Leadership Principles for Project Success
This is the title of my book published by CRC Press, New York, in 2011.
This book is about project success. It reveals a secret for project success: effective project leadership.
Filled with samples, templates, and guidelines that readers can immediately use in their projects, this practical guide covers the five principles of effective project leadership and how they can be applied in daily project work. Based on experience in project management and the literature on leadership, project management, business, systems, and complexity theory, the five principles include building vision, nurturing collaboration, promoting performance, cultivating learning, and ensuring results. The book explains these principles in simple, nontechnical language and shows how they can set up, manage, and align projects for success.
Please visit the book’s website at http://www.TheProjectLeadershipPyramid.net for more details or click this link for a reading sample (preface and chapter 1). A synopsis of the 5 leadership principles can be found here.
This is what others have already written about the book:
“I love this book. Thomas takes what could be a tedious and laborious subject and makes it fun and interesting to read with a conversational and story-like writing style full of anecdotal examples. This is a real-world book for practitioners. Thomas demonstrates exceptional insight, perspective, experience—and he really gets it. “It” is his five leadership principles that are essential for shared project success where all stakeholders cross the finish line together and are enriched by the journey. “Leadership Principles for Project Success” is on my short list of recommended readings and references for an effective leader’s toolbox.”
Neal Whitten, PMP, best selling project management author, speaker, consultant, trainer, mentor
“This book is a great resource for not only projects, but for success in life in general. Start everything of importance with a clear vision and you will end with success“.
Lee Cockerell, Former Executive Vice President, Walt Disney World Resort and author “Creating Magic…10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies From a Life at Disney”
“Thomas Juli has done a superb job bringing together a practical guide to project management. Through real-world examples, he has created an essential step-by-step reference for the professional project manager. This book will make a valuable addition to any project manager’s toolkit.”
Robert Urwiler, CIO, Vail Resorts Inc.
“‘Leadership Principles for Project Success’ is a great companion to my project management (as opposed to leadership) books. I especially like the five principles and their graphic presentation as a pyramid. This makes them much easier to internalize and apply. A very practical book.”
Dr. Gregory T Haugan, PMP, bestselling author of Breakdown Structures for Projects, Programs and Enterprises (Management Concepts 2008), Project Management Fundamentals: Key Concepts and Methodology (Management Concepts, 2006), and Project Planning and Scheduling (Management Concepts, 2002)
“Great project managers understand the need to not only manage their projects but also the benefit of leading these projects, which is not the same thing. In The Lazy Project Manager I articulate the strength of being a good project leader by combining intelligence with smarter working. Those that combine these skills make, in my view, the best project leaders; and therefore the best project managers. Thomas Juli; in his book Leadership Principles for Project Success, takes you on a journey deeper in to this insight and provides the reader with an excellent range of tools and advice to elevate your project role from manager to leader.”
Peter Taylor is an accomplished leader and is a professional speaker as well as the author of ‘The Lazy Project Manager’
“When I was doing projects at HP and now as a consultant and speaker, I find people hunger for good leaders and for easy to understand examples of how to be a good leader. Thomas Juli comes across in person as capable in both areas. Now in ‘Leadership Principles for Project Success,’ he contributes a simple yet powerful model, along with personal stories, that motivate and guide people along a path to greater project success.”
“Thomas Juli has drawn on his substantial experience in project management to show the way to success. It is refreshing that, rather than emphasizing the role of any single project member, Juli shows the importance of developing an effectively working team.”
Dr. Murray Weidenbaum, Edward Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor, founder and honorary chairman of the Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government, and Public Policy at Washington University in St. Louis, former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Ronald Reagan (1981-1982)
“Thomas Juli’s book, ‘Leadership Principles for Project Success’ contains many helpful suggestions for creating ‘Wow Projects’: i.e. projects that surprise and delight their clients.“
Stephen Denning, Author of “The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management” and “The Secret Language of Leadership”
“The intersection of leadership and project management is increasingly being recognized as critical to project success. The PMBOK® Guide Fourth Edition addresses this in an appendix, the new U.S. Government Federal Acquisition Certification for Program and Project Management includes this as a core competency, and now, Dr. Thomas Juli, gives this intersection the level of attention it deserves in his thoroughly written and compelling book. He provides the reader with solid leadership concepts that are supported with a clear understanding of how to apply them specifically in the project environment.”
Michael O’Brochta, PMP, President, Zozer, Inc.
“This book offers an interesting and pragmatic perspective on project leadership since it links the leadership concept, that is a typical soft skill, to a more technical dimension, the project life cycle. This is aligned with the more recent project mamagement literature that proposes the integration of the hard and soft skill dimensions that are the two sides of the same coin: the project success.”
Dr. Marco Sampietro, Professor at SDA Bocconi, Italy
“In his new book ‘Leadership Principles for Project Success’, Thomas Juli reveals effective project leadership as a major success factor for good project management practice. The reader benefits from the author’s holistic view on the topic and many hands-on suggestions that professionals can easily put into practice througout the entire project lifecycle.”
