Speaker 1 00:00:07 Welcome to AC what you mean a podcast about how people get on the same page or don't, or perhaps shouldn't today? My guest is Joel Lonnie, Joseph founder, and owner of project management experts in Leesburg, Virginia, and a longtime friend and consultant colleague, Joe. Welcome to the show. Hi
Speaker 2 00:00:23 Lou. Thanks for having us. You're
Speaker 1 00:00:25 Welcome. I'm looking forward to it. Give us a short bio. So listeners know something about you,
Speaker 2 00:00:31 PMA project management experts. Uh, it's been around since 2008 or so, and we're a project management and agile training company. We have over 30 instructor led project management classes, agile classes, leadership classes, and we primarily work with the federal government. Uh that's that's our market here in the Washington DC area, but we also offer over, uh, over 300, uh, e-learning online on demand courses, uh, for students that either don't have the time or need to get quick training to maintain their certifications, et cetera. So, so it's fun. I enjoy it. And I liked helping people and I like helping people's careers. And it's funny
Speaker 1 00:01:21 You, before you began the training, you were a project manager and some software development and other
Speaker 2 00:01:28 Yeah. Oh yeah. I've been it's it's over. I, I stopped counting. It's been 35 years. I started with Ernst and young. Although back when I was with them, they were Arthur Young it's some of the old school folks would remember Arthur. So that's where I got my start in project management. It was probably in the nineties. I really got interested in best practices. I mean, I thought there had to be a method to this madness and that's about the time where the project management Institute was starting to really take a hold in our industry and develop practices and create a common way of addressing and managing projects. So I worked in PMOs and project management offices and, and, uh, had a lot of fun doing that and, uh, decided my last job would be working for myself. Yeah. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:02:21 Excellent. Well, we have a lot to talk about when it comes to project management and getting on the same page. I I'm not certified, although you try to certify me, I just, I wasn't available. I could have used that on demand, uh, opportunity about eight years ago, the commitment it, and I didn't have the time, but I'm well aware of the depth and breadth of project management as a, as a proper practice, like the PIM Bach as, as the standard, right? The project management body of knowledge and it's, it's broad and it's deep. So there's a lot that people have to get on the same page about, but let's start with a broad question to you. What does it mean for people to be on the same page in a project there's so many roles, so many people, so many things, what's it mean?
Speaker 2 00:03:11 Yeah. And it's a, uh, it's a good question. And it on face value it's it feels very black and white, but being on the same page is at least in my mind is the equivalent of asking, you know, what is, what is the meaning of life? I mean, it's just, it's just, it's that broad. Um, and the reason I say this is because this is a communication question. I mean, this is how do we communicate effectively? Why do we communicate? We communicate, especially in project work, we communicate because we have a clearly defined goal. Not always, especially in certain agile related projects, but we have a general goal and we all have to get there. We as a team, we, as a project team have to get there and we've got to get there together and it helps to be on the same page, but getting there is difficult because again, we're talking about communication, we're talking about, you know, the old sender and receiver model where we're, you know, both parties are communicating and we're refining our messages so that we're on the same page.
Speaker 2 00:04:18 And, and that's where the that's where the rubber hits the road. Because when we communicate, you know, we bring with us so much baggage, we bring up, we bring in our upbringing, our communications, our personality styles, our previous experiences, and just about everything that we communicate. Yeah. And it can be, it could be relatively simple. For example, I can remember being a kid, you know, growing up and my every morning, my mother would yell up the steps, you know, don't forget to make your bed right. And, and to this day and my house, you know, my wife and I, my job is to make the bed in the morning, probably because I'm the last one out of it. She gets up earlier than I do. And, and occasionally she'll say to me, did you, did you make the bed? And my first response is, stop nagging me.
Speaker 2 00:05:13 And I know where it comes from. It comes from, you know, being a teenager and being told, you know, Hey, did you make your bed? And, and she's not doing anything wrong. I mean, it's a matter of, we bring with us all that, all that with us in every communication that we, so are we on the same page? Well, frankly, the bed's made, right? So we're on the same page, but what I'm hearing, what she's communicating is sometimes totally different things. So that's just a simple, simple example, but anytime we communicate, we, we bring that, we bring that background, we bring that baggage, if you will, um, and went to the communication.
Speaker 1 00:05:54 So, right. And what's so powerful that the example is powerful because it's simple. So if there can be different meanings meant or not meant in such a simple communication, we can, we know how complicated communication can be at work on a project. When you've got people on a project team representing different parts of an organization, right. And they all live in their own worlds, meaning, and those worlds are big. If you come from production or delivery or you come from working with the customer or you come from it or HR, there's a whole world unto itself that you, like you said, the baggage you bring to the meeting, you bring to the project. And there's ways in which we there's things that we see in a situation and not other things. And there's things that we make of a situation and not other things. And there's things that we think we should do about a situation as a means to an end. And not other things. If you've got two people or 10 people doing that independently, it gets complicated. It is. And so the challenge and the challenge in any relationship is to align that. And, and, and you're absolutely right. It's communication. Communication is the means of the mechanism by which we try to align all those things. So what, what, what, what makes for good communication and on a project team to manage the kind of things we've just described?
Speaker 2 00:07:22 Well, I think that, you know, I think Stephen Covey said it best when he said, um, and I'm paraphrasing. No, to be understood. We must first seek to understand. Yeah. And I think what he actually said was, um, you must first seek to understand and then seek to, to be understood. Yeah. So my answer to that question is, you know, we have to listen, we have to active listening. We have to provide feedback. We have to negotiate. The biggest thing is empathy and understanding even in, in, even though we don't agree, I'll give you an example, Lou, just very recently, I, you know, I have a, I have a small cadre of, of instructors and in my industry, it's not uncommon for training companies to grab instructors from industry, to jump in and teach a class and then go away. They're not employees, but they're independent contractors right now.
