Chapter Communications Blog

Daniel Rodellar 100x100

Author: Daniel Rodellar, PMP

 Be Strategic or Be Gone!

It is a good thing to create a strategy, it is even better to execute the strategy to get the expected benefit! In fact, only 2% of leaders/executives are confident that they will achieve their strategy’s objectives and goals.

Then, why such low rate of achievement? Thijs Wijnands has taken us on the journey to create a strategy, from the definition of strategy to the top 5 take away to prevent not achieving your goals!

 

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The purpose of the strategy is the reason why we do things; the strategy defines how do we do things at global level; the tactics are how at the detail level; the goals are what we want to achieve on a high-level and finally the objectives are detailed view of what will be achieved.

Once the strategy is created there are 3 phases:

  • Building a mutual understanding
  • Shaping the choices
  • Taking decisions

And on this part, Thijs describe the step-by-step on how to engage your colleagues to get them on board.

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We learnt that a project is successful if customers like it, but a failure from a financial point of view, like in the case of the Airbus A380. There the strategy was to make bigger planes, but it ended up been not practical to operate.

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You need to engage and lead strategic conversation to get from the “yes, but” (French version is the “Oui, mais” that you can write as 8 mai ) to the “yes, and…” that is a true dialogue.

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 Thijs was putting the focus on identifying, engaging and keeping engaged the people and how to talk with them which is the most essential for achieving the strategic goals and objectives.

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All this considering the 5 Ps: Pace, Points, People, Presentation and Place. You will look at the problem from different angles, and you will deal with complexity. And on the five beliefs that Thijs shared with us, I’ll take the first one: “There is no perfect solution, done is better than perfect”.

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The strategy is made of the strategy map and a balanced scorecard, highlighting the perspective (identify the benefit and reason we do it), the focus (critical success factors) and the KPI defined.

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With all this you are ready to build your cockpit and remember to be open for feedback!

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We ended up with 5 takeaways that should be applied to make us succeed on strategy implementation.

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A final note, do you know the top 5 for failure?

  • Culture of the company
  • Not enough or bad resources allocated
  • Insufficient agility/unwilling to change
  • External developments not taken into account
  • Strategy poorly understood

If you work on all these 5 to avoid them, you are on the best path to strategize the right way!

 

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Thijs was asked some questions about what type of mechanisms to put in place to review the strategy. He proposed to review complexity and difficulty to execute certain projects, to have very frequent progress checks by management and to foster discussions at all levels to get buy-in.

Is there a strategy lifecycle? Was also asked by the audience. It depends on the business you are in. It tends to follow the business cycles of the economy (3 years to 5 years).

It was a great event and presentation on February 21, 2019 in Geneva, and we should not forget that we must change, no matter what, we will, and there has to be something in the strategic vision that is engaging to succeed!

 

 

Julia Posselt

Author: Julia Posselt, PMP
 
2019 PMI Switzerland Board Announced
We are happy to announce that Irina Petkova has been elected President of the 2019 PMI Switzerland Board. 
Our big thanks goes to Stefan Vesenmeier and his glorious PMI Basel Events Team for a superb AMM 2019 where Michael Murray, our onstage host, led through the evening. We bid farewell to Serge Garazi who handed over to Philippe Soupart, our new VP Operations. We welcomed Thijs Wijnands as new VP Professional Development and are super happy to have Loïc Hascher reelected to continue as VP Members. 
 
Congratulations also to Daniel Rodellar for being the “PMI Switzerland Volunteer of the Year 2018”. 
Our ambition for 2019? 
We start with good inspiration from the AMM Keynote "Breaking Down Barriers – 5 Decisions for a Successful Mindset" with Matthias Berg: 
  • We take action and focus on our ability 
  • We stay disciplined when things get challenging 
  • And we take responsibility to use our mandates for providing you, our dear PMI Switzerland Community, with the most joyful times 
Our stance and attitude? Being thankful, being optimistic.
Cordially, 
Julia Posselt
VP Special Projects

Carlos Martinez Arteaga 100x100

Author: Carlos Martinez Arteaga, PMP

Dear members and newsletter subscribers,

Dealing with uncertainty can surely be tough, at least for me, who likes to enjoy a peaceful time every now and then...

The way uncertainty affects me is that it does not allow me to focus 100% on my work, as it is always in the back of my mind, not allowing me to concentrate on what I am doing. It also makes me feel nervous, and I get irritated quite easily. Uncertainty for me is certainly not good at all.

I have been told that there are certain things that one can do to make these painful moments easier to handle, as uncertainty cannot be fully "managed", due to the fact that we do not know how things will turn out in the end...

