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Project Management Secrets
of the Caesars
By James Guan-Ho Lau
Project Management is the key for managers towards meeting the challenges of the 21st century. The more stable and conventional office environment has made way for a more dynamic and ever-changing one. Things have to be done quickly; deadlines kept; new technologies continuously introduced and economy of budget practiced. Project Management is the management tool which will be used increasingly in the years ahead.
My experience in managing complex projects for 32 plus years has convinced me that the main skills of project management are people skills, leadership skills, management skills, decision-making skills, and technical skills. Without these fundamentals, the project manager cannot hope to complete his project successfully i.e. in the shortest possible time and with best value for the money spent. A head-start in learning these skills is an invaluable asset for any new project manager.
Why are people skills essential? All projects are initiated and carried out by people. It is the people in the project who determine its success. The project manager has to learn quickly how to deal with people and to satisfy the human cravings for appreciation, approval, assurance and importance. He needs to establish relationship, rapport, goodwill and co-operation. He has to apply the:
Golden Rule--treat people the way you want to be treated;
Platinum Rule--treat people the way they want to be treated;
Titanium Rule--treat people right and treat people important.
Much depends on the skill of the leader and the skill of the team members. To get things done, the project manager has to exercise authority, control and discipline. He has to reward, rebuke and reassure. In applying his leadership skill, he uses the:
Golden Touch Method--influencing people by controlling your behavior;
Platinum Force Method--influencing people by controlling their behavior;
Titanium Bond Method--influencing people by controlling the environment.
As a project manager, he must manage. To manage, he has to staff, plan, lead, communicate, motivate and control. He cannot let the project drift and run by itself. He has to actively manage the project to ensure success.
The most important skill for the project manager is to have the courage to make decisions. It is his decisions that make or break the project and in a complex project, he has to make thousands of decisions. His decisions are as good as the facts and advice he has obtained and his interpretation of these facts.
In the technical aspect of his job, the project manager needs to constantly search for alternative solutions and to ensure that the project designs provide optimum value for money. He is most successful if everyone is committed to his project's master plan and follows through with the schedules.
As long as a person is asked to handle a new assignment, head a task force, do something unusual or organize a tough job with a very tight time schedule, he will find that he needs to apply all the basic skills of project management. The new tasks could be as varied as devising new software program; coordinating a book fair; moving to a new office; researching and developing new products; organizing a concert; penetrating a new market; directing a play etc. The earlier he learns the skills of' project management, the more successful he will be in managing his new task. There is no need for him to re-invent the wheel.
Major projects such as a space station, a telecommunication link, a Polio cure, Le Grand Louvre, Shanghai Yangshan Deep Water Port or major infrastructure developments always make a significant contribution to society. They constitute a great challenge to the people managing the projects. Such projects never fail to stimulate our curiosity. They enhance the understanding of our past and are signposts for our progress. They excite us to achieve more in the years ahead.
History unfolds stories of great projects under the Caesars like the Colosseum, the Pantheon, Hadrian's villa, etc. The Caesars must have had knowledge of project management as proven by the decisions they had made and the magnitude of the projects they had undertaken.
The Caesars form the story-link in this book on "Project Management Secrets of the Caesars". The book is a vehicle to express my ideas on project management, which I have gained from experience in directly managing the construction of building projects such as:
---UOB Plaza--a 66 storey office building at 280 m high
---OUB Centre--a 60 storey office cum shops at 280 m high
---OCBC Centre--a 52 storey office building at 196 m high
---Mandarin Hotel--a 40 storey hotel of 500 rooms Extension
---Specialists' Centre--a 24 storey hotel/retail complex
---Mandarin Gardens--a condominium of 1006 unit apartments
---Shanghai JC Mandarin Hotel--a 28 storey hotel situated at Nanjing Road, Shanghai.
---Marina Mandarin Hotel—Suntec City development
---News Centre Building--a Newspaper factory cum office
---Singapore Management House--a Tertiary educational building with auditorium, lecture theatres and rooms and
---the construction of civil engineering projects, such as sewerage works, roads and bridges.
1. AUGUSTUS CAESAR ON "THE PROJECT ENVIRONMENT"
The period of 44 years of peace and prosperity (30 B C - A D 14) that Rome enjoyed under the absolute rule of Augustus Caesar was often referred to as the "Golden Age" of the Roman Empire. It was a period that included the construction of great civil engineering projects by a ruler who had the imagination and the competence to carry out his elaborate plans. Augustus built magnificent projects, some of which are the relics we appreciate today.
He constructed the "Temple of Apollo" on the Palatine with the finest Carrera white marble. He erected 82 temples. His brilliant general, Agrippa assisted him in building the first version of the "Pantheon". He also built the "Bath of Agrippa", the "Temple of Neptune", the "Theatre of Marcellus" and promenades based on Grecian art design. Other works included Nile canals in Egypt, aqueducts that brought in 60,000,000 gallons of water a day into the interior of Rome. He built bridges in Southern France, dammed the river Tiber to control its water and carried out the re-construction of the "Via Flaminia" - a road stretching north from Rome, across the Appenines to Rimini. He constructed the "Aqua Virgo", 700 basins, 500 fountains and 130 distribution points, many of which had fine engravings. He doubled the size and volume of water that could be contained in the "Aqua Marcia".
With such ambitious projects in mind, Augustus Caesar had often summoned Agrippa for discussion on their implementation. He told Agrippa thus:- I would like you to help me in the management of my projects. These projects will enhance the grandeur of Rome. It is my dream to leave behind a legacy of great monuments, buildings and public works which will commemorate my reign. Let me share with you my experience on project management.
---The project environment is different from the normal office environment. In an office, the environment is consistent and stable. You have time to:
--know each other
--know the normal routine work
--know what is expected of them and know the company's philosophy.
You know each other's strengths, weaknesses, idiosyncrasies and preferences.
But, in a project, the environment is rapidly changing and unpredictable as:
--people work together for only a short period;
--people are only part-time on the project; the project is temporary;
--staff and workers are constantly changing;
--people may have never worked together before;
--people may never work together again after the project is completed;
--personnel include diverse groups from different professional backgrounds with sectional interests, and from different organizations with different loyalties;
--people work under pressure to meet time and cost constraints.
In such an environment, you do not have time to know each other well.
What sort of person do you need to work in such a constantly changing environment?
You need a person who thrives on changes rather than one who prefers routine and predictable work; a person who has a more flexible management attitude and who enjoys solving problems that arise from a hectic schedule of activities and ever changing circumstances.
How is project management different from ordinary office management?
Ordinary office management is management at a normal pace, whereas project management is management at an accelerated pace with a deadline to meet. It is like driving a chariot at normal speed and driving a chariot at an accelerated speed to arrive at an appointed hour. Both are adopting the same management skills or using the same driving skills. When you are driving normally, you have time to enjoy your companions and scenery but when you are driving at a high speed you do not have that luxury. Your attitude and priority are different. There is urgency in your driving to meet the appointment as delay has costly consequences. You have to concentrate and anticipate dangers. You are very alert and attentive as any wrong move can easily land you in a ditch. Similarly when you apply project management skills, you need to develop and consistently maintain the same frame of mind as in high speed driving since there are fewer margins for error.
It is not necessary to have a project manager if the project is small, simple, routine or repetitive. But if the project is large, complex or custom built, having a good project manager makes a vital difference. He will ensure that there are no costly delays to the project. Finding a good and experienced project manager is essential. He must:
--Have relevant knowledge and experience in the area he is managing - be it buildings, roads, ships, underground tunnels, aqueducts, reservoirs, reconstruction of towns or others;
--Have actual experience in project management, backed by a reliable track record;
--Spend full-time on managing the project.
---Ordinary office management is management at a normal pace, whereas project management is management at an accelerated pace with a deadline to meet.
---Project management is a unique and specialized branch of management.
2. BASIC SKILLS IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Like a skilled chef who has perfected the right proportions of ingredients for his special recipe, the project manager too can master the techniques of managing a project successfully. He can acquire, through experience and reading, the skills of a good leader such as in motivating people to work as a team, setting the tone and the pace of the project, establishing the priorities and the dates for completion for each phase of work and making good decisions which will enable the project to run smoothly. In short, a good project manager should strive to cultivate the following skills:
---Time Management Skills
---Selling Ideas Skills
---Meeting Skills; and
A competent project manager should also constantly ask himself the following fundamental questions:
How do I get commitment?
How do I get cooperation?
How do I get support?
How do 1get people to work as a team?
How do I get people to communicate?
How do I get people to give of their best?
What must I do to inspire people?
What must I do to motivate people?
What must I do to influence people?
What must I do to persuade people?
What must I do to develop mutual trust and confidence?
What must I do to achieve all these objectives?
Since all projects are initiated, designed and built by people, the quality of people working on the project makes a vital difference. The experienced project manager knows that he has to invest time and effort to develop his "People Skills" so that less time is wasted in resolving people-problems. It is to "People Skills" that we will turn our attention to in the following section.
You have to spend time to develop your people skills now or
you will have to waste much time to resolve your people problems later on in your project.
2.1 Augustus Caesar on "People Skills"
The political career of Gaius Octavian Thurinus or Augustus Caesar, as he became known in later years offers many lessons on "People Skills." Augustus was propelled to the forefront of the political scene at the tender age of 18 as a result of the assassination of his uncle, Julius Caesar. It was a time of political turmoil due to the civil war in Rome. Though confronted with a hostile environment, Augustus chose to rise to the challenge. He befriended Cicero whose support won him the recognition of the Senate. Augustus was eventually made a senator. However, when later faced with opposition from the Senate, which rejected his application for the post of consul, Augustus led three legions into Rome and the Senate was forced to give in to his demand. Augustus confronted his problem and solved it.
Again when surrounded by enemies led by Brutus and Cassius, Augustus knew he had to win allies. He formed a triumvirate with Mark Antony and Lepidus to fight against them and he defeated them in the battle of Philippi.
Augustus was adept at handling people and conflicts. He was able to establish rapport with people, yet did not allow anyone to take advantage of him. He demonstrated that it was essential to win allies for a cause. He counseled his generals, Agrippa and Maecenas thus:
To win allies, you must understand people and know what it takes to win their goodwill and co-operation. You must package your ideas to win their support. As all projects are implemented by people, you need to spend time and effort to develop skills in dealing with them. If you neglect your relationships with people, you will encounter problems getting along with your peers, bosses or subordinates. You will be unable to handle office politics, accept criticism, or make allies and associate with influential people.
The consequence is that your projects will have more problems and conflicts. As such, you either spend your time to develop your people skills or you waste your time to resolve your people problems.
2.1.1 Work with Human Nature
---Before you can improve your people skills, you must understand human nature. You must understand the most fundamental fact about human nature - "I and my EGO" - i.e. all human beings are interested in themselves and their ego first, last and always. You must therefore work with human nature and not against it.
If you care for a person, seek his views and adopt his ideas, i.e. feed his ego, and then he is likely to be more co-operative, understanding, supportive, friendly, and forthcoming. The reverse is also true i.e. if you show no concern for a person nor seek his opinions on matters, then he is likely to be more difficult to get along with. We are all ego-hungry and a starved ego is a nasty ego.
---Another point to remember about human nature is that people do things for their own reasons and gains. You have to see things from their perspective. What's in it for them? What do they stand to gain? What will they lose? You need to present your proposals from their angle and convince them that they stand to benefit from your proposal. Remember people will act to advance themselves.
---Be careful not to wound a person's ego. Understand that a wounded ego is a dangerous ego. Why? A wounded ego will plot to sabotage or take his revenge. So avoid:
---Be on the look-out for tell-tale signs that a person has little confidence in himself and work around this fact. If you can understand his behavior and accept his feelings you will be able to restore his confidence and gain his cooperation. Some of the signs are unnecessary grouses, friction, negative work attitudes, and conflict with colleagues, pettiness and resentment.
---Always make human nature your ally.
2.1.2 Satisfy the Human Cravings
Determine what human beings desire most and seek to satisfy them. The following are basic motivators. Use them sincerely to make people feel good about themselves so that they want to give of their best.
I appreciate the time and effort you have put in.
Thank you, you've been a great help.
I am grateful.
I support your ideas and proposals.
You did a marvelous job.
I like what you have done.
That was an eloquent speech.
I enjoyed your presentation.
That is a wonderful idea.
It was a magnificent performance.
My compliments on a job well done.
It is an honor to have you with us today.
We think highly of your proposals.
Your recommendation was well received.
What you did was great.
You did the right thing.
You are making good progress.
You have done well.
That's a great achievement.
Your presentation was a success.
I agree with you.
You are absolutely right.
You reflect my views.
You have made a wonderful contribution.
We think highly of you.
You are greatly respected
2.1.3 Influencing Peoples
To influence, to persuade and to convince:-
(1) Give Carrot
a) Praise him for good work done
b) Write personal notes to congratulate and cheer him
c) Call to say thank you for his effort and accomplishments
d) Publicize his achievement in company newsletter
e) Respect his calendar time. Don't make him wait for information or reply.
f) Show respect by treating him courteously and with consideration for his feelings
(2) Be friendly
a) Be a sincere friend not a fair-weather friend
b) Show genuine concern for his welfare
c) Be accessible and give a helping hand to solve his problems
d) Have integrity so that he knows what to expect of you
e) Create a climate that is conducive for growth and development of his potential
f) Encourage him to give his views with the assurance they will be acted on if good
(1) Apply the Stick
a) Scold or rebuke him publicly
b) Ridicule his efforts
c) Criticize his way of doing things
d) Nitpick and find faults
e) Disparage his views, ideas, judgment
f) Cast doubt on his ability to perform or contribute
(2) Make an Enemy of him
a) Wound his ego
b) Antagonize by being unfairly critical of him
c) Alienate him by a doubting attitude
d) Contemptuously dismiss his views
e) Discriminate against him by ignoring his presence
f) Perpetually impose your way of doing things
2.1.4 Establish Rapport
The word RAPPORT summarizes, in a nutshell, the means through which we can build positive relationships:
R is for Relationship
Spend time cultivating and nurturing your friendships.
