Author: George Pitagorsky

George Pitagorsky, integrates core disciplines and applies people centric systems and process thinking to achieve sustainable optimal performance. He is a coach, teacher and consultant. George authored The Zen Approach to Project Management, Managing Conflict and Managing Expectations and IIL’s PM Fundamentals™. He taught meditation at NY Insight Meditation Center for twenty-plus years and created the Conscious Living/Conscious Working and Wisdom in Relationships courses. Until recently, he worked as a CIO at the NYC Department of Education.
PMTimes_July12_2022

The Power of Decision Criteria

Every decision is made based on criteria. Are you and your team conscious of your criteria?

Decision making is at the heart of project management. Doing it well requires skill and awareness of the process. This article addresses decision criteria and the need for up front and formal definition of them as part of a decision-making process. A previous article Get the Right Answers to Make the Right Decisions[1] discussed the need for the right questions to ensure high quality decisions. Among those questions is “what criteria will we use to evaluate options and decide?”

Poor decisions are made when people make them without consciously identifying their decision criteria. This happens at all levels, from individuals to decisions amongst project teams, executives, and members of boards of directors.

 

The Decision-Making Process

When decision makers are aware of their process it is less likely that they will overlook setting up mutually agreed upon decision criteria.

Being aware of the process means consciously recognizing that there is a set of steps for deciding. One of the steps is agreeing upon the criteria to be used.

There are many variations on the definition of the decision-making process. They share a common theme – consciously understand what you are doing and how you are doing it. Define your process and make it adaptable and flexible. Make it so that later steps influence earlier ones in an iterative refinement process.

Here are nine steps to sum up the process[2]

1) Define values, goals, objectives, and requirement specifications

2) Define the decision making and target environments

3) Agree upon decision criteria

4) Identify solution options

5) Analyze and compare solution options vis-à-vis the decision criteria

6) Decide

7) Implement the decision

8) Monitor and adjust

9) Reflect on the process for lessons learned.

 

The first step includes the definition of the desired outcome. The second step identifies who will make and influence the decision(s), levels of authority, process, tools, and techniques to use in decision making. It also makes sure that the decision makers have a good understanding of the nature of the environment that the decision will affect – the operational environment. Goals and objectives may be adjusted as step two is performed. Both steps one and two may be refined as criteria are identified. All three are subject to refinement as the process proceeds, as implied in step eight.

 

What are decision criteria?

Decision criteria are the basis for deciding. They “are the principles, values, rules, variables, and conditions that an organization or team uses to select an option or make a decision.”[3]

 

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Why Define Criteria

Consciously defining decision criteria improves the quality and rationality of decisions.

The criteria always exist. Every decision is made based on some criteria, which may be consciously known or not. Many are prone to subconsciously consider factors that skew their decision. For example, a bias towards reinforcing privately held values may get in the way of reaching a practical decision.

When decision criteria are consciously considered, prioritized, and agreed upon by decision makers, biases can be identified and managed, criteria that may not be immediately obvious can be discovered. Without consciously addressing decision criteria, decisions are suboptimal. They will take longer than necessary to make, and they are more likely to turn out to be ineffective.

Decisions take longer because criteria emerge over the course of discussions rather than at the onset. For example, a team charged with the design of the interior of elevator cars became aware after deciding, but before the design was implemented, that there were design options that were more likely to protect against damage. The team had not directly assessed damage resistance when making their decision. Once aware of the newly identified factors, the original decision was put aside while other options were identified and assessed, causing a several weeks delay.

The team had not explicitly stated their criteria. Informally, everyone had an understanding that aesthetics was the main criterion, with maintainability as a key factor. Cost and availability were also considered. They reviewed several options and selected one. If the decision had been acted upon the team could have made a poor choice that looked good but was easily chipped or cracked. The result could have been costly.

 

Time and Effort

Besides thinking it is unnecessary, a reason that decision makers do not spend adequate time and effort considering their decision criteria is the perception that it will take too long and that it is overly formal.

The time it takes to define decision criteria depends on the situation. With a team that often works together on similar projects, the criteria for choosing supplier, design, or plan options may be already available in a checklist. Little time would be needed to review the checklist and verify its fit for the decision at hand. If on the other hand the team was not used to working together, was operating informally, and had no checklist, setting decision criteria can be more complex, requiring convincing team members that some formality is needed.

In most cases all it takes to identify decision criteria is a brief brainstorming session among the decision makers, informed about typical criteria for the type of decision they are to make. Going further to evaluate the criteria, prioritizing them, takes more time and effort.

 

How Formal Do You have to Be?

A formal process improves performance. But how formal is formal?

