The Power of Negative Thinking – Engineering Management in Reverse

img_1274.JPGMost of my work revolves around the power of creating breakthroughs through extreme optimism and hideously positive thinking for which “hyperbole” simply isn’t a big enough word. I frequently rant and rave about the hazards of know-it-alls who poo-poo every idea and wield their negativity like a scythe, cutting down anything new or imaginative in its path. But the popularity of negative thinking is undeniable, and, like most veteran business leaders, I’m a pro at it. I was reminded of this when I recently received a note from a guy I used to work for at HP who, after reading my book, mused “It seems a bit cynical. Is that intentional?” Jumpin’ Geezus on a pogo stick! Yes, of course it’s intentional! Any human being who’s been a manager in the corporate world for more than a couple of hours and hasn’t become a tad cynical simply hasn’t been paying attention.

Negativity for its own sake is an annoyance at best, and a soul-sucking experience similar to what I imagine a psychic vampire would produce. But in the right hands, it’s a weapon of mass construction, freeing the mind of half-hidden dark thoughts, and an on-ramp to the superhighway of results in your business. Jump in, strap in and hold on ‘cause we’re going to take the curves up on two wheels.

Negative Thinking is Easier, I’m Positive!
Perhaps due to some quirk of evolution and slight survival advantage (my apologies to the creationists out there), human beings seem to find it easier to think of things from a negative perspective. Don’t believe anything I say, of course; check it out for yourself.
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The Anti-PMBOKxidant – Courage

kimberlychickencollage.jpg“Hey, has anyone seen my rubber chicken?”  He goes with me everywhere as I travel the world spreading the word about breakthrough leadership and execution excellence.  You might say he’s a “frequent flyer”, or perhaps even a “frequent fryer”.  One thing is for sure, he’s vital to my work, which mainly focuses on helping people overcome the biggest obstacle to their success – their own self-limiting assumptions and beliefs.  When I want to help people learn something from the rubber chicken I just hold him at shoulder height and release him.  “What causes the chicken to fall?”, I ask.  “Gravity?”  That’s not the answer I’d give.  Not if I was determined to be a menace to mediocrity, a person who is committed to creating breakthroughs in their projects and in their life.  No, “gravity” is the victim’s retort.  The real reason the chicken falls is because I released him.Now there is always “gravity” out there on our projects – things we can’t control – but it’s no use rocking back and forth moaning “woe is me” while all hell breaks loose on the project.  When the doo-doo hits the fan a true project leader asks “How did I contribute to this and what do we need to do now to deal with this?”  It seems like a simple enough lesson, but that doesn’t mean it is easy to learn.  It takes courage to accept responsibility for what is happening around us, to avoid blaming circumstances and other people, and to focus on what we can do to make a positive difference.  Winston Churchill said “Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all others.”  Continue reading

More Tequila, Por Favor!

tequila_-726505.jpgI recently spent 4 days working in Mexico for the first time.  Eye-eye-eye!  What a place!  There wasn’t a Taco Bell in sight.  The tequila was more aromatic than the most savory brandy, and the seafood was as fresh as a daisy, served raw like the sushi in Japan, but with incredible spices and sauces that made the flavors bounce out of my mouth and do a samba dance on my tongue.  This was an eye-opening experience for me because I previously have only been a tourist in Mexico, soaking up the sun and indulging in a margarita or two.  Get ready, world, Mexico is becoming a center of technical excellence for software development!

THE CULTURE -Forget every stereotype you ever heard.  Beneath the mariachi music and spices beats a global pulse.  Multicultural doesn’t begin to to describe the experience of being there as a business person.  One night you can be dining in a world-class hotel, and the next you can be enjoying the world’s most delicious hot dog (real meat!) from a street vendor.  After passing a couple of calves and chickens on the road, I arrived at a spa where I enjoyed an incredible facial and shiatsu massage.Continue reading

Contact Kimberly at:
Wiefling Consulting
Phone 650.867.0847

Books in the Scrappy Guides™ Series

Testimonials

As an old program manager myself, and now as President of a large technology company, I find your book spot on the money. Your readers would do well to read the book several times and practice what your write until it becomes second nature. The world around them would become a much better place – and the satisfaction that goes with high achievement would fuel a long and successful career.  While your book was written for program managers, it applies to anyone who works with people. It is a mus…

Jobs for Business Consultants

At last, someone has come along who rejects the bland world of ‘blah blah blah’ project management books that live in the academic ether. Scrappy Project Management has given us the REAL ‘dungeons and dragons’ equivalent of achieving a SUCCESSFUL project despite the odds and oddities of company culture. Kimberly Wiefling tells you how to fight for what’s right and stop being spineless without getting the worst of it. Put this spine on your bookshelf, or in your survival kit. This is THE resource…
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