What’s remarkable is the consistency. I was cleaning out some files and came across these handwritten notes from the late ‘60s. Thirty years later, it was almost verbatim what he was still saying. When I first saw them, I said ,” Jack [Welch] you’ve got to get some new material.” For him, there was no new material. He had a vision for how he wanted to lead. I don’t know where he got that, but it was just so consistent. Bloomberg Businessweek, You don’t Know Jack, Aug 13-26, 2012.
How can an approach hold up for 30 years? Easy, it is based upon a fundamental understanding of how things and how people work. I’m always surprised that what I was doing, and succeeding at, in project management over 30 years ago still works today.
What is depressing is that the problems my approaches solved or worked around are still with us today. People should be telling me “Naw, we don’t have that problem, we fixed that long ago, we have other more subtle problems that we are trying to overcome.” Instead, they deliver projects not on time and not with the desired quality and give the same old excuses for why they were not as successful as they wanted to be.
See also: It’s The Project Schedule, Stupid
The moral of the story is that the methods for getting good results are already known to us. It is not about learning more or something new but in learning how to make what we know work together and to make it work effectively. A checklist mentality, for example (call meeting, make plan, distribute plan, get status report on progress to plan, deliver project) is rarely an effective method of implementing a project management methodology.
See also: We Know Everything We Need to Know
Fundamentals are just that … fundamental. They stay valid for many years in large part because people, and the ways they interact, have not changed that much over the years. Find, learn and practice fundamentals of management. Figure out how to really make that fundamental work and what it looks like when it works. Getting our fundamentals right and using them appropriately and consistently is a project, and life, management tool that works.
What fundamentals have helped you to make the biggest difference on your projects over the years?