Drive change for successful project management !

Drive change for successful project management

Successful transformation and change efforts require more than resources qualified to execute and deliver projects on time, on cost and on target. It is well known that the success of projects intimately depends on the ability to integrate deliverables into the organizational environment, not just boasting about of the perfection of your project preparedness, planning, execution, control and closure capabilities. Many projects unfortunately can not think beyond deliverables, instead of pursuing how the product could properly be exploited or how to beat resistance, inertia and opposition. The consequence of this short-sightedness is the very high rate of failure and underperformance of projects, standing close to 85% according to the famous Standish Group’ Chaos Report.

Awareness of what we have just discussed must be the beginning of a deep reflection among project governance bodies to think and act beyond normative project management schemes to integrate more global considerations, geared towards instantaneous and agile value creation when it comes to expectations and desires of both customers and stakeholders.This is the ability to understand what customers expect from our products, what their customers expect as well, and most importantly, what might prevent them from using these products properly in their operating environment. The products might be procedures, systems, or even labour organizations, exploited by stakeholders who will need to be influenced before, during and after the process of conducting change.

Project management has many components that are very useful to the conduct of change, which need to be addressed in a configuration integrating both disciplines.From team motivation to communication techniques to stakeholder expectations and risk management, all these areas are often addressed in both disciplines, but in a different way.The major difference is that project management directs these disciplines towards the realization of each project phase, whereas conduct of change focuses on the twin levers of adhesion reinforcement (aka buy-in) and resistance management.

As we have just seen, and thereby adding to project management, the conduct of change provides added value by enhancing the chances of success of transformation projects.Assessing return on investment in change management is a very important step to take at the beginning of each transformation project. This approach allows us to understand the benefits of these efforts, if only in terms of other benefits at risk if these efforts are not undertaken. In this sense, one of the most credible assessment methods at the international level is the ESSEC Chair of Change shows that 5% investment in change management can prevent up to 20% of delays in project delivery. This means that your investment in change management provides you with up to 15% return on total investment. These figures allow you explain budgets allocated to change management and to be able to size and deploy project diagnostics, engage tactical and strategic levers, as well as monitor transformations.

Sensibility is a source of Strength, not Weakness

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Sensibility is often associated with weakness … This weakness that would supposedly plunge us into the embarrassment of showing that we are moved, that we behave in compassion towards a situation or a person … This weakness which would mean a ‘supposed’ fragility, that would weaken rational thought in favour of emphatic feelings! … Rest assured: Sensibility as a source of weakness is only dogmatic!

We may be tempted to think that as long as we are perceived as ‘tough’, others admire us or fear us. In either case, this would be more comfortable or, at least, more reassuring than showing sensibility. As no one is perfectly ‘tough’, this is pure aberration! We do not live in a jungle where the ‘toughest’ prevail. We live in a world governed by emotions. The latter control our actions and feelings much more than we imagine. Any attempt to censor sensibility will be in vain! “Men who think they are tough are much more sensibile than those praised for their expansive sensibility. They are tough because their sensibility is true and makes them suffer”, says Benjamin Constant. Sensibility includes not only the feelings we experience but also how we view our human nature and how this vision conditions our perception of the existence of beings and objects arround us.

Sensibility is a quality. The quality of being humanly yourself. It certainly reflect your ability to understand your emotions and activate them properly and spontaneously. It is also the consideration with which you treat and interact with others. Although the risk of deception and manipulation is associated with sensibility, it should not be confused with an excess of confidence and attachment. You can not be forced to trust, but you have the choice of being sensible and to know how to stop trusting when your emotions dictate it. Above all, you should recognize that sensibility is a finite resource and that you must use it intelligently. Indeed, “Those who waste their sensibility on everything do not have it anymore when it is necessary” (according to Milan Kundera).

Sensibility is a sign of undeniable personal and interpersonal leadership. Indeed, leadership does not stop at the qualities associated with clarity of vision, inspiration, motivation and leading from the front. It is also based on your sensibility as evidenced by your ability to understand the behavioural and emotional signs of your interlocutors and to ensure that your own actions are in accordance with your feelings towards those you manage and stakeholders. From then on, your sensibility will perfectly complement your ability to believe in your distinctive uniqueness * and your ability to be authentic in complete harmony!

The Magic of Self-discipline

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Discipline, paradoxically, is an excellent activator of change, but can also be an ugly agent of inertia and resistance to change. Continuing to do the same things in the same “disciplined” way, without asking the right questions, can slowly draw you into stagnation and regression. But daring to adopt new anti-conformist practices with “discipline” can transform your life magically. Self-discipline is neither a quality nor a fault. It is your use of discipline that will make the difference. Harry Truman said it so well: “In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves… self-discipline with all of them came first.”

