus3 and Blue Seed Consulting change frameworks, EQ is king. We have Change and Business Transition Managers with the ability to manage personal responses to change while at the same time building resilience to it and creating exceptional change outcomes.

“Emotional intelligence is a critical tool in business. After years labelled a discretionary “soft skill”, two decades of scientific and business research has demonstrated the value of emotional intelligence for leaders and anyone whose job involves influencing and engaging people.” Langley Group

Isn’t EQ what’s expected of all leaders today (and tomorrow)?

The higher a leader rises in an organisation the more emotional intelligence matters particularly as they begin to face increasing levels of uncertainty, volatility and complexity.

Emotional intelligence was originally defined by Salovey and Mayer (1990) as the ability of an individual to monitor one’s own and others’ emotions; to discriminate among the positive and negative effects of emotion; and to use emotional information to guide one’s thinking and actions.

The great news is that emotional intelligence, unlike IQ, can be developed over time in order to improve performance. Emotional Intelligence forms the suite of soft skills such as empathy and listening, which are ranked highest among the competencies of successful global leaders and C-Suite executives.

Benefits are two-fold: they support higher levels of employee engagement, which translates to happy customers and greater business results; plus they give leaders themselves greater self-awareness, understanding of others, personal resilience, decision-making abilities and the capacity to influence others.

Many HR reps will tell you IQ gets you in the door but a good grasp on your emotional side provides the yellow brick road to promotion.

We’d suggest that a balanced blend of both IQ and EQ will now get (and keep) you in the door, especially during times of change.

“Emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, it is not the triumph of heart over head – it is the unique intersection of both.” David Caruso

From preschools to corporations to the hallways of the nation’s leadership, people are plugging into their “touchy-feely” side which, once derided, is proving to be a major contemporary key to success in business and in life.

For more information on Emotional Intelligence check out:

Footnote: Salovey, P & Mayer, J 1990, ‘Emotional intelligence’, Imagination, Cognition and Personality, 9, 185-211.

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.

The Art of Scheduling

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By Gabe Lopata

Some major projects are fated to fail due to shortfalls in the planning phase, so in this post I thought we’d look at what a good schedule looks like and how it can increase the likelihood of your project succeeding.

A schedule comes from the program’s scope of work and ensures the designated direction is followed without deviation. While schedules for agile projects tend to have a horizon of only weeks (known as “sprints”), waterfall programs plan for the life of a project.

Creating a project plan is no walk in the park – at times it can feel like you’re in the middle of a prolonged bi-lateral free trade negotiation. It’s taken 10 years for Australia to secure a deal with China but the longer-term benefits of that deal for exporters dwarf the effort spent on settling the arrangement.

So too with project scheduling, which you should approach from both top down (strategic objective) and bottom up (practical needs) perspectives in the same way as a negotiation, with each party providing insights and logic until the balance between strategy and practicality meet in the middle.

The top down schedule is often referred to as the Driver Plan since it’s the point of origin for planning and combines the thinking of both senior management and the business owner as described in the strategic objective of the project.

The development of a schedule goes through much iteration, with the pathway becoming clearer as information is added cumulatively. This being so you should make the effort to manage and time the act of ‘iterating’ at logical points.

A logical time to stop for some R & R, (Refining and Re-baselining) in the context of a SDLC, would be at the point that separates high level design and detailed design. Not only is R & R good for one’s constitution but it helps immeasurably with critical activities such as effective cost and contingency forecasting.

Here’s some tips to help you make a better project plan:

  • First, be clear about the project scope
  • Always plan with a view of strategic top-down and practical bottom-up
  • Be aware of dependencies between tasks
  • Be realistic when allocating time and resources against tasks
  • Accompany the plan with change management considerations designed to address key change impacts
  • Make sure team members, team leaders and end users are consulted along the way, understand their role, and are committed in the program’s success

Ongoing evaluation of actual performance against scheduled activity is essential in hitting project milestones. The Certus3 Phase Domain Model can assess if the right level of deliverables are available within the project. It can also assess how a program is currently performing, and is likely to perform, into the future based on the completion level of deliverables.

ABOUT CERTUS3

Established in 2007, Certus3 assists organisations manage large-scale programs of work involving wide reaching organisational change. Offering program delivery and program management consulting services, the team’s growing client portfolio includes successful Australian corporations like Woolworths, Perpetual, Asciano and Myer.

certus3.com

ABOUT INSIGHTS360™

Insights360™ is a survey-based diagnostic tool that guarantees early risk and issue detection for senior executives in charge of large and complex programs of work. The proprietary tool is used by program managers and senior executives interested in understanding the ‘true’ status of their projects.

insights360app.com

CONTACT

Melinda Young
Certus3 PR & Communications
M: 0430 433 989
E: melinda.young@certus3.com
T: @MelCertus3

Greg Searson, Asciano IT PMO Leader Rates Insights360

 

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Certus3’s Insights360™ has more than delivered for Asciano, providing the organisation with ‘real’ insights into the projects they are undertaking.”

