5 Business Values that Will Get the Job Done Well Every Time

The following is adapted from The Irreverent Guide to Project Management.

Over the course of my career, I have had the great fortune to contribute to global transformational efforts within organizations like DirecTV, Trader Joe’s, Sony Pictures, and Mattel. During these transformations, I’ve learned a lot about what kinds of cultures lead a business to success, and which ones don’t pan out over the long run. 

Overall, a business’s goal is to continuously deliver value to customers, which is a deceptively simple thing to promise. Even some of the largest companies let that central goal slip from time to time. There are some values, though, that will help keep you and your business on track. Here are five major values that I keep coming back to, time and time again. 

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Why You Should Communicate Your Accomplishments Daily

The following is adapted from The Irreverent Guide to Project Management.

In project management, one of the most important things we do is to create a daily status report. Every day, we publish a list of the things we accomplished, the things we’re planning to accomplish the following day, and three things for which we’re grateful. These reports are designed to communicate to our team and clients that we are moving our projects forward as aggressively as possible, thereby ensuring transformational outcomes.

Even if you aren’t in project management, communicating your daily progress is an extremely valuable habit to develop—even if you’re just communicating it to yourself. Read on to find out how this simple practice can radically alter your perspective on work. 

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4 Crucial Skills Every Project Manager Should Possess

There’s a skills shortage among project managers. This project management talent gap is expected to result in a loss of $207 billion in GDP by 2027. A big reason is that business leaders, and project managers themselves, don’t know what it takes to be a successful project manager. In fact, only 58 percent of organizations understand the value of project management. Here are the crucial skills that every project manager has to possess if they want to succeed.

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The Power of SWAG (a.k.a., a Scientific Wild-Ass Guess)

The following is adapted from The Irreverent Guide to Project Management.

When you’re starting a new project or tackling a new task, a Work Plan is indispensable. This plan can help you gauge what needs to be done, how much work each step is going to take, and which tasks are assigned to which team members. 

Of course, there are a lot of variables, contingencies, and problems that can disrupt that Work Plan, and at the outset of a project, it can be difficult to tell how long work is going to take. Team members often feel uncomfortable about providing estimates of how long they will need to complete their designated tasks. That’s a totally understandable feeling, but that reluctance can get in the way of progress. 

That’s where the SWAG—or, Scientific Wild-Ass Guess—comes in. Of course, some guesses are better than others, so I will provide some tips on how you can make your SWAG lean more towards the science side than to wild-assery. That said, no matter how accurate the guess ends up being, a SWAG will move your project forward every time. 

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How to Stop Strained Relationships from Sabotaging a Project

The following is adapted from The Irreverent Guide to Project Management.

Any time you get enough people together, you are likely to encounter friction, and work is no exception. It’s wonderful to have a supportive, sympathetic, open-minded, egoless team, but realistically, there are few cohorts that can measure up to that Utopian dream. 

When the inevitable bumps and glitches arise, it’s best to already have an idea of how you can get them under control. If they aren’t managed right away, interpersonal tensions have the power to derail an entire project, and what’s worse, they can foster grudges and animosities that linger amongst team members moving forward. 

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Efficiency Isn’t Everything: 3 Practical Tips for Using Email Effectively

The following is adapted from The Irreverent Guide to Project Management.

It takes mere seconds to jot en email and blast it across the aether. Meetings, on the other hand, are better measured in minutes—or even hours! That’s why it’s tempting to ditch face-to-face contact altogether and opt for the more efficient means of communication. 

Yet efficiency isn’t everything. Professor Albert Mehrabian has shown that the written word can only convey 7 percent of the intended meaning, while 93 percent of our message (the part that conveys our tone, emotion, gestures, and nuanced feelings) gets lost. That’s why you should never use email to diffuse complex information, communicate, or solve a problem.

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Get Excellent! A Customers Point of view

No one plans to be a Project Manager when they grow up. Many people gravitate to Project Management as an entry into software development, or more vaguely, “Tech” or “IT.” Project Management is what you do if you’re not an Engineer. Or a Designer. Or QA. Or any of the many positions that are viewed as a “value-add.” A needle mover.

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The Difference Between Authority and Leadership

The following is adapted from It’s Never Just Business.

There’s a major difference between authority and leadership. Can you articulate it?

Many people can’t, but almost everyone knows the difference when they see it.

What is authority? Telling others what to do. Why? Because that way you win.

People in authority are the top dog and get the big paycheck. They’re amazing because they’re the boss. But, just because an executive has authority over their employees doesn’t mean their employees will follow them. Here’s a great example.

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The Key to Getting Buy-in When Your Organization Needs to Change

The following is adapted from It’s Never Just Business.

Ask any organizational leader how their team members would react to a big change, and they’re likely to say that fear would be the default reaction.

Here’s what’s funny: I don’t think people actually fear change.

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How Organizations Can Use Lag and Lead Measures to Drive Progress

The following is adapted from It’s Never Just Business.

When your team sets a goal at work, how do you track progress to see how you’re doing? Are you more prone to using a lag measure or a lead measure?

Uh oh, did I lose you?

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