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Select for success – with happiness




In April I will be a speaker at this year’s Project Zone Congress in Frankfurt, Germany.  Listen to what I shared in an interview with Stamford Global.  The whole interview is available at http://projectzonecongress.com/news-articles/select-success-interview-thomas-juli

http://www.stamfordglobal.com/userfiles/PZC2014/Badges/stamford_badges_05-02.pngSelect for success – interview with Thomas Juli

Submitted by Helina.Pukk on Fri, 2014-01-24 15:59

Thomas Juli is an experienced professional on leadership in project and program management, consulting and training, as well as in teaching. He previously worked for SAP, Sapient and Cambridge, but has now committed to helping others improve their leadership skills through which to experience more project success. He is a welcomed quest at conferences and his book has gained lots of followers. We recently talked to Thomas about what is needed for project success and what happiness has got to do with it.

Excerpts:

Thomas Juli: First of all, whenever I say this title people say ‘Well what do you mean by happiness and how does this fit in?’ and I explain ‘You know, there is an equation for project success and that is: LEADERSHIP + HAPPINESS = PROJECT SUCCESS’. And people look at me asking What do you mean? –Because happiness can be a result of project success’ and I say ‘No. It’s the other way around.’ For example, people say ‘I want to be promoted to the head of PMO and then I will be happy’, and then they achieve this stage. Are they happier? No, because life continues. Happiness is not linked with a career move or to anything. But if you’re happy internally and the team is happy, you can really create a lot of things because team synergy is “Team Magic”, what I call it.

Listen to the podcast here or download the whitepaper of the complete interview.

http://www.project-roadmap.com/project-portal/attachments/download/971

 

Posted in: Empowerment, Happiness, Institute, Leadership, WOW projects

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Search for Happiness as a Prerequisite for Project and Business Success


Happiness is a key ingredient for project and business success. Happiness, of course, is very subjective.  On the other side there are three elements that are recurring when asking people about their understanding of happiness.  These three elements are:

(1) pleasure

(2) purpose

(3) passion

While pleasure seems obvious to most people, purpose and passion go deeper.  They imply that in order to find happiness you have to know what your driver – your purpose – is.  Seems simple?  Yes, it is, or it ought to be.  Unfortunately, a lot of people fall prone to their own hectic lifestyle and calendars, pressure from society and business.  As a consequence they move further and further away from knowing their purpose.  They are becoming hamster running in a wheel, spinning faster and faster.  No wonder it is more likely that you get a response to the question “What makes you unhappy?” rather than the question “What makes you happy?”

Interestingly when you ask a child the question “what makes you happy?” you are more likely to receive a response.  How come?! I believe it is because children have less fallen victims to external pressure (even though they too can have quite a weekly schedule with sports clubs, music lessons, etc.).  They live in the moment, can – or shall we say, are allowed to – be passionate about their activities.

[Image credit: premasagar]

[Image credit: premasagar]

Hence, today, let’s stop for a moment and ask ourselves what deep inside motivates us, what we are passionate about.  Let’s listen within and find the spark of happiness which makes our lives so much easier and at the same time moves us closer to happiness and success.

Posted in: Happiness

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Day 1 of ‘Chairlift to Innovation’ on Mindful Leadership


Today, 27 January 2014, was the first day of my workshop “Chairlift to Innovation“.  I met with one other individual, who happens to work in the consulting world just like me.

Chairlift to Innovation - PosterWe decided to pick the topic of “Ethical Capitalism” as the overall topic of our workshop.  After the first run and chairlift ride we qualified it to “Mindful Leadership”.  We find that most companies these days limit their scope to the short-term gain and neglect the long run perspective.  While this may work and actually could be quite profitable, it is not the idea we have in mind when we are talking about mindful leadership.  Instead, it is important to take the long-term perspective into account when making short-term decisions.  Long-term aspects include customer and employee satisfaction and happiness, customer retention, business sustainability to name a few examples.

Both of us want to help organizations and companies to understand the value and need to take long-term perspectives into account when making decisions today.  This is not a contradiction.  It complements day to day business.  – For this purpose we will join forces building the Institute for Project and Business Transformation (name changed to “Human Business Academy for Today’s Economy” in December 2016). I will let you know shortly what concretely we have in mind.

Day 2 of Chairlift to Innovation is on Tuesday 28 January 2014

PhotoIf you happen to be in the Davos-Klosters region and want to test the new workshop format and have fun at the same time, let’s meet at the top of the Gotschnabahn in Klosters at 10 AM.  The meeting place is by the exit of the gondola building right before you exit to the slopes.