The minimal degree of formality is to have a written list of criteria. If during the decision-making other criteria come up, add them to the list.

A next level of formality is to weight the criteria to identify priorities among them and then use the weights to score each option, so the score becomes a factor in choosing one.

In all decisions some criteria are more significant than others. Sometimes the degree of significance, the weights, are used informally or unconsciously. With more formality weights are used to calculate scores in a documented process. This brings a greater degree of objectivity to the process, though making decisions purely on the numbers can be unskillful. Do not underestimate the power of intuition, particularly among experienced decision makers.

The degree of formality depends on the complexity and impact of the decision, the team’s confidence in their decision-making process, and their accountability for their decision. In some cases, rules and regulations mandate the documentation of decisions, in other cases it is useful to be able to show others that a rational process was used to make the decision.

 

How to Set the Criteria

Identifying the criteria for a decision is not a particularly creative process. Use readily available lists via a quick web search for decision criteria lists. For example:

  • Performance
  • Appearance – look and feel, aesthetics
  • User experience
  • Stakeholder acceptance
  • Cost – of implementation, operation, and replacement
  • Benefits
  • Risk
  • Security
  • Maintainability
  • Reliability
  • Resilience and flexibility
  • Environmental, social and governance considerations
  • Sourcing and availability
  • Time to implement
  • Reviews.

Use this list or one that is more specific to your decision as a starting point to craft your criteria.

 

Bottom Line

Consciously agreeing upon and documenting decision criteria in the context of a defined decision process promotes high quality decisions and avoids unnecessary delays. To apply this principle most effectively tailor formality to the nature of your situation, with the minimum being a list of agreed upon criteria.

[1] https://www.projecttimes.com/articles/get-the-right-answers-to-make-the-right-decisions/

[2] Adapted from Pitagorsky, Managing Conflict in Projects: Applying Mindfulness and Analysis for Optimal Results

https://www.amazon.com/Managing-Conflict-Projects-Applying-Mindfulness/dp/193558958X

[3] How to Write Decision Criteria (With Tips and Examples) | Indeed.com Canada

 

PMTimes_June27_2022

Best of PMTimes – Project Karma: What You Think, Say And Do Matters

Projects are the vehicles for making things different. It is natural to want things to be different than they are.

Things can be better. Progress and improvement arise out of this desire. So may pain and suffering. Choosing the right projects and performing them well make the difference.

Projects are actions to effect change – to make more money; improve people’s lives. They deliver new and modified products, architectural wonders, events, and processes which impact both the environment the project work takes place in and the environment that receives the results. Within those environments people’s lives, the way they think, their values and how they relate with others are changed.

The Law Of Cause And Effect -Karma

Every action, whether to make things better or not, creates a ripple effect. The effect may be short lived or last for years, if not lifetimes. It may be felt near or far. Knowing that there is this ripple effect motivates one to be careful about what one does, what one says, and even what one thinks.

This is the Law of Karma or the Law of Cause and Effect. Every action has an effect. Everything is caused by something. Sometimes the effect is very subtle and minor; sometimes near and sometimes far. This is the foundation for process thinking and quality management.

Consider the project of planning a wedding. The way the planning and preparation are carried out influences the relationships among the stakeholders. The over controlling parent can turn-off the bride and groom and the other parents. An over controlling or over emotional bride can change the feelings of the groom and/or her friends and relatives. Even the decision of who gets to sit at which table can reverberate for years to come. One conversation can make or break a relationship.

A project to implement a new process for an operational group can disrupt the organization positively or negatively. It can cause ongoing conflict between management and labor, and either make for better ongoing performance or degrade performance depending on how well the project is executed and how the new process performed and maintained overtime.

A project to lay a pipeline across virgin territory can contribute to the pollution of the environment because of the immediate disruption of the construction project or a decade later when a leak spews oil into the land and water. The project can also result in profits, lower energy costs, and conflict among promoters, resisters, and supporters. There are any number of unforeseeable possibilities.

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Decisions And Actions

A decision to ignore or dismiss testing results or concerns raised by project staff can lead to a disaster, as it did in the Challenger explosion, killing the crew, costing millions of dollars and destroying the reputations of NASA management because of their faulty statistical reasoning.

Intentions, biases, values, and beliefs are the drivers of decisions. Decisions drive behavior. The way decisions are made influences relationships and outcomes. For example, being overly aggressive or using underhanded methods to get one’s way can cause distrust and anger that clouds relationships going forward to other negotiations.

Working With Karma

There are a number of strategies to apply this concept of cause and effect to promote optimal performance.

Some people ignore the Law of Karma entirely. They act as if there were no consequences and then are surprised by the results of their behavior. Some of these do, in fact, know about the Law of Karma, others are ignorant of it. Either way, there are consequences.