Speaker 2 00:08:20 I try to keep the same small cadre, so of instructors, but I had one particular instructor. Uh, we had a discussion. She told me as we were coming out of COVID in, in November and December, you know, all of my instructors, except one, this is a, is, is vaccinated. And she told me, she said, Joe, look, I I'm just not comfortable getting vaccinated. And she sent this in an email and I said, oh God, this is going to be a problem. Because you know, I'm responsible for Mike and giving you my perspective. I'm responsible for, at the very minimum when students and instructors show up to teach for PMB at a very minimum, you know, it's an expectation that they will be safe, that they won't leave their being sick or even getting very sick and dying. Right. And I'm talking about everybody, not just the students, but my instructors as well.
Speaker 2 00:09:14 Right. And I take that very, I take that very seriously and she told me she's and then I decided to soak it. Okay, look, you, and I need to talk a little bit, I need to understand I'm fully vaccinated and boosted as are all, most of my, all of my other instructors, except one. And we had a talk and I told myself going into that conversation, I was going to really have to listen to what she had to say. And I, and I, and I totally, and in all fairness, I don't agree with her. She has some, you know, she has some religious, uh, issues with it. She has some, and she's angry with the pharmaceutical companies and she has elderly parents that she's helping take care of. But I listened. And I said, and she told me, she explained her position. And she said, look, I understand. She goes, I, I take a test daily, I'll take a test before I go into class. And, but I listened to her and I really tried to understand her perspective. And she, and I explained to her to my perspective, and I explained to her, look, it feels like to me that I'm more concerned about your health than you're concerned about your own health. And we laughed. And she said, yeah, but I'm willing to take the risk with that. And I said, I respect that, which is her
Speaker 1 00:10:32 Choice. Now that the students take that risk without
Speaker 2 00:10:36 Exactly. Exactly. And, you know, and, and by the way, she's a great instructor. And I'll, I'll, you know, I'm not afraid to say that, you know, that I need her. I mean, she's good instruct she's knowledgeable. Yes. She has the certifications that she needs in order to teach certain classes that we offer. And I like her very much. She's not somebody that I dislike.
Speaker 1 00:10:58 You wouldn't care. Right.
Speaker 2 00:10:59 Right. And so I care about her and I care about my students and I explained that to her, but I listened. I could've said to her, look, Hey, if you're not vaccinated, we can't use you period. Right. Right. Um, I could have made a mandative. Yeah. Yeah. And she's not an employee. Right, right. So it would be very easy for me to say, Hey, and I can find other instructors to be honest with you, but I don't want to, I like keeping
Speaker 1 00:11:25 Basically question because you have Covey statement as your, as at the bottom of your emails. I know that it is important to you. I think it's phenomenal that you prepped yourself for the call with her, by saying, I got to listen, because what that tells me, I'm going to, I'm going to, I'm going to say this. And you told me if from right or wrong, what that tells me is you were aware of your own reaction to her email. You were aware of, uh, opinions, concerns, a position you had, uh, as the owner of the business. Those are your contracts with the federal government, right? Yeah. So you were aware of those things, but you didn't, you didn't, you didn't take an approach to the call where you were going to be sure that you, you didn't start with those things you started with listening. So where did you learn along the way? This is a personal thing. It doesn't have to do with project management, but where did you learn along the way to check yourself that way to check yourself and say, let me hear and see what I learned, because then it might change what I think, or it might not be I'm in a different position to speak after I've heard.
Speaker 2 00:12:33 Yeah. That's a good question. And you know, when I think back on my career, you know, I've always, and, and it's grown over the years. I've always believed in more of a collaborative approach. I've always believed in building relationships with people never totally bought into command and control type attitude where you I'm in charge. You do what I say, you know, and it's all about what I want and everybody else must follow. Yeah. And so when I found myself in, in cultures that didn't buy into that. Yeah. I'll another, I remember years ago I worked for a company and I was running a project management office and I was a senior director and my vice president decided to join one of my project meetings. And we were getting, I was, we were, I was trying to implement or recommending, we implement some changes in how we manage projects.
Speaker 2 00:13:31 It put it in a nutshell and I was getting feedback. I was getting feedback from various team members. What do you think about this? Will this work? And the reason I was getting it, because, you know, I was relatively new with the company and some of these folks had been in the company for seven years. Sure. So even though, you know, I'm the leader or the manager for me to not to go into the, you know, into the lieutenants and say, what do you all think of this? Is this gonna work? And when I did this, my vice president shot a look at me. You know, it's one of those piercing looks, he shot a look at me and I pulled him aside after the meeting. And I asked him, I said, Hey, what was that about? And he says, her, do you have any questions or come any? And he looked at me and says, your, the director, you don't ask for, you don't ask for feedback. You do it. It shocked me. It took me off guard. And you know, I didn't, I didn't, frankly, I didn't last in that company, as long as there you go. And, um, so, but I just knew it wasn't my style.
Speaker 1 00:14:37 When you were speaking, I was thinking, I want you to pick up, I was thinking about your personality and style. So yeah. I think that's where I wanted to ask you.
Speaker 2 00:14:47 Yeah. It, it, I think for me, it's a personality thing. You remember, you know, you and I came up in the, in the eighties and the nineties when the organizations were running mostly in a command and control,
Speaker 1 00:15:03 What was that? You know, that the Henry Ford, uh, you know, that industrial era mindset.
