Your Attitude Makes the Difference: Kindness with Competence

Attitude “It’s not what you do once in a while; it’s what you do day in and day out that makes the difference.” Jenny Craig

He was known for making a difference. One of his favorite sayings was “Digging for gold is more important than the gold itself; that's why I say let's play two.” 


He understood the principle that who you become in pursuit of a goal is more important than the goal itself, so for 19 years, he took responsibility for his attitude and showed up every day with a grateful disposition and a smile. His influence opened the door for a number of colored baseball players to enter into major league baseball. He changed the way baseball fans saw colored athletes because of his competence and kindness.

Who was Ernie Banks?

Banks, born in 1931 as the oldest son of 12 children, grew up in Dallas, TX. His father worked in the cotton fields earning $10 a day. Ernie was a keen observer during his early childhood, watching and learning from the older kids as they played baseball. Banks quickly learned as a young man that he could make everyone around him smile and a lot more comfortable by how he managed his attitude. He focused his energy on his circle of influence instead of his areas of concern, which he had no control over.

What did developing his competence while growing his grateful and positive attitude achieve for Ernie?

·He was signed by the Chicago Cubs when he was 22 years old.

·He hit a home-run his first time at bat in the major leagues.

·He was the first Negro player on the Chicago Cubs baseball team.

·He was the ninth player in the history of the game to reach 500 home runs and ended his career with 512.

·He won two MVP awards, one in 1958 and the other in 1959

·He was chosen to be on the National League All Star team for 11 years.

·He was posthumously inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977

  Ernie Banks  What can we learn from Ernie Banks?

1.    Take responsibility for your attitude — create your own weather. (To learn more about taking charge of your attitude, read John Maxwell's book, “The Difference Maker: Making Your Attitude Your Greatest Asset.”)

2.    Set the tempo; be a trend-setter.

3.    Be loyal to your friends, family members, colleagues, and organization. (Ernie remained with the Chicago Cubs for 19 seasons.)

4.    Focus on your circle of influence and not your areas of concern over which you have no control.

5.    Take responsibility for your education and learning goals.

6.    Learn to excel despite the political or social pressures or obstacles you'll face.

7.    Strive to stay humble and grateful; no one is a self-made person.

a.    (Ernie Banks understood he was blessed; between games he would walk through the poor neighborhoods on the south side of Chicago to remind himself of other people's lives.)

8.    Give back and mentor someone less fortunate. (Ernie visited and supported little league teams in Illinois.)


Are you taking responsibility for your attitude and competence development?

One of the key attributes of being a high-performing project manager is taking ownership and responsibility for your project's outcome. Leaders take responsibility for both their results and outcome.

Aligning Strategy

Aligning Strategy With Culture

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?

Portfolio Management Trends and Insights

PwC’s 2017 Portfolio Management Trends and Insights

I've updated the post on Portfolio Management Maturity, I received the link below highlighting PwC's 2017 global project management report which includes key survey results on Portfolio Management insights collected from over 1500 IT leaders in 38 countries.

In the spirit of sharing, I have provided a list of lessons learned or takeaways I gleaned from reading the report along with a link to the document.

Here's what I learned:

  • To stay competitive organizations must adopt project and portfolio management as a core part of the business processes.
  • Poor project estimating is the number one culprit for project failure.
  • Project Portfolio Management adoption has not increased but organizations that have implemented PPM are seeing an increase in performance improvements in the areas of project quality, scope, schedule, cost and benefits realization.
  • Organizations that have adopted PPM are seeing significant performance improvements due to the enabling of better IT alignment with the organization's business objectives, increase oversight from an enterprise program management office and a monthly cadence of PPM review meetings.
  • PPM software has increasingly matured in the past few years and organizations that have implemented an enterprise PPM solution are reaping the results with greater stakeholder satisfaction from increase project performance.
  • Project management maturity has increased and higher PM maturity means higher business performance. 

To learn more click on the link below to access the full report.



Project Portfolio Management Maturity Modeling

Project Portfolio Management Maturity Modeling

“Maturity comes not with age but with the acceptance of responsibility. You are only young once but immaturity can last a lifetime!” -Edwin Louis Cole

The essence of an IT strategic plan is to align the IT department with the organization’s strategic intent, vision and business objectives in concert with the senior executive team. The goal is to develop a road map of initiatives and activities that will enable the organization to achieve the vision, and optimize the IT resource capability to deliver on the promised benefits and outcomes needed to accomplish the firm’s mission.

