What is creativity, can it be developed and are we all capable of being creative?
Carolina Tomaz, CAPM
Looking back over the past few months, I find myself evaluating what we have accomplished in terms of financial controlling and reporting.
As with the previous year, the budget was planned accurately, which is a clear indication that this process has been firmly established.
Concerning 2017, a number of improvements worthy of mention have been implemented. For instance, the monthly payment reports sent to the BoD members and auditors. They contain a detailed description of expenses incurred, which are invaluable to the BoD members when managing their budget.
Striving for further development, there are still many targets for 2017, like the budget reassessment due to take place in June. While the first aforementioned objective helps to maintain a healthy financial situation within PMI, the second will provide the institute with better-structured governance.
For this to be made a reality, new members have joined the Finance Team and the members of the Board have been actively participating in the controlling process.
The path for improvement has been laid out, hence, 2018 will find PMI standards on a sounder foundation.
What is creativity, can it be developed and are we all capable of being creative?
We explored answers to these questions, and more, during a highly interactive session with our speaker Eli Fumoto - coach, facilitator and PMP.
Creativity typically leads to something original, meaningful and useful. Literally anything intangible or object-like satisfying those qualities can be claimed to be creative. As such, creativity is deeply embedded in our everyday life and as human beings we continuously use it, often unconsciously, to pursue our personal and professional ventures.
Creativity is also highly complex and hard to quantify. And even though we are all able to be creative, we are not automatically so.
Creativity is in fact a “habit” that can and must be exercised in order to flourish. The brain is quite obviously the “muscle” that must work out to develop capabilities such as diagnosing gaps and difficulties and seeking solutions. So if you think you are not creative, you may simply not be training your brain enough. But how can we change ourselves from being lazy practitioners to creativity advocates and habitués?
Eli Fumoto explains how to make creativity a daily habit.
An exploration of our personal attitude to creativity, our learning style and our own preferences could be used to identify a set of individual creative habits, which should be practised daily in order to build our confidence in being able to increase our creativity.
In order to develop what Eli defined as “our own creative device”, we must:
1) Have a deep level of self-awareness;
2) Observe what happens around us;
3) Use enough time and the appropriate space to reflect;
4) Be committed to change and learn.
Creativity is thus a high expression of our truest, most authentic self. It seems in fact that human beings become fully engaged, efficient and resourceful, only when they think on their own and have complete control over their decision power: as an example Eli mentioned that people often read self-help books but never implement this written advice, possibly because it originates from the authors’ individual habits, not from those of their readers.
Following the sharing of these ideas and guidelines, Eli paused and gave the opportunity to each attendant to identify and write down 3 creative habits to be implemented in one’s daily routine.
The attendants writing down their creative habits.
Further into the evening, we were introduced to the concept of “thinking environment” – a high quality communication flow happening between two persons. Working in couples, one person listened with sustained attention and without interrupting the other’s speech; then the roles of listener-thinker vs. speaker were switched and eventually both expressed appreciation for each other. While practising this little exercise, we directly experienced how the creative engagement of the listener increases as he/she must listen without distraction, emitting a sound or turning away from the speaker. In essence, it is a “think before speaking” approach which limits the expression of insecurities and fosters better collaboration. While sharing afterwards experiences and challenges encountered during this exercise with the rest of the audience, many were highly appreciative of having been listened to, or found it very challenging having had to remain silent; some used their creativity to find about what to say, while others used it to break the rules established for each role!
At the end of Eli’s highly engaging presentation, we were all left with the following closing remarks:
- Everybody is creative, each in his/her own unique way, and at any age
- Creativity must be constantly exercised
- Project management is a highly creative profession. The PMBOK offers standardized guidance but it is up to the project manager and the team members to find the best way to drive their unique project. By showing the most creative and committed self in an environment where the quality of communication is high, a project manager can establish strong collaborative ties and truly set the team on the path to success.
Lucy Osoegawa, the host of the event, thanking Eli for the inspirational talk.
The conversation on creativity continued during the networking aperitif.
For additional questions on the event or other inquiries, please feel free to contact Eli via:
Link to the presentation here.
