Action Plans - Project Management Tools from MindTools Small Scale Planning Simple projects can be completed with simple plans. © iStockphoto/AndrewJohnson Whether it's sending out an email newsletter, putting together a presentation for senior managers, or working on a special request for a client, many of us have to complete simple projects as part of our day-to-day responsibilities. These small- to medium-sized projects may, at first glance, not seem to need much thought. But, occasionally, we can overlook a key step or "to do" item that can derail all our efforts. For instance, how do you make sure that you've covered everything? Action Plans are simple lists of all of the tasks that you need to finish to meet an objective. Action Plans are useful, because they give you a framework for thinking about how you'll complete a project efficiently. Using Action Plans Use an Action Plan whenever you need to plan a small project. Use the three-step process below to help you: Step 1: Identify Tasks Step 2: Analyze and Delegate Tasks SCHEMES stands for:
Follow a Career Passion? Let It Follow You Daniel Rosenbaum for The New York Times Cal Newport, a computer science professor at Georgetown, says many people lack a “true calling” but have a sense of fulfillment that grows over time. For many of my peers, this decision would have been fraught with anxiety. Growing up, we were told by guidance counselors, career advice books, the news media and others to “follow our passion.” This advice assumes that we all have a pre-existing passion waiting to be discovered. If we have the courage to discover this calling and to match it to our livelihood, the thinking goes, we’ll end up happy. To a small group of people, this advice makes sense, because they have a clear passion. But this philosophy puts a lot of pressure on the rest of us — and demands long deliberation. As I considered my options during my senior year of college, I knew all about this Cult of Passion and its demands. These traits can be found in many jobs, but they have to be earned.
Four Stages for Team Effectiveness by Techdoer Times A few years ago, I was part of a software development group stressed by a combination of challenges. The first was our ability to quickly assemble small effective teams to take on an increasing amount of short term consulting assignments. The second was ensuring that these same people could divide their attention and continue their contribution to a core team focused on a longer term and more strategic software product. As a budding project manager in charge of both teams, I grasped at anything that could help me better understand the team-dynamics we would experience over the coming months. Source: Unknown I stumbled upon Bruce Tuckman’s, 5-stages of group development model (a.k.a. forming, storming, norming, performing, adjourning), which despite it’s age, and simplicity, proved timeless in helping me understand the maturity of the transient and core teams I was managing. Four Stages for Team Effectiveness I’m proposing the following new model for effective team growth: Self-Organize
Mad about Leadership Barbara Kellerman has every right to be mad as hell. Indeed, as you’ll see below, she is not being the least bit intemperate when she claims that our leaders have failed us of late. And she isn’t just talking about Ken Lay, Donald Rumsfeld, and others of their sorry ilk whose egregious behavior generated headlines about corporate bankruptcy and needless wars. She cites a recent poll showing that only 7 percent of all employees trust their leaders. Kellerman’s main point is that those of us in the education racket deserve a full share of blame for this state of affairs. With a few notable exceptions, we’ve failed to recognize or acknowledge that the enterprise in which we are engaged is about as effective as faith healing. If anything, most corporate in-house leadership training is an even bigger waste of time and money than what goes on in business schools. Hey, I guess I’m as ticked off about all this as Kellerman is. — James O’Toole An excerpt from Chapter 7 of The End of Leadership
25 Excuses You Must Drop to Be Happy Email by Sumitha “It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.” ―George Washington Ever feel like something is holding you back from happiness? You aren’t sure why, but every so often you find yourself saying “no” when you really want to say “yes.” Over the years, perhaps without your conscious knowledge, you have adopted some serious self-limiting beliefs that have secretly sabotaged your best efforts of personal growth. Here are 25 ideas to get you started: 1. As you grow up, you see people achieve things like getting a degree, building a career, making money, getting married, having kids and so on. Alternative: “Now is a perfect time to start.” – Get over the baseless, default beliefs that certain things have to be done by a certain age. 2. Everyone gets the same 24 hours a day as you. Alternative: “I need to properly manage my time.” – Become conscious of the way you use your time. 3. Boring vs. interesting is a matter of choice and opinion. 4. There are two versions of this. 5. 6.
