New Year resolutions - for and by others

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One of the management tricks I was told many years ago is that if you are going to write ’to do’ lists then write them for other people before writing them for yourself.

That way you clear your in-tray, keep others gainfully occupied and leave the important, non-urgent things for your attention.

Of course, simply writing lists doesn’t achieve much. You still have to make it all happen – and tell the others.

With practice this can work upwards, sideways, downwards, inside and outside.

 I was reminded of this technique recently when chatting with a young project management colleague about the difficulty of composing and applying New Year resolutions (NYRs). We concluded that we prioritised requests and instructions from others – clients, customers, colleagues and our partners – over our own preferences and needs.

A natural consequence of this debate was for us to agree that we would each prepare some authoritative NYRs for each other, which would carry much more weight than if written for ourselves.

My colleague is very busy – with work, family, career, commuting and social networking – and wants to get on in project management. So they asked for their NYR directions to be focused accordingly.

My practical, easy-to-implement suggestions were well received and are going well on the lines of:

  • Know where you are with your professional titles, grades and qualifications; and if you are ambitious establish where you want to be next – have professional project management standards and targets.
  • Set some CPD directions which will get you directly to your targets.
  • Put your current project management designations big and bold on your social networks – tell everyone you are a professional project manager.
  • Talk to one person per month and tell them to join and participate in their project management community.
  • Maintain a stock of cards and presents in your drawer – just in case.
  • Only have one diary with everything in it – so you can see when this busy feeling might come to an end (possibly when the youngest child has left home).

I asked for some NYR directions which would improve my tolerance levels – I have not heard anything yet. But hey, it’s cool.
All the best for 2014 and way beyond.


Posted by Tom Taylor on 15th Jan 2014

About the Author

Tom Taylor is a vice-president of APM, joint founder of Buro Four, principal at dashdot.

He is a past committee member and Chairman of APM London Branch, a past Chairman of APM and a past President of APM.

Previously a Certificated Project Manager and RPP he is currently a ChPP.

He is an Honorary Member or Fellow of International Project Management Association (IPMA), PMAN (Nepal), PRY (Finland), APOGEP (Portugal), AIEPRO (Spain), KPMA (Kazakhstan) and APM (UK).

He is a reciprient of the Sir Monty Finneston 2009 and the APM President's Medal.

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