Old Advice for New Managers

https://youtu.be/zyp66MvDME8

Is Situational Leadership still valid for new managers? I’m Deasún Ó Conchúir of Scatterwork and I’m looking at a model that’s been around for a long while.

When we move into a new role taking over an existing team, we assume that everyone is experienced. That means that we give them low support and low direction; just let them them get on with the work. But if that doesn’t work enough then we can change our style and give higher support to individuals, hopefully bit by bit moving them towards the experienced level.

If that doesn’t work we can decide to be more directive so we’re telling people what to do but still giving them high support and then in a case where somebody is a complete beginner we can just tell them what to do and give them no support: please just do the work.

The advantage of that is that we find people where they are. We might go two or three steps back on that system before we find where each individual is. And of course we treat everyone, differently depending on who they are. Then with a bit of luck they will work their way up to the experienced quadrant, but it takes time!

Now another approach is that we start at the other end and the big disadvantage of this is that if somebody is not a beginner they get annoyed immediately
and then you’ve lost them until you move out of that job.

So the question I’m asking “is this approach still valid?” because it was formulated in the time when there were not so many generations working at the same time as there are now and this approach was identified before the existence of, for example social media and the internet and of course these days we’re in contact with people around the world who come from many different cultures and have many different styles of interaction. So it may be that the model that was laid down some time back is no longer valid so I hope that this video will have at least stimulated your thoughts in that area.

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Deliver your Mission-Critical Project successfully

Are you responsible for a mission-critical project and want to do everything to deliver it successfully? Then a Deep Dive Project Bootcamp is what you need. In it we explore your current project and look for opportunities to accelerate the delivery, reduce the costs and minimize the risks.

Why does it work?

Of course, you already know what you are doing and the purpose of the bootcamp is to go into that in detail and look for opportunities for improvement. The areas that we examine cover the whole range of how we plan and implement the project.

For example, identifying who exactly the stakeholders are and what their stance is; how we work with a remote team, how we manage the risks, how we control progress and so forth.

Who is it for?

So the deep dive project bootcamp is for your staff and their project teams who are currently responsible for delivering mission-critical projects and who need to achieve significant improvements, so it’s suitable for

  • mission-critical projects which are at a planning or implementation phase
  • it can also be applied to Troubled Project Recovery, for example after a change of leadership if a project hasn’t been delivering as expected.

Bootcamps are relevant for all business sectors and technical branches.

Choice of Delivery Options

Bootcamps have a number of delivery options, for example if you have confidential projects, you probably want to do the bootcamp in-house, either on-site in a traditional face-to-face environment or maybe by global virtual delivery.

If you have a project which is less confidential, for example moving an office, then you probably feel comfortable with bringing it to a public event, if there is one in your locality at a time when you need it.

Spectacular Business Payback

The business payback of the Deep Dive Project Bootcamp can be spectacular.

  • A company in Canada found that its deliveries worth 10 million euro were being blocked by its client due to an inspection issue. When these were resolved the deliveries were released.
  • A company in France was able to start a project phase 20 weeks earlier than the original plan due to an insight that it obtained during a bootcamp.
  • A company delivering products into China had to register every single one and this was both complicated and expensive. During a bootcamp they developed a standard approach and this allowed them to go to their clients and say “this is the way we normally do it” and ask for a contribution from the clients. So not only did they have a better process but they were actually able to get their clients to share half the cost.
  • In Switzerland a company had an unusual situation as the people in production virtually all had doctorates in chemistry, so they were very competent professionally but with a different focus from projects. During a bootcamp they were able to expand their responsibilities and accelerate revenue growth.

How you benefit

So you benefit by identifying

  • valuable opportunities to improve delivery time, costs and risks and of course other details, but these are the ones that tend to dominate.
  • expensive pitfalls

You benefit by leveraging from our experience in over 40 countries and you get an opportunity for individual consultancy.

You also share insights with other participating project teams and the hands-on multicultural delivery style is usually great fun.

In conclusion…

If your project is mission-critical or it may be very visible politically within the organization or maybe the demands are very high compared to the resources that you have at your disposal, this is definitely time for you to contact us in connection with a Deep Dive Project Bootcamp. Thank you!