Discipline creates magic. The magic of seeing magnificent results happen through seemingly banal, everyday efforts and decisions. It can be a small daily gesture that can transform your life in an unexpected way when you evaluate yourself after several iterations. How many? Let us take a mathematical example of high practical significance. If you multiply the number 1.01 by itself 365 times you will have a figure close to 37, whereas if you multiply 0.99 by itself 365 times you will have a figure close to 0. The disciplined difference, even on a scale as small as that 0.02 difference, can the morph a single unit into a very large number, or destroy your project. The choice of 365 as the number of iterations was made expressly to evoke the 365 days of the year and that there are small habits that you can adopt on a daily basis which can transform your behaviour, your serenity and induce professional, personal or social success. Several examples of bad habits come to mind, such as a cigarette a day, the daily effect of which may seem insignificant, while the progressive accumulation destroys your health. On the contrary, reading a few pages of a book every morning, or running for twenty minutes can be a transformative lever of your body and mind if you ‘stick with it’ and ‘lean into it’ for a year.

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Discipline is the art of concentration in a constantly “noisy” environment. It is important to remember, indeed, that we are surrounded by many distractions constantly trying our concentration. Discipline creates regularity of actions which is able to overcome disturbances and allows you to stay focused on the essential. In ambient noise, we make ourselves believe in one essential and orient our discipline in the direction we chose. There is surely not a single essential for all, but each and everyone of us and must have their vision of what it means ‘to put your best foot forward’

In this case, discipline is not synonymous with stagnation. It must stabilize your energy, not to keep you where you are, but to keep you from getting lost in chaos. Discipline creates energy that activates tangible results and concentrates on the essential. By feedback, the latter continue to feed further discipline to do even more and better. And you will see the ever more transformative effect of discipline, because energy is self-generated. The discipline then creates the virtuous circle of motivation and exemplarity that attract others’ commitment to your work.

It is certain that being disciplined when things go well is quite simple. That said, discipline is truly magical only when it is maintained while things go wrong. Easier said than done! Maintaining your rituals and habits in a disciplined way is definitely a challenge when you are tired physically or morally, when you are surrounded by people who do not believe in you or when you are in a situation of failure. In such cases, discipline must be designed in such a way that rituals are particularly simple and accessible, but above all in such a way than we can visualise what is good in us when things go wrong!

Leadership is not about magic potions!

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Leadership fascinates, seduces and intrigues! Leaders can exert ascendancy over groups; transform intentions, habits and even destinies. ‘A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way’, says John C. Maxwell. Leadership translates the ability of leaders to gather strong, sustainable buy-in from their teams towards ambitious projects, says Françoise Gri.

As a result of admiration, we often draw long lists of leaders’ qualities in order to analyze them and to draw inspiration from the traits of character that we may have already have or can acquire to become a leader, or to advise people how to become leaders. There are, in fact, so many qualities involved in leadership that you would not be able to list them all. These qualities often depend on context, constraints and opportunities: the qualities that gave a leader ascendancy over a group in one situation may not be those required to convince the same group in another situation.

In trying to crystallize magic potion conclusions from what we see through the actions and behaviour of leaders, we often fail to recognize that the essence of leadership is not visible. Indeed, leadership often begins with work on one’s self, for one’s self. The changes, practices and attention-grabbing postures, especially in leadership, are the result of years of arduous work. Steve Jobs often confirmed this by saying, ‘If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time’. Leadership is the result of personal success earned through perseverance respecting every dimensions of your being and which uncovers its ultimate and infinite potential. This potential gives you confidence and attracts the confidence of others in what you do. You are mistaken if you consider that leadership applied to ‘others’ precedes leadership on your self. Some try to influence others through their innate or acquired qualities, some manipulate others around a non-authentic and unfulfilled image … but this manifestation of manipulative leadership can only be ephemeral.

Ensuring the sustainability of your leadership certainly involve universal qualities, independent of situations and cultures, which we often find around us, such as authenticity, engagement in a cause greater than individual interest, and the ability to inspire. But the backbone of leadership sustainability begins with self-leadership built through 10 vital principles: Prioritize Vision, Dare to be Authentic, Believe in Your Distinctive Uniqueness, Thrive at work, Be persistent but not stubborn, Make the most of the instant, Choose to Choose, Learn to Learn, Understand Your Relative Value, and Resource yourself constantly! Those principles are described in specific articles that you can check on www.yandouz.com 

Believe in your distinctive uniqueness!

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We often feel that our paths are based on systems and criteria that others have created for us. These might stem from our schooling, our promotion path in our company, our assessment of wealth …

This is a false paradigm. Our journey is in fact unique, if we wish to make it so, especially as we are in fact unique ourselves, just as we carry in ourselves this identity and that very particular grain that is born with us. You can strive to leverage it into realizing your potential or you can dilute it into ambient conformism. It is certainly difficult for us to understand and implement our uniqueness in a climate that favours pre-established social norms, rules of use consistent with habits, or relational rites that govern our interactions with others …

You are unique and you deserve a unique treatment, at least in the way you consider yourself. It is not a question of increasing your egocentricity or narcissism. It is rather an understanding that you can contribute in a rather distinctive way to your evolution, through what you bring to your surroundings, the imprint you bear on your company, and first and foremost what you become. Between what your DNA makes of you, and what you make of your DNA, you have the keys to understanding the meaning of your life, beyond simply satisfying your needs and desires.

If you embrace your uniqueness, you will have the opportunity to believe in yourself. If you believe in yourself, you will be able to transform your life away from the routine of conformism towards creativity and agility, which will further reinforce your uniqueness.

The virtuous circle is clearly not simple to set up, but it all begins with changing your paradigm in relation to yourself and not waiting for people to do it first.