On behalf of the SIG Committee I would like to record our gratitude to Paul Browning for delivering a thought provoking and passionate presentation about the story of two mythical characters, Frank and Stuart and how these individuals viewed their world and the impact this had on their behaviour and actions. I would also like to thank Merv Wyeth, a member of the SIG, for preparing the excellent mind-map that can be found at the foot of this post. I urge you to take a look. It contains an excellent summary with details of the rich references used by Paul during his presentation.
John Chapman the SIG Treasurer opened proceedings by quoting fable written by Paul Browning. It is a story set in the land of sales and reads like this:
In the land of sales there are little doers and big doers. Big doers stride out with courage and determination, persistent and passionate to create their own circumstances. Little doers sit and pray that the economy will do better. Little doers seek out and make friends with other little doers. In their regional dialectic and tittle tattle they justify why they are not as good as they should be .
John asked the assembled audience whether this resonated with their experiences as in project management. It certainly does for me!
The tale of Frank and Stuart is a story of self image psychology; once acclaimed as the greatest discovery of our generation. The cornerstone of Pauls presentation is that our thoughts determine our feelings, which determine our actions. Whether you think you can or you cant you will probably be right.
In my own career, I think about those projects that achieved, against all odds because failure was simply not an option. I reflect on others which were doomed to failure because either the Sponsor or Project Manager were simply unable to inspire any confidence. Rather than pace setting they allowed events to dictate and of course when it all went wrong, as it invariably did, it is someone else who is to blame.
As project managers we rightly place emphasis on the technical aspects of our profession, such as estimating, scheduling, value and earned value management, but as I increasingly reflect on my own career I am convinced that it is the simple innate things that determine attitude and drive behaviour that has the greatest impact.
Paul has kindly provided a copy of his presentation. You can download this here.