Establish personal contact.
A is for Approval
Give him your support by appreciating his ideas and recommendations
P is for Praise
Compliment and show your high regard for him when due.
P is for Pleasure
Tell him he is a joy to work with.
He makes the work fun.
O is for Others
Consider the needs and feelings of others before your own
R is for Recognition
Give credit for his efforts and rewards him accordingly.
T is for Trust
Honor your word and commitment.
Put your confidence in him.
2.1.5 Understand Group Behavior
People co-existing in a group will exhibit both the negative as well as the positive traits of group-behavior.
Negative traits include:
Some of the positive traits are:
Your job as a project manager is to prevent, reduce or eliminate the negative traits. At the same time, you should actively encourage the positive traits in order to achieve unity and better results.
2.1.6 Adopt Cooperative Behavior
In People Management, you often have to choose whether to adopt an autocratic or a cooperative behavior.
Autocratic behavior usually leads to either:
(a) A win-lose situation, where one side wins and the other side loses; or
(b) A no-win situation, where both sides lose.
On the other hand, cooperative behavior may sometimes lead to a win-win situation where both sides win.
However for a cooperative behavior to win, you must ensure that people know that you are NO WIMP i.e.
If they try to be tough
If they try to be funny
If they try to be difficult
then you must be just as tough and difficult.
You exchange blow for blow
You exchange eye-ball for eye-ball
You are no doormat
You are no walkover
Once they stop being difficult, you stop. It has been found that in the long term, a cooperative behavior plus a no-wimp attitude is more effective than an autocratic one.
---In the long term, the following is usually true:
∑win-win + ∑no-wimp > ∑win-lose + ∑no-win
∑win-win + ∑a - wimp < ∑win-lose + ∑no-win
∑win-win < ∑win-lose + ∑no-win
2.1.7 Handle Conflicts
Anyone can do the job where there is minimum conflict, disagreement or rivalry. But, it takes a good project manager to handle the conflicts in a project. Conflicts are handled by:
--You face the conflict squarely and directly.
--You work through the various arguments.
--You assert your views.
--You have a win or lose situation.
--You withdraw from the actual disagreement.
--You give up temporarily.
--You yield. You concede.
--You search for compromising solutions.
--You have a ‘Give and Take’ attitude.
--You avoid the areas of disagreement.
--You de-emphasize the dispute.
--You reduce tension through conciliatory words.
Each of the above methods has its advantages and disadvantages. It is for you to apply the appropriate method depending on the situation and the people involved.
Above all, do not be afraid to face the conflicts that arise in your project. Be cool, calm and in command to tackle the conflicts. Be daring and bold and you will be surprised by the outcome.
As a project manager you live in a world of conflicts. You should not avoid conflicts but move in and resolve the conflicts. It is your job to reduce the conflicts in your project.
If you want to resole conflicts, you must bring them out in the open. Why? This is because when conflicts are brought out in the open:
(1) People feel that their views are being heard and a good many of the conflicts may disappear.
(2) People may realize that the conflicts are trivial and they are not as serious as they think.
(3) People may see the conflicts as honest disagreement and that there are no hidden agenda.
When you bring the conflict out in the open, it enables you:
(1) To sweep aside the trivial conflict, the meaningless conflict and the unnecessary conflict.
(2) To make the conflict irrelevant or secondary. How? You ask “Is the conflict relevant to this specific case? If not, fight it outside and not here.”
If you don’t bring the conflict out in the open, the conflict will fester and grow and nothing will be resolved.
Above all don’t keep on trying to resolve the conflict at the meeting. People will harden their stand to appear strong in front of their peers. Ask the two conflicting persons to see you after the meeting. Let them have their say at this private meeting. Don’t allow the conflict to drag on. Assert your position and control of the situation by deciding what you want to be done and who is to do what.
2.1.8 Apply the Rules
Basically, the ABC of people skills are:-
(1) The Golden Rule
"Treat people the way YOU want to be treated".
For example, if you want appreciation or recognition for good work done, give others due credit too.
(2) The Platinum Rule
"Treat people the way THEY want to be treated".
For example, experienced staff and outstanding performers would not like an autocratic style of management.
(3) The Titanium Rule
"Treat people as IMPORTANT".
Treat people with respect, courtesy and dignity no matter how small their role in the project may be.
---People are interested in themselves and their ego first, last and always i.e. self-interest comes first, last and always.
---People act to advance themselves.
---All human beings look for the 8AI:
---As a project manager you live in a world of conflict. You must not be afraid to face the conflicts.
Be daring (e.g. ring him up) and bold (e.g. meet him) and you will be surprised by the outcome.
2.2 Augustus Caesar on "Leadership Skills"
Augustus Caesar proved to be a skilful leader in state affairs. Though he gave Rome a constitution which was democratic, he still wielded total control. He had supreme power over all administrative, legislative, religious and military matters. Augustus' wide experience in all the different areas of leadership made him an authority on the subject of "Leadership Skills". He had often advised his administrative officers thus:
As a leader you must never forget that your subordinates will look up to you for justice. You must always be firm and fair. Do not abuse your position or authority. If you do, your subordinates will not trust you, and they will not give of their best.
Being a leader you have to influence people to get things done and to achieve results within a specified period. However your subordinates, who are comfortable with the status quo, may not want to work too hard to achieve the goals which you have set. How can you as a leader resolve the conflict of interests? How do you influence him to your way?
2.2.1 Golden Touch Method--Control your Behavior
One way by which you can influence your subordinate is to control your behavior. Your behavior can either be supportive or directive.
(a) Supportive Behavior
--Show interest by listening to him
--Ask for his ideas and suggestions
--Stand by him
--Assist and help him
--Lend him a hand
--Praise him, reassure him
(b) Directive Behavior
--Show him what to do and when to do it
--Dictate and control tightly
--Check his work strictly
--Demand that he performs
--Order and rule
Based on your behavior, you have essentially four leadership styles. They are:
(i) Autocratic Style
(ii) Coaching Style
(iii) Democratic Style
(iv) Free-rein Style
The diagram below illustrates the extent of support and direction that each style constitutes.
There is no single "best style" to adopt. Be flexible and change your style to match the people, the situation and the results you wish to achieve. Consciously switch styles to suit changing circumstances.
Each style is tailored for a specific type of person. For example you can use:
An autocratic style, which is for beginners,
A coaching style, which is for keen learners,
A democratic style, which is for experienced staff and
A free-rein style, which is for great performers.
The style you choose to use also depends on the results you wish to achieve. If you seek compliance, an autocratic style would be appropriate. A coaching style encourages learning while a free-rein style of leadership inspires creativity. If support is your aim, a democratic style is most suitable.
No two individuals and situations are alike. Therefore, different styles can be adopted for same people performing different tasks and in varying situations.
It is vitally important for you to have a flexible leadership style. A flexible style means not only different strokes for different folks but also different strokes for the same folks at different situations and time.
2.2.2 Platinum Force Method--Control his Behavior
Another way by which you can influence a person is to control his behavior. This can be done by exercising your authority. Use the carrot and stick approach by rewarding or sanctioning a person accordingly. Though formal rewards such as promotion and salary increases, and formal sanctions in the form of warning letters and termination are meted more selectively, the informal rewards and sanctions can be exercised daily and more readily. Some of the informal rewards and sanctions are tabulated below.
(a) Informal Rewards (Carrots)
(b) Informal Sanctions (Sticks)
You can use praises and reprimands to achieve the goals that you have set. However, knowing what, who, how, where, when and why to praise and reprimand is important.
--Praise or reprimand the performance and the specific behavior of a person and not the person per se.
--Reprimand the negative attitudes of the person, not the person himself.
--Praise your subordinates if they have done things correctly and have carried out your orders rightly.
--Do not reprimand beginners and learners, re-train them instead.
--Do not reprimand a person wrongly as it will make him resentful.
--Do not start a reprimand with praise as your reprimand will then be less effective.
--End a reprimand with praise so that the person will not take the reprimand personally.
--Be discriminate in your praises or reprimands, otherwise you may lose your credibility.
--Be generous in giving small rewards.
--Be selective in giving big rewards.
--Praise in Public
--Reprimand in Private.
--Reprimand in Public only when peer pressure is needed to make a person change his behavior.
--Praise or reprimand as soon as the action or performance has been carried out.
--Praise to improve performance.
--Reprimand to stop negative behavior.
--Praise so that desired performance will be repeated.
It is important to exercise your authority and discipline the people under your charge. If you do not, they will side-step and question your authority, they will do what they like, be un-co-operative and ignore your orders. This will make it harder for you to achieve your project goals.
You need therefore to be bold and to consciously assert yourself. You must show that you mean business. When you dare to exert your authority, compliance follows. You will notice that people respond to the greatest pressure. You need to deliberately and continuously apply your informal sanctions and rewards in order to exercise control.
2.2.3 Titanium Bond Method--Control the Environment
You can influence the performance of a group if you create an environment that is exciting and challenging, where people are encouraged to develop and grow. You need to build and maintain an environment that has some tolerance for error, where people are given the opportunities to exercise their skills and talents without fear of being reprimanded. People enjoy working in a conducive environment where they have the satisfaction of knowing that their contributions make a difference and that their commitment to perform to the best of their abilities is being recognized and rewarded. You can help build a conducive environment by rewarding deserving workers with thank-you notes, congratulatory letters, tokens, and mementoes. Even compliments such as: "You are fantastic", "Bravo!", "You did an excellent job", "Well done!", "Wonderful!", "Terrific!", would significantly contribute to their sense of achievement.
It is the leader's responsibility to promote teamwork, goodwill, rapport and friendliness and to reduce conflict, resentment, hostility and friction in the working place. One way of achieving this is by organizing more informal gatherings such as lunches, dinners, games, celebrations and get-togethers.
Also, as a leader, your job is to develop and maintain, within the group, confidence and mutual trust so that they are able to achieve a common goal. This can be done by:
---committing the group to a common goal;
---ensuring that the group knows how to achieve the goal and that they communicate freely;
---encouraging each member to know what is expected of him and seeing to it that he contributes his part; and
---taking steps to reach the goal such as actively anticipating and resolving problems and conflicts along the way.
2.2.4 Leaders must give DIRECTIONS
As a leader you must lead and give directions of where you want to go and what you want to achieve. A useful way to remember is:
D is for Demand
Demand the best from you staff. Train and set high standard.
I is for Inspection
Understand that what gets inspected gets done. If you don’t check, you will be surprised a few weeks later that nothing has been done.
R is for Rewards or Rebukes
People need feedback to perform well.
E is for Enjoy Together
A fast way to gel is to enjoy together whenever something is accomplished.
C is for Commitment and Care
You must be committed and show care for your staff before they will put in the midnight hours for you, when the need arises
T is for Thankfulness
All of us want a least a thank you when we complete something well.
I is for Innovation
Always think of innovative ways of doing things to make it faster, cheaper and better.
O is for Others First
If the leader is only interested in himself first, he will not go far. He needs to concentrate on others as people are always thinking of themselves first, last and always.
N is for New Ideas
Encourage diversity of views whenever you want new ideas.
S is for See
It is vitally important to go and see to make sure that whatever you have delegated are done and done correctly.
2.2.4 Summary of How to Influence People
The ways by which you can influence people are:
To get consistently good results, you must develop the ability and skill to use, adapt, and modify the three methods to achieve equilibrium of individual and corporate goals.
As a leader, you have to know:
when to do what
why you do it
where to use it
how to use it
who it can used on
and under what circumstance you exercise, balance, intermix and modify which methods.
As a leader, you must lead and give DIRECTIONS
---You influence a person by controlling your behavior, his behavior and the environment in which both of you work.
---Nothing great can be accomplished unless you are prepared to exercise your authority and discipline.
---As a leader, you have to consciously exercise and balance your control with rewards, rebukes and reassurances (i.e. apply the 3R).
2.3 Augustus Caesar on "Management Skills"
After the battle of Actium, Augustus Caesar faced the difficult task of re-construction. He had to manage the de-mobilization of 300,000 soldiers. He allotted them land or made cash payments for military service rendered. It was an administrative task which demonstrated his managerial competence.
He also established a Civil Service and staffed it with members of the equestrian order, who had a talent for business and state affairs. He employed freedmen to assist him in the running of the vast estates owned by himself and the imperial family.
There were a lot of plans to implement now that he was in charge of Rome and its provinces. It was a tremendous managerial feat and Augustus took up the challenge with zeal. He summoned Tiberius, Statilius Taurus and some of his Civil Service staff. He told them about his plans and delegated projects to them.
Statilius helped with the project of re-settlement in colonies or in their own municipalities the troops that had been disbanded. Land was re-distributed and those who were re-settled were encouraged to take up farming. This was to ensure that as farmers they can be productive and contribute to the economy.
Tiberius' project was to set up a publicity department. Augustus recognized the importance of publicizing the nation's victories and achievements. He realized that before they can influence the people, they have to convince them that things are well-managed.
He instructed thus:-
We must also give rewards or incentives to motivate our citizens to excel in their work. Rome needs dedicated men to pave the way to success. Let us discuss Management Skills.
To manage your projects, your basic functions are to staff, to plan, to lead, to communicate, to motivate and to control.
Outlined below are some principles of staffing:
(a) Employ experienced staff to help you run the project. They are worth their weight in gold. An experienced staff will be more able to deal with the emergencies that are bound to arise in your project.
(b) Keep your staff strength small so that unnecessary paperwork and conflicts are kept to a minimum.
(c) Select staff who are sensitive to organizational politics so as to minimize inter-departmental conflicts.
(d) Keep a list of back-up staff whom you can call on in times of emergencies or when extra manpower is required to meet your project deadlines.
(e) Ensure that you have the support of top management by building up your credibility, showing sound judgment, making good decisions and providing excellent professional service.
You can virtually forecast the outcome of a project by looking at the amount of planning that goes into the project.
With Careful planning, there is a greater chance of success.
