Contributors and Whiners

Have you ever noticed the relationship between those that contribute and those that whine. 

The bad news is there is a highly inverse relationship between contributing and whining.

– Those that contribute, don’t whine–they are focused on how to make things better!

– Those that whine, don’t contribute–they complain and naysay, but add no real value.

The good news is that some solid contributors can more than counterbalance the whiners.

– Unfortunately, too often the whiners outnumber the contributors.

– But fortunately the contributors outweigh the whiners.

Despite your best efforts, you may not be able to make the whiners stop whining and throwing up roadblocks. 

You’re often best-off spending your time working with the other contributors who want to see things through to success. 

Be a leader, not a babysitter and help the contributors win! 😉

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal adapted from here with attribution to mediamodifier)

Birthing An IT System

Managing IT projects is no easy task.


You’ve got to get the requirements right. 


Technical issues need to be resolved. 


Dependencies have to be lined up. 


Integrations need to work. 


Design should be user-friendly and intuitive. 


Change management takes real leadership. 


And so much more. 


A lot needs to go right for the project to be a success. 


While of course, just one or two bad apples in the project equation can quickly make for a failure if not controlled for. 


But you can’t let it…the show must go on, progress is waiting to be made, and the systems need to be delivered for the benefit of the organization. 


This is where real strength and determination by so many good people come in. 


Keep moving things forward–one step at a time–don’t stop!!!—another step and another–heave ho, heave, ho–until one day soon a beautiful and efficient IT system is born. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

“Shock And Awe” Project Management

So this is a new type of project management and it can be very effective. 


It’s called (my name): 

Shock and Awe Project Management


This technique is similar to the military doctrine of shock and awe that uses speed and overwhelming power to dominate the battlefield and vanquish the enemy.


In project management too, there are often naysayers, Debbie Downers, resisters, excuse makers, and people that lay down obstacle after obstacle to progress. 


This invariably derails projects and causes them to fall behind schedule, go over budget, experience scope creep, not meet the genuine user requirements, and ultimately fail!


However, if you manage the project with “shock and awe” and set aggressive timelines, assign substantial and very good resources, and move the project full speed ahead, then you can similarly create a momentum to the project that enables it to overcome the “enemies of the progress” (i.e. those that don’t really want it to succeed or are too busying covering their own a*ses).


This approach is not advocating speed at the expense of quality nor is it calling for cutting corners or riding roughshod over people, but rather to the contrary, it calls for techniques similar to the military of moving with absolute focus, determination, efficiency, collaboration, synchronization, and overwhelming “project power” to ensure it’s success. 

Projects, like battles, can be “won” by putting the right resources on the field and moving them to get quick wins in rapid succession (where the enemies of progress don’t stand a real fight) so that the projects get not only completed on time and within budget, but most importantly to real stakeholder satisfaction and the organization’s success. 


(Source Photo: here with attribution to AlexVan)

Breaking The Paradigm

So a colleague has this sticker (with a do not image) on their computer that says:


“But we’ve always done it that way.”


They told me a funny story about the lady that made the ham with the head and tail ends always cut off.


One day, her daughter asked, “Why mom do you make the ham with the head and tail ends always cut off?”


The mother answers and says because “My mother always made it that way!”


So they went to her mother and ask the question and they get the same answer again.


Finally, they went to her great grandmother and ask, “Why do you always make the ham with the head and tail ends cut off?”


And the old lady takes a breath, pauses, and says, “Because, we didn’t have a pan big enough to fit the whole ham!”


Just thought this was a great lesson on critical thinking and also on “asking why.”


Change can be brought about by questioning underlying assumptions and historical ways of doing things and bringing an open mind and fresh light to it. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Nitpicking To Death

It’s funny some people go straight for the kill when they don’t like something. 


Others may nitpick you to death. 


Always! looking for something to henpeck at.


It comes out as you’re stupid, lazy, incompetent, and even worthless.


Why can’t you do anything right (read: the way I would do it)?


If only you would change this, that, or the other thing then it would all be better!


But even when you do manage to change this, that or the other thing–guess what? That just sparks the next round of destructive criticism and never being satisfied.


Hey, since when are you so (f*ckin) perfect?  


Or as the old saying goes, “Who died and made you G-d?”


It should not be about grabbing some sadistic pleasure out of torturing other people with narcissism, judgmentalism, endless criticism and naysaying.


Instead of tearing down, let’s focus on the big picture and what success looks like.


How can everyone contribute to that vision and effort?


Customer service doesn’t mean personal servitude. 


There is such a thing as being a team player, identifying when good is good enough, and driving forward rather than seeking to derail or even go backward. 


Competency is not just for service providers, but for the customers. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Calling An ELMO

So this is an interesting meeting facilitation technique. 


Sometimes people get carried away in meetings either as broken records, spinning wheels, naysayers, or ever with verbal attacks.


In these case, either the facilitator or any of the other participants, can have permission to “call an ELMO.”


What that stands for is:


Enough,

Let’s

Move 

On


When someone at the meeting calls an ELMO the meeting is redirected and focused back to the agenda and meeting objectives.


There are also times, you need a “parking lot” for good ideas that are a little offtrack or for sidebars that you want to come back to later.


At other times, you just need to say, “Let’s take it offline.”


Focused meetings should generate ideas (brainstorm), exchange points of view, surface problems, discuss issues, and make decisions. 


A good meeting leaves people feeling energized, valued, informed, and productive. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Chief Critic

So we all know these type of people that love to criticize and bully.  


They are the critics in chief. 


You have to wonder what their own value-add is.


While other people are doing the work, the chief critic is saying everything is terrible, horrible, tragic, almost the end of the universe as we all know it. 


Yes, there is nothing wrong with well-intentioned and constructive criticism, especially by a supervisor or people sincerely trying to help.


But then there are just those who just look to find something–anything–to fault others, almost as if they are bigger if others are smaller!


This is no good. 


That is no good. 


I would do it this way. 


You need to do it that way. 


It’s almost like a hobby, but it comes with plenty of nastygrams and miserable monologues. 


If only you would do X!


How come you didn’t do Y?


Next time make sure you do Z!!!


OMG, yes we are not perfect angels, but most of us try to work smart, do good, contribute, and get positive results!


Even failure is acceptable if everyone gave it their best effort and it leads to learning and growth. 


Maybe the people on the sidelines who are yelling at the players need to get off the bench and actually worry about what they need to be doing, and doing it, instead of criticizing those in the trenches. 


Teamwork means we succeed or fail together!


Non-attribution is about not getting personal and blaming others, especially when they are working their butts off. 


Rather, roll up your sleeves everyone and get in the trenches and start pulling your own weight instead of putting down and making fun of the others. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)