If you read the blog from September 2010, I really thought about the “Freds” at Bryant. You can see who I selected by clicking here. Except for Fr. Joe, thankfully, they are all still at Bryant … and still doing their great work. Fr. Joe still does his great work for another parish in North Providence.
Later during the Fall 2010, the Office of Admission asked me to conduct an overnight admission event for the Honors Program. I decided to spread the message of the Fred Factor by purchasing a copy of the book for every attendee at the two-day event. We asked them to read half the book before they arrived. Our extraordinary communication professor, Mary Lyons, led a session on the first half of the book. Then, we gave them an overnight assignment to read the second half. I led the session the next day on how they felt about the book … and how people can add value. What happened after that was so powerful.
We asked the high school seniors to think of someone they know that would enjoy The Fred Factor. So we instructed them to write this person a note … why they would enjoy it … why they believe they are a “Fred” and then give the book and note to them. To “pay it forward” and have someone else be energized by the book.
We then asked them to write a letter to Mark to tell him how the book affected them. They did that. After the session, I sent all the letters to Mark with a note explaining it. A few weeks later, Mark reached out to me and we had a great conversation.
In Spring 2012, Mark asked me to contribute something to his new edition … specifically about education. I truly believe, if done correctly, education can change lives. Empower people with the skills, confidence and knowledge to build a great career. Impacting other people and businesses.
I sent Mark some drafts in May 2012. Ultimately, it told the story about an experience with a Bryant student that I helped with some tutoring. I met Tyler at a chance meeting while chaperoning a group of students to NYC. Long story short, you can only make a difference … being a Fred … by being in the game. Fred could not do his great things unless he was doing is job. And to extend himself by making a difference in other’s lives.
Thanks to Mark for the honor of contributing in Fred 2.0. Like my dissertation defense 10 years ago this week, it was a surreal experience seeing my name in the textbook. BTW, my name was misspelled, but it is me!
Good luck Mark! A great author and tells an inspiring story. Big thanks to Fred … for being a Fred.
I guess you are wondering about all the Tweets over the last week or so about Fred 2.0. If you saw the original postings in September 2010, you would know that Mark Sanborn’s book (Fred Factor) made a positive impression after reading it. The original post of the three blog entries can be read by clicking here.
His book was something so simple, but yet powerful. The original book was based on a man, Fred as you can imagine, who is a real person employed as a mailman. Mark noticed Fred’s exceptional delivery (sorry for the pun) of service above and beyond what would be expected as normal. And yet considered how he approached his job as nothing more than normal. Without any fanfare or need for acknowledgement.
The first book was so impressive in how Mark linked his experience with Fred that he “looked” for other examples of Fred in his daily life and travels. It was an easy read and was very inspiring to see how little effort can be expended to make a difference in someone else’s life. Extraordinary becomes normal. Normal is overrated!
No one is perfect. I am not! I have experienced many deep challenges over the last 2-3 years. But I also found myself on my Spring Break trip last week saying … when I encountered people … “Wow, she/he is a Fred.” Then, I had an interesting experience.
I was visiting St. Petersburg FL to meet my PhD advisor, his wife and two other friends for dinner. While I was waiting in front of the restaurant, two women asked me if I was from the area and knew where the Pier was. I said I was not from the area and was not sure. They pondered their map; trying to fix where they were and how to get to the Pier. Then I thought, “hmm, I have a GPS and navigator on my phone.” Within a minute, I found the walking directions and gave it to them. They smiled and were appreciative.
Then as they walked away, I smiled and said, “That’s what Fred would have done!”
The more I hear and observe things, the more I realize how a movie title imitates life.
We all have objectives in life, so that is not a negative thing. But as I look around, all I can see is more and more deceitful people. They are all around us. People with personal agenda. While having a personal agenda at its very core is uncomfortable. However, what is even worse is those same people who portray themselves as for the underdog or people in general. So let’s discuss them …
They “advertise” and “promote” themselves to be the guardian for people to build support for an issue. But when you peel the onion back, they are really trying to build support for themselves. They own agenda and maybe a “master” agenda for someone else. You have to step back and observe them. And then shine the light of day on them. Then their motives and approach are so transparent and clear, you think “Oh yes. Now I understand!”