With Careless planning, there is likelihood of chaos.
With No planning, there is certainty of failure.
Therefore, a major skill of the project manager is the ability to plan.
A project manager must set the main goals and then work backwards to ensure that the sub-goals are carried out.
For example, if you want to call a substructure tender by a certain date, you have to ensure that the soil investigation has been carried out and that the designs for the piling, sheet piling and basement work have been completed long before the tender date. It is vital to develop a master plan and many sub-programs to monitor and control your project.
A plan is a management tool that helps you to plot the direction and pace of your project. A plan decides who is to do what, when, how and why. Without a plan it is difficult, to see at a glance, the effect changes may have on present and future actions. However, with a plan you can re-evaluate the situation and take corrective action immediately to minimize the disruptive effect of such changes.
Success in any project requires ACTIVE planning. This means that your plans need constant and continuous reviews and re-adjustments.
2.3.3 Do and Don’t of Planning your Work
You need to anticipate events and look ahead constantly and systematically.
(1) Plan your work
a) Establish key milestone dates to keep everyone focused on same track.
b) Establish the basic bid packages.
c) Develop master program to cut out mass of details.
d) Match level of planning to suit project size and complexity.
e) Keep plan simple and appropriate to the job.
f) Remember your planning forecasts the outcome:-
Careful planning--success better
Careless planning--failure of project
Dreadful planning--chaos in project.
(2) Work your plan
a) Understand work isn't done by having lovely plan.
b) Decide who is to do what and when.
c) Give him information and tools to do job.
d) Go and see that work is done correctly. This is vitally important.
e) Chase up and thank often (or rebuke if necessary).
f) Understand that work is done:
by people who are trained
by people with a deadline
by people who are monitored
by people who hold themselves accountable.
(1) Be inflexible in planning
a) Ever look at plans as cast in concrete.
b) Have rigid and fixed rules about planning.
c) Ignore preliminary planning because not enough information is available initially.
d) Ignore back-up plans.
e) Neglect input from contractors, subcontractors, supervisors and suppliers.
(2) Forget planning guidelines
a) Forget most delays are due to off-site delays.
b) Forget nothing works exactly to plan.
c) Forget a plan is just a tool.
d) Forget to allow some contingency time.
e) Forget to determine:
--What plans are needed?
--What details are required?
--How plans are to be used?
--When to prepare plans?
--Who requires what plans?
2.3.4 Teambuilding Skills
To achieve better performance and to obtain better results, people must work as a team.
One way to build up a good and successful team is to remember the word HUDDLE. This is what a good teacher, good coach, good play director and a good sport team normally does.
Head of team
There must always be a leader to head the team; to gel the team together and to concentrate on winning.
They get everyone united. They set everyone in the same direction and in the same mission. They get everyone to focus on the same goal, to pull together and to row in unison.
They know that no one does anything well without commitment or dedication. So, they always ask “What’s your suggestion?” When you give your views, you become involved and will be more interested. They encourage divergent views but they curb confrontational attitude.
They demand that you strive for excellence and that you benchmark yourself with the best. This means that you discipline yourself to spend hours going over and over to improve what you do. When you do an excellent job, you feel good and proud of yourself. You develop self-confidence and you grow. You set an example for others to follow.
They know that if one member in a team does a significantly better job, others will automatically challenge themselves to do better. In this way they build up a winning team.
Look for strength
They look for what you are good at doing and place you in that assignment. They match your strength to the assignment.
When you win, they reward you with “Bravo”, “Great”, “Congratulation”, “Keep it up”. When a milestone is achieved they celebrate together. They enjoy together with all the team members. This is absolutely essential for bonding.
Leadership is the art of influencing people to do their best to achieve the goals that you have set. It entails motivating people to realize their potential. As a leader, you set the standard of excellence that all your subordinates should aspire to. You ask for distinction. You ask for excellent work.
However, before you can motivate people to give of their best you have first to convince them of your capability in directing them towards the goal. For this, you will need to have an overall helicopter view and to know:
(a) Where you are going.
You must be very clear about your goals and sub-goals.
(b) How to get there.
You have to constantly monitor the progress of your project through a system of controls. You have to anticipate problems and influence their outcome.
(c) What to do to get there
You motivate your subordinates by displaying your own commitment to the goals and by rewarding outstanding contributors. Inspire confidence by praising them each time they handle an increasingly difficult task or assignment well. Develop team spirit within the group by setting the tone and creating a conducive environment for people to support and co-operate with each other.
(d) When to carry out your plans.
Correct timing is essential in carrying out your plans successfully. Schedule your work according to the critical path network for the project. Prioritize your sub-goals. But always remember to involve your staff in setting up the priorities so that they will work enthusiastically towards achieving them.
To lead, you must keep yourself well-informed and up-to-date; walking around and seeing what is happening:
(1) Set Vision and Direction
a) Create common VISION for a brighter tomorrow
b) Have helicopter view--panoramic and long term
c) Know where to head and how to get there
d) Marshall support to work towards fulfilling the vision
e) Concentrate on key tasks and achieving results
f) Persist in accomplishing your goals in spite of any set-back
(2) Exercise your Authority by
a) Managing HIS Behavior with Carrot and/or Stick
b) Managing YOUR Behavior with being Supportive and/or Directive
c) Managing the ENVIRONMENT with one that is Conducive or Insecure
(1) Abuse your authority
a) Demoralize--pass snide remarks
b) Be difficult--nothing is right
c) Be fastidious--fuss over everything
d) Nitpick--pick on minor faults
e) Be an ogre--shout and scold
f) Be vindictive--victimize him for questioning or doing it his own way
(2) Neglect your responsibilities
a) Stunt his development
b) Fail to support him
c) Make him less effective and less productive
d) Mismanage by sticking blindly to procedures and red tape
e) Misrule through terror, informers and toadies
f) Misdirect by constantly asking "Who is right?"
Instead ask "What is right?” and do it first
A good leader should demonstrate the following traits:
You are not afraid to work overtime, work under pressure and make personal sacrifices. You show discipline and you stick it out. You care and you wrestle with problems. You wake up in the middle of the night to find solutions. You actively seek ways to reduce the cost and time of your projects.
There is no substitute for a leader who cares for his people, one who looks after their interests and shields them from internal politics so that they can concentrate on the job without being distracted. As a leader, you have the authority to ensure that they do not have to waste their time making unproductive studies or writing unnecessary reports. You are vigilant in seeing that they can concentrate on their job and get the work done. You do not tolerate in-fighting, bickering and complaining as they are time-consuming and negative. You are concerned about their working conditions and are willing to listen to their problems. You recognize and help them attain their aspirations. You praise them for good work. You provide ample opportunities for them to grow and to advance.
You impart your knowledge, skills and experience. You give your valuable time and energy to guide and show. You are not afraid that the people you teach may become better than you. On the contrary, you realize that you are also being taught in the process by having to think, read and train yourself continuously.
Besides being technically competent, you have to acquaint yourself with the day-to-day operations. As a leader you need to anticipate major problems and draw up solutions and alternatives.
To lead, you have to be unperturbed and unruffled by any event. You need to maintain your poise and equilibrium to be able to give sensible directions.
To be in command, means you make the decisions and assume responsibility for the final outcome. You call the tune and you decide. You do not abdicate your responsibility.
You know exactly what is going on. You monitor the actual results against the planned. You are in control of the project and you take swift action to correct the trend if necessary. You do not let the project drift and run by itself. You constantly follow up and follow through.
It is so easy to go along but you must stand up for what you think is the right course of action and act accordingly. You are bold in making decisions and following them through even in the face of insurmountable odds and possible failure.
You always double-check your assumptions and parameters and be certain of your interpretations. You need to be clear in your own mind before you can convince others of your position. In order to win others to your view or way of doing things, you yourself must believe in what you are doing.
Hiccups will always occur in any project. As a leader, you need to show and inspire confidence in the face of problems, even if you may not be sure of the solution. In such circumstances, you would do best to rely on your abilities, skills and past experiences.
Show enthusiasm in your work. Be energetic and set the pace of your project. If necessary cajole, goad, prod, stimulate and exhort the passive members in the group. A leader acts as the catalyst.
A leader should be impartial, open-minded and even-handed in dealing with members of the group. You should not practice favoritism and discrimination nor should you abuse your authority and position.
You need to have a good sense of humor to enable you to tolerate human foibles in your working life. The best of plans can sometimes go awry due to human error or through no fault of anyone. It is important for your well-being to be able to laugh at your mistakes or the mistakes of others. Laugh and you will see things in a better perspective. Laughter is a good therapeutic medicine. Humor provides you with a sense of equanimity when the going is rough or when others are exceptionally difficult. Laugh to remove tension. Laugh and you will find that you are calmer and more able to tackle any mishap or unexpected trouble. Laugh so that your work is not a matter of life and death. Laugh so that your greatest fun is work.
You have a strong belief and trust that you will realize your vision. You excite, you challenge and you attract people to your vision. You pin-point your important milestones and you set your priorities. You know where you are heading and how to accomplish your goals. You paint the Big Picture together with your group and you constantly monitor and update it as you proceed. This Big Picture is your overall strategy to gain commitment and to celebrate the successes as the milestones are achieved along the way.
Managing a project requires the constant selling of concept, ideas and plans, both to the management and to the rank and file. Communication is hence a vital tool of the project leader.
An open and effective communication channel is one where everyone, from the top man to the masses, is kept updated on the latest development and where information can be disseminated openly, promptly and accurately. It enables the leader to respond quickly to problems and take corrective action immediately.
A project leader has to devise a system to facilitate the flow of communication between all levels of personnel. Communication channels within the same level must also be maintained. For example, consultants on the project should be encouraged to meet regularly to discuss the progress of the works.
Outlined below are some points which will help establish open communication channels in the workplace:
(a) State your message simply and clearly.
(b) Be sensitive and thoughtful in conveying your opinions or beliefs. Do not force them on others.
(c) Avoid using negative trigger-words such as "big mistake", "useless opinion" or "stupid idea."
(d) Read the body language of a person.
(e) Listen and weigh the feedback of a person carefully.
(f) Paraphrase what you have heard so that the other party can verify it.
(g) Encourage more personal contacts so that people can meet to talk and keep in touch with one another. It is only through frequent personal contacts that you learn to trust and have confidence in a person.
Some of the things you can do to motivate yourself and others are:
Love whatever you are doing at the moment.
Enthusiasm is the key to motivation.
Provide positive feedback.
Unless you tell a person he is doing good work, he often does not feel motivated to improve himself.
You sell hopes, opportunity and dreams. People who can look forward to better pay, prospect of promotion, etc. are more willing to put in the extra effort.
Hope is the secret ingredient that motivates one to extend himself.
Select role model of success and encourage your staff to emulate them.
Motivate yourself by saying; "If he can do it, so can I".
Compliment and give recognition.
Praise is a powerful source of motivation.
Recognition is a useful motivator.
Reward yourself and others for every accomplishment.
Reward motivates one to do better and to forge ahead.
The desire for rewards is a great motivator.
Success generates success and nothing succeeds so well as success.
When you feel and experience the joy of your success, you will be motivated to achieve more.
Success is the highest form of motivation.
When you trust yourself, you bring out the very best in yourself.
Trust is the magic potion that inspires and motivates you to give of your best.
2.3.8 Delegating Skills
To delegate effectively and efficiently:-
(1) Look for strengths
a) Place him in area where he can contribute and produce the most
b) Allot him work that he has the aptitude and interest
c) Ensure that he has time to do what he is paid to do
d) Make him accountable for his area of work
e) Listen to his views, judgment and analysis
f) Trust his expertise otherwise don't delegate the work to him
a) Keep updated with key reports, progress of critical works and status of completion
b) Call to check progress, critical activities and milestone dates
c) Get an intimate feel of what is going on by walking around
d) Counter-check with people who know
e) Ensure that information and resources are available
f) Apply different degrees of supervision for different folks
a) Breathe down his neck by scrutinizing every detail and decision
b) Tie his hand and foot until he cannot take any initiative
c) Interfere by asking for volumes of meaningless paperwork
d) Obstruct by being too stringent and too fastidious
e) Hinder his progress by throwing a spanner every now and then
f) Allow outsiders to interfere in the guise of help
a) Relinquish your responsibility by not having controls
b) Lose touch by not questioning, challenging and probing
c) Handover decision making to a standing committee
d) Abandon him entirely to his own devices
e) Deny him the tools to do his job well
f) Leave him to fend for himself
What must be done to ensure that the delegated task is carried out?
Everyone believes in delegation. But for the delegation to be effective, you need clear rules. The rules are that the delegator and the delegatee understand clearly:
(a) What tasks are delegated?
The delegated tasks are clearly defined.
(b) Who is responsible for what tasks?
The delegator and the delegatee understand what are expected of each other and what they have committed themselves to.
(c) What are the goals to be achieved?
The goals are clearly understood.
(d) When must the deadlines be met?
The various milestone dates are clearly agreed.
(e) How often and what to report?
They agree on the reporting procedure.
(f) When something unexpected happens, what is to be done?
If anything unexpected happens or if there is a crisis, the delegatee must inform the delegator and not keep it in the dark or say "I will take care of it".
(g) What usually goes wrong with the delegation?
Every delegator knows who is to do what and when. Yet the tasks are often not completed as delegated. Why? It is because the delegator did not follow up; he depended on reports. He did not go to the site and see for himself or send a trusted representative to go and see and report back to him. He has to make sure that the delegated tasks get done and done right. Otherwise he will find that nothing much has been done a few months later.
This most important step, that is, go and see is commonly overlooked. It is so often not followed through because he cannot find the time.
A plan is useless unless there is control in its implementation. To achieve good control and for your control system to be really effective, you need to spend time to:
(a) Plan what you intend to achieve.
(b) Analyze what critical information is needed. Ensure that the information needed is not too much. Avoid information overkill.
(c) Design simple tables that clearly permit easy and quick comparison between the planned and the actual performance. In the hospital they take your temperature and blood pressure to give the doctors a quick guide on your health and recovery. Similarly, you spend time to design simple tables to report on the health of your project.