Skeptical? Just give it a try.  Or have you ever been in a workshop location directly in the mountains?!  Have a look at the picture on the left:  this could be your workshop space.

Last but not least, if you are interested in more impressions of the workshop, check out my Facebook page.

 

 

Posted in: Happiness, Upcoming Events, WEF

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Chairlift to Innovation: Building WOW Projects While Having Fun (Jan 27-29, 2014 in Davos-Klosters)


Interested in going beyond debating the hot topics of this year’s World Economic Forum? Why not share your ideas and turn them into concrete projects – and have fun at the same time!?

Then join the free Chairlift to Innovation and learn how to grow your ideas into projects for success. Let’s meet on the slopes and chairlifts of the magnificient resort of Davos-Klosters and share our ideas and turn them into concrete project proposals – and have fun at the same time. After all, what better location could there be where you can integrate good ideas, physical exercise and natural beauty!?

http://www.igluski.com/images/davos_i5245603.jpg?height=240&width=440DATES:

Monday January 27 – Wednesday January 29, 2014

COSTS:

None – except willingness to share ideas and desire to grow them into concrete projects

MEETING LOCATIONS:

  • Monday January 27, 2014, 10 AM, top of Gotschnabahn in Klosters (Parsenn).  PICTURES ARE AVAILABLE ON FACEBOOK
  • Tuesday January 28, 2014 & Wednesday January 29, 2014, 10 AM, top of Gotschnabahn in Klosters (Parsenn)
  • In case of a demand to meet in Davos at the base of the Jakobshorn instead, please call  or send me an email.  My local number is  +41 76 798 53 21; my email is tj@thomasjuli.com.

HOW DOES IT WORK? 

  • 1 day = 1 idea or problem to work on.
  • 1 lift ride = 1 question / lift ride to discuss.
  • 1 day = 1 or more concrete project proposals.

We start our workshop with a brief introduction where I will the explain the steps of growing a WOW project. Now for the practical part: for each chairlift ride we pick one, and only one, simple question, discuss it on the lift, then ski or snowboard, meet at the base of a given lift, pick the next question and move on.  This way we will be able to combine „work“ and fun at the same time.  During lunch break we check our interim results.  By 4 PM we should have a concrete project proposal.
How good of a  skier / snowboarder do you have to be?  Intermediate and better skiing or riding skills are recommended.

HOW TO FIND THE PARTY AT THE MEETING LOCATION?

At the meeting location, I will post the following sign:

Chairlift to Innovation - Poster

How can you find me? – I will be wearing a black jacket and green ski pants.

REGISTRATION

Just show up at the meeting place.  However, in order to facilitate planning it would be great if you could send an email to info@thomasjuli.com and express your interest in joining.

Can you bring friends?

Yes. We will form groups of 3-5 people.

Questions?

Call me or send an email.  My local number is  +41 76 798 53 21; my email is tj@thomasjuli.com.

 

For more information, visit http://motivate2b.com/chairlift-to-innovation/ or http://motivate2b.com/institute/

Posted in: Company News, Happiness, innovation, Upcoming Events, WEF

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Top tips for project mangers who want to step up and become great leaders


Susanne Madsen, author of The Project Management Coaching Workbook: 6 steps to unleashing your potential, has recently asked me what my top tips are for project mangers who want to step up and become authentic and impactful leaders who add real value, build great teams and get results.  She would like to include my input in her new book “7 Keys To Help You Transform From Project Manager To Project Leader”.  Here is my response:

Develop the MVP’s of project success

MVPThe big question project leaders need to ask is what they really want to achieve; on behalf of the project and on behalf of the team. This is not just about project deliverables, but about project success as a process. It is about considering the overall picture with all its constituent parts. Project leaders understand the purpose/motivation, vision and objectives of the project.  And they know that the heart and soul of every project is the team. They ensure that the team has a common understanding of the MVP – Motivation, Vision and Project Objectives – as it gives the team a strong common denominator.

  • Motivation addresses the purpose of the project.
  • Vision describes the ideal state after the identified problem has been resolved.  It gives the project a direction.
  • Project Objectives clarify and qualify the vision and describe the stepping stones toward that vision.

Ask ‘What makes you happy?’

In my own experience, most project teams may know the project objectives. But they often lack the understanding of the overall meaning of them, how they were developed and, more importantly, why.  But, it should not stop there. As a project leader, what you should do next is ask your individual team members about their personal MVPs. That is, what motivates them to be on the project? What do they envision for themselves personally and what are their personal objectives and aspirations? Give your individual team members time for reflection, and then ask each person to share their MVPs. This requires openness and trust; two ingredients of great leadership. As a leader reach out to your team and create an environment where it feels right to share this.