Unfortunately, they manipulate and take advantage of people who do not have the whole story and then of course, tell them what they wish to hear. In an attempt to manipulate various people and groups like a puppeteer in the background. All while looking very innocent and “fighting” for what is “good.”
Students, like all of us, have to keep their guard up. It is easy to accept candy from someone. However, be careful that person is not a candy salesperson or dentist (haha). I have to admit, they are masterful. But they are also deceitful as well. They are all among us. Thankfully, more are noticing.
“Angels with Dirty Faces” is the movie. Shine some light on their faces to really understand who and what they are. Sometimes a first impression from a slick selling technique requires more thought.
With alot of thought and careful consideration, I decided to shed some light on this. Something needs to change. I will publish more on this next month.
That it didn’t matter how late I scheduled my first class, I’d sleep right through it.
That I could change so much and barely realized it.
That you can love a lot of people in a lot of different ways.
That college kids throw airplanes too.
That if you wear polyester everyone will ask you why you’re so dressed up.
That every clock on campus shows a different time.
That if you were smart in high school – so what?
That you can know everything and fail a test.
That you can know nothing and ace a test.
That I could get used to almost anything I found out about my roommate.
That home is a great place to visit.
That friendship is more than getting drunk together.
That I would be one of those people my parents warned me about.
That free food served until 10:00 is gone by 9:50.
That Sunday is a figment of the world’s imagination.
That my parents would become so much smarter in the last few years.
That it’s possible to be alone even when you are surrounded by friends
That friends are what makes this place worthwhile!!
Don’t be dismayed at goodbyes.
A farewell is necessary before we can meet again, and meeting again, after moments or a lifetime is certain for those who are friends.
PS: I do not claim to have developed this list, but not sure where I found this. Take it to heart and enjoy!
As I begin this first full year without the challenges of administrative duties and leading an academic program, I feel relieved. I could talk about the trials and tribulations about this decision forever. One year ago today, I was flying to Hawaii for an epic escape from a difficult and “negative” (I am being very generous here) environment.
In fact, as I look at my PC”s clock, I see that it is almost 10:00pm. If I take off the six hours time difference from RI to HI, it is dangerously close to the time that I arrived at the home that I spent 19 days in beautiful Kailua!
While looking back on that great vacation … now a new year … new attitude and much more relaxed. Focusing on only those things that are exciting, fun and I can derive value from. And of course the new textbook to revise and prepare for publication next year.
For the beginning of the new year. It is my hope that students focus on the value for what the EDUCATORS can provide them. Not resist the help, assistance, mentoring and advice that many of us provide. Especially from the faculty and staff that are focused SOLEY on how they can develop others … not just padding their own ego and self-fulfilling nature (yes, we have a few of those types unfortunately!).
There are many of my colleagues that CAN and DO lend that hand to students for the simple reward of a smile, “a light bulb above a head” and the growth we see in students for that new idea or advice Students … please please, remember to say thank you! There is NO greater source of “pay” than an thank you and a kind word from a student saying how we helped. It truly inspires us.
For those students that a) do not engage, b) do not want to, c) want a diploma and not an education, d) take the easy way out … do us all one favor, do not corrupt any others. Let other students make their own choices.
Now … For our new students in the Class of 2016 (oh my) and our returning students … here are my new thoughts! To see some inspirational words on “Before I came to college, I wish I had known” click here.
My undergraduate and graduate degrees were not in journalism or English. However, I seem to find myself thinking about things alot while ideas run (or walk) around my head. With all the people feeling ill from pollen and allergies … and digesting business culture (a lot from my previous blogs about Undercover Boss), these two ideas converged.
Having lived and observed businesses for the last three decades, you begin to develop a longitudinal sense of things. The changes in US businesses, senior management and their culture have become fascinating to watch. There appears to be a sense of pneumonia … an illness that requires some intervention. Here are my thoughts:
Are we able to follow the people who lead us? Do we have an unshakable sense of blind faith in their ability? Feel like you have a “cheerleader” and supporter that you can rely on to achieve a mutual objective? Or none of the above?
Trust – An assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something; one in which confidence is placed.
Are we able to feel very comfortable, safe and at ease to follow? Is there any hesitancy or anxiety that is related to doing what is asked of us? Or is it … I am so excited to accept this responsibility and get it accomplished?