(d) Take swift action to correct deviations from the plans. Do not wait too long and be too late.
(e) Manage by exception. Focus on the exceptions rather than on the ordinary events.
To regularly maintain control, you need to:
(a) Constantly monitor the major tasks and vital facts.
(b) Continuously check against the planned performance.
(c) Rely on frequent reports and feedback.
(d) Consistently follow up and follow through.
(e) Understand that what gets inspected gets done.
(e) Develop simple methods to measure the health of your project.
(f) Hold regular top-management meetings to review the progress of the project. In this way, top management's involvement and interest in the project is guaranteed.
(g) Spot the trend early to be able to do something about it.
(h) Ensure no surprises.
As a project manager, you have to manage your project.
You cannot let the project run by itself; and to manage,
you have to staff, plan, lead, communicate, motivate and control.
2.4 Julius Caesar on "Decision-Making Skills"
In the battlefield, a wrong decision is often a fatal one. Julius Caesar learned the skill of making good decisions the hard way--on the battlefield itself! He mastered this skill well as demonstrated by all his conquests and victories.
"To cross the Rubicon" was a proverb made famous by Caesar's decision to cross the Rubicon river in 48 BC and make war on Rome, the Senate and Pompey. Pompey with the support of the Senate had tried to prevent Caesar's reelection to the consulship. Caesar's major decision to try a bold coup against Rome helped him to win supremacy in Italy. Pompey was defeated and the Senate subdued.
Caesar had to decide, in the course of his career, which country he wanted to wage war against, whether his army was ready for battle and whether his army was adequately equipped for the battle. Sometimes, Caesar decided he did not want to fight and contented himself with exacting tribute. In 55--54 BC, he landed in Britain, but he only asked for a tribute from the king of the Celts. He crossed the Rhine twice in 55 BC and 53 BC but he did not try to conquer any country in Germany, east of the Rhine. Julius Caesar's decisions were sound because he knew when to stop after he had achieved the limit of his objectives. He never over-extended the capability of his troops.
Julius Caesar knew there were some over-zealous lieutenants who tended to take more risks than necessary. He cautioned these lieutenants thus:
When you make a right decision, success follows. When you make a wrong decision, you must expect failure and all its consequences. As lieutenants, you are responsible for your group of men. You decide what they do and how they do it. It has come to my notice that some of you are foolhardy. You are too impetuous and too naive. You accept hearsay and facts without discrimination. Your decisions become awry because they are based on wrong or inaccurate facts! You must remember that a person's decision, opinion or view is always based on certain criteria and assumptions. It is best that you counter check these criteria and assumptions to find out whether they are still valid or applicable under the current circumstances.
The most important skill of a leader is to have the courage to make decisions. A decision is a choice between various alternatives. Your decision-making skills depend mainly on the information obtained or the facts collected. How good your decision is depends on how good your sources of information are and your interpretation of this information. Your success in the project is often the cumulative effect of many small and good decisions made throughout the duration of the project.
2.4.1 Good Decision-Making
The process of decision-making begins with the accumulation of facts. Cultivate good and reliable sources of facts, seek the opinions of experts and specialists on the subject and read up on the subject whenever possible. Having gathered a lot of facts, begin the elimination of those which have no bearing on your decision. You can do this by verifying and questioning the facts that you have gathered; cross-examining the person who had given you the facts and counterchecking your facts with others.
Good decision-making lies in identifying the problem, listing the various solutions and their consequences, and finally deciding on the solution.
A project manager will be judged on his courage to make choices and the tenacity to follow them through. A conservative manager who shies away from making choices, especially radical ones, will not develop his potential to the fullest.
2.4.2 Suspect all Facts
What is surprising about facts is that not all facts are reliable. Since your decision finally depends on facts, suspect all facts.
The words FACT is often qualified in its use, e.g.
(a) Accepted Facts
(b) Apparent Facts
(c) Assumed Facts
(d) Biased Facts
(e) Concocted Facts
(f) False Facts
(g) Hoped for Facts
(h) Irrelevant Facts
(i) Misleading Facts
(j) Out-of-context Facts
(k) Relevant Facts
(1) Reliable Facts
(m) Solid Facts
(n) Slanted Facts
(o) Unreliable Facts
(p) Unshakeable Facts
Your decisions are as good as your facts, so always remember to:
(a) Suspect all facts.
(b) Suspect verbal facts more than written facts.
(c) Suspect off-the-cuff facts most of all.
(d) Countercheck all the facts.
2.4.3 Wrong Decisions
Wrong decisions are the result of inadequate or misleading facts and feedback. Half-truths, biases and a prejudiced mind also contribute to a wrong interpretation of facts and ultimately lead to a wrong decision.
2.4.4 Check List for Decision Making
---Good management depends on good decision making.
---Good decisions mean making the right choices.
---Every choice is a matter of JUDGEMENT.
---Every choice has its consequences.
---Every decision has its risk.
(1) Concentrate on IMPORTANT decisions
a) Spend time to understand "what the decision is all about"
b) Find creative solutions to the true problems not the symptoms
c) Deliberately organize and create disagreement or dissent
d) Colliding views are known method for stimulating and challenging the imagination
e) Encourage non-conformists to change status-quo
f) Understand that important and strategic decisions are risky and should therefore be controversial
(2) Convert decisions into ACTIONS
a) Remember that you want people to pull in the same direction once the decision is made
b) Decide who has to do what and when
c) Have back-up plan to bail out if decision fails
d) Start with a pilot scheme before going full scale
e) Remind yourself that all decisions are mere intention unless they become someone's specific work and responsibility
(1) Forget the facts
a) Forget to signal that you want the facts to be fast, accurate and honest
b) Forget that facts are often qualified in their usage
c) Forget to suspect all facts
d) Forget to suspect verbal facts more than written facts
e) Forget to suspect off-the-cuff facts most of all
f) Forget to counter-check all the facts
(2) Make wrong decisions
a) Assume that you are right and he is wrong
b) Have a closed mindset, be biased or prejudiced
c) Forget that people always present the picture from their angle
d) Interpret the facts wrongly
e) Be trapped by inadequate feedback or half-truth
f) Waste your limited time making easy decision, unnecessary decision, trivial decision, routine decision or irrelevant decision
Your decisions are as good as your facts. But not all facts are reliable.
--suspect all facts
--suspect verbal facts more than written facts
--suspect off-the-cuff facts most of all.
2.5 Julius Caesar on "Survival Skills"
Plutarch asserted that Julius Caesar (100 BC--44 BC), as a strategist, surpassed all the Roman Generals before him. Caesar conquered immense territories, fought the most wars, killed the greatest number of enemies and gave Rome the most bountiful booty. During his reign, he took 800 towns by storm, subjugated 300 different tribes, and defeated 3,000,000 people in different states.
Caesar studied the campaigns of Alexander the Great and other famous generals he wished to emulate. He was a very ambitious conqueror who extended the boundaries of the Roman Empire. In his book "De Bello Gallico", Caesar described his campaigns against Ariovistus whom he defeated in 58 BC. He annexed Gaul and subdued Belgium. He fought Pompey, his Roman rival, at Pharsalus on August 9, 48 BC and consolidated his power in Rome. In 47 BC, Caesar defeated Mithridates' son, Pharnaces, at Zela, south of the Black Sea and annexed Syria. In 46 BC, he defeated the African King Juba, who supported all his Republican enemies, at the battle of Thapsus. Whatever obstacles Julius Caesar met, he overcame them. He had tremendous courage and military prowess. He survived no matter what type of intrigue or impediments were placed in his way. Caesar, the great hero, had been able to win all his wars because he took the time and effort to coach his soldiers in the art of war and survival skills.
He exhorted his lieutenants thus:
You have to adapt to circumstances to survive. You must build your defenses and arm yourselves adequately. If your enemy attacks you in guerilla style, you must fight using guerilla tactics. It is important to be alert always to your enemy's strategies lest you be destroyed.
Similarly, in any organization, no one bothers about you if you are a nobody. If you do not have potential, no one will create trouble for you as no one kicks a dead dog. People will probe and test you before they mount an attack on you. When they encounter marsh, they will proceed but when they encounter steel, they will withdraw. To win in such a situation, you have to seize and retain the initiative. If you do not take the initiative, you will usually lose. So to master your survival skills, you have to understand the art of war.
2.5.1 People fight to maintain the status quo.
You have done your best by burning the mid-night oil; worked your guts out to bring renown to your organization and you expected at least a pat from your boss, colleagues or peers. Instead, before you know anything you start to get brick bats, nit picking, smear campaigns, abuse, etc from the most unexpected sources. “What have I done wrong?” “Why?” “Why are people like that idiot; that blasted thing; that object!!!” you ask.
Yes, people are complex and the word OBJECTED gives you a clue to expect what will invariably come when people want the status quo.
O is for Obnoxious
Obnoxious people will start to put you down.
B is for Bully
Some people are just bullies and enjoy hounding others.
J is for Jealousy
They are jealous of your achievement, the fruit of your hard work that enables you to bask in the limelight and brings renown to your organization.
E is for Envy
They are by nature envious people.
C is for Covetousness
They want what you have achieved but without having to commit to the long hours you put in.
T is for Threatened
They feel intimidated and they don’t want you to get the glory.
E is for Excluded
They exclude you from their groups. They try to embarrass you.
D is for Displeasure
They show their displeasure in what you have achieved.
What can you do when you meet such a situation early in your career? It is said that nobody kicks a dead dog. So if your career is progressing fast, people will kick you. Expect it but that is cold comfort when you are ‘whacked’ by your immediate supervisor or peers. You will lose your peace of mind and heart. You may become discouraged and become unable to give of your best. Some people just want to undermine you and get you to quit so that they maintain the status quo.
Just remember that nobody kicks the big boss’ pet dog and nobody kicks a dog that can bite back immediately (eg the Rottweiler). If you have a good working relationship with the big boss, he can be a reliable source of support and vindication (see below).
Here is what you have in the office: good supervisors, bad supervisors and peers.
a) The Good Supervisor
You are lucky if your supervisor is good. You’ll be encouraged to develop your talent and give of your best. When you are given elbow room to experiment and extend yourself, work becomes a joy. You bloom and grow to your full potential.
b) The Lousy Supervisor
Unfortunately, there are lousy supervisors who always take advantage of their position to make life miserable for you in the office.
--Show contempt towards you
c) Your Peers
You cannot avoid some of your peers who may desire a share of your:
Understand that no one bothers about you if you are a no-body. If you do not have potential, no one will create trouble for you as no one kicks a dead dog. People will probe and test you before they mount an attack on you. When they encounter marsh, they will proceed but when they encounter steel, they will withdraw.
Before attacking, they will assess your reaction and calculate their risk:
If you show no reaction, they will be bolder.
If you are timid, they will hound you.
If you cave in, they will take over.
If you resist, they may start a battle.
If you counterattack, they may withdraw.
If you build strong allies, they may leave you alone.
2.5.2 Manage Infighting Skills
---In your project, you can't avoid peers or colleagues from:-
a) Asking for unnecessary details, reports, paperwork, meetings
b) Encouraging their staff to disturb
c) Diverting your time away
(2) Opposing subtly
a) Foot-dragging, skepticism
b) Withholding resources
c) Hoarding information
(3) Opposing openly
a) Criticizing, fault-finding
b) Challenging minor details, nitpicking
c) Ridiculing, passing snide remarks
(4) Laying Traps
a) Creating discord, distrust
c) Poaching your men
---Be aware and be politically sensitive to such offensive tactics.
---You can disarm your opponent with:-
a) Warn him
b) Confront him
c) Wear him down
d) Rally allies
f) Pull rank with top management support
a) Invite him in to participate
b) Appeal to larger principles
c) Send emissaries
d) Block interference
e) Tough it out
f) Wait for opportunity to attack
a) Show fear
b) Ignore him
c) Avoid him
d) Ever run away
e) Hide head in sand
You must be bold and brave to face him individually.
2.5.3 Beware of Sabotage
---Be constantly alert to sabotage in order to ward it off immediately. The enemy can sabotage you by:
(a) Creating discord between you and your staff by spreading false information or malicious rumors;
(b) Intimidating your advisors;
(c) Harassing your staff with unnecessary paper work;
(d) Promoting fear amongst your staff by carrying complaints and insinuations to senior staff;
(e) Corrupting and subverting your staff;
(f) Creating internal discord and jealousy by inciting intrigue and deceit;
(g) Poaching your good staff by inducing them to join rival companies.
2.5.4 Your Enemy Wins
He wins without battle, if he
(a) Demoralizes you to make you fearful
(b) Breaks up your alliances
(c) Breaks your will to resist
(d) Causes distrust between you and your staff
(e) Frustrates you
(f) Harasses you
(g) Intimidates you
(h) Irritates to provoke you
(i) Robs you of your heart
(j) Undermines your determination to succeed
2.5.5 In the Art of War
In the Art of War by Sun Tzu, under the heading Strategy, it states:
"If you outnumber the enemy by ten to one, surround them; by five to one, attack them; by two to one, divide them. If you are equally matched, take the offensive. If the enemy forces are slightly stronger, prepare for defense; if vastly superior, retreat, for no matter how valiantly a small force may fight, it must succumb in the end to greater strength and numbers."
In the office environment, your immediate supervisor is always slightly stronger than you. So, you cannot be lax in not taking the initiative to prepare your defense. To win in such a situation, you have to seize and retain the initiative. If you do not take the initiative, you will usually lose.
How then do you take the initiative to prepare for your defense?
You owe it to yourself to defend yourself. To do this, always remember to take the initiative, for the art of defense lies in the planning of an attack and the secret of defense is attack. Attack is always a better form of defense and requires offensive tactics such as:
(a) Managing your supervisor
(b) Building-up of ammunitions and weapons and counterattacking
e.g. by persistently asking relevant questions
(c) Finding ways to access the Big Boss.