What do you mean by ‘real’ insights?

“The differences that exist between the officially reported project status, as put together by the Project Manager, and the informal project status is vast. Insights360™ enables the layers of traditional project reporting to be peeled back, exposing the ‘real’ status, commonly understood but never officially declared.

A review of Asciano’s projects showed that status updates did not provide a ‘real’ view of progress and consequently were not a good indicator of project health and future success.”

Why is it important to understand the ‘real’ project status?

“An understanding of the causal links between attitudes, behaviours, project progress and future outcomes is crucial in either rescuing a project in-flight, or protecting one from failure in its infancy.

Insights360™ gives valuable time back to those responsible for project management – time to prevent risks or repair issues before their impacts leave an indelible impression. This was certainly our experience.

With a minimum amount of effort the tool enabled us to provide a comprehensive view of project success, our distance from it and an indication of the areas we needed to zero in on in order to achieve success.

In addition to protecting projects from failure the tool also highlights well managed projects and can be used to establish benchmarks and perform periodic project health checks.”

How often has Asciano used Insights360™?

“Asciano has leveraged the insights provided by the tool in many of its recent and most notable projects:

Project Gemini, a cloud-based managed service solution migration for its infrastructure and applications

Patrick Terminal Operating System (TOS) Project, a newly designed system responsible for all aspects of day-to-day terminal ports and stevedoring operations

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System Project, currently in its scoping and business case development phase.

The repeated employment of Insights360™, has created a pattern, unplanned initially, but one that has unofficially become part of our stage-gating process and one that is well positioned to become an official pre-requisite to any silver or gold stage gate milestones in the future.”

What aspect of the tool do you find most helpful?

“The relationship that the tool establishes between behaviours and factors that determine project success or failure, such as scope, solution, schedule, stakeholders, team, budget, benefits, issues and risks is invaluable.

Being a data-driven decision-maker, I appreciate the statistical basis of the tool and find comfort in the logical back-end.

Other helpful aspects include ease of use, it’s available online and so can be completed at any time and from virtually any device, it’s anonymous, fast, and not particularly expensive – all important traits and helpful selling points when attempting to gain executive buy-in.”

Would you use Insights360™ for another project in the future?

 “Absolutely.”

ABOUT INSIGHTS360™

Insights360™ is a survey-based diagnostic tool that guarantees early risk and issue detection for senior executives in charge of large and complex programs of work. The proprietary tool is used by program managers and senior executives interested in understanding the ‘true’ status of their projects.

Insights360app.com

 

CONTACT

Melinda Young
Certus3 PR & Communications
M: 0430 433 989
E: melinda.young@certus3.com
T: @MelCertus3

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.

A Period of Expansion for Certus3

Media Release

Leading Australian program management and consulting firm Certus3 is continuing to expand with the official on-boarding of two new senior consultants, Erin Cairns and Melinda Young – both of which will lead the ongoing development of Certus3’s key domain areas of PMO and Business Transformation respectively.

“Our new domain leads, and senior consultants will not only drive their dedicated functions within pre-existing Certus3 programs but will more importantly continue the investment Certus3 has commenced in the development of the Certus3 PMO and Business Transition Frameworks, both of which embody our unique approach to program delivery.”

Simo Popovac, Managing Partner – Certus3

Each domain framework supports Certus3’s three differentiated program management strengths – knowledge, experience and certainty – they each provide a gateway to insights on program and change management innovation gained from the team’s carriage of some the country’s most complex IT and business integration projects.

“The program delivery landscape in Australia is littered with failed projects.  Our investment in all areas of program management, and the development and implementation of our unique approach in each program discipline reflects the confidence we have in our ability to seamlessly effect large scale change.”

Michael Devlin, Managing Partner – Certus3

Among recent innovations deployed by Certus3 is INSIGHTS360™ an online tool that provides a high level assessment of the ‘true’ program status, analysing the impact people, through their behaviours and attitudes, have on program reporting.

ABOUT CERTUS3

Established in 2007, Certus3 assists organisations manage large-scale programs of work involving wide reaching organisational change. Offering program delivery and program management consulting services, the team’s growing client portfolio includes successful Australian corporations like Woolworths, Perpetual, Asciano and Myer.

certus3.com

ABOUT INSIGHTS360™

Insights360™ is a survey-based diagnostic tool that guarantees early risk and issue detection for senior executives in charge of large and complex programs of work. The proprietary tool is used by program managers and senior executives interested in understanding the ‘true’ status of their projects.

Insights360app.com

 

CONTACT

Melinda Young
Certus3 PR & Communications
M: 0430 433 989
E: melinda.young@certus3.com
T: @MelCertus3

 

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.

 

Staying Relevant in an Ever-Changing World

We are in the eye of the storm of massive change in an ever-changing world: from magnetic pole shifts to earthquakes, from volcanoes to tsunamis, from the fall of various long-encumbered regimes to the birth of new democratic springs.