If you find it difficult to answer the MVP questions, ask: what makes you happy and why? How do you want to feel on this project? How do you want to be treated? And how do you want to treat others in their pursuit of personal happiness on the project? “[After all,] the only way to do great work is to love what you do, and to do what you love” (Scharmer, C. O., & Kaufer, K. (2013). Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies (p. 287). San Francisco: Berret-Koehler Publishers).

Spark Team Magic

The personal MVPs complement the MVP of the project. And yet, it shouldn’t stop there. The third dimension is the MVP of your team and community. Hence, ask your team what your MVP as a team should be. How does it fit in with the MVP of the project and how do you accommodate the individual MVPs within it? I have found these MVP exercises the most valuable investment in a project.

Leaders understand these three dimensions. They know that successful projects are not just about projects, but about people and a group of people forming a team or even a community.

The overlap of these three levels of MVPs can spark a WOW project where there is common understanding of the motivation and direction of the project as well as the drivers, visions and objectives of each individual and the team as a whole. This is a very, very strong foundation for project success.

 

New Upcoming Book by Susanne Madsen:
“7 Keys To Help You Transform From Project Manager To Project Leader”

This is the preliminary title of Susanne Madsen’s new book which has been commissioned by Kogan Page.  The goal of the book is to transform project managers into project leaders. The book aims to do so by shifting the project manager’s predominant managerial, reactive and task oriented mindset into one of empowerment, accountability, risk-taking and proactiveness – and to show them how to better focus on and lead people

Posted in: Book Recommendations, Empowerment, Happiness, Leadership, WOW projects

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How much do you want to invest in your WOW project?


http://fc03.deviantart.net/fs39/i/2008/323/7/1/High_Hopes_II_by_OrchidFeehan.jpgIt was a long wait.  Weeks, no, months.  Then, finally she won the long sought opportunity to work on a mega project.  A project that not only was long in duration but also involved lots of people and stakeholders.  What a challenge!  And what a feat!  So she thought.

She had worked on quite a few projects of virtually all sizes.  The big ones stood out.  For a number of reasons: the duration, the complexity, the team size, the fun and the rewards.  No wonder she was excited when she won the new deal.

This was several weeks ago.  Today, the world looked different.  Motivation  dropped significantly; the energy barrels were emptied, stress levels were constantly high. But why?! What happened? And why was this project different from the previous big projects?

The missing WOW factor

While there can be lots of possible answers, the main reason is that this new project lacked the WOW factor. Yes, it was a big project but without the wow.  “Wow Projects’?  Those are projects Tom Peters described as projects that add value, projects that matter, projects that make a difference, projects that leave a legacy.  And those are projects that bring happiness into our daily work life.  Both on the individual and team level.

Ingredients for a Wow project

A wow project is not created merely by its size or its complexity.  Instead, there a few ingredients for a project to evolve into a wow project.  Let’s have a look at these ingredients:

  1. There is a common MVP, i.e., motivation, vision and project objectives.  Team members and stakeholders alike have a common understanding of the MVP of the project and they support it.
  2. Collaboration is being nurtured.  For this to happen there are clear roles and accountabilities as well as collaboration rules that nourish true team work.
  3. Performance is being promoted.  This means that the environment and the people empower people to perform and show their best.  Performance and interim results are celebrated.
  4. As much as performance is promoted and appreciated, people know that mistakes and setbacks are inevitable.  Indeed, making mistakes are welcome and encouraged as they can provide outstanding learning experiences.  Not for learning by itself but toward a common goal, which brings us to the fifth factor, i.e.,
  5. ensuring results.  However beautiful the strategy may be, occasionally you have to look at results.  And they are delivered and celebrated on an ongoing basis and not just at the end of a project phase.

Necessary investments for a wow project

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-0e-_U3Jy2oY/TWDW5sWjFoI/AAAAAAAAACE/pF5iJKIm4AU/s828/Stop%2BPause.pngKnowing the ingredients for a wow project is one thing.  But a wow project still does not fall from heaven.  You have to help build it.  You have to invest into this building exercise.  And there are no guarantees.

