Friday, July 18, 2014

71: Not Knowing

As Al Gore once tried to say: no one has all the answers and knowing that you don’t know everything is far wiser than thinking that you know a lot when maybe you don’t.  It’s a shame he got a little confused somewhere along the line.

As a project manager I might be able to do some things right and I might even be able to ask the right questions sometimes, but technically it’s the team that provides the answers.  
Poor project managers are afraid of looking foolish, so they often pretend to know about something when really they don’t.  

The Way  
The wise project manager has learned it is painful to fake knowledge.  Being wise and not wanting the pain, the wise project manager does not indulge in pretending.  He can happily say: I don’t know when he doesn’t know the answer.  

Know not knowing first.  
Not knowing is sickness.  
Being sick of sickness, 
Then one is not sick.  
The sage is not sick, 
Being sick of sickness.  
Therefore he is not sick.  

Friday, July 11, 2014

70: Simple Wisdom

There is nothing new in the way of the project manager.  It is simple and easy to understand as it goes back to basic principles.  Poor project managers do not understand this approach; perhaps it is too simple and basic to attract their attention.  They prefer something more radical and innovative, as that is what gets them noticed.  

The Way  
The wise project manager stays with the single principle of how everything happens and does nothing new or original.  But paradoxically the wise project manager appeals to very few followers, just to those who recognise that traditional wisdom is a treasure, which can often lay hidden beneath a very ordinary appearance.  The wise project manager keeps things simple and easy to understand and cherishes the way.  

My words are very easy to understand,  
Very easy to act on.  
Yet in the world no man understands,  
Or acts on them.  

My words have ancient beginnings.  
My deeds are noble.  
As men do not understand,  
Thus I am not understood.  

He that understands me is rare,  
In that way I am honoured.  
Thus the sage wears coarse clothing,  
And cherishes the jewel in his heart.  

Friday, July 04, 2014

69: Fight or Flight

If a member of the project team wants to pick a fight with you, consider the strategy of a great guerrilla leader, such as Fidel Castro or Che Guevara.  Never seek a fight and if one comes to you, yield and step back.  It is far better to step back than to overstep yourself.  Your strength is your awareness of what is happening.  Your weapon is the light of your consciousness.  

The Way  
The foolish project manager initiates the attack and is therefore off centre and easily thrown. The wise project manager has respect for any attacker.  He advances only when there is no resistance.  If you make a point, do not cling to it.  If you win, be gracious.  The wise project manager never surrenders their compassion nor uses their skill to harm anyone needlessly.  He knows that in the end, the more compassionate will win.  

I dare not advance an inch but prefer to withdraw ten.  
This is called acting without action,  
Seizing without weapons,  
Pushing without resistance,  
Managing without weapons.  

There is no greater disaster than underestimating the enemy.  
Underestimating the enemy, 
I will lose my treasures.  
Therefore when battle is joined,  
The more compassionate will win.  

Friday, June 27, 2014

68: Opportunities

The Project
In Easy Steps are currently proofing Project Program and Portfolio Management and they have asked for a few minor changes which I’ve completed so it shouldn’t be long now, but these things always take time.  Sourdough Bread Made Easy (absolutely nothing to do with project management for a change) has now been published by CreateSpace and is available from Amazon in hard copy and Kindle format.

“Fools rush in” as the old saying goes and that applies to poor project managers.  Good generals do not rush into battle, they prepare and offer the enemy the opportunity of making a self-defeating error.  Good project managers do not achieve success through constraints and limitations, they achieve success by providing opportunities.  

The Way  
Good leadership is about motivating people to achieve at the highest levels by offering them opportunities, not obligations.  That is how things happen naturally.  The wise project manager is patient and humble.  He knows that life is an opportunity and not an obligation.  

A good soldier is not violent.  
A good fighter is not angry.  
A good victor is not vengeful.  
A good manager is humble.  
This one might call not contesting.  
This one might call the ability to use others.  
This one might call the ultimate principle of the ancients.  


