Race to Resilience

Traction Tips

A weekly action idea to improve traction on your important initiatives by Stephen Wise.

 

Has it ever happened that your adequate plan takes a wrong turn and just keeps getting worse with every move you make? It is critical to under stand the concept of Resilience so that you have built up your resilience muscles in advance.

Heading to the Airport

We left for Pearson airport right on schedule. It was about 5am, cold and clear. The trip would take about 20 minutes. The international flight was in 3 hours – I was heading for a long planned vacation in Aruba.

My daughter was my driver and she would drop me off and return home with the car.

Change of Plan

On the way she mentioned she was worried the car was low on gas.

Waze

We took the nearest exit on the 401 where I knew a gas station would be nearby. While filling up I turned to the navigation app Waze for help to help get back to the airport. I wasn’t familiar with the area but Pearson is pretty big place; an airport should be hard to miss.

Waze instantly computed a route and declared 31 minutes to destination. The detour was going to be a lot longer than anticipated, and I was suddenly annoyed with myself, “Bad decision to get unnecessary gas when the most important thing was to get to the airport on time”, I was thinking.

Wrong Turn

We turned left, left again and then another right and so on. Eventually Waze declared Mission Accomplished right on scheduled time indipill.com/. I peered out in the dark and nothing was familiar. There were no strings of lights from other arriving and departing cars, no familiar airport way-finding signage nothing.

Waze had delivered us to the service entrance at the back of the airport.

At that point, speed limits became speed suggestions, and I raced to re-trace our path, get back on the 401, and re-enter the proper Pearson departure queue. Once back at arrivals, I lept out of the car.

Arrivals

A very friendly Air Canada rep radioed the gate and ensured my bag was accepted after the cutoff. The sprint through security and customs was heart pounding but successful.

Eventually, I took off for Aruba and it was everything people say about it.

Recovery

When you enter stressful events how do you react?

Do you cope as best you can and then collapse? There is a better way.

I learned from Richard Citrin, an expert in Resilience, that the right approach is to expect stressful situations to occur and prepare in advance to navigate through them and recover.

Resilience

When you are planning your next task, remember to build in enough time for reality. Also, prioritize so that you do the most important things first.

 

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Stephen D Wise

The most powerful leadership skill an expert Project Manager needs for success

No one can be an expert in all fields. A Project Manager is a skilled expert on leading teams to initiate, plan, execute and close projects. These are among the most important skills, but not the most powerful.

If you aren’t feeling well you go to see your General Practitioner (GP). Your GP understands the big picture and upon identifying a specific issue or risk with your health may refer you to a specialist. In this analogy the GP is like a Project Manager – they do not need to be an expert in every field and one difference between okay GP’s and excellent GP’s is the speed and quality and follow-up related to the referral.

All Project Managers will tell you that the most commonly used skill on a project is communication. However, neither communication nor planning are the most powerful skills in the arsenal. The true multiplier, the most powerful skill, is the ability to learn from others.

The ability to learn from others enables the PM to absorb the nuances of the culture, mitigate the hidden risks of the processes, and allow for the complexity of the technology. When a diverse project team gets together it doesn’t matter who is the smartest or most senior in the room. What matters is learning from everyone’s skills and experience and channeling that back to the team so the whole is greater than the sum. The most powerful leadership skill is the ability to apply the greater whole in order to reach the objectives of the project quicker and with less risk of failure.