For example one thing we can do if we think something bad might be coming is expect the worst, and therefore when it comes we will somehow be ready to take the hit... therefore this planning in advance to the event occurring could help us deal with it better. Also we can turn it all around by thinking even further and planning how we can get the best out of the situation, thereby salvaging some bit of profit out of the bad if possible. If we picture the event, and see ourselves dealing with it, it is usually a good exercise which prepares us when having to face the moment. It is basically being positive.

Another tip I was told is to make something happen, that is, try to make certain what is uncertain, thereby making the situation more manageable. As said previously uncertainty usually makes us anxious, and this is not healthy, therefore if we make things happen this will lower our anxiety levels.

Then there is also the need to calm ourselves down. We should sit down and determine what we know versus what we don't know. Sometimes we over excite ourselves about something that in reality is minor, and when we start really thinking about the issue as a whole we realize that we can handle more than we initially thought. Then what remains as uncertainy is far less cumbersome. We then see that we can relax and will probably face the situation quite well. 

Finally there is a saying that I repeat myself in these moments of uncertainty which is "There is no such harm that would not trigger something good". It comes from Spain and the translation itself might be a bit confusing, but in reality what it means is that something bad or harmful can then become the trigger for good things to happen.

Cheers,

Carlos

Sebastian Dutkowski, PMP

Author: Sebastian Dutkowski PMP

 

On January 22nd the chapter held an event at the HWZ in Zürich dedicated to discovering how Tai chi could possibly relate to project management.

 

Event tai chi 1

 

Tai chi, as some of you might know, is a Chinese martial arts sport, but some of its schools focus primarily on health effects and aesthetic appeal. This is similar to Japanese Kata, which is mostly known due to Karate. Those schools of Tai chi, because of its slow movements, can sometimes be perceived as closer to yoga and as a form of dance as a pose to martial arts. Practitioners of this kind of Tai chi will try to keep physically balanced while doing strenuous exercises. For example, they might try to do a particular exercise while standing on one foot only. Practitioners will also try to perform all of their movements with finesse.  

So is the work of the project manager. We project managers make moves, we encourage and push people when we stand behind them, we pull them when we are in front. We embrace them when we are with them. Sometimes we leave them on the ground and go high above the clouds to understand the big picture. Project management, from the moment of project initiation until project closure is a dance where project managers are making sure that things move forward, that his/her people do the right things and that his/her stakeholders help, if possible, or in some cases, stay out of the way.

 

Event tai chi 2

 

The night was moderated by Julia Posselt who is an independent coach with plenty of experience from Banking and Pharma, by Norun Laahne Thomassen who is a coach with tons of experience in coaching individuals and also whole teams in the corporate environment, and by Gail Corbett-Smith who coaches in the corporate environment and individually, as well as working with people experiencing trauma and overwhelm.

 

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When we entered the room we saw empty space divided into 5 areas labeled “front” for the front area, "behind" for the rear area, "beside" for the area on the left, "field" for the area on the right side, and “within” in the middle. As you might guess those fields are the places where a project manager might find him/herself while doing their work. Some people assume that the project manager is always in front leading his people. This is correct most of the time; after all we speak about leadership, leading, followers, resources and so on.

But this is not always the case. Just as a general officer plans his/her next battle, so is the project manager often beside his people who are at that moment marching towards the battlefield. The general will assume the position on a hill overseeing the battlefield shortly before the battle far behind his/her troops, and sometimes will charge the enemy using his/her most valued soldiers when the time comes to use them.

 

Event tai chi 5

 

For project managers there is time to do planning while the team is prototyping and trying to understand requirements. Later in the project, the project manager is positioned high enough to see the big picture of the ongoing project, assess events that might have an impact on the project like discoveries, breakthroughs or opportunities and threats due to other projects. Sometimes it is even necessary for the project manager to work hands-on with project deliverables, should it be documentation, testing or programming.

We started the event sitting in a U-shaped row of chairs. We did not spend much time sitting, however, and in fact we only actually sat during the introduction of the moderators. From then on we had to walk, chat, make gestures, and engage in discussion all while standing and usually far removed from our initial starting point.

 

Event tai chi 4

 

Our first task was to position ourselves in the field where as project managers we feel most comfortable. It was a tough task and not only for me but also for some other people. In my project management style I do not have any comfortable position, I change depending on the situation, people in my team, requirements, deadlines and phases of the project.

I feel good when people know what to do and do it with only minimal input from my side. I do not hesitate to jump in to help solve difficult problems. I can make technical decisions when needed while at the same time I try to have dedicated experienced technical leads make such decisions. I will conduct testing myself if we are short on testers but also to better understand the solution we develop.