These are essentially the 3 ways in your defense:
I) First way---Managing your immediate supervisor
Agenda ---To obtain the best results for your company, your boss and yourself. This is not for political maneuvering or for apple polishing.
Purpose---To make your boss trust you so that he gives you more elbow room to do your work in the way you do best.
Procedure---To achieve that, you have to systematically work at the following Do’s and Don’ts.
Acronym ---L U C A S is the Boss
(1) Look for ways to help him
a) Make him look good
b) What do I do that hampers him and remove it.
c) In what key areas does he need my support?
d) How can I ease his burden?
e) What is it that he finds difficult to do and how can I help?
(2) Understand his modus operandi
a) His likes and his dislikes
b) His strengths and his weaknesses
c) His needs and his wants
d) His work habits--allow him to boast about his success or hobbies, even when we are pressed for time to finish our schedule
e) His time allocation--respect his time
f) His priorities
g) His objectives and goals
(3) Cater to his communication preferences
a) If he is a listener, brief him and then follow up with a memo.
b) If he is a reader, put our proposals in a report and then discuss them with him.
c) Detailed or condensed form
d) Keep him informed
e) See him in the morning, afternoon or late evening
f) Break the ice by talking about his hobbies or sport
g) Ask him what he likes to do
(4) Ask him for help
a) We are dumb not to consult him on important issues and major problems
b) We are learning and communicating when we ask him for help where we are unclear or uncertain of the methods of work that he wants.
c) Allow him to point out our mistakes and to guide us as a mentor
d) Touch base with him every now and then
(5) Support his success
a) Contribute to his achievements
b) See him as an ally
c) Make him as effective and as achieving as possible
d) Appreciate his pressures and goals
e) Focus to provide solutions for problems
(6) Build a cooperative relationship with him
a) Foster credibility with him by being reliable even in small matters
b) Have integrity---don’t shade the truth and play down issues
c) Cultivate good manners as they are the lubricating oil that smoothes over friction
d) Show proper respect for him and his position
e) Overrate him rather than undervalue him
f) Assume that he has the talent and accomplishments to rise to his current position
g) Allow him to talk incessantly about his successes even if your work piles up
h) Make him feel good---we invariably like the people who boost our self-esteem.
a) Surprise him
b) Be at odds with his priorities and objectives
c) Assume too much but clarify proposals with him
d) Hide problems from him
e) Fit him into any preconceived mould
f) Ever run him down with people in the office
g) Catch him at a bad time
h) Be brash and confrontational in discussing issues with him
i) Be too proud to say that we do not know and ask for help from him
j) Concentrate too hard to impress---we will end up working too hard and too long
k) Lose your cool with him
Why it is very important not to SURPRISE your boss? When you surprise him, his immediate reaction is S A R A H.
S is for Shock
He will be shocked by what you have done as you have not kept him informed.
A is for Anger
He will be angry with you and take you to task.
R is for Rebuke
He will rebuke you for what you have done and ask you to change course.
A is for Acceptance
He may take a long time to accept what has been done
H is for Hope
Hopefully he may forget the incident and not bring it up again and again. Hopefully you would have learnt something good.
How do you not surprise your boss when you have to make a decision?
(a) You do it and inform him immediately
(b) You ask his permission to do certain things. When you do that too often you show that you do not have much initiative.
---You don’t make a decision. You do nothing and don’t bother. This is the worst action as it shows that you don’t care for the organization.
II) Second way---Build up your weapons and ammunitions by:
1) Subtly publicizing and recording your achievements, thereby showing your capability and demonstrating that you constitute a formidable opponent:
e.g. subtly email your supervisor and cc it to the Big Boss regarding your accomplishments. Write: I am happy to inform you . . . or I am glad to inform you. . . .
The objective is to keep the Big Boss informed about your good work.
2) Counterattacking by persistently asking relevant questions
3) Forming your allies
4) Training your staff
5) Gathering intelligence on any potential enemy
6) Instilling fear in your enemy
7) Being politically sensitive
III) Third way---Always find ways to have access to the Big Boss
This is vitally important. You must prepare in advance to pitch your spin (ideas, position, slant, jokes, etc). You have only 20 seconds to do that in the lift, social meeting, his office or wherever. The idea is to make the Big Boss notice you and have favorable impression of you.
Without direct access to the Big Boss you are always at a disadvantage as you cannot give your side of your story to him.
2.5.6 What can you do when you are being attacked?
When attacked, act swiftly to protect yourself. Do not let the testing grow. Nip it in the bud immediately by counterattacking. You could save yourself from having to fight a battle later on.
Stand tall. Do not run. Do not allow others to bully you, to wound your ego or to undermine your confidence. Protect your ego, your self-confidence and yourself by confronting them. Fight if you must. You cannot avoid others from probing you. Respond by standing up to their probing and by attacking in order to prevent them from starting a battle with you. You must always make it very costly for the enemy to attack you so that they will think twice before launching an offensive. The enemy will leave you alone only if they are certain that it is not to their advantage to attack you.
2.5.7 Remember Not to Fight Unnecessarily
(a) Do not attack unless you have initially probed and tested your enemy.
(b) Do not fight before you are fully aware of the details of the situation.
(c) Do not fight unless there is a good chance of winning.
(d) Do not fight unless there is no other alternative.
(e) Do not fight unless you wish to gain some definite advantage.
(f) Do not start a fight out of annoyance or desire for revenge.
(g) To conquer without fighting is better than trying to win by fighting every inch of the way.
2.5.8 Counterattack when the Battle has Started
(a) Fighting has no rigid rules. Always be flexible and innovative in battle.
(b) Attack the enemy’s weaknesses, avoid his strengths.
(c) Attack from a vantage position. Do not reveal where you plan to attack.
(d) Concentrate the attack on specific targets.
(e) Move faster than the enemy as speed is essential in any battle.
(f) To lure the enemy out of his fortress, attack some of his vulnerable positions.
(g) You must choose the battle ground and lure your enemy to it.
(h) In a battle, it is vital to anticipate the enemy’s plan.
2.5.9 Consequences when you counterattack
Time and again, it has been found that good work alone in the office is not good enough. The best action for you is to take the initiative to build your defenses [see items 2.5.5 (I), (II), (III)] before there is an attack. For some people this comes naturally. But if you choose not to take the initiative to prepare for your defense, you may find that you have little choice but to counterattack when the battle has started.
When you counterattack you must be prepared to face the consequences:
a) Change to a different division or section, if you can.
b) Slog it out. This is no fun. It is terrible and miserable.
c) Quit---but do so only after you have got the new job. Never quit without a job! You are always at a great disadvantage during the interview if you are without a job.
2.5.10 Don’t quit without a job!
You must never `quit when the going is tough’ or ‘resign from the painful field' or `flee in danger's hour'. Never quit simply because it is problematical. Never hand in your resignation because things are going against you. You must never go out of the situation simply because it is difficult.
Determine to be calm, courageous and persevere. A positive mind-set goes along way in finding a solution. This is the time to consult your family, friends, Internet, experts, and rely on their support, while you explore different perspectives on how to handle the situation. This is also the time to honestly take stock of one’s strengths and weaknesses and make an improvement. Remember that adversity can make one a stronger character like gold is refined in the furnace. You know:
---no hardened ground can bear fruit if it is not broken up by the plough;
---no rough diamond can be transformed to its true brilliance if it is not cut and polished
---no grain can become bread if it is not ground and baked; and
---you fall many times when you learn to roller-blade.
A stronger you can make a difference in your future development. Take adversity as a challenge to be overcome and mastered. This may be the launching pad for scaling greater heights and bigger jobs!
It may also be wise to start applying for a new job but never quit until you find another job that suits you.
You have to have a mindset change to see that your adversity is a way for you to build your character and growth. And so be in a better position to understand and help others.
---You cannot avoid people who may be after a share of your credit and ideas.
---Be constantly alert to sabotage in order to be able to ward it off immediately.
---Always remember to take the initiative as attack is a better form of defense.
---Do not allow others to undermine your confidence.
2.6 Julius Caesar on "Time Management Skills"
Timing is a pre-requisite to the success of the battle. "Strike while the iron is hot" is a proverb that must have been intuitively grasped by Julius Caesar. In 59 BC, Julius Caesar met with opposition when he requested a consulship in Rome. He formed a Triumvirate with Crassus (one of the richest men in Rome) and Pompey (a great Roman general) to force the Senate into acquiescence and give him his consulship. He timed his political manoeuvre perfectly.
His African campaign in the winter of 47--46 BC was fraught with unexpected calamities. In Africa was stationed the Republican opposition with the support of the fierce African King Juba. Pompey's sons and the survivors of the enemy forces defeated at Pharsalus took refuge there. Initially, when Caesar was preparing for the war, he faced a mutiny. On the journey to Africa, a storm devastated his ships and separated him from his experienced soldiers. He landed in Africa with a batch of new recruits. His men suffered a surprise attack by Labienus and he incurred heavy losses. He had to recruit tribal herdsmen and Mauretanian kings to help in his cause. He had to wait for four months for the arrival of his seasoned fighters before be could launch a war against King Juba and the Republican opposition in Africa. Meanwhile, he gathered his lieutenants around him and told them thus:
Timing is vital in a project as any delay is costly. Planning and organizing schedules for your various duties are the key to completing your projects in time.
Outlined below are several practical ways in which time can be effectively used:
(a) Set your priorities and concentrate on completing them one at a time.
(b) Schedule your most important tasks for that time of the day when you can work best.
(c) Set specific deadlines for yourself and stick to them. In setting deadlines, allow ample time for essential tasks.
(d) Keep a list of the tasks that need to be done by jotting them down and crossing them off when completed. Do not burden yourself by trying to remember what you need to do.
(e) Look for short-cuts to do your tasks.
(f) Concentrate on carrying out the essential tasks (such as those which require decision-making) and delegate the rest of the routine and day-to-day jobs to your assistants. When delegating, explain your objectives clearly and ensure that you are kept informed of the progress of the jobs.
(g) Keep your discussions on course and to the point.
(h) Keep the number of meetings you have to attend to a minimum.
(i) Allow yourself a period of time for thinking, planning, reading, writing and dealing with unexpected matters. Block-off calls and visitors during this period.
(j) Do not procrastinate over unpleasant tasks.
Set your priorities.
Concentrate on completing them one at a time and
at the time of the day when you can work best.
2.7 Flavius Vespasian on "Listening Skills"
Comparatively low-born, as the son of a custom's supervisor, Vespasian was a pragmatic emperor. He knew that, as he was not a descendant from the Roman nobility, he would have to be more circumspect and show deference to the Senate to be accepted by them. Yet, he must be assertive in wielding power as an emperor. He realized too that it was in his interest to identify himself with the army, from which he attained power and authority when he was proclaimed "imperator" in Alexandria on July 1, 69 AD. Fearing disaffection, Vespasian ensured that he closely supervised the administration of Rome and the provinces in his capacity as consul and censor.
Vespasian was beset with problems during his reign. The treasury was empty and the Armenian frontier was endangered by barbarian invasion. He set about restoring peace and order with the help of Titus, his son, who was treated as a colleague with equal powers. Titus was in command of the Praetorian Guard too.
Vespasian often held discussions with Titus on ways to implement their administrative policies. He told Titus:
My son, you have a grave responsibility as my heir. Gradually I want you to take over more and more administrative duties. As the administrator, you need reliable feedback which will help in formulating your policies. You must listen carefully to what various people say - the Senators, the bourgeoisie, the civil servants, the community leaders, etc. If you listen to their problems you will be able to find solutions to them.
In management, we need "Listening Skills", so:
2.7.1 Learn to Listen
---As a manager you need to learn to listen and listen to learn. You need to be a skilful listener, as listening enables you to determine the motives and intentions of the other party which in turn will assist you in making a right decision. It is through listening that valuable feedback can be obtained.
---When you listen to a person, you should pay attention not only to what he is saying but also how it is said and what he chooses not to say. The tone, emphasis, facial expression, body language and feelings expressed, all play a part in helping you decide, what a person is really saying.
---Why are we poor listeners?
(a) Listening skills are not taught in school.
(b) We train ourselves to switch-off or turn-off. We turn a deaf ear to scolding.
(c) Listening merely retains 20% of the information.
(d) Listening is 12 times slower than thought.
(e) Listening is hard work. It is very active, both physically and mentally. You cannot passively sit there and expect to listen and absorb information.
2.7.2 Increase your Listening Skill
---Guides to good listening are:
(a) Have an open mind
(b) Do not argue mentally
(c) Do not jump to conclusion
(d) Do not be distracted
(e) Do not tune out
(f) Do not be pre-occupied
(g) Avoid hasty judgment
(h) Avoid interrupting
(i) Be alert to non-verbal and extra verbal messages
---Increase your listening skill by:
(a) Paying close attention to what a person is saying
(b) Getting the gist of his speech
(c) Watching his body language
(d) Noting his hesitancies
(e) Observing for a correct impression of him
(f) Understanding his meaning
(g) Tuning in to his feelings
(h) Using your intuition in sizing up his behavior
(i) Perceiving his response to your questions
(j) Understanding him in total as a thinking and sensitive person
2.7.3 Use your EARS
---To ensure that you understand, you constantly obtain feedback by:
(a) Summarizing back what you have just heard by saying, for example, "Do I understand you correctly that ..."
(b) Asking for summary by checking e.g. "What did I say?"
---Finally to listen, you must use your EARS.
E--Evaluate the message
A--Attentive and alert to the message and speaker
R--Review and recapitulate the content, facts, and body language
As a project manager, you need to learn to listen and listen to learn.
Above all use your E A R S.
2.8 Flavius Vespasian on "Selling Ideas Skills"
Vespasian consciously cultivated the persona or public mask of being "the good Emperor" during his reign (69--79 AD). Politically astute he realized the importance of selling the idea of being a good emperor as part of propaganda. He was sixty years of age when he assumed power and he found that the Roman society of his day had little reverence for the Emperor. Several of his predecessors had been conspired against and some were even assassinated. Thus Vespasian set about trying to inculcate respect for the Emperor by minting coins with the inscription "Roma Resurgens" - revival of the spirit of the old venerated past. He also rebuilt the burnt Capitol and the Temple of Jupiter. In his own life, he tried to be a model of moderation, common-sense and pragmatism.
