Doubt – the real killer

When I take a moment and look at Office Politics, I see misguided expectations, missed communications, manipulations, I see who grows and who doesn’t, who is promoted and who isn’t, and a myriad of other things we as humans experience.  I see one true killer – DOUBT.

Doubt makes us hesitate, doubt makes us wait, doubt makes us quiet, doubt makes us put our eyes down, doubt makes us worry, doubt listens to fear.  Doubt creates bullies.

I remember when Taylor Swift was coming into stardom at the ripe age of 16 years old or something.  I think it was a speaking engagement at a college on the east coast where she mostly took questions from the audience.  Someone asked her if she had doubts.  She responded almost comically that she doubted herself hundreds of thousands of times – I think she implied that was every day.  But with every doubt, she decided to move forward anyway.

Doubt is a human condition.  Animals listen to their intuition and act accordingly – that smells funny – don’t eat it; that animal is mean – don’t introduce yourself; that animal is hungry – run.  If they doubt, they don’t live long enough to tell about it.  Humans don’t have that swift mechanism to keep doubt at bay.  Doubt has been allowed to grow and become a persistent bug in our psyche – a loud, noisy, irritating, hard to kill bug.  Like a beautiful hot summer day where you’re supposed to be enjoying the picnic, but the flies have found you and landed on everything.  They have poisoned the moment.  Now you’re swatting at them unsuccessfully, your head is down, you’re worrying about the food, you’re getting emotional and hot, now the sun is beating down on you…it’s a cycle we get into to when we listen to doubt.

When that fly starts buzzing in your ear, when the doubt starts creeping in – I shouldn’t say anything, what do I know, I’m sure I’m wrong, I’ll get in trouble…the list of shitty things we say to ourselves is never ending and gets meaner.  When it starts, simply ignore it.  Decide that you are worth it, and it is worth it to move forward.  Keep your head up, raise your hand, raise your voice, be honest, be open.

If it’s scary – start with something like ‘I don’t know if I have all the facts, but I believe the problem is …’; ‘I would like to take that assignment on – is there anyone who would like to help me?’

As we try things, we fail.  That’s ok – we learn a WHOLE LOT more when we fail than when we succeed.  As we try more things, we succeed.  That’s ok – it helps us try new things.

We get stronger by small actions on a regular basis.  It’s like strength training – you must grow slowly and surely. 

You got this! fffffffffff

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2018 in Review 2019 Plan

2018 review….2019 plan…  

2019 is my time to apply everything I’ve learned in my life – personally, professionally, and what I’ve learned from others.

I’ve been in transition for years now – 2018 isn’t that much different than 2017 or 2016 professionally.  Understanding who I am, what I’m good at, what I I see, how that helps, why it matters…It’s been an amazing, sometimes painful, journey.  I value friends more, I value myself more, I value connections more, I value chance encounters more, I value people more.  I value different looks, different perspectives, lots of tolerance, and listening – as well as hearing. 

I’m willing to change my stubbornness for the common good. I’m willing to sit still and just be.  While I’ve been insistent on being the first to admit when I’m wrong, I’m now willing to be wrong.  I’m willing to trust my instincts which makes them stronger.  I’m willing to ask more questions.  I’m willing to hear the answers and modify my thoughts accordingly. 

I’m ready to fly – truly fly.  Help people.  Help increase our chance of success.  Help grow.  Help nudge.  Lead.

Zombie Scrum – or any methodology

I just found out about Zombie Scrum and I had a great laugh!  Go ahead Google it – zombie scrum.  It’s hysterical and 100% true.

And it’s why I feel compelled to write.  It has a name now – ‘ZOMBIE PROJECT MANAGEMENT’.  It drives me insane – at all levels.

To be clear – this is not just about scrum and agile, this is about waterfall too and all hybrids.  This is equivalent to bean counters, box checkers, boring status meetings.  This should be at the VERY top of every ‘common project management mistakes’.  Going through the motions, no emotional intelligence, no foresight, no life, no caring.  That’s what this is really talking about – moving those stickies across the wall without giving a sh*t about what you’re doing or why.  Makes me so frustrated.

I LOVE the term Agile Coach.  What a great segue away from the mundane to something active and alive.  Waterfall is too old fashioned – for many reasons and at many levels but it’s not completely obsolete yet.  I’m not a huge proponent of Agile by the way – it has it failures too.   I am a proponent of do what’s needed in the situation you’re in – maybe it’s agile, maybe it’s waterfall, maybe it’s a hybrid, maybe it’s pure lean.  Take the time to see what is going on and pick the right process and methodology for the personalities/project/time you have to do it.

Be smart.  Be engaged.  Be caring.

DEADLINES – how to survive

Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines…it’s a constant in our work life.  Mix those in with home life to do’s and mandatory schedules – ‘I promised a date with my spouse tonight’! How do we survive?!?!

I do two things:

1)      Acknowledge there are seasons or cycles to everything.  Marketing is going be busy in the fall.  Selling is going to be heavy in the holidays.  Accounting is every winter/spring.  Kiddo’s sports/events/theater is every spring and fall.  You get the picture.  Somethings will get caught in that crunch – be kind to yourself and others.  It’s expected if you’re in the right frame of mind.

2)      Prioritize based on those cycles. 

Life: If you’re a tax accountant, a vacation in February is not a great idea.  But one in May – much appreciated and much more enjoyable.  Kiddo’s game on April 14???? – talk about it ahead of time.  When cycles collide, have someone else clean the house, increase your budget for takeout, make extra meals before hand for easy lunches. 

Work: Despite what it may feel like, not all deadlines are real and not all deadlines need to be kept – this is the secret.  Which ones are not real and not needing to be kept are something you learn.  In the meantime, talk to your boss(es) and explain the constraints (not the family ones) and find out which ones can slip.

Bottom line – be open, be honest, see what’s ahead of you so you’re prepared.  Being hit by a Mac truck that you could have avoided completely sucks!!!  That’s why you have to slow down.

 

Expectations

Expectations are TOUGH.  You need some of them but not too many of them and they need to be just above where you are, so you strive to be more but not too high and they need to be realistic, so you feel motivated.  How in the world can you make that work?  Especially as a matrixed project manager who doesn’t know these folks very well.

Expectations are CRITICAL. This is what gives your team the belief that they can do it.  But, can also demotivate them if it feels out of reach or not presented with appropriate belief.

How do you find that balance? You listen.Expectations