Speaker 2 00:15:10 Yeah, yeah, exactly. And the Japanese and the Japanese taught us that, you know, uh, you know, if you're a, if you're, if you're a frontline worker in a factory, you can stop the plant. You can stop the assembly line and, and management must come down and listen to you and engage with you. And they found that it created better products, better.
Speaker 1 00:15:32 Right. Total quality,
Speaker 2 00:15:34 Quality products. Exactly. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:15:36 So let's go back to your story. I didn't mean to cut you off. I wanted to ask you, I think it's most of what people think when they think of communication is sending you, you mentioned this Stan receiver model, and most of what people think is sending, and if you Google effective communication, most of what you see is about how to send better, how to be clearer, how to be more persuasive, all those. Right. And it's a billion dollar industry, right. There's stuff out there about listening, but it's the, it gets the minority emphasis in, in, in, in the, it gets, it's the minority note. It's the lighter note in the symphony, but you said a production to call. I knew I had to listen. So then how did, how did it go? I think that's great that you caught yourself that way and that your train yourself that way. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:16:26 Yeah. It was, it was a, first of all, it was a conscious, it was a conscious effort, right? It, it, it, I think for, you know, for a lot of us that doesn't come naturally, we, we want it, we want to get our point across and we'll do whatever, whatever we can to make sure we're heard. Uh, but in this situation, you know, I knew it was, I had to consciously say, I need to hear her out
Speaker 1 00:16:50 When she was speaking, where you picking up on things, she said, and ask them more about them, where you'd like, checking your own impulse to, to jump in. And
Speaker 2 00:16:59 Yeah. Um, now with Hertz easy, um, it, it varies with the individual. It's easy because, you know, we have a good relationship. She respects me, I respect her. Um, you know, and, and so it was, it was easier. Some people it's, it's just, it's just harder to, to listen to. So when I jumped in, I decided I need to listen first. And I needed to understand what the issues were. And I was very happy to hear that the issues were not, you know, it was less about, you know, I don't believe the vaccine works or it wasn't anything wasn't conspiracy theories. There were, there were heartfelt things with her that were important. And so it made, so frankly, when I listened to her and I got her feedback, I felt much better because this wasn't based in her, her opinions weren't based in lies. And weren't bait.
Speaker 2 00:17:55 Now I've had other conversations with family members that were totally based in lies and that's much harder, but it can be done if you consciously go into it. You're right. Attitude. You're right. We'll listen first. But I think Lou is important in my view. Anyway, it's important to consciously say to yourself, I will go in and I will start with listening. I will start. And it doesn't mean that you're there to be bowled over. No, no, no. You're not there to be. You're there to have an opinion. You're there to express yourself. You might be there to persuade. Yes. And to make a decision. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:18:32 So you heard things that you could respect and then that conversation went well, then I know you, we known it for 20 years now. I know that what you would have said to her, you would have delivered respectfully. Could I, I can imagine that conversation going well, which is, which is what you said it did. And, you know, you're still working with her and, and, and, you know, the government's shutting down again and you could do things remotely when she's going to do that. Right. Let's switch gears to a project team where you're in your training or back when you were, you know, a project manager let's set sort of set the stage as a project meeting. And it could be a kickoff, but let's just say we're into, into a project. And there's some kind of working meeting or status meeting about how things are going.
Speaker 1 00:19:14 And most people don't go into those meetings with the first thought being that they should listen. Yeah. They go in there with the first thought that in some of them might be expected to speak about some aspects of the schedule or the budget or something in the project quality. And so they're ready to speak and most people are ready to speak. What do you, what do you see happen in those group discussions? Or what do you teach about the balance of listening? Do you use Covey's line in your, in your training? Do you recommend students listen, and to be, to understand, and then, and then have something to say, okay,
Speaker 2 00:19:53 Let's talk about from my experience and let me comment academically, because you know, there are academic guidelines that we teach when we're teaching project management. Well, let me start with that. Right? The academic is then the best practice is, and what we've been teaching for the last three to four years or so, is that every team when that team forms, uh, should have a, what we call a team charter and a team charter is it's really, it works best when it's negotiated with the team, the team does it, the team facilitates it, the project manager, I think, needs to be involved in it, certainly, but the team writes the team charter and the team charter sets. What is the goal? How are we going to function as a team? How will we function in meetings? What is the, like, for example, we will show up at meetings and you must have a, um, you must have an agenda.
Speaker 2 00:20:48 And part of the bullet, one of the bullet points and a team charter would be that everybody should get an opportunity to share equally. And you could even have a bullet point that everybody must try to listen and to understand each other's perspectives. So you can actually build that into a handwritten document. And it becomes a, becomes a proclamation that this is how you'll function together. And we're teaching that now. That's never been, I've been doing this. I mean, I've been teaching formally, I've been teaching project management since oh eight or so, but I did it before that. And it's only been in the last few years that this has been a formal project artifact that is created along the way. So there's, there's an academic reason to do this. There's an academic practice in doing this. Now, putting that aside for a second, I think it early in the project, it's good for the project manager to lay that groundwork and to state early in the project.
Speaker 2 00:21:48 Look, we, you know, we, we want to respect each other and we want to listen to each other and we want to share each other's ideas. But, and I think the, but although I hate thrown butts in the, but is we still got to get things done, right. You know, and we still, if we can collaborate, if we can reach consensus together, that's a good thing. Uh, but there will be times that I'm going to have to say, folks, look, we got to move on. The customer wants this, and it's time to make it and go this direction.