To ensure that his military achievements would never be forgotten, Vespasian celebrated with pomp and ceremony his triumph over the Jewish revolt of 66--69 AD. It was necessary; he felt to impress the Romans and the world with the grandeur of his achievements. He built his masterpiece--the Coliseum, a massive amphitheatre which could hold some 80,000 spectators. Vespasian wanted to impress the world with this gigantic monument which would commemorate his name. It was to be the venue of great spectacles which were performed for the entertainment of the people. He knew the value of the grand spectacle. He would sell the idea of his great military successes by parading the spoils of war. He would depict a scene in which his sons, Titus and Domitian, in magnificent attire, would be seen riding at the head of a procession of soldiers and slaves carrying the gold and ivory ornaments they had seized in the Jewish conquest.
Sometimes the war was dramatized on stage. The Roman soldiers were shown savagely slaughtering their enemies. Vespasian knew that such spectacle captivated and enthralled the crowd who would be grateful to him for such lavish entertainment. Above all, he could use it as his media for propaganda.
Vespasian often held discussions with Titus and Domitian, his sons. He reminded them that they were his heirs and they were to present themselves in public in the best way possible.
Titus would share in his tribunicianary power and be made a consul. Both of them would succeed him he asserted. He addressed them thus:
I have made it clear that you, my sons, shall succeed me and no one else. You will therefore always be in the limelight. People will assess your worth as a monarch. Their perception of you will be based on what you show them of your character and your capability. Therefore it is important to present a good image of yourselves. You have to learn the skill of selling the correct image. In addition you have to learn to sell your ideas before you can implement your policies effectively.
Therefore, it is essential to practice the skills of selling ideas through various methods:
2.8.1 Persuasion and Suggestion
---Ideas can be sold either by appealing to a person's logic or emotions i.e. either through persuasion or suggestion. The method that you choose depends primarily on the nature of the people you hope to sell your ideas to. The way in which you present your ideas also play a big part in selling them.
---Suggestions are conveyed by:
Refers to the meaning of what is said.
You receive about 10% of the message.
Refers to the implied meaning of what is said and tone of voice.
You receive about 30% of the message.
This refers to the facial expression and body language of the speaker.
You receive about 60% of the message.
People tend to accept suggestions from those they like, respect and those who project confidence and credibility. Hence, do not appear over-bearing, over-confident or threatening when selling an idea. Conversely, a person who appears nervous, unsure of the subject and lacks clarity in presenting his ideas is unlikely to attract an audience.
Ideas are more readily accepted if they can be shown to work for and not against the other person's interests. Apart from projecting a positive and friendly image, a seller has to convince people that his new ideas will not threaten the person's job security. People are resistant to changes and fear giving up familiar practices and methods.
Often the way in which an idea is presented is more important than the idea itself. An idea offered hesitantly may be rejected, while the same idea stated confidently will be accepted. The following points will help you in communicating your ideas:
(a) Decide clearly what to say and say it concisely. Use technical language sparingly and avoid it if possible.
(b) Structure your ideas by presenting first a broad overall summary followed by a detailed discussion of the main points.
(c) Make your ideas relevant by relating it to concepts or using terminology familiar to the person you are selling them to.
(d) Simplify your idea and explain it by starting from simple to complex, specific to conceptual and familiar to unfamiliar.
(e) Illustrate with examples first then draw conclusions.
(f) Anticipate objections and provide the answers.
(g) Prepare a list of the benefits and liabilities of the idea.
(h) Be aware of the tone you use in selling your ideas as well as your body language as these often play a greater part (approximately 30% and 60% respectively) in influencing a person's acceptance or rejection of the idea.
(i) Target your presentation at an influential group of people.
2.8.2 Success in Selling Ideas
Understanding some of the reasons behind people's receptivity to ideas could help you in selling them. They buy your ideas because of:
Fear that rejection of the idea would cause unnecessary and long delays to the project, resulting in greater cost. Statements that give rise to fear are:
---There will be a long delay if the plan is not accepted.
---There will be trouble if that proposal is not adopted.
---The time and cost consequences of these new policies are ...
---It will be very costly if you carry on as you are doing. It's better for you to change the method.
---You will have more problems if you don't accept the advice.
Hope of gain makes people susceptible to ideas that will lead to fewer worries, uncertainties and a faster pace of completion like those implied in the following statements:
---You will have the following benefits if you. . .
---You won't have to worry if you. . .
---There will be less uncertainties if you adopt. . .
---Your project will move at a faster pace if you. . .
---You will achieve more if you follow this proposal.
---You will have more time to concentrate on your other responsibilities if you engage a competent professional to give you sound advice and recommendation.
Pride is another factor as some people accept ideas for prestige. They want to be the first to try out a new method of doing things or to have exclusive privilege of the use of some equipment. The following statements appeal to them:
---You will have the best project if you do this.
---You'll be setting the standard for your competitors.
---This is one of its kinds.
---This is exclusive and you'll be way ahead of your competitors if you take it.
Example shown is a good way to sell an idea as some people need assurances:
(i) That such a proposal has worked wonders for others.
(ii) That the new product has the endorsement of renowned specialists. Thus the statements below have some appeal:
---Such-and-such a company has adopted this proposal.
---So-and-so has found it to be of great value when they did this.
---You can rest assured it is good since so-and-so has also done it.
Remember, everything is at status quo unless you make a sale of your ideas. So be ever ready to persistently sell again to people who give excuses for not responding to your ideas.
People use these arguments to delay making a decision to buy your ideas:
Can you guarantee that your proposal will save us time and cost?
Are you 100% certain that this will work?
We don't think this will benefit us.
It won't work, someone tried it once.
It creates more problems than it solves.
It confuses me.
Let me think about your proposal.
Let me check further.
I'll come back to you later.
We'll wait for the new model.
We can afford to wait.
It has not been budgeted for.
It's too expensive.
We can't afford the price.
We'll wait for the price to come down.
Why spend so much when we can get a cheaper one.
We don't need it now.
We can do without it.
There is no good reason why we should follow your proposal.
There is no need to take such a great risk.
Our needs are special and your proposal is not suitable.
Address their fears and try to convince them of the benefits of your ideas.
People buy your ideas because of:
People do not buy your ideas because they have:
2.9 Marcus Aurelius on "Meeting Skills"
Marcus Aurelius held daily discussions with the educated elite in Rome. As a scholar and philosopher, he was widely sought for advice by one and all. He used to hold conferences with men of wit and intelligence to debate on various political and social issues. They also questioned him on his philosophy of life and in particular about his attitude towards the treacherous Avidius Cassius, his general who tried to set himself up as a rival emperor. It was reported that Marcus Aurelius was prepared to pardon Avidius Cassius and had even stated that he would willingly abdicate in favour of Cassius, if it served the State. Marcus Aurelius had wanted to remain friends with him in spite of his treachery. The idealistic Marcus Aurelius refused to hate anyone or to hurt anyone unnecessarily. Thus his idealism was often the subject of discussion at meetings. His generals were very impressed by the way he conducted his daily meetings. Some of them requested him to instruct them on "Meeting Skills". Marcus Aurelius said:
Meetings are held for different reasons. You, generals, hold meetings to discuss your battle plans and strategies. I hold these daily meetings to probe man's mind to discover wise thoughts that can benefit us. Steeped in the study of great philosophers, I am keen to explore the meaning of life and how man can find peace and tranquility. My meetings help me to discuss and probe man's innermost thoughts and now I realize that nowhere does a man find more peace and tranquility than in his own soul. What is the use of envying others or hating others when all too soon our life will be ended?
Meetings cannot be avoided. In fact, about 10-30% of a manager's time is spent on meetings, both formal and informal consultations. While meetings are often necessary for efficient delegation of work, they can be counter-productive if not managed well.
A successful meeting enables the co-ordination of various activities of a project and the delegation of specific tasks to individual members. It also sets the deadlines for these tasks. A meeting brings key people together for the exchange of views, ideas, methods and the consideration of important issues. A meeting also provides the channel to transmit decisions, policies and news to the rank and file. It keeps people informed, and facilitates compliance through group pressure.
Though much can be achieved through meetings, they can be a source of conflict and a waste of valuable time if not run in a proper way. More time can be spent arguing about instead of solving the problems. Sometimes two individuals have strong vested interests to quarrel at the meeting to garner supports. The Chairman must have the guts to say, “Both of you see me in my office after the meeting to resolve the issue.” This will ensure that the meeting is not delayed unnecessarily.
Goals will not be achieved if people are reluctant to speak for fear that others may think that their ideas are useless or redundant.
Often novel ideas are not accepted by the group as people are usually resistant to changes. If the meeting focuses on trivial instead of important issues, it will not be useful. A meeting can also be counter-productive as the people present may tend to make reckless and riskier decision in the absence of accountability.
The success of a meeting hinges to a great extent on the role of the chairman. The chairman sets the pace and steers the meeting in the right direction. The chairman briefly outlines each topic, directing attention to the specific aspects to be discussed. He controls the time allowed for discussions of the issues and can stop any member whom he thinks is digressing from the main points of the issue. The chairman also summarizes the main points of each issue and delegates specific duties to individual members.
Finally, he fixes the date for the next meeting. Getting a meeting organized such as setting an agenda, taking minutes and summarizing the actions and their expected dates of completion will go a long way in ensuring its success.
A good meeting brings together key people for an open exchange of ideas.
It decides who is to do what and when.
2.10 Aelius Hadrian on "Technical Skills"
Building was Hadrian's real passion. His innate love of Greek architectural designs found fruition in the splendor of his buildings. Hadrian completely rebuilt the Pantheon (120--125 AD) which was one of his masterpieces. The architect and engineer in him found expression in its design and construction. The Pantheon had the largest existing dome built in brick-works up to our time. It was wider than St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome and St. Paul's Cathedral in London. It had a beautiful interior enhanced by columns of old-gold and marble. The exterior facade of the columns was made of grey granite. The "Pantheon" was a masterpiece of Roman architecture with its considerable use of arch and vault and cement work.
Hadrian's Villa near Tivoli (120--138 AD) was an enormous complex of buildings covering at least 750 acres. Each building was an original creation of art based on Hadrian's impressions of states, cities and monuments he had observed during his extensive travels like the Vale of Tempe in Thessaly, the Academy in Athens and the Serapeum at Canopus on the Nile delta near Alexandria in Egypt. In Hadrian's Villa there was constructed, in hemicycle-shape, the great Pool of Canopus adorned by statues of Mars and the Amazon by Phidias. There was also a small temple of Venus with a statue of Venus adorning it. With the eye of a landscape artist, Hadrian took advantage of the nature of the terrain and groups of buildings were alternated with gardens and parks where fountains flowed. The decorations which adorned his buildings and gardens ranged from sculptured marble statues, mosaic art to paintings of great masters which are now scattered throughout the museums of Europe, like the Louvre in Paris and the Vatican Museum. In addition to these outstanding projects, Hadrian built theatres, complexes of thermal baths, pavilions, nymphaea and fountains.
Hadrian and Antonimus Pius completely reconstructed the port of Ostia. They changed it by adding a new town with residential areas as well as public buildings and amenities.
The Mausoleum of Hadrian was constructed for himself and his successors. It is known today as Castel Sant' Angelo. It consisted of a square base 90m long each side and 15m high, above which stood a cylindrical structure divided inside by radiating walls covered with vaults. On top was a statue of Emperor Hadrian. The exterior was covered with travertine and the interior with marble. It was adorned with marble and bronze statues. Hadrian, the great builder never forgot to ensure an appropriately grand exit!
Hadrian was a man with a vision and a pragmatism that made him one of the finest master-builders of Rome. His love for the beauty of Greek art and Hellenic culture was translated into the concrete manifestations of his splendid building program. Hadrian was accompanied by architects, builders, blacksmiths, carpenters and other workers on his extensive tour of the Roman Empire.
Hadrian held sessions with this team of building-trade specialists to discuss plans for construction. At one of the sessions, he told them:
Beauty is a joy to behold.
It is a timeless monument.
It delights our heart
It stimulates our mind
It enriches our spirit
It arouses our curiosity
It sharpens our senses
It softens our environment
It heightens our appreciation for the aesthetic
It instructs us as to what is possible
It teaches us to strive for excellence
I feel that life is meaningless if we leave nothing of beauty behind us. A love of aesthetics, art and culture is what makes life meaningful. I intend, therefore, to manifest my love and appreciation of the beauteous Grecian art forms in my buildings. Succeeding generations will look back and wonder at the grandeur, the splendor, the timelessness that was Rome. I need you to assist me to save cost and time for these projects. You need to remember not to accept mediocre work. Always demand excellent work. Ask for good work. Ask for distinction but don't ask for perfection.
The skill of a good project manager lies in his ability to complete a major project in as short a time with as low a cost as is possible without sacrificing quality or safety.
2.10.1 Saving Cost
(1) Improving the design
---All new designs can be improved upon. This means that there are always some hidden costs built into a design. So deliberately look out for the unnecessary costs. Look at:
(a) Large quantity items or items that are repetitive; e.g. a small saving per item multiplied by a large quantity will result in substantial savings
(b) Large cost items as the potential for saving is enormous.
---Constantly apply the Pareto principle i.e.
A few causes account for the bulk of the effect.
A vital few items account for most of the results.
20% of the salesmen account for 80% of the sale.
20% of the items account for 80% of the cost.
20% of the critical items account for 80% of the possible delay.
Spend 80% of your time on 20% of your good staff.
---Hidden costs can be eliminated by constantly asking the following questions which act as checks against unnecessary spending:
(a) What is it for?
(b) What does it do?
(c) How much does it cost?
(d) Are all these extras needed?
(e) Is the cost of the item proportional to its usefulness?