In April of 2000, Cirque du Soleil engaged Danielle Savoie as the first CIO of the famous Cirque and she placed the organization on a course of upward maturity by developing their first IT Strategic Plan. According to a CIO.com 2002 article titled “Rapid Deployment: IT at Cirque du Soleil”, Ms. Savoie delivered on her department’s strategic intent to streamline the Cirque IT infrastructure to provide a perfect show under the big top night after night.

So what does IT Strategic Planning and Cirque du Soleil’s accomplishments have to do with Project Portfolio Management Maturity Modeling? Everything!

When an organization starts down the road of maturing its IT department to execute the right projects more efficient and effectively, they have embarked on a form of Project Portfolio Management Maturity. They are addressing the questions: are we doing the right thing and are we doing them right?

Organizations are made up of individuals who will only change their behavior for one or two reasons: avoiding pain or going for gain. Pains that prompt an organization to pursue maturing their PPM capability are:

  • Lack of accountability regarding who owns the oversight of the IT portfolio.
  • Project investments are not aligned to the business objectives of the corporation.
  • Lack of standardized processes leading to project execution heroics.
  • Roles and responsibilities are not clearly defined which creates confusion within the organization.
  • Investments are approved regardless of critical information being absent.
  • Limited or no visibility into the portfolio performance.
  • Project outcomes are not verified to determine if the investment produce the expected return. (Try that with your 401K you’re expected to retire on).
  • Constrained resources are used sub-optimally due to lack of appropriate alignment and allocation.

One of the greatest challenges to Project Portfolio Management Maturity assessment is the lack of industry standardization. There are a number of recommended ways to conduct an assessment but no official methodology or process has been sanctioned. 

Free Assessment

PMO 360 Assessment

According, to James S. Pennypacker in his book “Project Portfolio Management Maturity Model”, there are 5 Levels of PPM maturity that an organization can use to assess its organizations PPM processes. They are:

  • Level 1 – Initial Process
  • Level 2 – Structured Process and Standards
  • Level 3 – Organizational Standards and Institutionalized Process
  • Level 4 – Managed Process
  • Level 5 – Optimizing Process

Each level is then subdivided into (6) six sections which are:

  1. Portfolio Governance
  2. Project Opportunity Assessment (Demand Management)
  3. Project Prioritization and Selection
  4. Portfolio and Project Communication Management
  5. Portfolio Performance Management
  6. Portfolio Resource Management

Gartner developed the Five Progressive Levels of the Maturity Model which is displayed below.

Gartner PPM Maturity Model

Gartner (April 2012)

Also, in their book, “IT Portfolio Management Step-by-Step,” Maizlish and Handler state that, “The overall goal of IT portfolio management is to optimize the risk reward trade-off when allocating resources in support of organization objectives.” Their PPM Maturity Model follows the steps below:

  • (0) Admitting
  • (1) Communicating
  • (2) Governing
  • (3) Managing
  • (4) Optimizing

Maizlish and Handler’s maturity model is further sub divided into the following section:

  • Projects
  • Application
  • Infrastructure
  • People
  • Process
  • Information

Organizations embarking on a Project Portfolio Management Maturity Modeling journey need to select a maturity model that is aligned to their company’s culture. In my experience, this is more important than the specific vendor model chosen to perform the assessment.  In the end, the executive leadership’s goal is to impact the following areas of their organizations:

PPM Components


Project Server can be configured and modified to enable an organization to align it's project investments with its strategic objectives. Whether on premise or online, Project Server can provide:

  • Portfolio Visibility
  • Portfolio Scenario Planning and Optimization
  • Portfolio Selection and Alignment
  • Budget and Cost Planning
  • Resource Alignment and Capacity Planning

Project Server Portfolio



Kanban Board Management

Enhance Workplace Productivity using project portfolio management

In August 2013, I spoke at the Project Management Institute (PMI), and the International Legal Technical Association (ILTA) conference in Las Vegas. The audience and a panel I was on debated about the value of the PMO. We were discussing how the PMO helps organizations enhance workplace productivity. And, as the conversation went on, we began to realize that people were confused about which PMO we were discussing. Was it the project PMO, was the program PMO, or the portfolio PMO? Because those three are very different environments in which to operate, and they all have different governance processes.

Regardless of which PMO we were discussing, we all agreed on one thing, all of these environments enhance workforce productivity. The value of project portfolio management is in its ability to move the needle with accomplishing goals and objectives in a consistent, reliable, and predictable manner. It's how value gets delivered to an organization.