When leading nations and businesses fall behind in sectors where they were once the dominant players, there is a clear recognition that the status quo cannot be maintained.

To compete in an ever-changing world – organisations, including Certus 3 have become very good at evolving strategies for coping with unanticipated events, challenges and even crises – for both ourselves, as an independent organisation, and our clients.

To compete – we need to be ahead of the curve, anticipate the environmental changes that threaten our viability or offer opportunity and come up with a creative response.

One such creative response is slowly filling the skies in the UK and Mumbai where drone manufacturers and entrepreneurs, have stepped into the fray rescuing commercial enterprises whose use of traditional delivery and information-gathering services has led to disappointment.

Once the exclusive purview of the military and academia, drones are, as we speak, delivering pizzas, taking ‘selfies’ or ‘dronies’ for wealthy narcissists and performing marketing research missions.

Approximately 12% of an estimated US$98 billion in global spending on drones over the next decade will be for commercial purposes. Amazon Prime Air, Google GOOGL -3.07% Project Wing, Facebook and even NASA are all working on drone technology.

The ability for Certus3 to be agile, and to work with organisations to respond to environmental change, particularly in the cloud technology space has been critical to guaranteeing our ability to stay relevant.

The fundamental problem however, with bringing about change, even change less radical than the rise of drone technology is that most people, and organisations, want things to stay the same.

The implications of ‘wanting’ things, and effectively ‘forcing’ things stay the same in the wake of geo-political change is epitomised by the fall of Ceausescu. Instead of heeling to the winds of change Nicolae refused, effectively bringing himself and Romania undone. Gorbachev, his communist colleague, on the other hand, sensed the change and managed Russia through it – affecting an atrophy that saw a gradual breakdown of communism, and his ascendency as a political icon.

In business it is essential to recognise the aversion that many have towards change. Helping client organisations to predict, understand, prepare for and confront the inevitable with confidence is part of our ethos.

The ENORMOUS Potential Value of Improving Project Management Performance

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The perennial topic of concern for those stewarding large and complex programs of work is the potential of project failure, and the inevitable cost tethered to it.

According to the Project Management Institute poor project performance results in organisations losing $109 million for every $1 billion invested in projects and programs.

Organisations who have the project management process right succeed in successfully implementing approximately 89 percent of their projects, while those less competent complete only 36 percent.

Like Hamlet those at the helm know when something’s rotten within their project, but not understanding the root cause or how to find it easily are left with little choice other than to ride it out and hope for the best.

Of course we all know where this approach leads but surprisingly, it continues to happen over and over again.

Certus3 has helped many clients reverse the rot and recover some very difficult projects. Knowing how to spot trouble on the horizon therefore has become a staple and the businesses’ core foundation for success.

“Clients continue to be astounded when we link all project issues back to ‘people’. It’s exactly the same every time, regardless of industry, type of project or geographical region,” explains Michael Devlin, Managing Partner of Certus3.

Reaping some of the value being left on the table by most, if not all, organisations was the motivating factor behind the development of Certus3’s project diagnostic tool, Insights360™

Used pre-emptively or after signs of rot have occurred Insights360 can tell you what or who you should be monitoring, and managing to ensure project success.

Below is a sample of two common people-related issues regularly uncovered by Insights360™:

WAVERING SUPPORT FROM MIDDLE MANAGEMENT – Middle managers commonly acquiesce to accommodate the lead players in enterprise politics.

Middle managers struggle to see the project’s importance if not solidly bound to their own personal performance evaluations and therefore redirect resources and attention to activities publicly supported by the powers that be.

LOW INVOLVEMENT FROM STAKEHOLDERS – Often the allocator of resources, an un-engaged stakeholder will more often than not withhold key resources, making project failure fait accompli.

If key stakeholders aren’t participating in major review meetings, they are not engaged.

Such behavior sets the standard, and becomes the norm making it increasingly difficult for the project to recapture their attention and the subsequent resources to finish the job.

While only two people-related project issues have been cited above, rest assured, the project eco-system like Hamlet’s Denmark, host a vast array of hidden issues to uncover and arrest.

Contact Certus3 to arrange a demonstration of Insights360™ and make sure you’re successfully tapping into the ENORMOUS potential value of improving project management performance.

 

ABOUT INSIGHTS360™

Insights360™ is a survey-based diagnostic tool that guarantees early risk and issue detection for senior executives in charge of large and complex programs of work. The proprietary tool is used by program managers and senior executives interested in understanding the ‘true’ status of their projects.

Insights360app.com

 

ABOUT CERTUS3

Established in 2007, Certus3 assists organisations manage large-scale programs of work involving wide reaching organisational change. Offering program delivery and program management consulting services, the team’s growing client portfolio includes successful Australian corporations like Woolworths, Perpetual, Asciano, Myer and News Corp.

certus3.com

 

CONTACT

Melinda Young
Certus3 PR & Communications
M: +61 430 433 989
E: melinda.young@certus3.com
T: @MelCertus3