Let Go of the Reins

Happy New Year everyone.  A few days before Christmas, North Texas and much of the country experienced extremely cold temperatures.  Temperatures rose back to the 70’s in my area a week later.  News anchors dramatize the weather and seem surprised by these extremes.  The reality is we live on a dynamic planet that we don’t control.  We have thermostats in our homes to regulate temperature and keep us comfortable.  There is no master thermostat for our states that we can adjust to control the weather to our preferences.  Much of what we experience is out of our control. 

As we start 2023, think of the weather as an example of what we cannot control.  Project managers try to use planning and experience to keep projects on track and avoid risks.  We have tools at our disposal but we must understand their limits.  If a project goes sideways, don’t overreact but look at the positives and negatives of the situation and devise a plan to move ahead.  Project managers can underestimate the role of luck so take advantage of luck and exploit opportunities as they arise. 

Photo by Vincent Tan on Pexels.com

Micromanaging tasks and people are never a good long-term strategy.  Your ideas may be better than other’s but give team members the opportunity to own and implement their ideas.  The results may surprise you.  Allowing scenarios to play out may be a good strategy to try this year.  For example, provide the project team your intent and goals but allow the team to devise and execute a plan.  If the plan fails, give the team room to resolve the issues.  Business changes quickly and unexpectedly so use the OODA loop (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) tool as part of your playbook.    

I’m personally going to work harder not to hold schedules and plans I create too tightly.  If a project gets ahead of schedule, that’s great but that advantage may not last.  If a project gets behind schedule, it may not be good in the short term but the deficit may not last.  Letting go of the reins to free my mind from the illusion of control is one of my goals for 2023.

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