The session took about 90 minutes to complete, but honestly it felt as if it were only 10 to 15 minutes. Most of the participants were quite surprised when it ended. It was not the end of the event though, we all went to chat and do some networking during the follow-up Apero.

If you think that a project manager’s place is not always in the front but sometimes in another position, and would like to have more information about the topic I encourage you to read the following material here (dimensional leadership, PDF) and here (book recommendation) and check our event announcements. It is possible that we will have something on this topic again sometime this year.

If you think that you or your team might need some coaching I encourage you to contact Julia, Norun and Gail
Big thanks to the Zurich event team for organizing this great event.

 

 

Geetanjali Bhat

Author: Geetanjali Bhat, PMP

 

We have perhaps thought of what we want to be many times, but have we ever thought of how we are behaving? If we correlate “what we want to be” with “how we behave” we might learn that we actually behave exactly opposite of “what we want to be.”

This was the introductory message by the great achiever and tremendously successful lawyer, musician, sportsman, and speaker …. Mr. Matthias Berg

 

 

We define a goal, we see the stones laid on our path, but as we walk on this path arranged to reach our goal, the stones turn out to be white flowers! There will always be stones on our path, but converting them to flowers can only be accomplished through a successful mindset. That was exactly the topic from our keynote speaker at the AMM: Breaking Barriers for A Successful Mindset!

Coordination between “What we want to be” and “How we behave” is what we need to master to achieve a good mindset. Matthias took us through his tough life journey, accomplishing huge successes in his vocations and in his life breaking the biggest barrier of all – MINDSET

Walking through the five most important decisions for a successful mindset, he says to achieve our goals, the biggest barrier to overcome is from within. Let me walk-through the amazing story of this speaker who enlightened us with the unleashed power we have within us – our MINDSET

  1. A good mindset helps us to have a good life and tune our career goals.

  1.      Diversity and inclusion
  2.      Fine-tune your mindset to set goals, determining whether they are good goals and whether they serve a purpose. You must know the reason why you want to have each of your goals.
  3.      How do we see the world? Is dependent on what experiences we get in life.
  4.      Changing the paradigm from asking "why" to ask "what for"

Matthias says the difference between “I have to” and “I want to” is the energy engaged to accomplish it. That energy will make us excellent in our work. The proof of that are his achievements, a total of 27 medals (11 gold, 10 silver and 6 bronze), being one of the most successful disabled athletes in the world and still achieving more. He currently represents disabled sports in national and international committees.

It is not important to think where fate puts us, but what we create (positively) out of it. He studied music and law simultaneously and started playing the horn at the age of just 7 years old, which led to several stories under the “diversity and inclusion” topic. The way we see the world has an impact on our success. When we see the world in a positively different way, overcoming challenges can become much simpler, which bring about breakthroughs in our lives.

 

 

Most of us when we are in a tough situation question ourselves and ask “Why me?” Matthias proposes that we switch the question to “What for?” When we do this we can better train our minds to work to find our goals and know the reasons why we work for those goals.

At the end, we got to know the five important short decisions to boost our mindset:

  1. The secret of mastering a skill or job is willpower. Taking action is the most important decision of our mindset. Successfully making decisions lies in getting things done. Most time management issues can be resolved with a “GO FOR” approach, meaning spending more time implementing our decisions rather than discussing them.
  2. Responsibility: “Response-ability” is actually a combination of response and ability. Responsibility starts in our minds through thoughts, words and actions. Its important to control them. Matthias believes strongly and as it can be seen in his life: “The ability to cope with changes comes when you are better in responsibility.”
  3. Focus on ability and not on disability: talent is a combination of awareness and conviction. When we strengthen our strengths, we will never fall down.
  4. Treat others the way we want to be treated ourselves: This is the Golden Rule, which we should adapt into our lives as project managers to be better leaders and never give up. Like in team building, we can enjoy more when we have a good atmosphere. The responsibility for good team building lies with the project manager. This sums up Matthias' belief: “Giving gives a good feeling that finally gives good power!”
  5. Finally, he declared that the most important part of everyone’s life is self-discipline. Self-discipline is a rhythm that is a combination of energy source, freedom, health, project, and work-life balance. He believes and implements one important rule in self-discipline “stick to a plan.

 

 

The audience this evening was captivated by our great speaker’s energy and enthusiasm. He concluded the session through his great learnings and experiences stating “Our mindset is the precondition to success,” following OTC (optimism, thankfulness and cordiality) in every step of our life’s journey.

 

 

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