What Are You Working On?

“What are you working on?” I asked.

“Just trying to finish this project,” Andrew explained.

“What’s the hold-up?”

“Things always move slower than I want. You know, getting my team to push things along.”

“And, when things don’t move fast enough, how does that make you feel?” I pressed.

Andrew smirked. “A little annoyed, impatient, anxious.”

“Anxious, about what? It’s just a project.”

Andrew nodded. “Yes, it’s just a project. But, it’s my project. I know I have to work through my team to get it done, but ultimately, it’s up to me.”

“So, it’s not just a project? It’s about you?”

“Yep, on the face of it, the project has a spec, it has a budget, it has a deadline. But the project is also a test about me. Can I organize it? Can I gain the willing cooperation of the team? Can I put a sequence together to keep us on track? If we get off track, how quickly do I see it? Will I know what to correct? Can I keep the team pulling in the same direction? It’s more than just a project. It’s more than just the team. Do I have what it takes to be effective?”

3 thoughts on “What Are You Working On?

  1. Henry Camp

    Tom, have you read Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box by The Arbinger Institute? Really good. Adds some EQ and intentions that are below actions into the mix. I recommend it. -h

  2. Tom Foster Post author

    Hi, Henry,
    Good to hear from you. Yes, Leadership and Self Deception plus the two follow-on books – Anatomy of Peace and the Outward Mindset, all by Arbinger. Great series. I am often called in to work on the external problems, which mostly present as communication issues or personality conflicts. There is often a deeper struggle that must be solved. Keep in touch. -Tom

  3. Faith

    This rings so true – projects are not just projects, they feel and are a reflection of you in so many ways. Its hard to not take everything personally and feel personally responsible for even those things that are out of your control when managing a project.


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