Speaker 1 00:22:22 I just a half step back. Um, there's some things in the PIM Bach that recommend or stipulate what should be in a charter. But I, but I, I, I, I heard what you said a little bit differently, besides some things that maybe should formally be in there. Like you said, for academic reasons, it's also useful, especially like you said, if the team develops it, it's useful for people to put in there as guidelines for their own behavior, right. Guidelines for their behavior, how they want to interact with each other. Somebody I knew in DC who worked for a new her when she was a staff to the, um, uh, uh, a congressional commission looking at acquisition reform, he told me one time she's civilian, but she was on an air force project team. And they came up with guidelines like that, of their own, not so much formal or official ones, but their own operating rules.
Speaker 1 00:23:13 So for example, they agreed nobody on a team, people could report to five or 10 different chains of command, right? Yeah. Nobody on the team would take something outside the team until it had been vetted by the team first, meaning you, you give the team a chance to work on something together. If you've got to take it up a chain of command, everybody understands that, but don't end run the team to do it, bring to the team first, especially if it's a problem, bring the problem to the team. First. She said that it was the highest performing team she was ever on. I mean, the culture of that team, the esprit de Corps and the team culture just was at a highest level she'd ever worked with. And I think it was partly, it could have been the personalities. It could have been the project.
Speaker 1 00:23:54 It could have been a few things, but what she was telling me was it was partly because we said, here's how we're going to work together. And they abided by it. They stuck to it. So then you're developing trust, right? You're developing respect for each other. You might give yourselves an opportunity to problem solve, which you could have circumvented if you'd acted in different. And then you start to learn, geez. You know, Joe, Joe thinks of things this way. I don't, I want to bring this up to him because now I want to get a PR perspective. I don't usually have, or, you know, any Amy Amy's, Amy's always hard charging, but you know, she keeps us lined up to the VA. You start to respect the differences that people have and maybe, maybe optimize with them. Exactly,
Speaker 2 00:24:40 Exactly. And it's interesting. Um, where you talking about, is this a military project? Yeah. Yeah. The reason I say that is because, you know, I teach a lot of military folks. I just got back from, from Colorado at Fort Carson. And I taught, there were 19, there were, there were half the class were officers, half the class were non coms, but you see it and they'll tell you, they, you see it in the military. I mean, you're advising, you know, you have, you have junior people advising senior officers, you know, at the, at the major and the Colonel level. And, but in a classroom, you can't tell who's in shock. And it's because it's because they're collaborating, they're used to collaborate together and, and it's, and you see that in the Pentagon. I mean, you, you know, we think that there's a very top-down structure and on an org chart, it is very top down. It is, but they're not adverse to collaborating. They're not adverse to sharing ideas. As a matter of fact, it's an expectation that you will advise if you're a, you know, if you're a Lieutenant or a captain it's expected that you will advise the major or the Colonel whoever's running your unit, that you will provide them with the information that they need and the advice that they need to run their unit. It's, it's interesting because the, the military demonstrates this better than the, I think, than the commercial.
Speaker 1 00:26:05 It can, you know, I was years ago when we were both in Leesburg, I was doing some interest, the air force put all of its officers through interest based negotiation training. They wanted that particular negotiate form of negotiation training. And so I'm talking about now, I'm talking about, there are generals in these classes. Yeah. Nobody was exempt. Every officer went through like a three and a half day training. Joe is not a small commitment of time. Right. That was chatting with a general winter break. And he said, you know, when I was, when I was a young officer, I looked up the chain of command and couldn't wait to climb up there because I thought that's where all the decisions were made. And he said, now that I'm a gentleman, he said, I realize my job is to make sure everybody below me is successful at their jobs. Yeah, exactly. It just flipped for him as he went up the chain of command and it is much more of that mindset of we're gonna, we're going to win or lose together. Right.
Speaker 2 00:27:07 Right. Well, you just defined the definition of servant leadership, right. In describing your example, what the general. And I really feel that our industry, whether you're a project management or otherwise is moving that direction. At least I hope so. We're moving away from command and control towards more of a, you know, a servant leadership model where we're encouraging our job as leaders is to make sure we're creating other good leaders and we're supporting them and get the job.
Speaker 1 00:27:38 And that's very much inculcated in the military culture for a number of reasons. One of which is they move so often. Yeah. It's your job to re to train your replacement because you're going to rotate out at some point in time. I don't mean in 15 years, maybe two, maybe one, right. You're going to rotate out and you train your replacement and there's that ethic of succession plan. Right. You know, you know, Bob, not only because you worked with him and, uh, drained him, remember Bob's name, he's a retired air force Colonel. And he was in the air force, I don't know, 20 years ago, 15 years ago. Uh, and so at that time, he, he, so I had, I had a competition with him within the last couple of years about the appropriate use of command and control. And there's times when it's appropriate, like in, in dangerous situations and crisis situations that arise, someone's gotta be in command and others have to follow.
Speaker 1 00:28:27 Yup. Yup. And that's what you're in that role for. But apart from those situations, he said, the fact that somebody can command someone he said is sometimes, and he emphasized it like this, Joe. He said, it's the worst way to talk to somebody. He couldn't emphasize enough. That's not the way if you're senior, anybody who will do what you tell them that. Yeah. But that's not, that's not how they, you get the best out of them. No, Bob's, we're big on the servant leader, the leader, a philosophy too. And I know you are. Yeah. Here's an interesting thing. Joe, project management and the PIM Bach are not the same thing. You can manage projects without the pin Bach and it might or might go well or not. But the pin buck is a defacto standard. It's sort of command and control brand guideline.