Friday, June 20, 2014

67: Three Qualities

The sun is shining and all seems right with the world. It’s amazing what the weather can do to one’s outlook.  Not only that, it’s Friday and The Bride Inn beckons.  Are they both part of the single principle?

The single principle of how everything happens is great, but the project managers who follow it know they are in fact quite ordinary.  Having a great ego does not make a project manager great it has quite the opposite effect.  A project manager who is filled with self-interest cannot be caring or courageous.  Project managers who act in a superior way, are not superior they are poor project managers.  

The Way  
The wise project manager knows that there are three qualities that are invaluable to the leader: compassion for all; a material simplicity or frugality; and a sense of humility.  A compassionate person acts in the belief of everyone’s right to life.  Material simplicity gives one an abundance to share.  A sense of humility is, paradoxically, one’s true greatness.  These qualities sustain life because we are all one.  When we care for the team members, we enhance the energy of the whole team.  

I have three treasures which I possess and guard.  
The first is compassion,  
The second is frugality;  
The third is humility.  

From compassion comes courage,  
From frugality comes generosity,  
And from humility comes leadership.  

Nowadays men forsake compassion and try to be courageous,  
Forsake economy and try to be generous,  
Forsake humility and try to be first.  
This is certain death.  

A compassionate man is able to contest,  
Then the strength to protect.  
Nature helps, compassion protects.  

Friday, June 13, 2014

66: Supportive Leadership

It's Friday and the sun is shining in the South West (and has been since I opened the swimming pool for the early morning Nutters Club at 05:30) so after work The Bridge Inn will be calling loud and clear.  Meantime I have work to do plus a visit to the dentist this morning and the physiotherapist this afternoon.  Must try to stay positive and think of The Bridge!

The Project
Still no news from the publishers on Project Program and Portfolio Management, so I assume (with my fingers crossed) that it is going well.  Meanwhile the next book Sourdough Bread Made Easy (makes a nice change from Project Management) is well on its way, I just need to take a few more pictures to illustrate some steps and variations.  But I digress as none of this has anything to do with leadership.  

What we call leadership consists mainly of knowing how to follow.  But poor project managers will try to promote their own agenda and drag or push the team in the direction they wish it to go in.  

The Way  
The wise project manager stays in the background and facilitates the work of the team.  The great things they do go largely unnoticed.  Because they do not push or manipulate the team, there is no resentment or resistance from the team.  Because they are open, any issue can be raised.  Because they have no position to defend and show no favouritism, no one feels threatened. 

Wishing to guide the people,  
You must speak to them humbly.  
Wishing to lead the people,  
You must follow behind.  

Thus when the sage rules,  
He is not a burden to the people;  
When he stands before them,  
He does not harm them.  

The whole world will support him,  
And will not weary of him.  
Because he does not compete,  
He does not meet competition.  

Friday, June 06, 2014

65: Trying to be Clever

Back home again after two interesting weeks in the Republic of (South) Korea for a Korean wedding and a tour of the country.  Had a great time and the Korean people are really nice. Only problem was I couldn't access my main email account and my (1G) mobile phone didn't work there!  But it made it nice and peaceful.

The Project
No problems or queries from my publishers yet on Project Program and Portfolio Management in easy steps, hopefully no news is good news. 

The Way  
Some project managers tend to see the world in terms of theories and often have a very intricate view of what is happening.  Simplicity and clarity are difficult for them and they are consequently very hard to work with.  They try to be clever, but this only ends up confusing the team members.  

The wise project manager does practices a way of life based on consciousness and wisdom.  By returning to an awareness of what is happening, they clarify things and enlighten the team.  Keeping things simple will save them a lot of trouble.  

Of old the ancient masters,  
Did not enlighten the common people,  
But kept them ignorant.  
People become difficult to govern, 
If they become too clever.  

Using too much cleverness to govern,  
Will ruin the country.  
Not using cleverness to govern,  
Will bring happiness to the country.  
He who understands these two rules,  
Understands the principle.