Penned by a Project Manager
When my friend passed this book, it had a sacred aura as if a parchment of scriptures was being handed. Amused thoroughly by this hand-over ceremony, I was more intrigued to read the title “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” Another Motivational book? Perhaps. But I have seen guys hooked to 'Good to Great' by Jim Collins like a manual even citing page numbers and personally enthralled with sheer statistics in Malcolm McDowell’s ‘Outliers’. Come on, to quote Beatles were ‘also a band’ that did the gig and grind in German clubs for hours before they achieved the cult status made my eyes blink with disbelief. So in a way, Stephen Covey’ 7 Habits as its referred by my contemporaries made me feel nervous like holding Fluid Mechanics by PK Bhansal or Thermodynamics that did give the jitters then, when we were new and naïve as newcomers. The fear is either misplaced or we reel locked up in a panic room. As Truman said ‘we have nothing to fear but fear itself.’ The title alone was enough to get me going because it doesn’t assure to make you successful but to succeed follow the 7 habits. The more I read, the more I wanted to apply the learning to my professional sphere and as a Project Manager, Interestingly, we can apply the 7 habits into project management practice. Socrates said ““I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think.” So a book that makes one think is an amazing resource of education – the eternal spring of knowledge. Louis L'Amour was exquisite “Reading without thinking is nothing, for a book is less important for what it says than for what it makes you think.” Without much ado, here are the 7 habits BE PROACTIVE, BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND, PUT FIRST THINGS FIRST, THINK WIN-WIN, SEEK FIRST TO UNDERSTAND, THEN TO BE UNDERSTOOD, SYNERGIZE, SHARPEN THE SAW.
It’s all about ownership and shouldering responsibilities. It’s the reactive that are influenced by other factors to indulge in blame game. It will be pertinent to point L'Amour to stress about being proactive “Up to a point a man’s life is shaped by environment, heredity, and movements and changes in the world about him; then there comes a time when it lies within his grasp to shape the clay of his life into the sort of thing he wishes to be. Only the weak blame parents, their race, their times, lack of good fortune, or the quirks of fate. Everyone has it within his power to say, this I am today, that I shall be tomorrow.” You can only manage things that are under your control. The proactive persons devote their time and effort on things that can be controlled., primarily through Circle of Influence ·
These are the group of the people who will focus on issues in take care of things those are under their control ·
They don’t blame other for the actions as their focus is more on the solving and resolving. Basically solutioning.
à You can relate this with Risk Management & Stakeholder Management,
Begin End in Mind
It’s the ability to vision objective with action plan. Every organization has a mission statement and any undertaking (read as Project) will have its goals and mission. The prototype or blueprint is basically the model of the end-product. If development is connecting the dots, then planning is all about creating and placing and positioning the dots. Begin End in Mind typically stresses on the scope. You should know what needs to be done and also what is NOT to be accomodated. You can plan on your resources and apportion tasks and assign by preparing the project plan.
à Relate this with Overall Project Plan – (Scope, Quality, Time & Cost)
Put First Things First
Plan all the tasks that can be done first by specifying the severity and assigning priority. It’s about organization, management and execution. Balance it out. You don’t have to burn out. Revisit your project plan for prioritization as some developments might mandate that some tasks take precedence as against the planned action item or a resource originally delegated for a particular requirement need to be deployed elsewhere. à Review of the Project Plan and Execution
Spell success mutually. It has to work both ways. We are all in together and so should the benefits that are accrued as a result of the association. The budgeting must ensure the project doesn’t bleed and scope should be contained from bloating. It wouldn’t be fair-game if the vendor emerges as the victor at the cost of customer as a victim. Don’t over-price or undervalue. Be reasonable so that it’s a collaborative and co-operative effort wherein all the stakeholders involved share the results to realize the returns on investment.
à Relate with Communication Plan
SEEK FIRST TO UNDERSTAND, THEN TO BE UNDERSTOOD
Perhaps the toughest. We seek to be heard before hearing. The loudest is one who is heard, lest voices are drowned in the din. We are quick to judge than reason; prejudice prevails above principle. We want to have the last word and have to be right always. Learn. And for that listen first. A willful listener who is genuinely interested and not merely pretending to hear. There are instance we hear with the sole intent to give it back not as a reply or response but retort. Also, there is the element of sub-conscious bias that creeps unnoticed and adversely influences our decision and deliberation. The essence of communication is to understand as well as to be understood.
à Relate with Conflict Management
Fundamentally teamwork. Synergy by definition is “the working together of two things to produce an effect greater than the sum of their individual effects”. It is indeed true that “The whole is more than the sum of its parts.” Meaning we draw strength from each other that makes us formidable team and a force to reckon. It would be a mistake to obscure an individual’s contribution – there are some stars that shine brightly. How the individual contribution broadens the funnel of opportunities and possibilities for team members makes it even more significant. Some team members come forward to wear multiple hats or some are made to multi task to further project’s progress and team’s interest. Synergy is the collective strength and combined effort expending in achieving a common goal.
à Relate with Conflict Management and People Management
SHARPEN THE SAW
It was Abraham Lincoln’ who famously quoted “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Work smart. It’s wise to invest time in figuring out the best possible ways to get the work done efficiently so as to enhance productivity. The best output in the given timeline, sometimes limited time always calls for smart work. Its left to you in managing the given time and to optimize, you must reinvent yourself and be at it. Its always about conserving your energy to combat challenges and crisis that comes in the way of work. The monotony of work – to be at the desk from dawn to dusk drains you down. Wont you feel weak and worn out? You want capitalize on newer opportunities or crash out because of overdoing? Try to lead a balanced life. Take your mind off by mediation or relaxation or spiritual activity. It helps to unplug once in a while to recharge and revitalize yourself.
à Relate with Monitoring and Control
The above article was penned by one of the panel members who is an active and experienced Project Manager. iCert Global is a global learning provider specializing in the fields of Project Management amongst other offerings. You can learn more about Project management by signing up for our PMP® or PRINCE2 programs. We wish to thank you for visiting our blog and hope your stay was productive and purposeful.
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