Speaker 2 00:29:17 Right. It's not a mandate, but we ought to be careful. A lot of people think that, oh, I have to manage to do it right way. I have to manage the weight, the textbooks
Speaker 1 00:29:25 That's where I was going with it. Cause it's got, it's got the feeling to it, of command and control because it's a standard. It so many intelligent people, you look through the, the preface of that thing. So many experienced and intelligent people spent so many thousands of putting it together. Yeah. It's, there are best practices for a reason. And so you don't want to not follow best practices. So you can have a, you can accidentally or inadvertently adopt a command and control attitude or approach when you're in, you're doing project management, whether you're the project manager or you're running a piece of a project, especially if they're big projects. Yeah. So what are you doing with that these days in training and what are you seeing happen?
Speaker 2 00:30:09 Well, I think that it's interesting, you bring it up because the project management Institute, I think recognize that. And if you look at the new PIM Bach and, and your, your experiences, at least from a PIM Bach perspective is have been from, I think pin box five and six. Yeah. Now pin box seven pin box, all that structure, all that, step-by-step all that command and control. All that has been taken out of the new pin pin box seven is much more it's like they played 52 card pickup with all the process. And, um, so they they've totally they've restructured if you will. All of those processes. And I mean, there's, there's for example, the new test, the new pin box or the new PMP exam. I think 50% of it is no, I'm sorry. 42% of it is about people. It's about managing it's about leading it's about building teams and they've never done that.
Speaker 2 00:31:13 It's always been about structured, initiating, planning, executing, and they took all that out. But, but it's, but the important stuff is still there, especially in planning, but it's much more about people, leadership and process. I mean, people and leadership and team building and building a provide performing team, all the things that we've been discussing as has been moved into the new versions of the new version of the PIM Bach. And even PMI is saying, Hey, this pin Bock is not the end of all ends. I mean, they keep teeth Dicky telling us, you know, don't tell people that the test is only about the PIM Bach. The test is, is based upon six or seven different periodicals. And the pin Bock is just one of them. So they're loosening it up on all that. So, um, but, but your point is well taken because we have to think as project managers, which are leaders, I mean, project managers should be more than just dictators. They should be. And I think this is a challenge because we have to know as project managers, when to manage meaning when to command and control and when to lead and when to collaborate. And we've gotta be able to float between those two. And I think the new pin box, you know, is, is, is trying to go that
Speaker 1 00:32:34 Direction. Yeah. That's interesting.
Speaker 2 00:32:36 And I think it's a positive direction. It was awkward when we first got it and had to teach it and I'm like, oh my God, this is a total different mindset. You know, the leader in me felt, wow, this is a good idea. The trainer in me said, oh my God, I got to relearn. I got to readjust on it. Oh, I do all his stuff. And I like teach you all this stuff, but it's a good thing. And I'm adjusting, it's been a year now. So I'm adjusting, I've taught it. I don't know, six, seven times last year. So I'm adjusting to it. We're changing all of our curriculum to adjust to it because we have to move with our classes, have to move with the industry. Sure.
Speaker 1 00:33:16 Do you see people aspiring to, let's say lead by listening. Here's what, here's what I was thinking of. Here's what came back to me, the definition of on the same page, I have a, an operating definition, a definition I use, but I want to share another one with you. Mine is agreeing enough to take a next step together. So we don't talk about some total or final agreement, but Lou and Joe are agreeing enough to double-check the numbers in that budget, or to prototype something, agreeing enough, to take a next step together, to see what we find. I was talking to someone else, you know, you and Rick Dudeck. Yeah. Rick and I recorded an episode a couple of months ago. It's just going to get released this it's published this week. And he had a definition. He said, uh, that being on the same page meant I understood what you understand about a situation.
Speaker 1 00:34:13 I don't have to agree, but I understand how you see it and why you see it that way. And you understand how I see it in why I see it that way now, to me, that's what you did. When you had the call with your colleague, when you said I'm going to go in and listen, it didn't mean you were going to abandon what you had to say, right? It meant you wanted to know what was on her mind before you spoke, because you might learn something you might, it might make it, it might change. It might make a difference in what you were going to say. And if it didn't, it, at least it's a more collegial conversation. Right? Right, right. So to understand what someone else understands about a situation, I think gives two people or five people or 10 people, an opportunity to build very profound, shared knowledge, if I'm budget and your it, or your production, or you represent the customer or you represent you're, you're focused on quality stakeholders. If I understand what you understand about a situation we have more to work with. Exactly. Is that what you see is that, is that, how does that square with how you see movement in the industry, a role of, of leading in a different way of teams working in a different way
Speaker 2 00:35:33 To answer your question, are you asking me, do I see, do I see the industry moving
Speaker 1 00:35:36 This way?
Speaker 2 00:35:38 The, the best, the best way to answer it as I hope so. I mean, I think that I see it a little bit more. I think the industry sees, for example, you'll see servant leadership and pin box seven, it's all over the place. And the students that I've taught in PMP prep, I have told me, Joe, there was a whole bunch of questions on servant leadership, right? So you see that those that are smarter than me in project management in the ways of the industry, I mean, PMI does exclusive, you know, studies and on what the industry is moving towards. I mean, my exposure is my experience and my exposure with the folks that I teach. Right. And I see more of this now they see a much bigger picture. So to answer your question is, yes, I think we're moving that direction. Yeah. And, and, but I got to stress that this is hard.