You usually have at least two choices when you start or enter a project:

a) run, react and get busy.  Do what’s necessary and what’s being told. Try to meet deadlines and keep you head down.  Believe in the expertise of the others and hope for the best.

b) pause, reflect why you started the project in the first place, why you want to work on it. In other words, make sure that you and your team understand and live the factors for the evolution of a wow project.  This takes time and effort.  It cannot be done in between meetings, divided into smaller chunks spreaded over a period of weeks.

http://b.vimeocdn.com/ts/391/455/391455020_640.jpgIs it hard? It can be. But it always starts with a first step

Coming back to the individual described in the first paragraph of this post.  She realized that this project lacked the ingredients for a wow project.  And this was the beginning to a better project.  She was unhappy but didn’t want to accept it.  Hence, she stood up, gathered like minded team mates around her, talked about her frustration, shared her motivation and vision. Together they changed the situation.  At first, it was only their little sub teams.  From there it spreaded for people noticed that not only their performance and results improved significanlty, team members were also happy, thrilled, excited and highly motivated – without spending endless hours in unproductive meetings, trying to beat deadlines.  They were ahead of the game. And they still are.

What are you waiting for?!  Start building your own wow moment. Today

 

Posted in: Centeredness, Happiness, Project failure, Project success

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Your Path to Happy Leadership and Project Success


WebinarankündigungToday, 18 September 2013, I will be giving a free webinar for the PMI Information Systems Community of Practice entitled “Leadership, Happiness and Project Success”.   Follow this LINK to learn more about dial-in information

2 Ingredients for project success

In this webinar I am exploring two crucial ingredients for project success: empowering leadership and happiness.  I explains why and how leadership can help build successful projects by actively accounting for happiness on the individual, group, project and organizational levels.  Attendees will learn how to find a clear focus of what they really want to achieve, create a strategy through principle centered leadership, resolve project issues and align their priorities for happiness and project success.

Target Audience:  YOU

The presentation targets anyone who is sincerely interested in finding new and transforming ways to project success.  These can be individuals, project managers, project team members, line managers, line organizations, companies or social groups.

Free Registration

Registration is free for active PMI members.  If you are not a PMI member and still want to view the presentation, have a look at my handout on Slideshare. Or, if you like to receive a pdf version of the presentation, please contact me directly.

What’s next?

Institute FolieIn my webinar I am talking about my personal vision of helping build an Institute for Project and Business Transformation.  This cannot be done by oneself.  Instead, it takes the effort of like-minded people and a strong, performing team.  On this token I want to invite you to join this great effort.  Stay tuned for updates on this new and exciting project.

 

Posted in: Centeredness, Company News, Empowerment, Happiness, Leadership, Project Management, Project success, Training

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What I have learned about leadership as a ski-instructor


It is the heat of the summer and I am thinking of skiing?! Well, yes, why not.  I am thinking of skiing lots of time, regardless of the season.  Why?  Because it is one of my dearest passions.  Hence, there is no such thing as season-based thinking.  But there is another reason why I bring up skiing. It is through my many years as a ski-instructor that I have learned a LOT about leadership.  Let me share with you why, how and what elements I find critical in and for effective leadership:

Passion

I have been a passionate skier and snowboarder for as long as I can remember.  Sharing this passion in the form of teaching skiing and snowboarding is rewarding and fund.  My clients as well as other skiers can see and feel my passion which is contagious and thus can help them to improve their skiing.

P1090337Fun

Well, do I have to add anything.  Of course, I love skiing and teaching because it is FUN.

Empowering people

Sharing my experience and expertise with others gives me the tickles.  I cannot micromanage my clients, do a move for them.  I can show them, encourage them and help them build their own skills set through a progression of exercises.  But they have to do it.

Listening

A good instructor is a good listener.  And not only verbal listening.  You have to be able to read the body and emotional language of your clients.

Motivation – Vision – Goals

Good ski instructors can quickly find out what motivates their clients to come to a ski “lesson”, what their vision is and what their goals are.  They may not always be feasible.  But that’s not the point.  Understanding what drives your clients is a foundation for a joyful day and building a good learning environment.

Roadmap, planning

Yes, as a ski instructor you do plan your lesson.  The longer you have taught the more experience you have, the bigger the bag of tricks you bring a long.  At the same you know that it is futile to plan every single detail of your lesson.  It is not about the lesson plan a ski instructor may have, it is about the client.  And they are on vacation and may change their plans of the day.  If in this case you stick to your plan, you lose your client.  Hence, a plan is a good orientation if you stay flexible.  This brings me to the next point …

Let it happen

Learning how to ski cannot be accomplished in a class room.  You have to go outside and do it.  For the ski instructor this means you have to give your clients the chance to practice, practice, practice and ski, ski, ski.  Don’t try to control your clients. Let it happen and go with the flow.

Playing

Teaching is fun and rewarding. But it is not limited to instructing.  Playing, i.e., skiing, is and always has to be a central part of your successful lesson.

Frustration

I would have to lie if I claim that every single ski lesson is a bliss.  This is not the case.  There are days when things just don’t go as planned, everything is off track.  Frustration looms and it is just a bad day.  This is important, too, for you appreciate the normal and better days even more.