Leadership – The office or position of a leader; the capacity to lead.
When information is conveyed, do we look for the nefarious meanings? Try to read in between lines? Look for other reasons associated with the actions or inactions? Maybe even “walk on egg shells” without really understanding the true meaning of the situation? Or is it more “robotic” to avoid an honest discussion because that may cause issues?
Transparency – The quality or state of being transparent in one’s actions or motives.
Have you ever attended a meeting or impromptu conversations … and been “yelled” at? Felt the need to stand up and raise your own voice? Storm out of a meeting angry and upset? People that are actually content to purposely hurt others?
Collegiality – Having authority or power shared among a number of people associated as colleagues.
Ever felt that people would not support or mentor you simply because it is you asking? That the issue or initiative was not the focus of the analysis, but whether your name was attached to it? That you sometimes would just want to put someone else’s name on your initiative or convince them it is their idea? To move something along for the best or the organization?
Objectivity – Decisions and actions which are not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased.
Was there ever a situation while listening to someone … and your mind is spinning around thinking that you are being told something different from fact? Or a portion of fact? And you are uncomfortable on how to move forward?
Honesty –Uprightness of character or action; implies a refusal to lie, steal, or deceive in any way; suggests an active regard for the standards of one’s profession, calling, or position; a degree that one is incapable of being false to a trust.
Do you have those days when you sit back and think … people are doing what’s best for them and not organization and its stakeholders? Employees? Acting in what is best for themselves and not in a more pluralistic approach? Then you think … is that the way I have to be to survive? That you have to be more of an “I” rather than a “we”?
Selflessness – Having no concern for one’s self; due care and custodianship of the responsibility of one’s position; having a focus on the greater whole rather than the individual.
I wish I had the answers. If I had the answer, I would magically implement it. As I said to someone last year, I would gladly give up (object) to solve these perplexing trends in businesses … that seem to frustrate, disengage, sadden and anger the people who can see a brighter alternative and productive environment. One where everyone is pulling on the same rope and not feel that it is around their neck.
Antibiotics are a modern medical wonder. However, they only work if you take them. Let’s pray that they help.
Read the previous article to catch up. Now to continue … what are the lessons here?
Mr. Silva made a decision. It appears from conversations and observations, I find that sometimes it requires an apostolic blessing for decisions to be made. I cannot count how many times I have used the line over the last two years … “Kicking the can down the road.”
So to analyze … I have provided Mr. Silva’s quotes from the episode (thank heaven for DVR) … and provided the take-aways (bold underline) …
- Analyzed that something had to be done. Took control that something needed to be done. He made a decision to close the restaurant. Took action.
- “As the CEO, it’s my job to create an environment where everybody will be treated with respect. And anyone can raise their hand and say ‘somethings wrong and doesn’t feel right’.“ Taking responsibility and not passing the problem off to others.
- “If the rest of my journey continues like this, all of our amazing results could be at risk.” Assessing the possibilities to the organization … Doing what is best for the organization, not himself.
- “At the end of the day, accountability rests on my shoulders because we did not properly train them.” Refrain from deflecting responsibility to others and focusing on solutions.
- During the episode, he also implemented quick action to call someone to help the manger and employees with best practices on managing and operating the location. Empowering employees by investing in people, not just brick and mortar.
What is occurring? I believe the poor leadership has been caused by a self-absorbed, isolated, “me” approach to leading. Senior management in the United States (and probably our elected officials) have become much more focused on “what it will do for me” … the McAgendas, and not what is best for the organization and its employees. They continue to illustrate by their actions to remain focused on “if I admit failure, then I have to take responsibility.” Or deflect all mistakes down to staff who are not being led.
Our business leaders seem to operate with one voice to their senior team about what must be done … and then one hand on a computer keyboard writing a) a press-release on what THEY do, b) updating their resume to compile accomplishments for THEIR next career move and c) appear on social, print or television media to promote themselves on how great THEY are. Very often deflecting responsibility on others and rather than focusing on solutions. Or maybe to protect their lifestyle or McMansion.
So what is the difference? Instead Mr. Silva illustrated his leadership through courage, confidence and respect. Mr. Silva did not manage in fear (and easily could have). His actions were guided by one principle … do what is best for the organization first. Placing all other agendas and goals aside.