(f) What other items can do the job and how much will they cost?
(g) Can a standard product be used?
(2) Search for alternative solutions
Look for alternative solutions during the conceptual, planning and schematic design stages by posing questions such as:
(a) Can the shape of the building be changed? Regular? irregular? circular? rectangular? triangular? curved? straight?
(b) Can any bend or curve be eliminated?
(c) Will a change in dimensions and layouts for the various rooms lead to savings in cost?
(d) Can some of the awkward corners be disguised?
(e) Can other materials be used?
(f) Is there another cheaper method of construction?
(g) Can any of the costly finishes be substituted?
(h) Can some of the features be eliminated?
(3) Inculcate cost-consciousness
Inculcate cost-consciousness and co-operation by:
(a) Reminding everyone that it is today's design decision that brings about tomorrow's cost overrun.
(b) Getting everyone very cost-conscious and not just give lip-service to cost-saving exercises.
(c) Obtaining the support, assistance and cooperation of many people to save cost.
(d) Controlling cost by minimizing waste as the prevention of waste leads to the saving of cost.
(e) Anticipating and controlling costly and large quantity items.
(f) Quantifying the cost and time consequences of all major changes before deciding on whether to proceed with the changes.
(g) Investigating fully all major design changes.
(h) Ensuring no sudden surprise of large cost increases.
(4) Resist changes during construction
Construction cost can be kept low if changes during construction are minimized as major causes of cost overrun are due to changes during construction. While changes in the concept, planning and schematic design stages are relatively inexpensive, changes during construction are costly.
---Allow changes during construction only if they are really essential, not just desirable or `good' to have.
---Besides incurring additional cost, changes can lead to:
--program being disrupted
--some work being aborted
--critical areas of work being held up
--ripple effects occurring on other work
--the momentum slowing down
--morale and productivity being reduced
---Anticipate the changes in order to reduce them. Some of the causes of change are:
(a) Changes to correct design deficiencies in the drawings, data and/or details, which are:
Details in the Mechanical /Electrical / Structural / Architectural drawings do not agree.
Design details that are impractical to construct
Data not entirely relevant
Errors in dimension, reference or description
Inadequate details for construction
Details not available to the Contractors in time for planning the work or for ordering the materials
Data are not given to site staff or not produced.
Inconsistent data arrangement
Difficult to read Mechanical and Electrical drawings in conjunction with Structural or Architectural drawings
(b) Changes to the scope of the work
(c) Changes to improve the design
(d) Changes to comply with safety regulations, fire safety and Government's requirements
(e) Changes to provide more flexibility for the future
(f) Changes due to site constraints and errors
(g) Changes due to extra work
(h) Changes to completed work
(i) Changes to comply with Owner's requirements
(j) After-thoughts from Owner to incorporate the latest trend
(k) Changes by Owner to obtain better return investment
(l) Changes which are thought desirable
(i) Operating managers would like certain additions for various reasons
(ii) Designers would like to add certain features, upgrade others, increase equipment sizes or enhance the aesthetics of the building
(m) Changes to increase the operational ability of the equipment
---Reducing cost is always difficult as it calls for conscientious, consistent and persistent effort right from the start to the end of the project.
This chart shows at what stage of time it is best for you to concentrate your effort /span> to save cost. Apply it vigorously to all the various components or tender packages in a project such as piling, structural and steelwork, lift work, air-conditioning, electrical works etc.
2.10.2 Saving Time
---You can save time by a systematic procedure of:
(a) Calling critical nominated sub-contracts early.
Ensure that all Consultants work towards same goals or objectives.
(b) `Freezing' changes at various stages.
Do not keep on changing and going back to the earlier concept, schematic or design stages, otherwise there will be delays.
(c) Issuing construction drawings ahead for planning and ordering of materials.
(d) Early approval of coordinated shop drawings.
Concentrate on approving the repetitive tasks so as to allow the contractors to work on many areas.
(e) Early approval of long lead items and materials.
This will allow the contractors to source their materials from various suppliers.
(f) Placing purchase orders of major equipment/materials early.
(g) Concentrating your effort to tackle critical path areas.
(h) Adopting an early start philosophy.
---In his initial planning, the project manager can shorten the time for the completion of the project when he:
(a) Prevents time-consuming construction details from getting into the design
(b) Prevents time-consuming sequence for constructing a particular work from being written into the specifications and drawings
(c) Prevents unnecessary stringent conditions from getting into the specifications and drawings.
---During construction, the project manager can save time by:
(a) Ensuring that proper construction equipments are available to do the job efficiently.
(b) Ensuring that priorities are given to critical areas of work to start early and if necessary, shift the sequences to avoid hold up.
(c) Ensuring that details are attended to in the right sequence by using extensive checkpoints in the design and construction.
(d) Encouraging and scheduling the work of all trades to ensure that they do not hold each other up and that the target completion objectives are achieved.
(e) Expediting owner's decisions and the flow of consultant's information, details and drawings to maintain job progress.
(f) Being constantly alert to problems.
(g) Getting rid of problems rather than getting out of problems. When you get out of problems you create more problems in the process.
(h) Focusing on solving big and/or repetitive problems.
(i) Anticipating and foreseeing the major problem areas so as to avoid spending unnecessary effort and extra money to extricate oneself from the mess encouraging all parties to face and eliminate problems.
(k) Having the ability to deal with all kinds of emergencies.
(1) Being flexible and able to modify plans to suit changing circumstances.
(m) Do not mass-produce large quantity items until the prototype has been approved.
(n) Ensure that critical material or equipments are ordered in time by the contractors and sub-contractors.
An extremely easy way to monitor this is to ask for a copy of the PURCHASE ORDER without the price. Keep chasing for them.
---All new designs can be improved. So deliberately look-out for the unnecessary cost in the design.
---Look for alternative solutions during the conceptual, planning and schematic design stages.
---Changes during construction are costly.
---Adopt a systematic procedure to save time.
---Get rid of problems rather than get out of problems.
---Concentrate on priority items.
3. MARCUS AURELIUS ON "ATTITUDES THAT HELP IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT"
Marcus Aurelius has been aptly called a "philosopher emperor". As a stoic, Aurelius was an exemplar of self-discipline and frugal living. He had a keen sense of obligation to his fellowmen. He was a scholar and the author of the famous work entitled "Meditations". Yet, throughout his turbulent reign (161--180 AD) he showed tremendous valor in all his campaigns against invading tribes. This scholarly emperor proved to be a man of great confidence and courage. The Parthians, the dreaded enemy, were getting ready to make war on Rome. They had established themselves in Armenia and Syria. Aurelius sent his general Avidius Cassius to push them back across the Euphrates and Tigris. The Moors in Spain and the Picts in Scotland created trouble. German tribes--the Marcomanni, the Quadi and the Vandals, invaded Roman territory as far as Aquileia (Venice). Aurelius waged a ten years' campaign against them and forced them to retreat. At the same time, there were the problems of plague, fire and flood in Rome. A lesser man than Marcus Aurelius would have crumbled under such a heavy burden.
It was Marcus Aurelius' character that made it possible for him to withstand all these pressures. He was always confident and courageous in times of hardship and suffering. He always rose to the challenge. When he had to raise funds for the campaigns against the German tribes, he auctioned the crown jewels and the imperial gold-embroidered wardrobe. Marcus Aurelius personally led his army as commander-in-chief on the ten-year campaign, in spite of his weak health. He faced all his problems with quiet confidence and courage.
He would often counsel his young co-regent, Lucius Verus thus:
You offered the Parthians peace which they rejected. We have no alternative now but to fight against them. You must not be seen as weak when you are in the midst of your enemies or you will be defeated. Weakness is regarded as cowardice. It is important that you build up confidence and courage and not be afraid to face challenges. Whatever project you undertake, you must have a positive attitude. You have to learn about certain attitudes that will ensure the success of your project, be it in the field of war or administration.
It is apparent that:
Your attitude influences your behavior.
Your behavior influences your action.
Your action influences your result.
So in order to get good results in your projects you need to start with having a positive attitude.
The following sections illustrate attitudes that will help you greatly in your projects.
---When you are asked to do:
(a) something new
(b) something different
(c) something unfamiliar
---when you have to face:
(a) some unknown
(b) some dangers
your immediate reaction is one of worry, doubt or possibly fear. It is quite normal to initially react that way. But, that does not mean that you have no confidence.
---What is confidence?
Confidence is in spite of worry, doubt or fear; you fight hard and conquer your worry, doubt or fear.
---How do you conquer your doubt or fear?
By consistently and persistently doing the things you fear most, you control fear. If you do not control fear, fear controls you.
---How do you develop your confidence?
To build your confidence, you need to:
(a) Praise yourself for your effort
(b) Reward yourself for your successes and achievements to serve as a reminder every time you are discouraged or depressed.
---Confidence means believing in yourself. It knows that you can depend on yourself to put in the effort to do what you can, within your ability, knowledge, skill and experience.
---Confidence is an internal conviction. It is in reality the state of your mind, and has to come from within you.
---What is courage?
Courage is not the absence of fear.
Courage is, in spite of your fear, you stick it out, you soldier on, you do not give up, until you win.
---It is never easy to stand up for your views or decisions.
People will use their position or the group to:
to change your views.
Your boss may have:
Frowned on you
Shown his annoyance to you
Considered that your opinions as useless.
Whatever it is, it takes courage to present your ideas. So long as you politely express your honest views, which you have carefully considered, you should develop the strength to defend your stand and judgment, and accept the consequences of your stand.
---Courage calls for:
You have an indomitable spirit which is unafraid of facing strong opposition and difficulties.
You have staying power and the tenacity to carry out what one believes in.
You have the perseverance and resolution to complete a task or project.
You have endurance and doggedness in seeking for solutions.
3.3 Converting Problems into Challenges
---Problems are often opportunities in disguise. Hard work and persistence are disguised forms of opportunities.
---Learn to convert your problems into challenges by deliberately shifting your thinking habit to make your mind work constructively for you. Challenges are interesting and stimulating and will motivate you to find innovative ways to get results.
---Divide and simplify your problems. Forget them as problems, instead, think of them as challenges.
---As a project manager, you should be solving problems rather than creating problems.
---Why must you have credibility?
Credibility helps you to:
--sell your ideas,
--get your recommendations accepted.>
---What is credibility?
Credibility = Reliability + Integrity
---How do you earn your credibility?>
In all the minor things you do, you are:
When asked, you are detailed in your reports. You check from the best available sources and you ask people who know for their views. You show thhe basis from which you have arrived at your conclusion. You don't accept mediocre work. It is your standard practice to demand excellence from yourself and others
You can be depended on to be thorough, conscientious and trustworthy in whatever you do. Your boss can rely on you to get the work done well.
You can be trusted to walk your talk. You do not bad-mouth, deceive, double-talk or double-deal.
You are a trustworthy and meticulous worker who completes your work in good time. At the same time, you exercise flexibility in being able to modify your plans according to needs and changes.
You have know-how, skills and ability and you exercise your talents to accomplish excellent results. You read regularly and you unceasingly practice to improve your knowledge and skill.
---Your actions will always speak louder than your words. You have to consistently earn your credibility. This is a daily affair and has to be renewed constantly. You can't use your credibility, if you have not earned it.
3.5 Risking Failure
---A common cause of failure is the habit of quitting when:
You are temporarily defeated
You meet with hardship
You meet with obstacles
The going gets tough.
---You have to learn to accept that:
(a) Whenever you try something new, there is no guarantee that you will succeed in the initial attempts.
(b) Mistake is part of the learning process.
(c) Everything worthwhile carries some risk of failure.
---By not accepting the risk of failure, there will be:
No advancement no innovation
No creative solution
No quantum leap forward
---Always remember, making:
One mistake is human
The same mistake the 2nd time is excusable
The same mistake the 3rd time is unacceptable
The same mistake more than 3 times is foolish
---It is far better to risk failure in attempting to do something than to do nothing.
---You never really fail until you quit trying. So remember as long as you keep on trying you win.
3.6 Asking Questions
---To learn quickly ask questions and ask from the best source.
---As adults, you are afraid to ask questions for fear:
(a) Of being embarrassed
(b) Of being ridiculed
(c) Of being told-off
(d) Of criticism
(e) That the question is irrelevant.
And that is precisely the tactic your peer and supervisors use to shut you up. If you want to improve, you have no choice but to ask questions. So be thick skin and ask anyway. You don’t have to be obnoxious and aggressive to ask questions. But you need to re-train yourself to ask politely and persistently.
---To develop your full potential, you have no choice but to ask questions.
---Check yourself regularly by asking:
Am I getting to where I want to go?
Am I making as much progress as I would like?
Am I learning new things, gaining new experiences and growing daily?
Am I better today than yesterday?
Will I do better tomorrow?
---What is experience?
Learning something new
Discovering something new
Trying something new
Seeking new tasks
Undertaking new assignments
Merely spending time on a job is not experience.
---How do you grow in your job?
You grow when you gain new experience or do something you have not done before. It means having the courage and confidence to try new things and to undertake new challenges. It means having a mindset that determines that this year I am better than last year and next year I will be better than this year.
---To build confidence you need to pat yourself for your effort and to reward yourself on your successes.
---Courage is, in spite of your fear, you stick it out, you soldier on, you do not give up, until you win.
---Deliberately shift your thinking to look at problems as challenges.
---If you do not accept the risk of failure, there will be:
No creative solution
---To learn quickly, ask questions and get answers from the best source.
4. CLAUDIUS CAESAR AUGUSTUS ON "CONVERTING INFORMATION INTO SKILLS"
Claudius was pushed into becoming a Roman Emperor in AD 41 at fifty years of age. He was hiding behind a curtain when news reached him that the Emperor Caligula, his nephew, was murdered but he was discovered by a Praetorian Guard who hailed him as "Imperator" (Supreme commander of the army). The troops proclaimed their allegiance to him.