Enhance Workplace Productivity
Mastering the concepts of project, program, and portfolio management.

No matter which role you play, we all leverage these processes to deliver value to our companies and improve workplace productivity.  So, the ideal audience for mastering the concepts of project, program, and portfolio management should include:

  • Decision-makers and other executives who participate in the selection of products and services that will enhance the capabilities of their organization.
  • Consultants and strategic planners who are responsible for the development of the organization's strategic roadmap, long-range planning, business planning, or short-term goal development will have a repeatable and consistent process that will align to strategic objectives.
  • Business owners who need to understand how to allocate limited resources to achieve their organization's strategic objectives and goals will have the visibility to address project synchronization and reduce resource bottlenecks.
  • Project and program managers who need a foundational understanding of the principles, processes, and procedures of project portfolio management.

So, if portfolio management is the apex of the project management ladder, then project management, is like starting at the base camp. And, as you ascend the mountain to the summit, it requires multiple activities which encompasses program management. Below are three comprehensive definitions for each of these areas, starting with portfolio management, program management, and then project management.

Portfolio Management

  • Business processes, usually conducted at the highest level within an organization that decides; which projects, programs, and other initiatives will be undertaken in a given period. The criteria for selecting their actions; and the active management of these initiatives through then life cycle to ensure that benefits will be realized, including their termination as required.

Program Management

  • Coordinated management of a related series of projects over time, to accomplish broad business goals to which the individual projects contribute, including benefits realization, stakeholder management, and program governance.

Project Management

  • Application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet or exceed stakeholder needs and expectations from a project.

Dictionary of Project Management Terms, 3rd edition.

In summary, the value of project programs and portfolios is that they provide the structure which enhances the workplace productivity and align with your overall goals and objectives.

To learn more, click here.


Gerald J. Leonard PfMP, PMP

Top 10 Project Management Productivity Hacks

What factors increase productivity?

Project Management Productivity Hacks

Napoleon said, “All plans are useless, but the act of planning is essential.” So, as we go through this material, you're going to get the opportunity to plan. You're going to get the chance to go through the act of planning by planning out how you can radically improve your productivity by understanding these top 10 productivity hacks.

How to increase productivity?

As you learn them, you'll be able to plan out how you can use them in your day to day activity and see an impact in your business and your professional life. These 10 productivity hacks make up a recipe for project execution. When an organization, a family, or any agency decides to achieve a strategic goal or an objective, the only way to get it done is by getting everyone on the same page. Well, these 10 hacks create the recipe that if you roll them out, you will create a culture within your group that knows how to execute.

Why is productivity important to you?

Why am I creating this free training program? It's because I sincerely want to help. I've been working in the project, program, and portfolio management industry for 20 plus years. I've gotten a number of certifications. I've done quite a bit of studying, but I've also had a lot of boots on the ground training. I've watched younger project managers struggle because they don't understand the hacks that can increase productivity.

What is the concept of productivity?

Just like when you go to Thanksgiving dinner with your grandmother or your mom, and she makes that amazing casserole, and there's a recipe, there's a recipe card box, and you open that box, and inside that box is that favorite dish that you love. Well, on that paper is the recipe. It's the five steps, it's the 10 steps, and it's what you put in and the steps you have to take.

These 10 productivity hacks are like the Thanksgiving dinner process. It is a recipe to help you and your organization go to new heights, make further changes, and have an incredible impact. So, I want you to buckle up and get your pen and paper out. So, as we get ready to go through these productivity hacks, they're going to help you make some significant changes in your business and your personal life.

What factors increase productivity?

If you are interested in taking it to the next level and learning these 10 productivity hacks, sign up for this free program by clicking the link below. That'll get you so that you can go through the program. You’ll also get a white paper; a few worksheets and the status report form I’m providing as a bonus. You’ll have a chance to learn somethings that are going to transform the way you do business.

I heard a quote one time that says, “We change and grow because of two things. It's the people we meet, and the books we read are the programs that we take.” And so I'm offering you one, you get a chance to meet me and get to learn about me as a musician, as a consultant, as a coach, as a certified project, program, portfolio consultant, and as an accredited neuroscience conversational intelligence coach. You get to learn from someone who has a lot of varied experience, but you also will get a chance to be exposed to some information that I truly believe will change your life. I could not have accomplished all the things that I've done without learning these productivity hacks, and I want to pass them on to you. So, go ahead, sign up for the program, and I'll see you on the other side.

To learn more, click here.