It was chess, not checkers. When I was asked by the owner of a consulting clients last year … “How do we measure our strategic effectiveness?” … My response? “Identify what is best for your customer AND your employees. It’s that simple!”
To senior management and CEOs … start being the leaders for your business and employees. Lead by respect and not fear. You will find that your employees will become an advocate and a true ambassador of you and the organization.
OK, now that I have developed the premise from the first post of this blog article. Now to the meat (or hamburger) of the message. If you did not watch the episode, you should … and I will setup what happened. When I last left you …
Mr. Silva was disgusted with what he saw in the back house operations. So instead of continuing incognito, he decided to lead. Here is what happened:
- He took the manager outside and chatted with him. After discussing how mortified about what he saw, the manger complained about that his training was cut short and that there was not enough resources to train his staff. The manager then asked Mr. Silva how much fast food experience he had … His response? Twenty years and then identified himself as the CEO of checkers. VERY interesting expression from the manager.
- He told the manager “Right here, right now we are shutting down the restaurant.” And he did! Shut off all the signage. Brought all of the employees outside to the picnic tables and identified himself.
- He outed himself to the employees (their faces dropped). The first comment from one of the employees was “So are we losing our jobs?” His very quick and authoritative response, “No, you are not losing your jobs.”
What happened next was so amazing, inspiring and so uncommon. There are several quotes from Mr. Silva that will create the story.
- He said to his employees …
- … ”I want to apologize to all of you guys cause I let you guys down.”
- … “The reason that we closed this restaurant down is NOT because of you guys. The truth is that if we have not trained you how to do it. You are doing the best you can. It’s not your fault. It’s my fault if you are not properly trained.“
- … “No long faces, everyone is getting paid.”
- … “It’s going to be a better restaurant than it is today.”
How many of you have ever heard these types of expressions of leadership said in an authentic and sincere manner? If you saw the episode, his voice broke as he chatted with them. When did you see a leader show emotion? A genuine reaction as a human being when it was needed? Personally, I have been chided for showing emotion at times.
The employees did not have to be told that something was wrong. They already knew! These are hard working individuals probably making minimum wage and worried that way may be their only source of income could be in jeopardy.
So now what nuggets can be learned from this … stay tuned.
Behavioral Leadership: An Integral Aspect of Project Success
Steven Parfitt, MPAC615
All projects are restricted by three primary constraints: scope, time, and cost. It is no secret that utilizing project management practices, such as proper planning, allow for increased efficiency and improved adaptation to overcome these constraints. Unfortunately, as seen in the following excerpt taken from an article written by Benoit Hardy-Vallee, it is clear that successful project execution is a bit more complex than meets the eye:
“A study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, which reviewed 10,640 projects from 200 companies in 30 countries and across various industries, found that only 2.5% of the companies successfully completed 100% of their projects. A study published in the Harvard Business Review, which analyzed 1,471 IT projects, found that the average overrun was 27%, but one in six projects had a cost overrun of 200% on average and a schedule overrun of almost 70%.”
So why is it, given the growth and development of today’s management tools, such as Six Sigma, total quality management, and lean management, that a great percentage of projects are still failing in regards to meeting their constraints? Benoit Hardy-Vallee seems to believe that project failures are a result of organizations putting more emphasis on rational factors as opposed to the behavioral dynamics of employees. I, for one, agree with his argument.
Most managers excel in the enforcement of rational factors, such as processes, policies, and procedures. These tangible elements, often addressed in the classroom, are vital to the implementation of a successful project. It is important that uniform standards and written plans be created and imposed upon all members of a project team. However, those managers who feel these are the only factors that should be addressed are largely mistaken.
The title of “Project Manager” is deceiving. A manager can be anyone who simply dictates activities. However, a project manager must also be an inspiring leader. “Management is partly science and partly art. It is also the same for project management and a project manager should know some arts as well as knowledge.” The “arts” to which Hamid Shafaei Bejestan is referring, are those of leadership and personal skills. The demise of many projects stems back to its manager and their failure to lead. A leader must provide emotional support and promote development in its team. Behavioral leadership is just as important, if not more important, than the rational factors that management so often addresses. Motivating and instilling trust in a project team improves morale which inevitably results in greater productivity. A team member who feels that their work is actually contributing to the overall success of a project is much more apt to put forth superior effort.