He had, before this drastic change to his stature, lived a simple life, spending his time studying history under Livy, the great historian, and reading widely on philology and phonetics. Claudius, himself, compiled a history of the Civil Wars in 41 volumes. He had also written the histories of Carthaginians and Etruscans, a book on the Latin alphabet, a book on Cicero and his own autobiography. He was a prolific writer.
As a scholar and avid reader, Claudius found it easier, when he became an Emperor, to understand the art of government. He converted information he had so eagerly perused and mastered into his skill. The study of history had shown him how important it was to have the support of the army as an Emperor. He put this information into practice when he had himself acclaimed "Imperator" on 27 occasions. He gave a gratuity of 15,000 sesterces to each soldier when he assumed office. He appointed two capable officers, Galba and Vespasian to help maintain discipline in the army. He always ensured that the soldiers were content for he knew that coups and anarchy would arise if the soldiers were unhappy.
Claudius believed in the principle of meritocracy as the gauge for promotion of the civil-servants. He found that many of the Romans were inefficient and that they did not put into practice what they had learned. He emphasized the importance of converting information into knowledge by asserting:
The way to do this is to work on the information. For your information to be useful, you need to generalize them. But before you can generalize your information, you have to compile, organize and classify them. The main purpose for generalizing your information is for easy instant recall, so that your information can now become your knowledge. Without the ability to instantly recall your information, that information has not become your knowledge. It is as good as information in a library. It is book knowledge and not your knowledge.
So, for your information to be useful to you, you have to:
(d) Generalize them for easy instant access and
(e) Recall in order that the information can become your knowledge
---How do you convert your information into skill?
To convert your information into skill, you need to instantly recall your information and then practice until they become a skill. If you can’t instantly recall the information, it is not your knowledge. Thus, you will not be able to use the information there and then.
For example, you can only be good in your mathematics if you can recall your mathematic principles and then apply them to solve your math’s problems.
Similarly to be able to play tennis well, you need to know the various strokes and practice diligently until they become a skill.
---An easy way to convert information into skill is to remember:
Information + Recall = Knowledge
Knowledge + Practice = Skill
i.e. Information + Recall + Practice = Skill
---Why do you find it so difficult to convert your information into skill?
The main reason is because you may be unable to instantly recall the appropriate information to be able to practice them. You cannot perform what you do not know at that particular moment. If you can’t instantly recall your information, it is just as good as not knowing which file to access in your computer. The information is there but it is useless because you can’t find it to be able to use it.
---How do you instantly recall your information?
You have to take the time to study your information. Then you have to make notes and memorize them like when you prepare for an exam. There is no short cut. You practice this procedure until it becomes intuitive for you.
---For your information to be useful to yourself, you need to compile, classify and instantly recall them.
---For you to instantaneously recall your information, you need to repeat them constantly until they become familiar.
---An easy way to convert information into skill is to remember:
Information + Recall + Practice = Skill
5. CLAUDIUS CAESAR AUGUSTUS ON "MANAGEMENT OF CHANGE"
Claudius proved to be an enlightened administrator who introduced numerous changes during his reign (AD 41--AD 54).
One of the most important changes was the institution of a centralized bureaucracy with various departments handling different matters. He appointed members of his imperial family or aristocratic freedmen like Narcissus (who was given the post of chief of the imperial secretariat) to control the departments. Claudius was revolutionary in appointing to high military and civil positions, men from distant provinces and remote areas of the Roman Empire. He adopted a policy of meritocracy in such appointments. Another remarkable innovation by Claudius was the admission to the Senate of intelligentsia from the provinces and dependent states. They were given Roman citizenship.
Another important change was in legislation. He discouraged the practice of usury. He encouraged his people to be kind to their slaves. He presided over some of the cases in the law-courts himself.
Claudius introduced the idea of insurance. To ensure that supplies of grain would reach Rome, even during the winter months, Claudius guaranteed importers against any loss due to storms, etc.
He eroded the power of the Senate by transferring many of their duties to his imperial officials, like the control of the Public Treasury, charge of finance to construct roads and supervisory control of the port of Ostia.
Claudius tolerated the foreign religions of his subject people provided they offered no threat to Roman laws or his government. In many ways he was ahead of his time.
However, he knew that many of the Romans, especially the Senators, were unhappy about the changes he instituted. He called for a meeting with the Senators and Heads of Departments. At this meeting, he tried to convince them of the necessity for changes. Claudius reiterated thus:
I know you are worried about the changes I have introduced. I also know that some of you have criticized such changes and others have shown resistance against them by deliberately flouting the new rules. I feel I must make you understand why these changes are necessary.
You know, as well as I do, that being human, we like the status quo. We prefer the same old routine but this same old routine does not bring us progress. We must be more adaptable. History teaches us lessons on adaptability and shows clearly that to advance and to improve we must manage change. Our success depends on our ability to seek new ways, better methods and novel ideas of extracting more benefit out of the same amount of resources. This is only possible when we positively look for changes.
In practice, most of us pay lip-service to changes as changes make things more difficult initially.
To save cost and time on projects, it is essential to introduce changes to:
--reduce construction time
---When you introduce changes, you will expect opposition such as:
---It is natural to view changes with suspicion and fear, and an immediate reaction is to resist the change.
---Resistance to change is instinctive as one would like to adhere to one's familiar and comfortable way of doing things.
---Since you dislike being loaded with unsolicited work, you use a roadblock to stave off the new idea or to kill it.
---What are roadblocks? They are the standard killer-phrases which can be dangerous and damaging when used for the wrong purpose.
Examples of killer-phrases are:
It is a great idea but. . .
Let's call a meeting.
Let's think it over.
The risk is too great.
It has never been done before.
This is against the rules.
It needs more study.
We don't have the time.
It's too late to do anything like this now.
It won't work on our project.
Why waste time.
That's not our problem. It's too old-fashioned.
Where did you get the hare-brained idea?
It's not practical.
We'll be a laughing stock.
---Roadblocks can be overcome by:
(a) Recognizing and challenging the killer-phrases
(b) Obtaining more facts
(c) Not accepting general statements and information without first counterchecking them
---When you introduce changes, expect opposition such as:
---You can overcome roadblocks by recognizing and challenging the standard killer-phrases.
6. DO YOUR BEST
How would you do your best in your working life? You will be placed in situations where you have to learn to:
a) Manage your boss
b) Manage your resources and
to achieve better results.
As a subordinate, you have to learn to get along and work well with your supervisor; as a manager, you have to utilize all the resources to improve the quality of your product or service and most importantly, you have to be innovative to achieve better results.
6.1. Managing your Boss
See 2.5.5(I) and the article, “Managing Your Boss,” by John J. Gabarro and John P. Kotter [Harvard Business Review, January 2005]
6.2. Managing all your Resources
When you are the manager, you need to constantly ask yourself how to make your product or service better, cheaper and faster, without compromising safety and quality. You need to have a mind that constantly looks for alternative solutions. There is no such thing as “no solution,” only a more intensive search for answers. You must monitor and evaluate systematically how the scarce resources (10 MIT) that are under your care are utilized.
So you channel your resources into areas that produce the best results:
(1) Use the eyes (observe) and the mind (discern) to assess
a) The 5M of On-site Performance—which usually provide only incremental improvement in productivity.
Machinery---Enough? Left idle? Spoilt?
Material---Ordered? Arrived? Shortage?
Manpower---Sufficient? Idle? Shift work?
Mess---Rubbish? Coordinated? Re-work?
Mock-up---Bugs? Tested? Mass produced?
b) The 5M of Management Performance—which often lead to a quantum leap in productivity.
Managers---Experienced? Focused? Key tasks?
Method---Queue? Sequence right? Bottleneck?
Millstone---Roadblock? Strife? Rules?
Market---Feedback? Wanted? Modified?
Money---Allocation? Cash-Flow? Unpaid?
c) Information---Available? Accurate? Honest?
d) Time---Concentrated? Diverted? Busy work?
(2) Use the mouth to ask questions
What do you think?
What is new?
(3) Use the ears to listen
Listen to what is said
Listen to what is not said
Listen to the tone
Listen to the pitch
Listen to the hesitancies
Listen between the lines
(4) Use your feelings to sense
Get a feel for the place
Sense the pace
Sense the tempo
Sense the bustle
Sense the mood
(5) Use your intuition to affirm
Trust your intuition
Trust your gut feeling
You use your 10 MIT skill systematically and follow through quickly to ensure effective actions are taken promptly. Top management normally Manage By Walking About (MBWA). When they walk about, they intuitively use this 10 MIT skill to assess the situation.
When you focus on the 5M of Management Performance you can obtain quantum leap in improvement of the results. Whereas, when you concentrate on the 5M of On-site (or Factory) Performance, it will generally result in only incremental improvement.
Whatever work you do, do your best. Do it wholeheartedly. Do it with passion; with zest; with enthusiasm.
6.3 Do and Don’t of Innovation
Dissent is the start of innovation
Change is the key to innovation
Opportunity is the catalyst to innovation
(1) Look for fresh perspectives
(a) Search for different frames of reference
(b) See things from different angles
(c) Promote diversity of views
(d) Encourage colliding ideas and contrasting views
(e) Read more good books
(f) Re-orientate your perspective from one point to another
(2) Be open-minded
(a) Search for fresh ideas
(b) Open up your mind to all possibilities
(c) Free your mental orientation
(e) Organize familiar tools in fresh ways
(f) See dissent as an opportunity for change and innovation
(1) Maintain status quo
(a) Be tied to tradition
(b) Limit yourself to conventional borders
(c) Go for stereotype solutions
(d) Dismiss far-off ideas
(e) Consistently go for tried and tested solutions
(f) Dismiss what doesn't fit your experience or expectation
(2) Have a closed mind
(a) Handicap yourself by having a closed mind
(b) Discourage ideas from different cultural background
(c) Discard "dumb" questions
(d) Limit your mind i.e. KIASU
(e) Have a tunnel vision
(f) Continue to bask on past laurels
(g) Reject NIH ("Not Invented Here")
To do your best you have to hone your management skills by:
(a) Managing your boss
(b) Constantly concentrating on your 10 MIT skills and
(c) Innovating for improvement.
Your Best depends on:
--you managing your boss
--you using all your resources (10MIT)
--you being innovative
7. "CHECKLIST FOR PROJECT MANAGER"
To win wars, the military teaches specific principles of war to its officers. These principles have been developed over thousands of years. They are an excellent checklist for the project manager to follow as well.
Principles of Maneuver
Principles of Objectives
Principles of Offensive
Principles of Surprises
Principles of Economy of Force
Principles of Mass
Principles of Unity of Command
Principles of Simplicity
(keep it simple, make it fun)
Principles of Security
Another way to remember the project manager’s checklist is:
(a) You must have a plan and a back-up plan.
(b) You must provide leadership by communicating your goals/targets simply.
(c) You should concentrate on priority tasks.
(d) You should ensure no surprise.
(e) Above all, you must constantly ask "What are my objectives?"
Remember the word
8. MARCUS AURELIUS ON "SUCCESS IN ANY PROJECT"
In 168 AD, Marcus Aurelius took his co-regent, Lucius Verus with him on his campaign against the invading German tribes in Aquilea. Brave and confident, Marcus Aurelius succeeded in forcing the Germans to retreat. Verus wanted to stop fighting but Marcus Aurelius insisted on pursuing the enemies further to restore and secure the Danube frontier. Verus was prepared to give up half-way through a battle. Marcus Aurelius was painstaking in teaching his son-in-law and co-regent that a responsible leader must show a sense of commitment in his undertaking. He counseled him thus:
You, Verus, give up too easily. You must see a battle through to the end. If you stop half-way, you make it possible for the enemy to get reinforcements and return to attack you. As a leader of the campaign, you must behave like a leader of a big project. You have to follow through until your project is successful.
---There is no magic formula for success but there are some attributes that make it easier for you to attain success:
(a) You guide and lead.
(b) You concentrate and focus on creating the conditions where people feel a strong desire to excel and to produce good work.
(c) You spark off an enthusiasm in them to push themselves to give the best that is within themselves.
(d) You provide people with the opportunity to exercise their talents and experience.
(e) You have a tolerance for error.
(f) You are alert to major errors and you do not let down your guard.
(g) You reward, rebuke and reassure constantly.
(2) Commitment to the project
(a) You work hard.
(b) You have stamina and staying power.
(c) You are willing to sacrifice your nights and weekends for your work.
(d) You do research, brainstorm and ask questions.
(e) You derive satisfaction from your work.
(f) You have a strong desire for excellence.
(g) You put in more than is required.
(a) You know how to get the results you want and you act on them.
(b) You are well-informed.
(c) You have an intuitive feel of the situation.
(d) You know your priorities and you set them right. Then you find the right people to adopt these priorities as their own.
(4) Good communication
(a) You make known your plans in a language which everyone understands easily. Word your language such that it is accurate and there is no ambiguity.
(b) You clarify and check with the listeners to ensure that they have understood you correctly.
(5) Control of the progress of the work
(a) You design an easy system to allow you to monitor the progress of your project vigilantly.
(b) You watch the trends closely to avoid mistakes or slip-ups.
(c) You devise simple ways to mark progress against the planned.
(a) You are not put off by overwhelming obstacles and insurmountable odds.
(b) You trust your own judgment.
(c) You are prepared to put in the time and hard work.
(a) You stand up for what you believe in.
(b) You are willing to try and are not afraid of making mistakes.
(c) You are not afraid to take the blame for your mistakes and are willing to learn from experience.
---From the word SUCCESS itself, we can attach the following attributes:
S is for Simple
KISS--Keep It Simple and Short
U is for Unity
Teamwork, Harmony, Goodwill
C is for Commitment
Total dedication, care and concern for your project
C is for Competence
You must know your work
E is for Economy
Do not waste time. Concentrate on priority tasks
S is for Staff
Get good staff. They are absolutely vital
S is for No Surprises
Anticipate your problems, do not be surprised by them
---By necessity, you have to make a living, but the life you lead must be a life of your choice for you to be truly successful.
Your success in any project depends on:
--your head (competence)
--your heart (commitment)
--your spirit (courage)
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