My Weekly Blog – Leadership Perspectives

Great Leaders Build Great Leaders

…when measuring great leadership, the best of the best, to me, are the ones who are building great leaders in their path.

Don’t Burn That Bridge!

How do you blow up a bridge in under 10 seconds?  You let your emotions get the best of you. It is so easy.  You get really upset and steam about it for minutes, hours and even days.  Then you act! A comment, an email, a gesture or even the lack of any of these when...

What is Your First Step After the Strategic Plan is Published?

Every great organization conducts a strategic planning session, of some sort, every few years, which produces a strategic plan that, in the majority of cases, goes no where. suggests that most organisations don't do a very good job with ‘life after...

They Should Have Called it the PLI!

Every once in a while, I get the urge to connect with the Project Management Institute (PMI) Board of Directors to suggest a name change. Project Leadership Institute (PLI) In my humble opinion, not only does it sound better, but it makes a lot more sense. We are...

Nice Sells

One of my Linkedin contacts, Michelle Krupa, posted an article from the web site, a portal from CNBC.  The headline read: “Mark Cuban: ‘One of the most underrated skills in business right now is being nice.’” Thank you, Michelle. Thank you, Mark. You...

Culture Drives Strategy – Not the Other Way Around

“Culture is the often-overlooked foundation of an organization. It determines how the group retains talent, how it develops and releases new products and whether it meets targets. It affects how happy and satisfied employees are at work.” 7 Elements of Strategy...

You Need a Sound Strategic Plan to be Able to Execute Well

Five Key Elements to Building a Strong Strategic Plan Company X gets it now!  They realize how important it is to focus on the execution of the plan as much as it did on the creation of the plan. In fact, they hired a well-respected team to come in to help them...

Disengagement – Strike at the Roots

“There are a thousand hacking at the branches of disengagement to each one who is striking at the root.” Today I want to highlight the comment of one of my readers after the post “Working with Disengaged Teams”.  Peter Hadas is a Change Management consultant...

Do You Have a Strategy Stress Test (SST)

I am a serial entrepreneur and a dreamer.  I come up with new ideas all the time, which comes with good news and bad news.  The good news is that some of these ideas, well under 50% admittedly, are good ones: ideas that could serve my community well, or...

5 Things a Leader Should Do to Set a Good Example

Originally posted August, 2015 I was recently listening to a group of teenagers talk about their summer jobs and most of the talk was a rant about the leadership style that one of them was dealing with. I heard the words, “They don’t set a good example” numerous times...

Working with a Disengaged Team

I have been watching a friend struggle recently as she tries to manage a team of people who were not engaged.  Read… ‘they really didn’t care’.  The result is demoralizing for everyone: infighting, poor quality work, absenteeism, poor customer service and...

Every Strategic Plan Needs a Solid Core

I have a friend who loves to innovate.  He loves to create new companies, products or services but he isn’t very successful.  Whenever you get him talking about the next big thing, inevitably the words ‘and then I am going to sell it and make a fortune’ come...

Strategize with an Agile Mindset

This week's post is an interview with Dan Watt, Sr. Director, Large Program Enablement at RBC. Dan is a real visionary and has always had a very unique perspective on the work we do in today's organizations. This interview highlights Dan's idea that our strategic...

Please Stop Using the Town Hall Meeting!

I was watching the news last week that featured clips of the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, ‘performing’ at a series of Town Hall meetings he was conducting across the country.  He did well.   But these meetings were pretty-well scripted.  There was...

Do You Know Your Audience?

Whether you are selling to a client, trying to influence an internal decision, creating a business case or convincing a team of stakeholders that your project needs more time or money – the Golden Rule will always be “know your audience”. One of my ‘people’ shared an...

Do Your People Consider You to be Inspiring?

(This blog is an update on the first version published in 2014) I have been working through an article from this summer that listed the top 10 qualities that make a great leader.  The last on the list is ‘The Ability to Inspire’. I get a lot of calls...

Do you have a plan for 2019?

As I sit here during the first week of January, I can’t stop thinking about the exciting year ahead.  I have some new adventures planned that will make this a fun, exciting and hopefully prosperous year.  But I have learned some very important lessons along...

Plan Your Strategy in Sprints

As I transition my career these days to the strategy execution space, I’m amazed at how often I’ve run into organizations of all shapes and sizes who don’t have a viable strategic plan.  At first they will tell me that they have a plan but as we talk about it, they...

Innovate for Success – Now

Your career, your day-to-day approach to things, your contribution to your organization, your life: success will come from innovation and to the innovative.

Family Trumps All

On these days leading into Thanksgiving for our American friends and families, I wish you and yours my best wishes for a wonderful, family-filled celebration.

Have You Started Your Personal Strategic Plan?

(First published January, 2015) Every year my wife, Karen, and I sit down and start the process of revisiting our Personal Strategic Plan.  This is something that we’ve been doing for a number of years.  We both find the exercise rewarding, revealing and very...

Do You Have the Right Team to Execute the Plan?

