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Archive for December, 2011

Last night I had the chance to talk with Kim Page, author of the upcoming book “From Corporate to Conscious“, about the new business paradigm moving to a more holistic and conscious leadership style. The conversation can be listened to at http://bit.ly/secSwx.

I was and am very excited about the opportunity to speak with the Quantum Scene’s Kim Page who takes a look at business from an entirely different perspective; A CONSCIOUS perspective.  This is no new abstract idea or academic exercise.  It is a shift back to our true human nature.  It can help make our business world a better place to live and work in.
It can be questioned whether or not this is actually a new paradigm.  From the strictest point of view this may not be the case because a conscious perspective strings a cord we are, or ought to be, familiar with in our daily life.  Fact is that we have moved away from our inner core.  The result is that we have been creating a business world which is often entirely driven by greed and glutiny.  The call for a conscious perspective is a reminder that business is about exchanging goods and services, i.e., serving each other.

Why not keep this new paradigm in mind as we enter the new year 2012?!  Let’s live this new paradigm and make a difference in our own daily life and influence others.  Happy New Year!

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The big and typical question you ask yourself at the end of the year how the past 12 months were, how you faired.  This year it is a simple question to answer: yes, it was a great year!  Or, shall I say another great year.  Most of my consulting this year was for an internet service provider in Karlsruhe.  Not only did were these consulting engagements challenging and intellectually rewarding it was and is convenient to our family for it is only a 35 minutes commute from Heidelberg to Karlsruhe.  One of the main reasons I am very grateful for this consulting opportunity.

Next to consulting I have been giving seminars, webinars, podcasts, presentations and interviews on numerous topics such as leadership, collaboration, learning project organizations, ethics, agile product development, team building, innovation, project management, and empowerment.  The main conferences I attended and spoke at were the PMI Global Congresses in Dublin and Dallas and the NASA Project Management Challenge in Long Beach, CA.  Wonderful events.  I can encourage every professional project managers to attend at least one of these conferences.  The learning is exceptional as are networking opportunities.

One of the major milestones in 2011 was the founding of i-Sparks I founded this summer.  i-Sparks is an open online innovation and learning community that facilitates innovation across entire systems. It provides a platform for people and institutions to discover, develop, and test new ways of operating and to put their ideas to work.  i-Sparks aims at every person or institution which is motivated to understand the root causes of today’s and tomorrow’s challenges, to rethink how people and institutions live and operate, and thus to create opportunities for redesigning business models and social change protocols, working more collaboratively across groups, institutions and sectors.

At present we are working on a first prototype which we plan to launch this coming spring.  Stay tuned and follow us on our website www.i-sparks.com.

Business is only one element in our life though it absorbs most of it these days.  Luckily there are the welcome breaks called vacation.  Have a look at my online photo albums for impressions of Long Beach,

Vail,

Vals

and South Tyrol.

So, what about next year?  The outlook is more than promising.  It is funny that lots of people talk about an economic crisis.  Unemployment is at a record low in southern Germany, economic growth is strong, the overall atmosphere and outlook are positive.  And yet other European countries and their economies are struggling.  There are numerous reasons for this imbalance.  I don’t want to start this debate.  What is worrying however is that people, i.e., European politicians and so-called experts, continue to talk about the dawn of another recession in Germany.  This, of course, can have an impact – psychologically.  Rationally and ethically, this chitchat is not comprehensible.  Let’s see what next year will bring.  I am optimistic and hope you too share this enthusiasm.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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Join me today for my free webinar “Ethics and Project Success” which I will be conducting for the Ethics in Project Management Community of Practice of PMI on December 21, 2011 from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM Local Time (UTC +0100) (1 hour), i.e., 12 noon EST.  What will it be about?  Let me share with you the abstract:

We all need and thrive for project success. But what does it take to get there? There is no doubt that good project management is a critical success factor. But is it really sufficient? I don’t think so. I claim that effective project management needs to have a solid foundation in holistic leadership. This leadership is embedded in strong project management skills, personal leadership, teamwork, and last but not least, a solid understanding and honest practice of the four codes of ethics, namely: respect, honesty, fairness, and responsibility.
Based on my own experience having managed projects of all sizes, from a few to 24000 person days effort in various industries, I identify 5 team leadership principles that put the code of ethics into the context of high-performance teams. They include building a common project vision, nurturing team collaboration, promoting team performance, cultivating team learning, and ensuring team delivery. These 5 principles combined with the 4 codes of ethics encompass the core of effective and holistic team leadership. The webinar will present these principles and show how they can help build and manage a performing and winning team, thus building project success.