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PESTLE Market study for Scatterwork

PESTLE Market Study for Scatterwork

Transform your Brexit issues into an Actionable Plan at a Brexit Escape Room bootcamp

Hello, this is Deasún Ó Conchúir from Scatterwork and we were interested in various target markets that we should be operating in. We have experience in quite a few and we wanted some more information about which would be the really good ones, so we approached the University of Strathclyde, Department of Management Science. One of the students there is going to talk to us now and has done a very useful study for us. So over to you:

Hello, my name is Linjing and today I will introduce my research, which is focused on four countries of interest to Scatterwork:

  • Singapore
  • Ireland
  • Belgium
  • United Arab Emirates.

The PESTLE model is used to analyse the political, economic, social and culture, technology, legal and environmental issues for these four countries. From this analysis I have come to the conclusion that Singapore has performed very well in the six areas so it is very suitable for business development.

The economic environment in Ireland and the United Arab Emirates is developing very, very rapidly but there is some political instability in both countries. In addition, the United Arab Emirates have certain investment barriers in social and culture, technology, legal and environmental areas.

In contrast, Ireland except for the instability of Brexit is very suited for the environment in investment and the development of business.

The economic growth of Belgium is relatively slow but it is a stable market and with a good geographic allocation. Belgium is not the best choice but still can be an investment target.

That’s very good indeed so that fulfilled our objective. We had informal experience from different countries and now we have something very specific to tell us what people are interested in so I’d like to thank you Linjing for your study there, which is very useful to us.

Thanks very much.

Thank you too, Dr Deasún.

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Transform your Brexit issues into an actionable plan

At the time of recording, about a month before the Brexit date, nobody seems to know whether or not it will actually happen on the plan date or be slipped by a little or a lot. Even if it does take place ontime, what needs to happen is very unclear.

In any project if we have enough time and money and people to do the work it’s easy enough but in particular we need to know what needs to be done and what the limitations are. In this case it seems that what needs to be done is very, very unclear.

As I make this recording, I’m actually on a border between Germany where the grass is and Switzerland where the buildings and footpath are. The rules are the same on both sides so it’s easy – there’s no border. But if for example you divide, as Brexit does, into two zones, then
obviously all sorts of new regulations come into force which have to be put in place.

A lot of companies would say “Well, I don’t know where to start and I don’t have enough time and anyway I don’t know what I need to do” so although there is plenty of advice about things that you could look at, the priorities are not clear.

In these workshops what we do is say “Let’s start now putting together a plan so that we know as far as possible what are our objectives, our limitations, who’s going to make the decisions. Is it going to be done by somebody internal or external? And so on…”

A lot of that preliminary work can take place before the actual objectives have have stabilized so by doing these workshops you give yourself a bit of extra lead time and lower the pressure and improve the chances of surviving the turbulence, with maybe a little bit less pressure than otherwise.

So there you have it: these two-day workshops to do the planning for implementing business in the context of Brexit are not workshops to tell you what to do for Brexit – there is plenty of advice for that from government, Chambers of Commerce, trade associations and so on – What we do is actually come out of those events with a plan.

If we’re lucky we’ll be ahead of the wave and we can wait until the information comes, but it’s more likely that you’ll be glad that you started early. I look forward to meeting you there.

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A Voyage of Discovery

Projects are a bit like a voyage of discovery – you know where you want to go and have some idea of how you’re going to get there but you don’t know the details. As you move forward, you get more clarity and the more experience you have, the better chance you have of making it work.

I’m talking to you from the N Seoul Tower in South Korea, after a hard week’s work with some clients in Asia and I decided I should do a little bit of tourism. So the first question is: How do I get to the tower?

It turns out that one of the easiest ways is just an ordinary bus route. There are tourist buses but then you have to go to the right place for them and you don’t get in touch with the people. So I decide to do it that way and then I had to find out how to pay for the bus.

You can either pay the driver with money but it’s hard to talk if you don’t speak the language. Or you can get an electronic card which is really handy. So I bought the electronic card but then I discovered that it had no money on it. Apparently you have to buy the card and load it as two transactions. So that meant I had to ask somebody in the hotel to write out a message for me to show the shop telling them what to do.

