Jul 1, 2011

"PM Is In the Culture Development Business" Says Tom Peters

Posted by Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin in Culture & Change Management, Project & Program Management, Human Capital, Portfolio Management, Project Management Office (PMO) | 1 Comment

Our Director of Client Relations, Johanna Mickel (pictured below) kindly sent me her notes from the speech by Tom Peters that rounded out last week's Gartner Summit ... and I was pleased to find that Peters -- despite keynoting back-to-back conferences on the technical aspects of PPM, governance and enterprise architecture -- remains focused on the core of all business activities: people.

Said Johanna, "I just loved the positive, motivational speech / challenge by Tom Peters. You could tell by the audience body language .. heads nodding and smiles ... and then the few scowls (guess he was stepping on their toes) that  sometimes the "back to basics" stuff is vital."

Back to basics?

"One of the themes of the conference (and of PM Solutions' presence there) was the centrality of organizational change management. For a technical conference, the emphasis on the non-technical side of management was striking. And Peters added to that by reminding us that:

  • Value drives transformation
  • People drive execution
  • Hard is soft / Soft is hard  (Plans, systems, numbers .. these are easy. People, culture, customer, values  … these are the hard things to manage.)
  • The importance of cross functional integration (groups sitting down, meeting, developing a new understanding and respect."

Johanna noted that his statement "Project management is in the culture development business" jived perfectly with the PM Solutions understanding of what it really means to improve project management practice.

Some of the folks who were frowning at his message were probably the ones who really needed to hear it. He said " ineffective leaders talk / effective leaders listen" and stressed that companies that treat employees like customers reap immense benefits. "Leadership is a sacred trust," he noted.

Those PM leaders who are "in search of excellence" would do well to nod and smile when they hear those words.

Note: Speaking of PM leaders ... stay tuned for the announcement of the semifinalists in the PMO of the Year competition next week!


(12 votes. Average: 2.5 out of 5)

1 Comment on “PM Is In the Culture Development Business” Says Tom Peters

Sarah says:

Every type and size of project results in change (ideally improvement).  Only people can drive change.  Human nature dictates people only truly change when they want to. You can force someone to do something differently but true change is always the choice of the individual/culture.  Project failure occurs when individuals/organization are going through the motions (or not) without understanding and supporting (seeing the value) of the change.

Posted on August 31, 2011 at 6:11 pm

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