Visit http://tinyurl.com/c27grmq to register for this free webinar.  A handout of the presentation is available here.

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To those of us who are used to empowerment, may it be that we empower people and organizations or that we are empowered by others, it may have become the natural way to conduct daily business.  On the other side, to those who are used to a more “traditional” management style (managing top-down), empowerment may look like an esoteric phenomenon.  Having to transition to empowering management and leadership style is hence even more disquieting to them.  But why?

Knowing the power and the rewards of empowering people and organizations it can be hard to comprehend when you are faced with opposition to transitioning to empowering.  I have witnessed this transition in several occasions when I advised clients how to introduce agile software development frameworks thus shifting the organization to a more customer-focused and business driven IT organization.  Software development is one of the most innovative areas you can work in.  Hence, it is even more surprising to observe that lots of people working in this area are actually skeptical of trying new approaches.  It goes like, “I am innovative, so don’t tell me that I have to change the way I am working.”  Funny and scary at the same time.  One of the most prominent reservation is that people with line responsibility, i.e., having disciplinary authority over other employees, think that transitioning to an empowerment management and leadership style will diminish their responsibility and sphere of influence.  Fact is:  just the opposite is the case.  Empowering your own subordinates yields more power and influence than traditional management and leadership styles.  How come?  By empowering your subordinates you promote performance.  You are no longer sidetracked by micromanagement.  You share the necessary information and supply the required resources so that they can do their job.  You define the desired outcome; then let go, i.e., let them organize how they work.  For it is the result you are interested in.  In most cases, this procedure is less time-consuming and less strenuous than micromanaging.  You get more for less work.  This by itself is a valuable benefit.

So what about decreased responsibility on your part?  The truth is that your responsibilities increase when you empower people and organizations.  You have to ensure that the empowerees have the information, tools, resources needed to their job.  You remove impediments and thus level the path to successful deliveries.  This is a huge responsibility.  The way you handle this provides you with more influence and authority.  By building your team you simultaneously build a foundation for “power” and control.  Not in the negative sense, but in a positive and empowering way.  You control the success of those you empower by the mere act of empowering them.  You build a structure that promotes performance and yields greater returns in less time.

If you are new to the concept of empowerment this may sound like a fairy tale.  I encourage you to give it a try, say, 3-4 weeks, and then see what happens.  Tell your people about your plans, involve them and seek advice from the outside facilitating this experiment.  Remove yourself from the equation in that you shift your focus from micromanaging and controlling to empowering your people and organization.  If the outcomes are suboptimal you can still go back to your own traditional management style.  But before you do, give those whom you empowered a chance to talk about their experiences, too.  This experiment costs little if anything.  This way you have nothing to lose.  A safe bet with huge potential returns.  Give it a try!

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I invite you to my new webinar “Ethics and Project Success” which I will be conducting for the Ethics in Project Management Community of Practice of PMI on December 21, 2011 from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM Local Time (UTC +0100) (1 hour), i.e., 12 noon EST.  What will it be about?  Let me share with you the abstract:

We all need and thrive for project success. But what does it take to get there? There is no doubt that good project management is a critical success factor. But is it really sufficient? I don’t think so. I claim that effective project management needs to have a solid foundation in holistic leadership. This leadership is embedded in strong project management skills, personal leadership, teamwork, and last but not least, a solid understanding and honest practice of the four codes of ethics, namely: respect, honesty, fairness, and responsibility.
Based on my own experience having managed projects of all sizes, from a few to 24000 person days effort in various industries, I identify 5 team leadership principles that put the code of ethics into the context of high-performance teams. They include building a common project vision, nurturing team collaboration, promoting team performance, cultivating team learning, and ensuring team delivery. These 5 principles combined with the 4 codes of ethics encompass the core of effective and holistic team leadership. The webinar will present these principles and show how they can help build and manage a performing and winning team, thus building project success.

Visit http://tinyurl.com/c27grmq to register for this free webinar.

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