Leadership vs. Management Disciplines > Leadership > Leadership vs. Management Managers have subordinates | Leaders have followers | See also What is the difference between management and leadership? It is a question that has been asked more than once and also answered in different ways. Many people, by the way, are both. Managers have subordinates By definition, managers have subordinates - unless their title is honorary and given as a mark of seniority, in which case the title is a misnomer and their power over others is other than formal authority. Authoritarian, transactional style Managers have a position of authority vested in them by the company, and their subordinates work for them and largely do as they are told. Work focus Managers are paid to get things done (they are subordinates too), often within tight constraints of time and money. Seek comfort An interesting research finding about managers is that they tend to come from stable home backgrounds and led relatively normal and comfortable lives. Seek risk
Follow a Career Passion? Let It Follow You Daniel Rosenbaum for The New York Times Cal Newport, a computer science professor at Georgetown, says many people lack a “true calling” but have a sense of fulfillment that grows over time. For many of my peers, this decision would have been fraught with anxiety. Growing up, we were told by guidance counselors, career advice books, the news media and others to “follow our passion.” This advice assumes that we all have a pre-existing passion waiting to be discovered. To a small group of people, this advice makes sense, because they have a clear passion. But this philosophy puts a lot of pressure on the rest of us — and demands long deliberation. As I considered my options during my senior year of college, I knew all about this Cult of Passion and its demands. These traits can be found in many jobs, but they have to be earned. RETURNING to my story, I decided after only minimal deliberation to go to M.I.T. Today, I’m a computer science professor at , and I love my job.
Charismatic Leadership Disciplines > Leadership > Leadership styles > Charismatic Leadership Assumptions | Style | Discussion | See also Assumptions Charm and grace are all that is needed to create followers. Self-belief is a fundamental need of leaders. People follow others that they personally admire. Style The Charismatic Leader gathers followers through dint of personality and charm, rather than any form of external power or authority. The searchlight of attention It is interesting to watch a Charismatic Leader 'working the room' as they move from person to person. Charismatic Leaders pay a great deal of attention in scanning and reading their environment, and are good at picking up the moods and concerns of both individuals and larger audiences. Pulling all of the strings Charismatic Leaders use a wide range of methods to manage their image and, if they are not naturally charismatic, may practice assiduously at developing their skills. Leading the team Alternative views Discussion See also Musser, S.J. (1987).
Strategy: Why Most Companies (and People) Stink At It What do McKinsey, BCG, and Bain all have in common? Other than being the employer of choice for hundreds of thousands of CIBs, they are also strategy consulting firms. It’s their focus on strategy that separates them from KPMG (operations and finance), Accenture (IT consulting primarily) and numerous other firms. Given this focus on strategy is such a key differentiator; I’m surprised how infrequently I’m asked just what is strategy? I’ll start by saying most everyone think they know what strategy is (including most MBAs and nearly all of your senior clients). Yet surprisingly, very few companies ACTUALLY have a good strategy. This has always puzzled me. Similarly, I find that few people give much thought to their own personal career strategy — including some MBB consultants! How can there be so much focus on strategy in business school, so much focus on strategy firms in recruiting, and so much focus on strategic plans in corporate, and yet most companies have pretty crappy strategies?
» Best Procrastination Tip Ever Post written by Leo Babauta. Your first thought as you look at this article will be, “I’ll read this later.” But don’t. Let the urge to switch to a new task pass. Read this now. It’ll take you two minutes. I’ve written the book on ending procrastination, but I’ve since come up with a very simple technique for beating everyone’s favorite nemesis. Try it now: Identify the most important thing you have to do today. Clear away distractions. Sit there, and focus on getting started. Pay attention to your mind, as it starts to have urges to switch to another task. But don’t move. Notice also your mind trying to justify not doing the task. Now just take one small action to get started. Get started, and the rest will flow.