Speaker 2 00:36:31 It is certainly, this is, I mean, it's easy. And I think that Bob Nunley was telling you this, Hey, anybody can say you do, as I say, yeah, right. You follow me. It's easy. You are loyal to me. You do. As I say, period, that's easy. Anybody can do that. Yeah. But actually putting, putting you in telling your team members that, look, I care about you. I want to see you succeed. I want to prepare you for the next job, going to your customers and say, Hey, look, you know what you want to do. We're going to do our best to get you there, but be prepared. This is not in your best interest. Or this may not be what, you know, this may not be in what society's best interest is.
Speaker 1 00:37:12 Well, you know, what else is hard? Is it changes the role of the leader. It changes the role of the team. Now team members have a different expectation for how they step up to conversations. Like what we're talking about, changes the conversation. So everybody's got to step up to a different conversation and that's hard. Right?
Speaker 2 00:37:30 That's right.
Speaker 1 00:37:31 I like to maybe just, I'd like to maybe just keep track of my schedule and Microsoft project and report. No. Now if you're saying to me, if you're the PM saying, oh, okay, thanks for the report. But talk to us about what you think or what you know is going along with these two or three streams. Right. I got to engage in a different way.
Speaker 2 00:37:53 Yeah. How,
Speaker 1 00:37:54 What do you do? What do you what's what's happening in the training where you're well, or how do students react to that? To that notion? Some would probably like it some maybe less so, but what do you see?
Speaker 2 00:38:03 Well, well, we have to, you know, as an instructor, we have to, we have to walk that tight rope. Yeah. Cause we got to teach both. Yeah. You know, I got to tell students, look, your schedule is important. I mean, you're communicating you, you don't have endless time. You don't have endless resources. You don't have endless dollars. So you got to know when you're on schedule, you got to know when you're slipping. And that's the first step is to know that you're slipping and understand how bad it is and under, or you know, what the issue is and understand. Can you bring it and how do you communicate that? So the first thing is you lead with facts, you lead with data and then the next step is then you open your mind and say, okay, what can we do here, folks? Yeah. What are your ideas?
Speaker 2 00:38:47 Yeah. And I think that, I hope I'm answering your question, but I think, I think that you'll have to lead with data, but you've got to lead with humility. Right? In other words, you got to say, I I've been surrounded by team members and I look them and I said, look, you know, I may not say this directly, but Hey, you're a lot more knowledgeable about this than I am. Right. I mean, you see the bigger picture. I'm just a lowly project manager trying to communicate and keep this thing on track. And I think that's hard for a lot of PM's to say, to delegate their, their control to somebody smarter. It's I hate to use the term smarter. Let's use, they're more knowledgeable, more knowledgeable about the impact. Then, then, then I am right. And we got to do that. And we got to, we have to recognize that that's not weakness, that's strength, right. To be able to go to an expert team member. Uh, and by the way, expert judgment is all over the pin box, right? So we gotta be able to go to our experts and say, what do you think? How can we fix this and be able to delegate your, and have the humility to do that. And that's hard. I mean, that's hard for a while. It was hard for me as I was coming up.
Speaker 1 00:40:03 It's a good point when you,
Speaker 2 00:40:05 But when you realize a good servant leader says, I'm going to, I'm going to let go of my I'm going to let go of my need to control and my need to be seen as the authority figure. And I'm going to do what's best for this project. And what's best for my team. And I'm going to ask them what I think is what they think is best. And I'm like control the decision, but it doesn't mean I have to control all the input. And so this is what we have to do. This is what we try to teach, uh, in our classes is that practice a little humility. Don't be afraid to, to delegate or to share. Maybe that's a better word to share your need for control with others around you.
Speaker 1 00:40:52 I love the distinction between controlling the inputs and controlling the decision, which is the same as an output. Another person, you know, Tom moats talks about we, he and I have recorded a podcast. He talks about using the intelligence of his team. So he runs a national program for contractor. He doesn't know what his people, 90 people on his team across the country know about 90 things, right? He, you can't. And so you're either going to in his, in his phrase was he does what you and I are talking about it as a means to the end of using the intelligence of the people who know best and bring it together. It's his job. Maybe more to bring it, to open up the avenues and bring it together. It's not his job to know what they know. Right. I think we all want to be seen as experts.
Speaker 1 00:41:46 We all want to be seen as strong. We all want to be seen as capable, especially if you're in a leadership role, you, you might be some image or expectations you have about what that means and how you think you should act. Not only, not only made the comment that, you know, you're, you're really, you're responsible for the results. And it's part of what you're saying. You're responsible for the result. You're not responsible for knowing everything, right. You're responsible for the results, right? You better get out of your way, your own way to get input from your team to get the best result. Otherwise, the result you deliver could be inferior and that's what's going to happen because nobody can know what they need to know about everything. Even a big task lead on a project. Yeah. Let alone a program, right? The bigger you go and scale, nobody can know all those things.
Speaker 2 00:42:38 Exactly, exactly. And, um, you know, I, I agree with you and I liked the, I liked the way you said it. Get out of the way. Sometimes the best leaders just know when to get out of the way and let the, let the people do the work. Um, and those that are smart, you know, I share a funny story. When I teach a class, you know, we'll go through test questions and I tell my students, if you get a test question and you're clueless of the answer, I mean, absolutely clueless. And you have no idea. And expert judgment is one of the answers, check it, just check it because PMI is so big on this and they should be, and I am too. So, you know, if you're clueless check expert judgment, because they want you to surround yourself with people that know more than yourself.
Speaker 1 00:43:33 That's interesting though, because on a team that's, if you're the project manager, you might have some subject matter expertise, it could be in an area of a project. Maybe you came out of budget or, or, or, you know, people, HR, and you might have some expertise in leadership and management. Uh, but on a project there's a lot of expertise to go around.