Then I knew roughly where the bus stop was – it was near a metro station but although it was only maybe 10 m from the exit, it took me about half an hour to find it. I didn’t know what a bus stop looked like and I didn’t know what signs would be on it and if it was the right bus going in the right direction and so forth.

Eventually the bus came along but late. I knew something was happening because the indicator had the number of the bus and then some message different to the other buses. But I don’t know – probably to do with a delay.

Then I had to know where to get off. That was relatively easy because at the end of the route all the tourists got off and went to the Tower which is another few hundred meters away.

So that’s the way a project is and the next time I come here should be much easier:

  • I know how the cards work;
  • I know you don’t need to register them;
  • I know where you can load them;
  • I know you have to have a card;
  • I know how to find my way out of the metro station;
  • I can orient myself on the map.

So I learned a lot. Doing it another time would probably be a good bit easier which is just the way projects are.

Thanks very much and goodbye.

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3 Tips for faster Virtual Team Problem Solving

Problem solving can require thousands of personal transactions or messages and research has even higher messaging levels. So every transaction delay time adds to the time it takes to get solutions.

We can see that with this transaction path diagram where the message goes from one person to the second to the third – all of them searching for the solution and every time hopefully they get a little closer to it.

But is there is a big problem: it can take thousands of these transactions. A day has over 86,000 seconds so if the reaction times take days instead of seconds, the solution time increases by a factor of tens of thousands.

So the 1st tip is that business users should learn from social media users, who react in seconds. For example on facebook you get immediate answers. “React in seconds”.

The 2nd tip: use collaborative applications which generate email notifications and that everybody can work on the same ideas and documents at once. For example, Google Docs for text documents, Mindmeister for mindmaps, Cacoo for drawings; Basecamp for Project Management, Questetra for Workflows and so on.

Then the 3rd tip is: that each person turns on all the notifications and forwards them automatically to on inbox, and then here’s the big one: test all the communication pairs between yourself and everyone else, so that if you send a message that they get an email notification that doesn’t go into to spam, for example.

Because if it does, its delay there of days makes it impossible to solve the problems. Not just difficult, but impossible. And then of course, when you get a notification click on it immediately because it will bring usually directly to where the topic is within the application, which saves your user time.

So if you found this issue of interest or you have any other project issues, please feel free to contact me. Thanks very much.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at
ScatterworkOnline Training for Project Management & Team Building

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com
Tel: +41 79 692 4735

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It’s all in the Communication


I’m just preparing to go to a conference and that’s for communication; that’s to fill out in between all of the millions of emails and telephone conferences and so forth.

A chance to meet real people face-to-face.

It’s also a chance to hear presentations, sometimes good, sometimes not so good, and a conference always brings surprises as well. Maybe an insight to something or an opportunity to think something through that has been on the long finger for a long time.

Communication is also an issue among schoolchildren. A recent report in Switzerland looked to find out if the social networks are replacing personal communications and the answer is “no”.

People have communications with each other and then the social network is a way of keeping in touch with them.

But they don’t start from there, not for real communications.

And then the same thing applies in the political world. There have been very big movements globally in various elections and referenda in recent times and it seems that some of the comments that are coming out is that the way of communicating with particular groups in the population was maybe much, much more direct than the traditional elevated way that we tend to use in a working environment.

So all of that is very relevant to how that we work in the modern world and I’m looking forward to your comments and your experiences on that below this blog.

Thanks very much.
—-

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at
ScatterworkOnline Training for Project Management & Team Building

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com
Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me
LinkedIn: Connect with me
Sign-up: Newsletter
Recommend Scatterwork and earn commission.

 

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Objections to Training in Cyberspace

Scatterwork gets a lot of comments about why Training in Cyberspace can’t work so it makes sense to listen to what is being said. A lot of them boil down to personal issues and here are five of them.

One is that the participant has the freedom to be engaged or not to be engaged; to come on time or not to come on time and thats related to self-control.

If during a program, they get involved in other things because nobody can see them, then clearly the training interaction or the learning interaction is not going to be as effective.