Gerald J. Leonard PfMP, PMP

Project Portfolio Management Assessment

Project Portfolio Management Assessment

The Project Portfolio Management 360 Maturity Assessment allows you to define the present state of your organization’s project, program and portfolio management processes.

It takes less than 5 minutes to complete the assessment and you will receive a free customized report of your results!

“Gerald presented a professional assessment that directly addressed the issues we are facing and provided a road map which included quick-win solutions that we could act on immediately.”

Ibrahim El-Araby, PMP, PMOC, CSSBB Project Manager at EBA Engineering


The benefits of a portfolio management assessment are:

• The ability to integrate the portfolio within your organization to improve best practices and knowledge sharing
• Find a common set of tools to share information, processes and manage project resources
• Enhance your portfolio management systems to improve and deliver consistent monitoring and tracking of project status and key performance indicators so that, the executive team has greater visibility and insight on how the portfolio is performing.
• Improve the performance of project and program managers managing projects within your organization by helping them to know the impact of project schedules and resource constraints on the portfolio.

To learn more about the PPM 360 Assessment, click here.


Gerald J. Leonard PfMP, PMP

demystifying project portfolio management

The APEX of the Project Management Ladder

Dear Reader,

Welcome to “Ascending to the APEX of the project management ladder, demystifying project portfolio management, and building a winning game plan for becoming a project portfolio management expert.”

Project management and project portfolio management offer a set of business practices that enables an organization to identify its most critical activities, and investments that will create the most value for the organization, while managing the allocation of its most constrained resources. The goal of this course is to provide you with a foundation of principles, processes, and procedures that will enable you to demystify project portfolio management and become a project portfolio management expert and use the tools and techniques to manage and support your organization’s project portfolio solutions.

Peter Drucker stated, “Quality in a product or service is not what the supplier puts in. It is what the customer gets out and is willing to pay for, a product is not quality because it is hard to make, or costs a lot of money, as manufacturers typically believe. This is incompetence. Customers pay only for what is of use to them and give them value. Nothing else constitutes quality.”

True Business Values

Project portfolio management is about giving our customers, executive stakeholders, and colleagues, true business values, quality products, and services that can be reflected on the bottom-line profits and allow customer satisfaction and retention.

This foundational course will equip you to provide the building blocks for using these principles of project portfolio management and allow you to ascend to the apex of the project management ladder while demystifying project portfolio management.

Course Objectives

So, this course is designed for Project, Program, and Portfolio Managers who are responsible for implementing an organization’s portfolio management capability, and who need to:

  • Align a company’s or organization’s project investments with its strategic goals and objectives.
  • Implement a portfolio management governance program that provides guidance and stewardship over the project ideation, selection, calibration, and execution processes, while establishing policies and procedures to manage the company’s portfolio assets effectively.
  • Monitor the organization’s portfolio performance.
  • Track the performance of the portfolio management against risk and monitoring them while optimizing the portfolio to mitigate the risks that have been identified.
  • Help you engage stakeholders at all levels of the organization and execute a comprehensive communication strategy.

So, this course is designed for those who have been tasked with the responsibility to create value for their organization. It’s also open to anyone who wants to learn and have an impact on the project management office within their organization.

To learn more, click here.


Gerald J. Leonard PfMP, PMP

Culture Is The Bass

Culture Is The Bass is listed in the Top 15 Books on Business Culture on Entrepreneur Magazine

I’m honored to have my book listed on Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the “Top 15 Books on Business Culture That You Need to Read Today”. https://www-entrepreneur-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.entrepreneur.com/amphtml/342806

Music already serves as a relatable metaphor for so many things in life, so it makes sense that this newly released book uses music to explain how to develop high performing teams for your company. Leonard sees the creation of high-performing teams has the pathway to an effective project management culture that delivers a symphony of balance, unified vision, and harmony for an organization

Culture Is The Bass

This Bass Player’s Tips Could Transform Your Office Culture from Toxic Stress to Sweet Harmony

In his new book, Culture Is the Bass, musician, and workplace culture expert Gerald J. Leonard shares seven steps for creating high performing teams that provide a huge competitive advantage. His book answers the question, How do you transform culture?

WILMINGTON, Del., Oct. 3, 2019,/PRNewswire/ — Everyday companies fail to compete in the market and grow because of a poor project management culture. Based on his unique perspective as a professional musician, culture change expert and certified portfolio management professional, Gerald J. Leonard has identified seven key principles for achieving the balance, harmony and unified vision many companies lack. He also reveals 11 of the most common mistakes corporations make with their culture with his free online assessment tool.

To learn more click here.