While working for a construction company the past few summers, I labored under several project managers, each with a different attitude and technique when it came to managing the crews. From personal experience I have found that the manager who encouraged me and awarded me with responsibility was the one who earned my respect. Respect and trust motivated me to work hard to satisfy this boss. On the other hand, the manager who never took the time to acknowledge my work and inspire me with increased responsibility led to reduced incentive to work hard. Although this is a small scale example, it infers that projects of all magnitudes can severely suffer or shine based on management’s approaches.
Project failures can result in immense costs to an organization, both in lost profits from breach of constraints as well as the loss of future jobs from a client. The incorporation of rational factors, while quite necessary, are not the only elements needed to improve the potential of a project’s success. A project manager must also portray the traits of a behavioral leader if success is to be truly optimized.
Project Manager and Entrepreneur: Are they the same?
Megan Barbessi, MPAC615
“So many of the great entrepreneurs, inventors, and creative people generally have had a life story involving a significant failure before their success. Tim Harford in his book Adapt documents this and puts forward the thesis that success may in fact require failure first.” This statement was made in an article from Harvard Business Review about the upcoming and much talked about Facebook IPO. Nervousness has arisen about the near total control founder Mark Zuckerberg will have and many are questioning his ability to act in ways that will maximize shareholder value, all because he has yet to fail.
It is interesting that the notion of success is based on failure first. That seems much too ironic. In today’s business world, there is no room for failure. Ask Donald Trump on The Apprentice. Zuckerberg, a genius entrepreneur, has found stable success as a result of what seems to be one single innovative idea. Why is it expected that creators of innovation are assumed to experience failure in order to fully succeed? Is there more than meets the eye?
Let us consider the definition of an entrepreneur. As defined by Dictionary.com, an entrepreneur is a person who organizes and manages an enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk. This sounds much like a project, or in many cases program manager. Project managers, in a simplified textbook definition, work with the various project stakeholders to define, communicate and accomplish project goals and objectives. They do so by fully analyzing project constraints (including risk) and they execute to create results. I think it is safe to say that Mark Zuckerberg has experienced success not just because of one single entrepreneurial idea (as entrepreneurship has commonly been defined) but also because of his “project management-like” qualities. So is Mark Zuckerberg an entrepreneur, a project manager or both?
Mike Clayton, author and speaker specializing in project management, has acknowledged the definition of project managers and entrepreneurs as becoming considerably intertwined. He identifies four types of project managers based on comfort with risk and problem solving, two factors associated with entrepreneurial work. Clayton, however, does not agree that by strict definition a project manager can truly act as an entrepreneur. According to his definitions, entrepreneurs attempt to make profits through risk and initiative while project managers attempt to deliver products, deliverables and results. He instead uses the word “intrapreneur,” someone who acts like an entrepreneur from within a stable organization, to define this dual relationship.
Arvind Rathore in his white paper The growing importance of EPMO (Enterprise Project Management Office) in today’s organization, identifies the need for a different structure of enterprise project management. His argument resides on the fact that the traditional, departmental level of Project Management Office (PMO)- an internal entity within the enterprise that provides standardized methodologies and assistance to project management- uses a bottom up approach which often lacks strategic alignment. The goal of these PMOs is to execute on the right tasks and promise deliverables. An Enterprise PMO (EPMO), however, operates at a strategic level with a greater focus on the executives who assist in defining best practices, innovating, mentoring, strategic tools and the like.
Project management is competitive and it continues to change and evolve. Project managers must do the same. Project management is no longer tactical in nature and project managers must begin to utilize their inner entrepreneurial minds. By definition, entrepreneur and project manager may not suggest the same behavior, mindset or expected results. However, defining the role of a project manager in terms of an entrepreneur has significant implications for the impact a project manager can have. Entrepreneurs initiate ideas, they brainstorm innovation, they create a way. A truly successful project manager is one that innovates while executing, encompassing that creative mind. They continue to not just redefine processes, but they continue to redefine success as well.
There is something to be said about the power of having these qualities. Mark Zuckerberg has not failed yet because he is both an entrepreneur and a project manager.