You need the right people and the right team in place to make any critical plan work – especially if it produces change for the organization, its customers, key stakeholders and employees.

Delegation is a 3-Way Street

Delegation is not easy, but if we look at the benefits right up front, the effort it will take seems well worth it.

Clarity – A Key Element to Execution Success

The key to success? Well, there are many but one of the big ones is Clarity. Just like a project execution plan or a strategy execution plan, at the core, we need clarity.

What Is the Most Important Role of a Project Manager?

First published Feb 15, 2017 That answer is easy. Produce great schedules! Don’t be too shocked please. This is not what I really think but that is what many people think – especially when they are new to our business or looking at our business from the outside....

How Do You Recover from a Screw-Up?

The new product is due for delivery within a few days.  Right at the last minute you discover that someone on the team has really messed up.  This mistake may cost you the successful delivery which would mean we’re all going to take a serious hit. So, what do you do?...

Strategic Planning Does Not Work

…unless you have an execution plan. I was at a picnic recently on a beautiful island in Georgian Bay and chatting with an employee of one of the world’s most prestigious, strategic planning and consulting organizations.  Here is what I heard… “We are full of MBA’s who...

What Does Accountability Look Like?

We can’t just hope and assume. We need to hold people accountable with review sessions, check-in points and simple offers to help. These touch points offer opportunities to support, praise and encourage.

Do You Know Your Limitations?

An exhausted, stressed-out, burnt-out, ‘meeting’ed’-out leader is no good to anyone. Don’t go there.

6 Tips for a Great Sales Pitch

It doesn’t matter what we do for a living, we all sell.   We are all faced with that moment in time when we are standing (or sitting) in front of a group or 1- 100 people with a message and an objective.  We are looking for a decision of some type or we are planting...

Are You Ready to Take the Next Step to Leadership?

Now that the baby boomers are finally retiring – and doing so in huge numbers – we are facing a dramatic void in willing and able people to take up those positions. This is a problem for many organizations but an opportunity for many of us.

Do You Know an Accidental Project Manager?

Do You Know an Accidental Project Manager? Barb works for a local financial services company. Her title is Manager, Operations and Support. I can tell you all about what she is but let’s focus on the critical thing she is NOT.   She is NOT a project manager. But here...

It’s Time to Ask ‘Why?’

If you are a professional like me or an organization of any size, this is the time of the year when many of us should be asking why?

The Project Manager’s New Frontier – Strategy Execution

“You’ve got to think about big things while you’re doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction.”    —Alvin Toffler “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to...

Do You Motivate or Inspire?

I was working at the PMI Region 3 meetings in Boston this week when Ron MacDonald, PMI Chapter Partner, got me into a discussion about the difference between motivation and inspiration. Interesting.  What is the role of a leader?  To inspire or to motivate?  I guess...

Do You Have a Career Plan?

Do you have a plan for your career or are you just winging it?  This post comes to you via video.  Click here to view this week's video blog post.        

Is Agile an ‘all or nothing’ approach to project management?

Is Agile an 'all or nothing' approach to project management?  No!  The Agile methodology has its place - at the right time for the right project in the right environment but where it is most effective is the 'nuggets' or parts that it offers all of us - regardless of...

Tools I Use to Stay Organized

Last week I wrote about staying organized, suggesting I relied on three things… Goals Process Tools I outlined the first two.  Today, I present my favourite tools. I love technology, but I’m not married to it. If it’s a manual tool that works for me, I will use it....

How Do You Stay Organized?

Business is booming. Many of us are crazy busy and staying on top of it all can be very tricky. I have a fairly busy life. I blog every week, I always have at least one new book in production, I manage the project management education Schulich Executive Education...

The PIR – Did You Get The Notes From The Last Project?

The truth is that most of us don’t see the notes from the last project. Why?  Because they don’t exist. Few organizations take the time and effort to stop what they are doing and go through a proper PIR meeting.  So, let’s go through the basics.  Maybe, after this,...

Planning is Good – But You Have to Follow Through

A solid strategic execution plan starts with these questions. Just taking the time after the initial planning phase, to go through this list, is more than most organizations will do.

Scalability and Common Sense

We are all guilty at some stage of our lives of using the wrong tool in the wrong place or using the right tool in the wrong way.

Motivating Our Project Teams is Not Easy

There are thousands of these resources working for our organizations and they are dying to be empowered with what we know for their ‘sometimes, not very expensive, not mission-critical’ projects.

What About All The Other Projects?

There are thousands of these resources working for our organizations and they are dying to be empowered with what we know for their ‘sometimes, not very expensive, not mission-critical’ projects.

Are Your Projects “Healthy”? Part 3

Two weeks ago, I introduced the idea of healthy projects.   Healthy projects: contain team members and stakeholders that are happy. have clients that are satisfied. deliver value to the “business”. provide a learning environment for everyone and everything involved,...

Are Your Projects “Healthy”? Part 2

Healthy projects contain happy team members and most of that responsibility lies on the shoulders of the team leader – most often the project manager.

Are Your Projects “Healthy”?

