Some Concepts to Consider


Around 1989 I was asked to be Project Manager for a highly visible, business critical, technologically leading-edge project for my company. This involved a total replacement of the Customer view of data on our files, complete with the installing of a new color PC for each major client. Though the software was essentially mainframe-based, the PC view would look and act just like Windows. The stress of managing this project was tremendous. I lived the project, and was immersed in coordinating all the details and issues to insure a successful implementation. The VP in charge at the time loved to micro-manage, and questioned every dependency, every critical path milestone, and even the resource task assignments. In one meeting, when he saw my frustration with his questions, he asked why I objected to his asking these questions. I had to tell him that my job was to manage the project, and he either trusted me to do that, or he should have someone else do it. He said of course he trusted me to manage the project, and that's why he asked for me to be the Project Manager. We then agreed he had permission to ask any questions he wanted – but that on detail day-to-day decisions he would back off and accept what I decided. While the project was in full swing, my parents both became critically ill. The way I handled the stress of my job was – when I left the office for the hospital - I totally immersed myself in my family obligations and health-care life-and-death decisions, which were much more important than the work. But then when I was on the job, and there was nothing to be done for my family that the hospitals, homes, social workers, and others weren't already doing, so I immersed myself in the Project and set aside all the emotional turmoil.

I do not usually tell jokes, but one that I remember is very appropriate here. There were 3 men to be executed, by a blade that dropped to lop off their heads. The rules were that the person could have a choice to lay down on the table face up or face down. Also, since the blade did not always fall properly, if the subject was not beheaded the first try, the executioner was not permitted a second try, and the subject could go free. First came a Doctor, who elected to lie face down. The executioner axed through the rope holding the blade up, and the blade began to fall. Just before the blade reached the Doctor's neck, it stopped its fall, and the task was aborted – the Doctor went free. Next came a Lawyer, who also opted to lie face down, and the same thing happened – the blade stopped short, and the Lawyer was freed. Finally, the third man was an Engineer (or business analyst, or programmer analyst, or consultant – any problem-solver would have the same result). The Engineer chose to lie face up. The executioner was just about to cut the rope with his ax, when the Engineer – looking up at the apparatus – cried out "Stop! I see what the problem is!"

  • When you observe a problem, or wish "they" (company/management) would handle things differently (or wish life dealt you a better hand), what are some of the things you might do?
    • Gripe about it to family, friends, coworkers
    • Change jobs (run away /escape)
    • Work together to improve the process and eliminate the problem

    • Scorpion & Frog Story
    A scorpion and a frog both needed to cross the lake. The scorpion asked the frog if he would give him a ride on his back while he hopped from lily pad to lily pad to go across the lake. The frog said he was fearful that the scorpion would sting him and he would die. The scorpion suggested the frog use some logic here – since if the scorpion stung the frog while riding on his back, they would both drown – so why would the scorpion do such a thing? This made sense to the frog, so the scorpion crawled aboard and the frog began hopping across the lake. About halfway across, the scorpion stung the frog. The frog cried out in shock: "What did you do that for? Now we both will die!" To which the scorpion replied: " I can't help it, it is my nature."

    • R.S.V.P.

    • Responsibility
      • Remember the Ocean Waves
      • Can be a very positive feeling

    • Stress and Expectations
      • "All of Life's Greatest Disappointments are due to Unrealistic Expectations." (Unrealistic expectations come from unfulfilled needs.)
      • We all want and need a little C.A.R. (give it to yourself & others)
      • Caring
      • Acceptance
      • Respect
      • Balance your Life and Stresses (use one side of the brain to rest the other)

    • Value of Time and Work
      • The Gift of Time – how valuable it is
      • Being paid money for your Valuable Time and work-attention
      • What else of Value are you getting from your work?

    • Positive Problem-Solving Approach
      • What is your approach to Business Situations, and to Life?
      • Determine what you want your attitude (your "nature") to be, and incorporate it in your Work and in your Life

    By BobiJo   2000