• +(240) 288-5577
  • gerald@principlesofexecution.com

Blog

How Are Projects Programs and Portfolios Different?

As a certified project manager and portfolio manager, I am often asked, what is the difference between project, program and portfolio management? The way I explained it is to use the metaphor of a musical concert series, and it goes like this.

If you are a fan of opera, orchestra music or love a Jazz series program, then this analogy should make sense. When I think of projects, programs and portfolios I think of them in terms of musical concerts. The entire season of musical concerts would be the portfolio, each event or concert in the season would be the program and each song within a concert or program would be a project. So, you would equate a portfolio to a concert series, you would think of the concert event with multiple songs as a program and each song as a project.

To read the complete article click here.

Building a Positive Work Environment

“You can’t just give someone a creativity injection. You have to create an environment for curiosity and a way to encourage people and get the best out of them” (Ken Robinson, n.d.). In other words, building a positive work environment is key.

Different musical organizations have a different vision and purpose. For instance, an orchestra often performs in a hall with a large stage. The women dress in black dresses or black pantsuits, and the men dress in tuxedos. A jazz band may play in a larger auditorium, but often they play in a different environment with a different setup and feel.

To read the complete article click here.

5 Secrets for Strategic Growth

Have you ever gone to a concert and heard a band that you didn’t know performing one of your favorite songs? All the notes are correct, and the singers are singing in tune, but the performance is just okay, it does not move you. Then, you go and hear the same song from a different group, and you immediately rise to your feet and started grooving? The difference is talent plus passion and not talent alone, and that is the secret. In this article, I will share what I believe are the five secrets to strategic growth which are much like listening to a band that makes you want to groove.

 1. Align your organization with its value proposition.

What is your organization’s value proposition? Your value proposition is the promise that you are making to your customers that your products or services will address and meet their needs for the jobs they need to complete, the pains they need to alleviate, and the gains they want to achieve.

To read the complete article click here.

3 Sure Fire Tactics To Align Culture With Strategy To Support Your Changing Business

Road Tip

 

As a kid, my family loved taking trips to see extended family and friends and more than a few were trips out of state. Growing up in central Florida meant spending lots of time on the road. One thing I remember my father doing, before these trips, was to get the car aligned. I learned later in life that alignment prolonged our tires and created a safer drive to our new destination.

Alignment isn't just for cars; organizations need it too. Follow these steps for your organization before embarking on a journey of change.

 

Communicate Your Strategy

 

According to Forbes magazine, “65% of organizations have an agreed-upon strategy but only 14% of employees understand it, and less than 10% of all organizations successfully execute it.”

That's a communication breakdown. The organization’s strategy shouldn’t be a secret.

 

Leaders need to communicate their strategy as if it were a map for a cross-country trip that guides their corporate family to a new destination. Once everyone understands where their heading they will have a better appreciation for what they’ll need to pack and what types of activities they will be able to engage in when they get there. Leaders need to make the destination and vision of where the organization is going concise and clear and keep it in front of their team at all times.

 

Determine your new behavior and habits

 

Once the corporate strategy is communicated and understood, the next priority is to ensure that the culture of the organization support this new destination. Think of culture as the habits and emotional state of the organization. Your culture is like your personality. When you move to a new city on the opposite coast you will need to adjust your personality to fit in, think about moving from New York to San Diego.

 

Organizations should focus on changing their behavior and linking the new behaviors to be consistent with their new business destination. Since you can’t change everything at once, focus on the critical few behaviors that will drive the most change and create the greatest value in your new environment.

In a Korn Ferry survey, “72% of executives agreed that culture is extremely important to organizational performance, yet only 32% believed their own organization’s culture is aligned with its business strategies.”

It’s like wanting everyone around you to adjust to your personality in your new city.

 

Get an alignment

 

What’s needed is an alignment between the organization’s strategy, culture, and talent and the only way to figure it out is to ask the right questions. Image half way through your trip you get sick, it happens, and you have to see a doctor for some meds to address what you have and get some rest. So, you can also think of alignment as being the prescribed medication for your illness. Your doctor will make a diagnosis, give you a prognosis, then prescribe the medication to address your needs. Once you're feeling better, you should adjust the dosage or stop taking it. Now, where’s my map; it’s time to hit the road again.

 

When new business goals or strategies are required to meet your organization’s needs, everyone on your team has to learn, adjust and change to achieve the new strategy. The best way to create this change is to get buy-in from everyone. And, the best way to get buy-in is to recruit authentic informal change agents to spread the word about the new desired behavior.

 

When you need to adjust your behavior to align with your new strategy, consider these 5 questions:

  • What is our current strategy to achieve our organizational goals and objectives?
  • What culture do we desire?
  • What is our As-Is culture and why do we have it?
  • What about our organizational environment should we change to obtain the culture, behaviors and emotional state we're seeking?
  • How do we implement our new culture in a way that everyone buys into and adopt?

 

Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”

The goal of strategy and culture alignment is to keep the organization working together like a well-oiled machine that’s ready for a cross-country excursion. What changes does your organization need to make to align its strategy, culture, and talent?

1