Posts Tagged ‘motivation’
A couple of weeks ago I tried to watch the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. I say tried because I eventually became so frustrated by Matt Lauer’s and Meredith Vieira’s endless stream of intrusive babble that I switched the whole thing off. From what I saw, the ceremony had been painstakingly designed by its Olympic hosts to tell a story. The producers of the event had obviously worked hard to weave together a collection of objects, images, performers and music to create a spectacular narrative that highlighted Russia’s history.
Was it mere propaganda? Was it an idealized rewriting of history? Frankly, I can’t say because every time I started to become absorbed by the narrative and allow its images and music to carry me along with it, Lauer or Vieira would yank me out of the story line with their own narrative. And since theirs consisted mostly of arcane trivia, details of the mechanics of the production, or political editorializing, I found it impossible to sustain the sense of wonder that the grand production had been designed to stimulate. Unfortunately, turning off the sound to shut off their prattling also muted the beautiful music and sound effects. So I finally just gave up in disgust and switched the whole thing off.
A Colossal Waste!
As the room became silent, I found myself wondering about — and feeling sympathy for — the producers of the event. They clearly had undertaken months of preparation. They constructed a logical “through line” that told their story, then they rehearsed and coordinated hundreds of moving parts. In short, they had attempted to deliver a powerfully moving and cohesive viewer experience. Yet here sat these American TV talking heads intruding themselves at random throughout the event, dragging viewers on endless, mood-destroying side trips and distracting us from absorbing any coherent message or from being swept away in the spectacle. What a colossal waste!
Like Your Last Business Presentation?
The more I thought about it, however, the more I realized that this NBC-broadcast of the Sochi Olympic Opening Ceremony was an apt metaphor for many business meetings I’ve attended. The same elements are present:
- Someone works hard to prepare a logical narrative, often supported with multi-media components.
- This person rehearses, then delivers the presentation.
- Members of the audience ostensibly attend to the presentation.
- Members of the audience are ceaselessly, often pointlessly, interrupted by their own, personal talking heads in the form of the ever-present “second screen” of a smartphone or tablet.
- These interrupted members of the audience, in turn, become someone else’s “second screen” interruptions as their fingers tap out terse little messages that intrude into another presenter’s carefully-crafted presentation.
The result of all this fracturing of a presenter’s logical, cohesive message is that attendees acquire an understanding of it that is incomplete or badly distorted.
Half-Baked Comprehension = Half-Baked Decisions!
Now here’s the big deal: What distinguishes these business presentations from the Olympics Opening Ceremony is that those attending are frequently called upon to take an action or make a decision at the conclusion. But if your recall of the presenter’s message is sketchy or skewed, your comprehension is… well… half-baked! And half-baked comprehension can only lead to half-baked decisions!
So here’s your challenge: The next time you attend a meeting, try to fully “attend” to the presentation. Put yourself in the shoes of the presenter. Try to imagine the effort she expended to accumulate information, sift it down to its essences and build a presentation that would be engaging and informative. Then ask yourself if it makes good business sense to allow your own jabbering little device (your pocket-sized network talking head) to ceaselessly interrupt and water down your engagement.
(NOTE: For more on the phenomenon of scrambled consciousness & the illusion of competence held by “multi-taskers,” see Managing People with Self-Induced ADHD (er… Chronic Multitaskers)
Edited: February 27th, 2014
A while back I was teaching an introductory PM class for some high-achieving tech folks. My overall goal was to begin to convert these perfectionists into project managers. Mid-way through the first morning, I divided the class into several small groups of 4 or 5 people and assigned a series of planning exercises. They had brought their own real world project ideas to class and the object of the game was to take a few of these from rough concept to full-blown, high-resolution project plans. Each team had been given large Post-It notes, blank flip charts, and markers. There were also a couple of white boards available.
As the teams were working through the guided planning exercises, I could hear the familiar jumble of voices as ideas were bounced around, discussed, discarded, and revised. One team, however, was strangely silent. Unlike the others who were up and moving about, they were seated around a table and looking at the back of one guy’s computer screen. I walked over to see what was going on. (more…)
Edited: April 25th, 2013
Let’s face it. You wouldn’t be a project manager if you fancied yourself a sales person. Indeed most project managers — particularly those who came up through the ranks of top project contributors and technical experts — hate all the “dog and pony show” stuff that’s involved in selling their projects.
But the truth is there is simply no one who is in a better position to draw clear connecting lines between your team’s amazing technical abilities and the value these bring to your organization through your project. What’s more, as your project unfolds, you are going to need the enthusiastic support of senior management to help you get the money, people, facilities, equipment, and engaged participation of SMEs that will bring success. So it’s up to you and the specific actions you take to build the sale and generate that much-needed senior management enthusiasm.
So where do you begin? Here are 5 actions that can help you sell your project to senior management:
Edited: January 29th, 2013
I just emailed my latest PM Minimalist Update to subscribers. It’s loaded with articles, links, and more. Check it out here:
Highlights from this issue include:
Edited: July 31st, 2012
Best Practice: Consciously choose your attitude.
“We cannot choose our external circumstances, but we can always choose how we respond to them.” — Epictetus in The Enchiridion
“From the most simple task to the most complex, if you are not in a state of either acceptance, enjoyment, or enthusiasm, look closely and you will find that you are creating suffering for yourself and others.” — Eckhart Tolle in A New Earth
Take another look at the Tolle quote above. The selection in bold tells the whole story. The graphic below illustrates how one man’s thrashing against reality – his self-chosen misery – is creating suffering for himself and others!
Edited: February 15th, 2012
(The following article is part of our One Simple Thing…to Improve Projects series. It was contributed by David Emerald, the creator of TED — The Empowerment Dynamic. David is the author of The Power of TED* book, an executive coach, and uplifting keynote speaker who lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and business partner, Donna.
In a nutshell, TED provides a framework for building better, more empowered relationships. The Power of TED materials, as well as David’s workshops, are both inspirational and practical! TED enlightens and encourages those who practice it to reach new levels of collaboration.)
[A personal note: "I've found that TED provides a unique framework to view and improve both my business and personal relationships. I was so excited to share TED's potential for project teams that I created the blog post/podcast Shift from Drama to Empowerment. Thanks, David, for the wisdom & the inspiration!" -- Mike Greer]
My number one “simple thing” is to adopt a Creator Orientation.
Edited: February 2nd, 2012
This series of free online videos (also available on DVD) is designed to help you apply “just enough” project management (PM) to manage your projects effectively — without burdening your team (and you!) with a bunch of unnecessary PM administrivia. This series, along with the one-page reference, 10 Steps to Project Success, can be used as stand-alone basic PM training. It also serves as an in-depth introduction to the Book, The Project Management Minimalist.
Edited: June 3rd, 2010
Looking for a little inspiration and motivation for yourself and your project team members? The Inspired Project Teams Coaching Guide is a collection of 30 podcasts (over 5 hours of audio!), along with a 58-page project team leader’s Guide that contains hundreds of specific Challenges for you and your team. Hundreds of hot links to online resources (just “click and go!”) are included in the Guide. Check it out!
Edited: March 7th, 2010
“… a project team’s attitude can make or break the project… Ultimately, it’s up to you whether you live in darkness or light, in a field of crackling tension or a glow of enthusiastic energy.” — from Inspired Project Teams podcast, Consciously Choose Your Attitude
In my new blog post (also a podcast) on Inspired Project Teams, you can find out what The Lineman, The Farmer, The Trucker, The Storm Chaser, and the Project Manager can teach you about developing a better attitude! Check it out! Click here: Consciously Choose Your Attitude
Edited: November 2nd, 2009