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The Stories We Tell: Creating and Perpetuating Your Corporate DNA

thumbnail(Originally posted on projectconnections.com)

Recently, several of my clients have become extremely interested in exploring what they call their “corporate DNA.” At first I resisted, because I was concerned that this metaphor implied that they were incapable of changing. But for the most part, this model is being used to explore the unique identity of an organization — the strengths that are admired, and should be preserved and transmitted to future generations.

Most every kid who has the luxury of getting an education learns the basics of DNA. DNA is what causes a giraffe to have a long neck, kangaroos to have pouches, and porcupines to have quills instead of fur. Tadpoles turn into frogs, not butterflies, because of their DNA. And a lot of behavior has its roots in an organism’s DNA. Birds have wings, but dogs don’t, therefore dogs don’t fly. Snakes, lacking both legs and wings, resort to crawling. But what is the meaning of the DNA of an organization?
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What is Design Thinking? A Powerful Methodology for Projects, but NOT “Thinking About Design”!

(Originally posted on projectconnections.com)

Why do simple and effective approaches to getting things done often become obscured by jargon? For example, way back in the last century when I worked at HP we experienced big changes in the business environment. 20140515-einstein-quote-kwiefling Although layoffs are common at HP these days, back then everyone I knew believed that HP had a “no layoff” policy. As offshoring became commonplace, it became clear that the lifetime employment contract was no longer viable. Executives and HR people started using terms like “career self-reliance” and “workforce resilience” — fancy phrases used to convey a pretty simple message: “You’re on your own when it comes to career development and job security.” Unsurprisingly, thousands of people were laid off over the next few years. Being laid off didn’t bother me nearly as much as seeing the reality of our situation needlessly obscured by buzzwords. I strongly believe that the terminology used in communicating the changes was unnecessarily complicated and indirect. Complex doesn’t necessarily mean complicated. I prefer to follow Einstein’s guidance to “make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

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Take a Shot of Scrappiness and Call Me in the Morning by Emily Hennessee

iStock_000010925929XSmall-300x199(Originally posted on SVProjectManagement.com)

I’m delighted to post this story on behalf of Emily, who sent it to me as evidence that she was becoming more scrappy. In this story Emily shows us how we can help our teams think things through and clarify goals by asking good questions and facilitating discussions that people are “too busy” to have without our influence. It can take courage to schedule a meeting when people feel they have “real work” to do. But – done right – meetings ARE real work. Read and learn from Emily’s courageous leadership! – Kimberly Wiefling, Author,Scrappy Project Management Read more »

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Making Your Message Memorable by Kimberly Wiefling (Wiefling Consulting)

KimberlyNikkeiAd-2010-1024x469(Originally posted on SVProjectManagement.com)

For years I’ve been using a rubber chicken in my consulting work to burn into people’s consciousness the concepts of personal accountability and a belief in an internal locus of control. Holding the chicken at shoulder height, I release it and ask why the chicken fell to the floor. Victims blame gravity. (Some people even blame the chicken!) Leaders say “Because you released it, Kimberly.” It’s a simple message, but an important one for leaders. No matter how tempting it may be, if we blame circumstances for our problems we give away our own power. Read more »

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Similarities Between Parenting a Newborn and Project Management by Kimberly Wiefling (Wiefling Consulting)

crazy-baby-milk (This article was originally published on www.svprojectmanagement.com)

(Posted anonymously on behalf of a program engineering manager at a fine, upstanding organization where it would  be  best if his name was not used.)

Things are going well on the home front. I am beginning to draw a lot of correlations between parenting a newborn  and  succeeding at work. A few examples: Read more »

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How to Lead Effectively. Video Blog 3 by Kimberly Wiefling (Wiefling Consulting)

How can you lead effectively when you’re promoted? You have 2 ears and 1 mouth, so use them in that ratio! Start by listening, collaboratively set clear goals, and work together as a real team, not just a group of people jockeying for position, power and status. Check out Kimberly’s 1 minute view on this.

* Thanks to Japjot Sethi of Gloopt for making this professional video!

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The Difference Between Leadership and Management. Video Blog 2 by Kimberly Wiefling (Wiefling Consulting)

How is leadership different from management? The cynical answer is “Lead people, manage cows.” People don’t want to be managed. Kimberly shares her scrappy view in this 1 minute video.

* Thanks to Japjot Sethi of Gloopt for making this professional video!

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What is Leadership? Video Blog 1 by Kimberly Wiefling (Wiefling Consulting)

What is leadership? It’s NOT position in an organization chart, and it’s NOT a title on your business card. Kimberly shares her take on this topic in this 1 minute video.

* Thanks to Japjot Sethi of Gloopt for making this professional video! Read more »

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Pirates Fighting Among Themselves While the Spanish Galleon Sails On Up by Kimberly Wiefling (Wiefling Consulting)

 

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(This article was originally published on www.svprojectmanagement.com)

This past summer I went to a baseball game. It wasn’t completely without benefit. I enjoyed indulging in the traditional stadium food and libations, the $1 hot dogs formed from some unrecognizable substance and the “it shall offend no one” stadium beer (nor shall it please anyone, but let’s not be sticklers). While being herded out with the crowds I noticed that many people seemed to be truly elated or dejected based on the victor in this sports match. Who won? Who cares! While I really tried to get into the spirit of things, I just couldn’t work up a good head of steam around caring who hit a little while ball farther or ran around a dirt track before that little white ball could touch them. Baseball is a perfectly fine way to spend an afternoon, and it’s a hoot to sit there cheering with the crowd and jeering at the umpires, but it didn’t seem to be worth agonizing or celebrating the outcome. Maybe I am missing a sports gene? Is it carried on the X chromosome but recessive? Or is it dominant and on the Y chromosome? Who knows, but it got me thinking . . . Read more »

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Totally Commit to Finding a Way by Kimberly Wiefling (Wiefling Consulting)

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(This article was originally published on www.svprojectmanagement.com)

Scrappy Project Management Mindset Series – Part 4 of 4. If you’re going to lead projects to success you’ve gotta have a powerful mindset that supports you. This week I’ll share some mindset medicine that will keep you scrappy. – Kimberly Read more »

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