PM’s Journal

Targeted Education

I have recently arrived to 2 conclusions.

Number One.

It is important to know your strengths and keep developing them. If you focus on your weaknesses, you will spend a lot of effort trying to overcome them. What is more – think about how you will use the weaknesses? Will you still love what you do, if what you are going to do will require you to use the weaker sides of your personality?

Number Two.

Target your learning. Study what you feel you lack knowledge about. If you have a gap in Power BI – go and skill up to the level, which would be sufficient to cover your needs, at least. It does not make much sense to apply for studies (assuming they will take about 2-4 years), which will cover 50% of the subjects you need and 50% of some info you don’t care about at all. It is a waste of your time.

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What Would It Take

There is always a question, which pops up when we need to make any decision: “What would it take?”

There is no such thing as perfect work life balance. We all have certain capacity level. When we say “yes” to one thing, we say “no” to another. It might not be obvious immediately and seem like a small immediate sacrifice to those “Yes’s” and “No’s”, but in the long term it will unexpectedly come all at once as a boomerang.

So try to watch closely, each time you choose to say “yes” or to say “no”. Choose wisely.

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In Times Of Uncertainty

I recognize only one type of failure – a failure of never giving a try. If you decided to give some option a chance and it did not go well or you figured out that it was not the right direction – this is not a failure. This is called – experience. Your experience.

We may have advisors, friends, mentors or colleagues, whom we can ask for advice. Their recommendations will be valuable, but only to certain extent. Because each of us is unique. What works for one person, doesn’t necessarily work for another. And it’s OK.

Hence, the only way to find your way in life or career, is by trial and error, by correction and adjustment of the path. Which means, we need to keep trying and experimenting as many times as necessary. Until we finally figure it all out.

This is the principle I follow. This is my life compass: it is always better to try, than regret later of never giving it a chance.

5

Your Legacy

I have just started reading a new book, written by Derek Sivers “ Anything you want” and I noticed that the author dedicated the entire book to Seth Godin.

It stole my heart, because Seth is my virtual mentor and he inspired me to do many wonderful things, in particular to write this blog and share my knowledge, thoughts and insights.

This made me think. Seth shares knowledge through his podcasts, blogging, books. Because of him sharing his knowledge, he has positively impacted so many people, including me. This – is his legacy. Not only he makes money with his business, but he brings value to all people around by influencing, impacting and encouraging.

What about us? What is our legacy? What is our impact? What value do we bring into the world?

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Sharing Is Caring

There are 2 types of mindset.

One is to keep knowledge only to yourself, fearing that others can become better and outperform you, being afraid of competition and of being replaced. This one is a “consumer”.

Another type of mindset is sharing knowledge and helping others, because there is enough place for everyone and everything in the world. Every single professional is unique and competent, because they know that by sharing knowledge they validate it and build on top of this, they enhance it and grow with it. Let’s call this one a “producer”.

Who are we then: consumers or producers? What will be our legacy, after all?

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Responsibility By Default

Are we assuming responsibility by default?

When you are assigned a role: team to manage, program or project to deliver, task to accomplish – take complete ownership of it. You own the success or failure and you will be held responsible for the final outcome. Your name will be hanging out there and speak for itself.

When you think about it, do you feel the change of perspective? A while ago, there was someone else who will come and help – your boss or senior manager. A while ago there was someone else whom you can go and talk to or shift the responsibility to. Stop thinking this way, or you will always be a follower, and not a leader.

We shall stop waiting until someone else will come and tell us: “Now, I am officially assigning you an owner here, manage it”. Instead, we shall assign ourself accountable for everything we do and what happens to us.

It is not an easy thing to do and I continuously keep reminding myself every day about it and keep improving. But this is the only right thing to do.

If you want to explore the topic further, I would like to recommend a book called “Extreme Ownership” by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin.

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Project Management Feature

Wouldn’t the world be a better place if all people had a “build-in feature” called “project management?

Truth to be told, when you work for many years in project management, it becomes your second nature. You can not just plan and execute projects at work and be totally disorganized in personal life. Whatever you do professionally has its impact on your personal life.

You plan your weekends and holidays, you compare your personal budget actuals and forecast, you even read books and decompose them into manageable pieces to read in regular intervals 🙂 You have a plan “B” in place if a risk materializes and your flight is cancelled. You follow up on your appointments and inform in advance if something goes wrong. Not only you come on time to the meetings at work, but you are also punctual for personal meetings. And you get “just a little bit” surprised when others don’t plan, don’t act, don’t follow up or act in a chaotic manner.

Does this “feature” deprive us from our spontaneity? Or does it bring us to the new level of personal organization, professionalism and reliability?

7

Learn Something New Every Day

We live in a buzy world, where there is no break from the rat race. Time flies from Monday till Friday, evenings after work and weekends are filled with working overime, with families, working out in the gym, cooking dinners, cleaning, sleeping or watching Netflix. That is how it works for the majority of people.

There are, however, individuals (and let’s be honest, they are not in great supply these days), who still find some time to read an interesting book, watch an educational video, study for PMP exam for example 🙂 or do a course at Udemy or Skillshare. So, where do they find time for that?

If we all agree that we want to develop, then I dont have to give you a reason why. What I can give you are these 3 hints where to find time to learn something new every single day.

  • First of all, in the morning. You have a choice – to sleep till you are almost late to work, or you can wake up just a little bit earlier, while everyone else is sleeping, and use this time to read.
  • Secondly, while doing household work, running or driving – listen to an audiobook. I have listened to almost 9 books in the last 6 months while doing some work at home (cooking, cleaning) or driving.
  • Thirdly, instead of scrolling Facebook or Instagram or while waiting for someone – open YouTube and watch some useful video, or read recent news related to your area of interest.

Do we really lack time to learn or do we lack a proper incentive?

8

Take The Harder Path

Choose the harder way. There, you will not meet many rivals.

“Why should I pick more difficult way if there is an easier and faster option?”- you would ask.

Because always using shortcuts will bring its bitter consequences in the long run. You can read a book just overnight, it will be easy and fast. But you will forget what you read in a couple of weeks. If you choose a bit harder option – let’s say you will read and make notes of each chapter, write an action plan based on what you read- this is a different story, because you made additional effort to memorize and process the information, you worked on the content and extracted value for yourself.

Choosing the harder way makes you excel in things you care about. It sets your priorities.

5

Feedback Has To Be Valuable

When you provide feedback to your colleagues – do you want to be polite or do you want to be objective?

In many international companies there is a whole bunch of processes dedicated to gathering and providing feedback. Somehow though, only few of their employees extract actual value from it.

The bitter truth is that a lot of people think they have to be very positive and mention only good things; they think if they provide positive feedback, they will also receive a good one in return. Many are also afraid to offend the person or simply prefer to withhold if they were to provide any negative feedback.

If we provide only positive feedback, without examples or suggestions what to enhance or improve, can you really call it “feedback”? If people know what they do well, but are kept in the dark about what they don’t do so well… can they really improve? What is then called continuous improvement?

True power belongs to those who put their ego aside and want to learn about what they could do better. The things on which you need to work – this is the most valuable information, because if you work on that – you will improve and become a much better professional.

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