Interesting topic, that raised my interest already when I came to know about this event. And Marc Lahmann, director of the Transformation Assurance Division, and Manuel Probst, senior project manager at PwC Switzerland, have definitely met my expectations. You find so many whitepapers and articles about problem solving. The PMI also teaches various techniques to analyze and resolve problems. But I was happy to have the opportunity to attend this event and enrich my project management tool set.
That many projects - or even most of them - face a failure during their lifecycle, is well known. Project failure can happen and it does especially nowadays, that the definition of success has changed. The standard project management triangle of scope, time and cost is not enough to define key performance indicators. The so-called "added value" and "stakeholders expectations management" have become even of more importance. The overall project context has become more complex and, with this, also the ways to handle difficult situations.
In the today's environment, the project can be in one of the following stages:
- challenged, normal project management zone. Each project, per definition, can be considered a challenge
- struggling, when the project shows first signals of deviation from baselines
- troubled, it's clear that the project shows signals that something can go wrong
- critical, the project is close to fail
- failure, no options or ways to bring the project back to normal.
The bad news is that projects can quickly go from challenged to troubled. The good news is that troubled projects can be rescued. Key is to have a clear strategy, a structured way to assess the situation and apply the recovery process. A process that, basically, consists of four steps:
1. Direct report of the emergency, answering the what, when, where questions and informing the stakeholders about the issue
2. Anamnese, initial high-level pre-assessment, that helps to bring the project back to trackable
3. Diagnosis, going deeper to the fundamental layer to identify the root cause and plan the recovery
4. Therapy, inform the stakeholders about the recovery and execute it.
After the interactive presentation, at the apero, I could also share my experience with my colleagues and learn from theirs. We were discussing on how to practice the learnings and I had the feeling that we all were looking for ways to develop new issue management techniques. Risk management can be used as mitigation and reduce the likelihood that project issues can arise. However, it's quite normal to face troubled situations in a project and each project manager should have a clear strategy to bring the project back on track. Many thanks to Mr. Lahmann and Mr. Probst for sharing a solid technique to keep available and use when necessary.
Author: David Fowler, PMP
Event Report - Managing Stress and Emotions @ Work: Concrete Tools
Tuesday 4th April
"We are going to explore our minds, let go, be cool !"
Anyone who thought they were going to just sit back and listen to Frédéric Kerautret talking about stress management was in for a surprise: “Everybody stand up for our first exercise”. And there we were, staring into the eyes of our neighbour for an uncomfortably long period of time.
It was an excellent icebreaker and introduction to a highly interactive event. The key message was that we connect with many different groups of people in our daily work. How do we cooperate and behave with these people? In order to understand each other better, we must first work on ourselves.
Frédéric guided the audience through tools and techniques to manage emotions, increase self-awareness and improve behaviour towards others. Several excercises kept the audience fully focused, concluding with a “Lion” and “Tiger” workout to shake off the stress of the day and prepare for the apéro.
Whilst not all the answers could be provided in a short presentation, there were plenty of topics to whet the appetite and leave the audience eager for more.
Author: David Fowler, PMP
Event Report – Ethical Leadership and Decision Making: The Business Case
Thursday 24 August 2017
"Today is a good day"
It was indeed a good day for those who attended the first PMI event in Lausanne after the summer break. The speaker, Olivier Lazar, needed no introduction as a former president of the PMI Switzerland Chapter and well known presenter at distinguished PMI events worldwide.
The evening kicked off with an open question to the packed audience: “do you work for an ethical employer”? This thought-provoking introduction set the scene for an enlightening journey along the theme of ethical leadership and decision making.
Why is ethical leadership a key differentiator in today’s competitive workplace? Why is it so important for the employer to be trusted by its employees (a significant reduction in both staff turnover and absenteeism were among some of the reasons according to latest research). Why are more and more companies creating a Code of Ethics and how does shared accountability bring greater rewards? These were some of the many questions addressed by Olivier during the evening, with entertaining videos and an absorbing group exercise to support his business case.
There were plenty of questions from the audience and a positive vibe during the apéro, clearly demonstrating the high level of interest in the subject of the talk and appreciation for the eloquent way in which it was presented.