Speaker 1 00:43:56 Oh yeah. Right. There are how many domains of expert judgment, right? Oh, exactly. And, and so what we're talking about is the team lead, drawing that out of people exactly. For the benefit of, of the team. And I, and, and so another thing that a book I like called the knowledge illusion, why we there's a subtitle to it that has to do with why we don't know what we think we know, but in that book, he talks about shared knowledge and shared intent, right? So high-performing teams build a shared knowledge, meaning I understand something more about how you see something than I did before we understand individually, um, how others see the projects, see the clients, see the task, see a problem that shared knowledge enables us to have greater shared intent. We can work better together on the basis of that shared knowledge. And that shared knowledge and shared intent, I think is sort of ought to be the result of what you and I are talking about. A greater shared knowledge and a greater shared intent ought to be the result of what we're talking about.
Speaker 2 00:45:13 Right. Exactly. And part of our, part of what we need to do is as you know, as elders in project management, is to communicate that and encourage PMs to let go. It's okay. Not to know everything. Yeah. And the worst thing you can do, because even if you did know everything, you're in the weeds and you don't see the bigger picture, this is why you have other people around you to be in the weeds. Right. But it's also, it goes a little, it goes the other direction to your team members have to respect your role and have to understand that you're accountable to the results. And this is where the difficulty comes in. Cause your team members have to realize that, well, Joe, doesn't have to know all the answers and he doesn't have to, um, he's looking for us to be trusted advisor, right?
Speaker 2 00:46:07 He's going to listen to us, but we're going to respect him as he represents the project moving forward. Right. So it also goes back to getting on the same page, right. We both have to have mutual respect our team and our project managers have to have mutual respect to each other. And when I came up through the ranks, there wasn't like that the project manager was, they were the CEO and you just did what they did. You did what they told you. And, and if, you know, if they told you to do something wrong or do something that was, you know, not the best way of doing it, you did it that way. Period, as the years go by, I think, you know, the next, this is why I'm passionate about this because I want to train the younger folks to think differently. And you know, and if I'm teaching the right things, it's only because, you know, quite frankly, I've had big successes and I've had glorious failures and all of it, all of it can, um, you know, comes to the table, comes to the classrooms. Yeah. Yeah. So if I can help a younger person, uh, do it a little bit better and have a different mindset, I hope it pays off for them
Speaker 1 00:47:21 Covered a lot of good stuff. Was there something that we touched on you want to come back to, or we didn't get to that? You want to talk about
Speaker 2 00:47:28 The only thing and I made a couple of notes, you know, I'm bid on keywords. I'm big on, you know, there are key phrases or key words that when you're talking 10,000 foot. Yeah, yeah. This type of conversation. And you know, my keywords are in, in, in any project, in any communication to get on the same page, keywords like collaborate, keywords, like active listening, reflective listening. Yeah. Being that doesn't mean you don't have input. So other words are like persuasion and influence presenting influence. Yeah. And I think the other word that we didn't talk too much about, I mean, I'm not a negotiation expert. You are, but knowing your BATNA and as I understand BATNA, that's, that's your correct me if I'm wrong, that's your bottom line. That's the line where you say anything below this I can agree to. And it has project managers, you know, you're surrounded by, you know, in my experience, I've been fortunate.
Speaker 2 00:48:32 I've been surrounded by really good technical people. And really the technical people always want to make the customer happy. They always, they are saying, I've had people come into my office, Joe. I did this, I did that. And because they're going to love it, the customers love it. They're going to ask for it anyway. And can I, I want to do this and I want to do that. And I'm like, whoa, whoa, wait a minute. Yeah. Hey, great idea. And I agree with you, but good technical people are not sitting in your chair. They're not seeing the cost. They're not seeing the schedule slippage. They're not seeing the expectations that I have to reset after you've made this product soup up. I mean, I had a situation once that we had a, uh, uh, a technical guy, you know, souped up or made a particular product run faster and the client loved it.
Speaker 2 00:49:31 They loved it. We were, we were S we were tasked with installing and configuring one little product and of, of the, and the customer. I bought like $10 million worth of software products. These were services, Sheeran's tools. And, um, he decided in all his best interests and all his best intentions, how I'm going to reconfigure this, it's going to run faster and the customer's going to love it. And it did run faster and they did love it. Right. And then he says, the customer comes back to me and says, Joe, why doesn't the other $10 million worth of products run this fast?
Speaker 2 00:50:10 So you see, my point is, as, as leaders, we also have to, we've seen the big picture that our experts may not be seen. Right? Right. So understanding and communicating to them. And I used to tell my folks, look, you know, I love you. You know, I love you, but before you go to your, our customers with these great ideas, please just come to me first. And let's you. And I kick it around and let's see strategically how we can work this idea in or not. So we can share the big picture. So I think in our, in our, even in a servant leadership model, we have to understand where's our bottom line. We might refuse to tiptoe into a, into a, into an area that just puts us in quicksand.
Speaker 1 00:50:55 Well, the leader always has to, is always making trade-offs. Yeah. You're always making decisions about trade-offs of one kind or another. And there are people who have a part of a project who don't see those trades don't see any maybe any or most of them. Yeah.
Speaker 2 00:51:10 Yeah. It's not their job. They shouldn't say that's my job.