Do any of you put your projects through an annual physical?  Okay, maybe not the best title but you know what I mean.  As with our own physical, the best news would be that our projects have been given a clean bill of health.

The Art of Decision Making

Good decision making skills are in my top 5 list of the most important leadership qualities. If you ask a group of employees about what they look for in a good leader, you will get many answers.  Most certainly, the ability to make good decisions, will rank up there....

How do You Write an Executive Summary?

Executives summaries are the most important element of any report.   Do it right and you may hear the words “You had me after the executive summary” instead of “What report are you referring to?”

Big Initiatives Require a Sound Process

Rolling out a new idea is tricky in any organization. But you can avoid major headaches as long as you have a plan and involve your people in the process.

Are You a Micro-Manager?

Micro-management is a serious leadership issue and one that many of us need to address.  Are you one of them?

It’s Different Now

Project managers need to be offering more to our stakeholders than just a report that says we completed the work as requested.

Failure is Not Fun

The most important part of failing for any of us is learning from that failure and applying the lessons learned going forward.

Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast

Peter Drucker is famous for his line “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”.  I have a good friend, business associate and partner in a new book we are writing called “7 Elements for Strategy Execution” who loves to say “Culture eats strategy for lunch, breakfast and...

6 Reasons That Strategic Plans Fail

Numerous online sources will use the number 60% these days – the share of strategic plans that never get off the ground and of the other 40%, they suggest, at least half were not implemented successfully.

How do you encourage candor in the work space?

I wrote this blog back in April 2015 and thought it was worth another read. Tony Gareri is the CEO of Roma Moulding in the Toronto area and submitted a well-crafted article about candor to the Globe and Mail Leadership Lab in March of 2015 (  He...

3 Ways to Say Thank You

When was the last time you said, ‘thank you’ unexpectedly to someone on your team? This past weekend was our Canadian Thanksgiving - a wonderful time to spend with family, eat way too much and give thanks.   This weekend always gets me thinking about our professional...

Why Should I Consider the PMI®-PBA Certification?

The challenge for today’s project managers is to be unique and be different and stand out in the crowd. This is exactly what a designation in the requirements side of our project work would do for you.

You Have to Be Different to Stand Out In The Crowd

Many people, young and old, often wonder why they’re not getting the next promotion or that new job. My question back at them is always the same: Are you standing out? Are you different than the rest of them? Are you unique? If you look the same and sound the same and...

You Will Find Your Next CSO in the PMO

Our critical strategic plans need someone in charge, someone ultimately responsible for the ‘project’ and someone who has the experience dealing with this kind of work in the past.

Five Things I Learned About Organizational Change Management [OCM]

This is a new version of a post I published in 2014 right after I hosted a gathering of senior resources from various industries for a discussion on OCM. Now I must admit that I wasn’t, by any stretch, the expert in the room. In fact, far from it. That’s why I invited...

Are You An ‘Inspirational’ Leader?

I have been blogging weekly for 4 years now and, as I look at the stats, I see one post - from 2014 – stand above all in total hits – with almost 4000 ‘reads’ since publication. It was called “Key Leadership Trait #10 – The Ability to Inspire” part of a summer series...

The Customer Isn’t the Expert

It’s always nice hear to the word’s “you are the expert – tell us what to do”.  But this is not always the case.  There are many customers out there who know the solution before you walk in the door. You arrive, they tell you what to build and how and expect you to...

Do Not Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

How many times have you said yes to something and regretted it later?  Often these are small decisions producing small pain for the wrong choice.  But what happens when it’s a big choice?  Like a project or a job?

Rookies Are a Good Thing

 All of our organizations should be hiring junior project managers as often as they can – regardless of their experience.

Give Me More Dashboards

Project managers are notoriously too detailed. We need to learn how to communicate succinctly and clearly and stop rambling on. Today I continue my summer series based on Brad Egeland’s ( article that appeared in early July...

Rely on Experience, Not Certification

ProjectTimes is a great portal for project managers from all walks of life. When I created it in 1997, it was a cute little magazine for PMs.  Eventually, when people smarter than me got involved, it started to ramp up to what it is now. Well done...

How Do You Build a PMO?

If you treat your PMO like you should with any other project, you will be successful.

Every Strategic Plan needs a Communication Plan

A few years ago, I came across an organization that was having a real morale issue within the ranks.   It turns out that there were a number of things contributing to this issue but in the end, the most significant cause turned out to be the strategic plan. ...

Are Your Meetings Really Worth It?

(Edited from a previous posting in July, 2015) The statistics are staggering… 37 percent of employee time is spent in meetings managers attend more than 60 meetings per month 47% consider too many meetings the biggest waste of time 39% of meeting participants admitted...

Get Your Audience To Pay Attention

Whether you are a junior project manager, a senior corporate leader or a professional speaker the rules are the same. You will always run the risk of losing your audience if you don’t pay attention to these rules.

Do You Know Any Part Time Project Managers?

When we are asked to impart our wisdom on ‘part-time’ project managers, we often make the mistake of making it too complicated, too detailed and thus extremely overwhelming.

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