Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Is there a rope holding you in managing a Project, Program or PMO?



As a man was passing the elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at anytime, break away from their bonds but for some reason, they did not.
He saw a trainer nearby and asked why these animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away. “Well,” trainer said, “when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.”The man was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were.
As a project manager, program manager, portfolio manager or someone managing PMO, we all have our cycles of uncertainty and a fear of failure when a belief overcomes us that we cannot possibly do something, simply because we have failed at it before. During those uncertain times, its very important to remind us that failure is part of learning and we should never give up the ability to believe in ourselves. Personally, the best managers with whom i have crossed paths are those who have been fearless in going after goals without carrying the overhead thought of failure because in their mind there is nothing as failure. If a project has not delivered desired output or a program has not delivered planned outcome or a portfolio or PMO has not delivered laid out strategic objectives, we always end up learning how to manage it better the next time.
Always remind yourself that people judge us by what we have done till date and we judge ourselves by what we are capable of doing. Even though we all get it but seldom practice the art and science of learning from our past failures and making the most use of the lessons learned or retrospections for future success. With social media becoming a big part and parcel of our daily life, networking with professionals while sharing lessons learned and learning from each other’s experience, does go a long way to always challenge the status quo and help you keep raising your bar. As Charles Darwin famously quoted, "It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change."
Is there a rope that is holding you back today? Please share your thoughts.