5 Times to Get a New Project Manager

The project was struggling – over budget and behind schedule. It was a critical subproject of a larger program and delivery was critical. Senior leadership decided it was time to change the project manager, and I was brought in to lead a turnaround effort. As I was digging into the details of the project, I came to the conclusion that my predecessor wasn’t a bad project manager (thankfully he was just transferred and not let go). The project needed a different leader with a different style and set of skills. If you have projects in your portfolio that are struggling or the team is burnt out, here are some reasons it may be good to change the project manager: Continue reading

3 Toxic People in the Workplace and How to Manage Them

Toxic people in the workplace are nightmares! They thrive on making your life miserable. Often their behavior is driven from pride and somehow it makes them feel good to treat you poorly. Likely you have seen all these people at some point in your career. Here are a few tips with how to deal with them:

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7 Tips for a More Highly Engaged Team

A kegerator? Friday lunches paid for by the company? Open workspaces where even the CEO doesn’t have an office? It sounds like a page right out of Silicon Valley. You won’t find this company in California, though: they are right here in Denver, CO. I knew there was something special about this company when I met a handful of the employees at a networking event. They all seemed to have a passion for life. They didn’t seem like many others at a networking event: the ones compartmentalizing home and life (which doesn’t work); and the overly professional or agenda-pushing. Everyone from the company was high-energy and fun to be around.  Continue reading

Bossiness Is Not Leadership

Bossiness is not synonymous with leadership, despite what the recent movement claims. The difference? It’s all about the approach. I was a bossy child. In fact, I was so bossy that at four I was in charge of my single-parent family. I told my mom what to do and held her hostage to my whims. I bossed my friends around to the point I didn’t really have any. If my friends didn’t do it my way, I had a bad attitude or didn’t participate at all. That’s not leadership.

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4 Questions to Ask Yourself When Hiring

Technical skills can be taught, character cannot. Hire character. Technical skills are easy to define and measure. You can quantify someone’s expertise on software. You can give a test to measure knowledge. You either have a degree, or you don’t. When hiring we focus on these measurable aspects of a person’s resumé, but these aren’t important, at least not as much as character. You can teach someone software. You can send them to a class to close some gap in technical skills. It’s much more difficult to send someone to a class to teach them to inspire, collaborate, or be visionary. When you hire, focus on the character skills that are non-negotiable. Continue reading

You Think You Are in Control?

“Life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we respond to it.” You may have heard this famous statement by Chuck Swindoll. The more life I get under my belt, the more I believe this is true. Crap happens every day, but how it impacts us is directly related to our perspective and our attitude.

What are you doing to make the most of bad circumstances? I had a tough week the other week. As I was driving to a meeting, my car broke down on the side of the road. It was the most inopportune time! I tried to start it and quickly realized I wasn’t going anywhere in my car. After letting the other person know I would no longer be making our meeting, and after arranging the tow truck, I had an hour to kill. I could have spent it sulking about how I couldn’t afford a broken car, how I was missing a critical meeting, or how life sucks, but instead my first thought was, “Well, now I have time to practice my presentation!” For the next hour, on the side of the road, that’s what I did. There isn’t anything you can do about the past. Once something happens to you, all you can do is choose how you are going to respond to it. Always try to make the most of what happens to you and you will find, in the end, it was probably a valuable experience. Continue reading