The third one is that it can be very impersonal to be on the receiving end of training through cyberspace. That can be very appropriate for example for a webinar where there’s a thousand people online but if you’ve got a team and they need to learn things, it is not as good that they are just on the receiving end, a bit like a cinema.

A fourth objection is the one of responsibility. Again it is a bit like the freedom. People have the responsibility to learn – that is always true of course – but it in a live training environment somebody will notice that it is not working very well and they might cajole or pull people in. But in the cyberspace environment nobody is going to notice.

Another objection we get is that it can be very isolating. You are doing your learning, you don’t really know who else is involved, and this makes it harder to follow up. So in Scatterwork we have a few guidelines that help us when we are preparing learning in cyberspace. We make sure the participants get to know each other personally.

This can be by for example showing each other their Facebook pages or something more than “hello let’s start the business”.

We hold training for teams, not for individuals because by being part of a team it makes learning much better, particularly topics that are in any case targeted at teams – such as project management.

We build in processes to keep the participants in touch after the training event. It is not adequate just to say “you guys can be in touch with each other” – you really need to provide some sort of structure for it to happen.

And likewise for programming the time, somebody who’s doing a program also has to do some private learning. It does not work too well just say “you should do some programming of when you’re going to learn”. It’s much better to build that in as part of the progra.

So if you want to discuss any of these issues with me, then please feel free to connect – I look forward to hearing from you.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

LinkedIn: Connect with me

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Are you ready for virtual project management training?

A project is a unique undertaking where part of the uniqueness is the particular combination of people. They will probably have different understandings of how to run the project, different experience and different styles and the people need to develop into a coherent team.

Getting a project up and running is always a challenge. Ideally everyone understands the requirements and they bring their varying experience and styles to develop a solution.

In practice, the team will not reach the “performing” stage without passing through “forming” and “norming”. A project is not simply a collection of technical objects and processes, but a team effort of people who probably never worked in quite that configuration before.

One of the ideal ways of building a team is to provide the group as a whole training about the project, what is wanted and how it might be delivered. By adding some technical project management training, the team have to opportunity to share their competence and to support each other in a way not possible if the project is managed as if it were simply a technical undertaking.

Even before the term “virtual project management” came into fashion, many projects had team members in different places, multitasking and meeting only from time to time. This seems to work best when most of the team know each other. Similarly, if most of the team share something in common (e.g. the employer), the virtual training can also be very effective.

In reality all projects these days have members who operate individually and work in different places, maybe even in different countries. The term “virtual team” is effectively redundant but it is still not always easy to bring these people together for face-to-face training.

Virtual project management training has great advantages as the logistics are far easier than traveling to meet in one place. With proper organisation and infrastructure, the benefit:cost ratio can be better than face-to-face events.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

LinkedIn: Connect with me

Sign-up: Newsletter

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How to select your remote team members

I am going to give 4 pointers about how to select remote team members.

The first of them is competence. You always need competence among people working with you but when remote, they cannot see when you are available and ask for your assistance.

They they might not be online all the time and people have different rhythms; they might be in different time zones and so on. So the person needs to be able to do the work on their own.

The second is good chemistry, because it’s very easy in an electronic environment to misunderstand somebody, particularly when there are different cultures involved or people have a different choice of words. If there is good rapport, it will be easier to keep the communications under control.

The third one is: communication itself must be reliable. There are two things here. One of them is that the status must be reported: “I have just started this” or ” I have just finished that” and finishing something and not telling the next person in the chain blocks the work. The other person just doesn’t know.

And the other thing about communications is that when you speak or write you have to be able to understand each other. Maybe there are culture and language differences. It is fine if the communication is slow but what is not good is when people really don’t understand each other and they muddle along and create problems.

The fourth requirement of course is honesty. We can check, we can get background checks and references and things like that. In a remote environment it is harder to check up.

One way to work it out is to get these indicators of honesty and then to give a small task out and over a period of time. Working together you get a feel if the person is honest. People are very, very sensitive to honesty and dishonesty among others.

So there you have four tips: competence, good chemistry or rapport, reliable communications and honesty.

Thank you.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

LinkedIn: Connect with me

Sign-up: Newsletter

Recommend: Share and earn commission.

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