“If what you do isn’t unique, the way you do it makes a difference.”
This is how Ricardo Triana (Chair of the 2014 PMI Board of Directors) opened Synergy on Thursday. Around 600 project managers from Europe attended Synergy, which was organized by PMI’s UK Chapter.
Ricardo continued, “Project management” is the way to make a difference.
Sir Tim Smit KBE: Making a difference through taking risks
Tim Smit, cofounder of the Eden Project, said that “The only way to get yourself to do really exciting stuff is to put yourself in front of people you respect most and tell them that you’re going.” “The shame of not doing something gives you the energy to do it.”
He was a captivating speaker and spoke for almost an hour without any notes or slides. I believe that by the end of it, we all would have worked for free for him, just like many others on his regeneration projects. Many people who had worked hard for good pay were part of the Eden Project. They waited for confirmation from the Millennium Commission.
The funding announcements were sent. They didn’t make it to the shortlist.
Tim organized a press conference because he knew he had a responsibility for his project team. He also set up champagne and high-profile media outlets. He gave a brief speech, “Millennium Commission: We love you!”
The Times published a great editorial praising the Commission’s brave decision to fund the project the next day. In the weeks that followed, more media outlets awaited the opening of Eden Project and praised its brilliance and foresight. The Millennium Commission “reassessed” their decision over the next months. Eden received the funding it required.
Tim believes in the projects he undertakes. He said, “When you get near a brick wall nine times out of ten there is a door painted so that bricks look like.” “Take the risk, then you’re doing this: it makes it a lot easier already.”
Jane Sparrow: Building a culture of high-performance: Jane Sparrow
Jane Sparrow, The Culture Builders’ Managing Director, explained how to create a culture that produces high-performing teams. She said, “There is no magic Tinkerbell forumla.” “It all boils down to small actions.”
She spoke about two types of people: Savers who do a great job for you and Investors who do their best every single day. Investors are essential to a high-performing tea. They are those who make people feel valued and have clear views.
What you believe: The vision and purpose
How you behave: Make sure you are consistent in what you say and do
What you use: ensuring that the processes, tools and standards that support you are fit for purpose.
Max McKeown: Building resilience
Max McKeown, a strategic adviser and author, presented his presentation on large panels on the stage. He began with a crisis at the middle and went backwards and forwards to explain how past experiences shaped current responses and how those who are willing to try new things can create the future.
He said that people respond differently to the same stimulus. He said, “Be alert for the weak signals that alert to things that are changing.” He also shared strategies to cope with the coming tidal wave.
Find someone who can help you ride the wave.
To better prepare for problems, maximize, exaggerate and accentuate them
Don’t do what doesn’t work.
He said, “In times of great changes make it acceptable for you to listen to the mavericks in your business and to act a little more like them.” Strategy is the ability to shape the future. You don’t need to be surprised.
Music and dancing: The Agile blues band and The Silent Conductor
Okay, so there wasn’t much dancing. We are project managers, after all. There was some swaying and excited shuffling in the chairs, which you wouldn’t expect at a conference on project management.