Corporate identity

I have worked at many ski resorts for quite a few companies.  Teaching skiing is always fun, no doubt.  And yet, it makes a big difference if you can also identify yourself with the mission of the company you work for.  At Vail Ski Resorts one of the corporate mottos is “Making vacation dreams come true”.  During the onboarding workshops prior to my first (of nine) seasons at Vail we were explained that it is expected from us to live by this motto.  Well, this wasn’t difficult at all.  “Making vacation dreams come true” means that as a ski instructor you go the extra mile to make a ski lesson a memorable experience to your cllient.  And whenever they have fun and enjoy themselves, you do, too.  Things flow freely.  Big smiles.

Sharpen your saw / continuous improvement

Being a fully certified ski does not mean that I have stopped training.  The opposite is the case.  Formally, every ski instructor has to attend 2-3 days of training every other year.  Personally, I am always looking for good training opportunities.  These can be formal trainings or skiing with peers and asking them for feedback.  If you want to stay on the cutting edge you have to do something about it.  This means that you always have to sharpen your saw.

Precaution and preparation

Skiing is an outdoor activity.  Weather in the mountains can change within minutes.  There may be a blue sky in the morning and a severe snow storm in the afternoon.  Good ski instructors take necessary precaution for themselves and their client.

Enjoying the environment

When was the last time you explained to a client “Welcome to my office!” and the client looked at you with awe and said “I wish I could spend some more time here.”  My office when I teach skiing = the mountains and the great outdoors.  They are not “my” office.  I may use the space.  And I am grateful for it.

Identity

Sometimes I wonder what it is that I love so much about skiing and teaching skiing.  Good question.  I believe it that the fact that teaching skiing gives me the opportunity to integrate passion and thus happiness with my work.  It is all one at one point.

Posted in: Empowerment, Happiness, Leadership, Miscellaneous

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Passion = More than just an ingredient to leadership and happiness


In an article entitled “The Secret to Living a Passionate Life” in the book Pearls of Wisdom explain that you don’t have to be a celebrity to live a happy, joyful, fullfilling and successful life.  Everyone can. The key is that you have to know what you are passionate about. “When your life is connected to those passions, it feels meaningful, and when your life has meaning, it is fulfilling.”

passion in a groupKnow your passions and live them

Sounds simple?  It is.  You have to and actually you do want to know your passions.  If you don’t know them or try to conceal them, it is about time that reveal and follow them. This is especially important if you are interested in developing and practicing leadership.  You have to know what drives you.  Not just on the outer world, but deep inside you.

What are my passions?

For one, empowering people and organizations through leadership.  Believe me, this is not just a phrase.  It is a mantra, a philosophy and attitude.  Empowerment is powerful for those you empower and for yourself and the energy you receive from those you empower.

So, what are your passions?

 

 

Posted in: Centeredness, Happiness, Leadership

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Leadership doesn’t need tools but principles


Developing my new workshop “Leadership, Happiness and Project Success” I came across the question whether or not there can be tools for developing leadership.  After all, the second part of the preliminary workshop agenda read “Create a strategy with the best tools possible”.  It is a legitimate question and I think easy to answer:  If you ask me if leadership requires tools my response is “No! Leadership requires principles.”  Principles give you guidance and an orientation.  Tools are superficial, they are means to reach a goal but no more.

Remember the saying “A fool with a tool is still a fool”?  Well, this applies to those who are interested in leadership, too.  No, just by applying good and effective tools you do not develop leadership.  Leadership goes deeper, it comes from within, i.e., you have to know where you are coming from, what drives you and where you want to go.

In a project setting I have found the following leadership principles most helpful:

1Build Vision

Sharing a common vision and goals with your team and organization and having the same understanding how to achieve it are key factors for project success.

2Nurture Collaboration

A performing team yields synergy effects; the impossible becomes possible. This is why team building is crucial.

3Promote Performance

Both on the individual and team level. Inspire and ignite team magic.

4Cultivate Learning

Effective leaders are open for receiving and giving feedback. It requires courage to explore new avenues and to make mistakes and to learn from them.

5Ensure Results

Delivering results is both a prerequisite and an outcome of effective leadership.

 

These five principles are not limited to the role of the project manager or project leader. Indeed, you can apply the five principles of effective leadership in any role you fill on a project, whether as the official project sponsor, project manager, team member, external consultant, project auditor, or any other project role.

Practice leadership in your role, and thus contribute to project success

It may be difficult at times. But it is possible. Every journey, regardless of how long it may be, starts with the first step. Take this step and move forward.

Posted in: Centeredness, Happiness, Leadership, Project success, Uncategorized

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