Peter Miez-Mangold, PMP, President PMI Frankfurt Chapter, Managing Director STS Deutschland
“’Leadership Principles for Project Success’ by Dr. Thomas Juli, discusses the key principles for success. In reading his book, I was particularly impressed with his discussion of the importance of the vision for each project, and it is at the top of his Leadership Pyramid. While every project has a vision, for success, Dr. Juli explains the project manager and team must ensure they have the same view of the vision and know what must be done to not only deliver the products, services, and results but also to ensure the project’s benefits also are achieved. His practical examples and templates enhance the quality of this exceptional book.”
Dr. Ginger Levin, PMP, PGMP. Project Management Consultant and Lecturer, University of Wisconsin-Platteville
“I found your material very useful and practical. I really agree about your emphasis on team members importance, and their attitude for project success. I can perceive your enthusiasm and focus on people from your ideas and examples on your book. I believe you defend important key points that remark that people really matters for project success. In a worldwide situation of managing wrong projects your book will help project practitioners to see the light at the end of the tunnel. All my professional life I needed to visualize my project success first, and that helped me to move forward. It was my courage generator. You will be as you think about it. I asked to different project managers in Europe (professionals from The UK, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Italy, Greece, Poland, Russia, Rumania, Ireland, Portugal, Iceland, Norway) why they believed that were successful project managers. Their answers were very homogeneous, they said they had a clear idea about they wanted, they had clear expectations. So they immediately generated some ideas to move forward.”
Alfonso Bucero, founder and managing partner of BUCERO PM Consulting, President of PMI Madrid Spain Chapter, author of Today is a Good Day! Attitudes for Achieving Project Success (Multi-Media Publications, 2010), co-author of Project Sponsorship: Achieving Management Commitment for Project Success(Jossey-Bass, 2006)
“In his book ‘Leadership Principles for Project Success’ Thomas Juli offers practical framework to project leadership which is a critical aspect of projects in today’s fast pacing business world. Thomas’ book is a valuable guide that covers all important areas and factors necessary to successfully lead projects. The author bridges the gap between traditional project management practices and modern concepts like agile and virtual teams.”
Stanislav Yankiev, PMP, founder of Semanit
“Thomas Juli’s new book `Leadership Principles for Project Success` provides the reader with his comprehensive insight into leadership and its importance for project success. His hands-on style is refreshing and takes the reader along a journey of easy to apply but effective leadership and team working principles. Leadership and working teams are now given the level of attention they deserve, independent from a particular approach to project management.”
Robert Misch, ScrumMaster
The Project Leadership Pyramid
The 5 project leadership principles form the Project Leadership Pyramid.
The pyramid is a very powerful image. It has been applied by other authors such as Maslow’s pyramid of needs. I am using the image for a simple reason: While I think that building vision is the most important principle of effective leadership, the bottom line of leadership is results. This explains why vision is at the top and results of the foundation of the pyramid. Collaboration, performance and learning are necessary building blocks for the pyramid. They are framed by vision and results.
Visually speaking you first see the top of a pyramid when you approach it from a distance. In our case, vision is at the top of the pyramid. As you get closer you see more of the pyramid until at last you are standing in front of the first row of building blocks (results). Looking upward you may feel overwhelmed by the size of the pyramid. It may not even be possible to see the top of the pyramid (vision). Alas, you know that it exits. It was the first thing that you could see and caught your attention. It guided you all the way to the base of the pyramid. If you now want to understand the secrets of the pyramid, you have to go inside. You have to explore the pyramid. – My book explains both the structure of the project leadership pyramid and reveals the secrets inside.
Why only 5 principles?
The answer is simple. Experience shows that you can best work with a few principles at a time. There are a lot of factors that have to be taken into account for effective leadership. Still, you can work best keeping a very few principles in mind which you actually thrive to live. Academically this is based on chunk theory. George A Miller (“The magical umber seven plus or minus two”, The Psychological Review, 1956) states that the “memory span of young adults is around seven elements, called chunks … around 7 for digits, 6 for letters and 5 for words”. Well, if this holds true for young adults, how it can be different for the rest of us who do not call us “young” adults any more. Fact is that it is easier to focus on 5 principles than 10 or more.
The Source of the Principles
Coming up with these 5 principles I did not limit my search on project management; let it be project management books, best practice or own experience. I expanded my search to our daily world. I asked what distinguishes true leaders from “normal” people and followers. Take Barack Obama, Martin Luther King or John F. Kennedy. What they all have in common is that they talk about their vision of building something new (Vision principle). They inspire and motivate the crowd to make the necessary changes (Collaboration principle). And they did (Performance principle). Their vision is not built in a vacuum. It is based on facts taking the environment into account (Learning principle). And, last but not least, true leaders deliver (Results principle). They do make a difference and you can see it. These findings can be easily translated to the world of projects and project management.
The Chaos reports cite poor communication and the lack of executive support as key reasons for projects to fail. Having seen many projects I agree that these two factors are definitely very important. Yet, they stay on the surface. They do not address the most common core cause of project failure: the lack of direction, the lack of a vision, unclear project objectives, different understanding and expectations about the project and what should be achieved. This is why I think building vision is the most important element of effective leadership.