Speaker 1 00:51:13 Exactly. And, but the smart thing is what you're saying, which has come to me so we can talk about it because I look, here's how it goes, Joe. They come to you and say, we want to make this go faster. And you say, but the client might ask why the rest of the product they buy from us. Doesn't go and they'd go, oh, I hadn't thought about that. Now. Maybe there's a solution to that. Right. That emerges wouldn't have emerged without that conversation. But also wouldn't have emerged if you had said, oh, hell no, just forget. It just don't go there. Right. There's some you started, you started off this whole episode saying challenge are sort of the heart of the matter of getting on the same page is about communication. And, you know, your example of making the bed and what that meant as a bed.
Speaker 1 00:51:58 And like you said, we all have that. We bring that baggage, that, that experience to a conversation. So what I, what I've been thinking about lately, I'm working on a guide book that we'll get into, this is what does each of us see in a situation and why those things, you make something of it. Why do you make that particular thing of it and not something else you think we should do something about a situation as a means to an end, why that thing and why that end, why that means why that end and not some other, everybody's got those answers. Maybe just, maybe they're explicit and ready to be stated. Maybe their implicit. It need to be thought through a little bit more to articulate. I think when we decide what we should do on a team, all of what I just described to you is implied.
Speaker 1 00:52:46 We have someone who's run through that. Even if it's intuitively the more we can make that explicit, the more we have to talk about with them amongst each other. And the more opportunity arises, the more, the sort of the magic can happen, where someone goes, I would go, geez, Joe, I didn't know that you were thinking about that one. Now that I realized that I have done this before, would it work now? Right. You open up more possibilities and maybe that communication is the art of the possible. Now you still have to balance things. You can't do everything that's possible. There isn't time. There isn't budget. There is not the right project for it, but it's best to surface those things, go with what you can hold up, hold back on what you can't use. But I also think it creates a, besides the merits of the project.
Speaker 1 00:53:33 I think it creates it within the team and experience that people don't always have. It's like, wow, he really did want to know. He said he did. And he really wanted to know. He really listened. We put together, we put into place as many ideas as we could. And we had to read the back burner some, but we'll get to them another project or another, another, another sprint. Right? I think you build a different way of working together, which is part of what you said you were passionate about at this stage of your career, which is I'm going to help younger people see how to do that. Right. See those possibilities and see that that's something that they should be aspiring to, right. Not just how to build a work breakdown structure.
Speaker 2 00:54:16 Exactly. And a heavily dependency driven project schedule that matches the WVS. I guess, unfortunately, I got to do both. It makes my job so challenging.
Speaker 1 00:54:30 Yeah, you're right. You're right. But that's fair because that's that's life and they're going to pass a test to get certified and they're going to run a project where they have to do both.
Speaker 2 00:54:39 Right.
Speaker 1 00:54:40 Right. Exactly. But that's okay. It's best to be explicit about it and say, look, this is the reality of it. And probably back in the day, when the command and control was the more the norm, it was still the case, Joe, that it could have been done both ways. It was just being ignored. Right. It was overemphasis on. And you said you can't overemphasize the other way. You can't overemphasize collaboration. You can't overemphasize fact-finding discovery. You could take forever and run out of budget and time and not get the job done. Right. Right. It's always a balance.
Speaker 2 00:55:14 Exactly. You know? And you, you, you made a good example when you said I could just stand and say to that technical person, we're not doing it. Go away. Right? Yes. Stay focused on your project. Well, yeah. Let's look at the bigger picture, you know, with this person they're saying, oh, well, number one, Joe, doesn't respect me. Right. Number two is, you know, and it goes, it runs deep. It runs deep. They could say, you know, my father spoke to me the same way. He didn't listen to me either. And all of a sudden, you just lost a good, valuable team member. So every time you need to work with that team member, six months, a year on something else, that person has said, well, Joe, doesn't listen to me anyway. Yeah. And it really makes it for a terrible dynamic for team dynamic line. You know, we think that leaders while if I give direction and I shut somebody down, they're just going to move on. Is it, does it, these things run deep. It's a challenge. This is why I say servant leadership is hard. We got to come out of the, our typical ways of thinking and think on the bigger
Speaker 1 00:56:15 Well, and the things that run deep can work in our favor too. If we learn how to write, because you want, if you ideally, you go to whole coming to the project, not just their technical expertise. Exactly. And, and, and look, Joe, the truth is that's where we didn't talk about expert judgment. You used the phrase a couple of times, and I meant to ask you what the definition of it. But that's what expert judgment expert judgments, not just technical in nature, it's much more, it could be moral and ethical, right? Yes. It could be some business savvy. It could be some people savvy there's a lot going on and expert judgment and maybe implied in any expert judgment is trade off between these things. Yeah. Right, right. And so it's, it's something to cultivate in somebody, which is what you're saying. You like the training that these days to try to teach people to do both, to know the PIM Bach, know how to get to the, the, the basics of the project management.
Speaker 1 00:57:17 But when you apply the basics, you're doing it with other human beings. You know, you're doing it with people, right. And you want the best robot. That's right. That's right. And you want the best of them on your project because you get the best results. And like you said, six months or a year from now, they're gonna want to work with you again. Right. Right. Exactly. Joe, you know, we, we go back 20 years. I've always enjoyed our conversations. And this is, I mean, learn this, learn from this one and had a lot of fun. Yeah. It was fun. I enjoyed it. Thank you my friend. I appreciate it. Alright, Lou. All right. Have a good day. You too. Bye. Bye. Bye. And that's how we see it. My friends, I want to thank Joe for recording today's episode. You can find it at, I see what you mean dot dot com. Plus all the usual places, send questions and suggestions through the app. Subscribe and give me a five star rating unless you can't. In which case, tell me why and join me next week. When we take another look at how to get on the same page and stay there, unless we shouldn't.