Saturday, June 17, 2017

Meditation

I once asked my old Tai Chi teacher, Yano, what the ten thousand things were. He just smiled and poked me in the stomach (he was like that). It was obvious, I should have thought about it or meditated.

Meditation requires peace and quiet but in the hurly-burly of project life it sometimes seems that there are very few moments like that. But we do need these moments of tranquility to slow down, take stock and re-charge our batteries.  

The Way  
The poor project manager worries about what is happening or not happening on their project, frets about what else might go wrong and gets angry at life and the world for their problems. That way lies despair!  

The wise project manager uses the time to meditate calmly, returning to his inner self and becoming silent. What is happening when nothing is happening? What is the difference between what is happening and how it happens? 

Through meditation we can start to understand the process and through understanding the process we can begin to understand the principle. This is the way things happen so we begin to understand what is happening on the project .

The Tao
Lao Tzu tells us:  

Returning is the movement of the Tao. 
Yielding is the way of the Tao. 
The ten thousand things are born of being. 
Being is born of not being. 


Friday, June 09, 2017

The Root of Things

Rugby
Not a very good start to the Lions tour so far, narrow victory over a scratch side and losing to the bottom club (albeit one with eight All Blacks in it) the Auckland Blues (my son David's team). Next up the Crusaders (the top NZ side) tomorrow so it doesn't get any easier. Meanwhile walking rugby is going well but we are struggling to get volunteers for our Groundforce Day (sprucing up the clubhouse and grounds) tomorrow.

The Project
I currently have three people reviewing the content of the new book and the silence is deafening! Should I start to worry as it's due to the publishers by the end of the month!

When things start to get difficult on a project it is sometimes tempting to abandon the way. A poor project manager will try to use pressure to influence events, but the harder he tries, the worse things will get. When we try to interfere with nature, nothing works right. Things start to go wrong, the project team becomes disillusioned and the project ends up failing. We need to recognise that power comes from the natural order of things. Natural events are potent because they act in accordance with how things work. They simply are.  

The Way  
On a project we are all team players. Success comes through co-operation and providing a service to others. Therefore the wise project manager is not self-centred; he nurtures the team, co-operates with them and is their servant. Potency comes from knowing what is happening and acting accordingly. Freedom comes from obedience to the natural order. This way the project progresses, the team is happy and the project is in harmony with nature.

The Tao  
Lao Tzu tells us:  

Of old these arise from the one:  
The sky was able to be pure,  
The earth was able to be tranquil,  
The spirits were able to be spiritual,  
The valley was able to be abundant,  
The ten thousand things were able to be alive,  
And the rulers were able to lead.  
All these came about.  

If the sky was not pure it would split open,  
If the earth was not tranquil it would erupt,  
If the spirits were not spiritual they would vanish,  
If the valley was not abundance it would wither,  
If the ten thousand things were not alive they would be extinct,  
If the rulers did not lead they would be toppled.  

Therefore cheap is the root of expensive,  
Low is the root of high.  
The rulers consider themselves alone, bereft and unworthy,  
Fail to use worthless as their root.  Is it not so?  
The substance of the vehicle is not the vehicle.  
Do not wish to be shiny like jade,  
Be dull like rock. 

Friday, June 02, 2017

Virtuous Leadership

Over the years I've had the pleasure of meeting a few really good project managers and the misfortune of meeting a lot of poor project managers.

The Way  
A poor project manager tries to behave in what he think is the ‘right way’ for a project manager to behave. He acts as if busy but never seem to achieve anything. This sheds no light on anything and usually backfires as the team think he doesn’t actually know what’s going on. 

The wise project manager is aware of what is happening in the team and acts accordingly. There are no ways to behave that will ensure successful leadership. It cannot be calculated or manipulated and it is never achieved by trying to look good. The wise project manager just does the right thing.  

The Tao  
Lao Tzu tells us:  

True goodness is not virtuous,  
Because it has virtue.  
A foolish person tries to be good,  
Therefore has no virtue.  

The sage does nothing,  
Yet leaves nothing undone.  
A foolish man is always doing,  
Yet much remains to be done.  

When a truly kind man does something,  
He leaves nothing undone.  
When a just man does something,  
He leaves a great deal to be done.  

Therefore ignore Tao and virtue ensues.  
Ignore virtue and kindness ensues.  
Ignore kindness and justice ensues.  
Ignore justice and etiquette ensues.  

A man of etiquette despises goodness
And sets in motion confusion.  
His concern is himself and what serves him,  
It is the beginning of folly.  

Therefore the truly great man looks to the substantial,  
And not what is on the surface.  
The true fruit not the flowery.  
Dismissing the one, grasping the other.