Some others fall into analysis paralysis. They spend so much time analyzing and worrying about what might happen that they miss the opportunity to act.

Others take a middle path that considers the question from multiple perspectives. They balance their analysis with intuition. They consider the time factor, uncertainty. They realize that there may not be a “perfect” solution.

Take A Beat

This last strategy is one to aspire to. When faced with a decision take a beat.

Relax, pause, breathe and think about what you are going to do. Just reactively diving-in, risks unforeseen consequences. So take a beat. Respond after the due diligence of assessing from multiple perspectives the pros and cons, risks and rewards, ripple effects, alternatives, etc.

Make the duration of the pause and the nature of the decision process right for the situation. Do you have an hour, a day, a month or does the response have to be in the moment. In project work, immediate response is not usually required.

The way a soldier or police officer reacts in a life-threatening situation requires a well-trained reaction. Yet, even in those situations, it is easy to get lost in emotional reactivity. Reactivity does not allow for a step back to think about one’s actions and their consequences. We have seen many instances of inappropriate reactivity leading to unnecessary deaths and ruined lives.

Most project managers have at least a moment to step back and consider the ripple effect of what they do or say. It is only lack of mindful awareness that keeps some from realizing it.

Responsiveness

With training in the cultivation of mindful self-awareness there is the possibility of a natural process of letting things unfold. Not in a sloppy, lazy way, but by being in flow so as to allow one’s skills, intelligence, analysis and intuition to emerge in perfect alignment with the needs of the situation.

Short of that, objectively observe what is going on internally and externally to create the platform for what to do next.

In any case, living requires decisions and actions. Actions include the actions of not acting, and of expressing oneself by speaking, writing, or with body language.

Responsiveness means making conscious decisions. Discerning whether they are unbiased or are really justifications or rationalizations after the action has been carried out. When reacting there is no conscious decision making, only the outburst or withdrawal.

No matter whether action stems from a well thought out decision or not, there is the ripple effect.

Picture dropping a stone in a still pond – the effect is ripples radiating out in all directions. Now imagine the stone falling into an already rippling pond into which many stones of different sizes are being continuously dropped in different places. That is more like our world. Complexity and volatility leading to uncertainty.

Sometimes in that kind of pond, the ripples from your stone, your action, are barely visible, sometimes they are operating under the surface to take effect later. Sometimes they don’t much matter. In any case, be mindful enough to remember the Law of Cause and Effect and responsive enough to choose what you do, say and think wisely

PMTimes_May19_2022

Get the Right Answers to Make the Right Decisions

“If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on it, I would use the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.” – Albert Einstein

Decisions solve problems and are the forerunners of action. According to Oxford Language a decision is “a conclusion or resolution reached after consideration.” Decision making is “the action or process of deciding something or of resolving a question.”

Decision making is at the heart of effective performance. It is a complex process that relies on a combination of both external, interpersonal, and intrapersonal factors.

 

Stepping Back to Consider

Einstein’s estimate of how long it would take to solve the problem may be optimistic for those of us lacking the genius’ intellect, but the ability to step back and ask the right questions is critical to being an effective decision maker. The principle is true for individuals and teams alike.

The primary definition of decision says one is made after consideration of questions to uncover and narrow down alternatives, make sure that there is understanding of the problem, and to focus attention on critical issues.

“The affect of asking the right question is statistically profound. … we saw that asking the right question increased the odds of someone’s work having a positive affect on others by 4.1 times. It made the outcome 3.1 times more likely to be deemed important, 2.8 times more likely to create passion in the doer, and perhaps most significant to company leaders, 2.7 times more likely to make a positive impact on the organization’s bottom line.”

 

What to Consider?

What are the proper questions? For example the question “Why is it that when we want to call and talk to a person, we have to call a place?” asked by a Motorola project manager charged with creating the next generation of car radiotelephone led ultimately to the personal mobile phone rather than to a solution that focused on a location, whether at home, in office, or in a car.

 

Why

There are seven questions that are widely accepted as the basics for getting the right information for making a decision – who, what, when, where, why, how, and how much. Of these, the why question, is the most controversial and often the most difficult to ask.

A brief internet search uncovers articles that insist on asking why and those that say not to ask why because it is too confrontative and often comes from being judgmental as opposed to being curious. Of course, it depends on the context and the reason for the question.

In the context of project management, “why?” is a critical question that helps to make effective decisions.

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Do or Die

Imagine being a project manager who has been assigned a project that must deliver a specified result in six weeks. You ask, “Why that result and in that time frame?”  If the response is “Because the client wants it?” do you push back?

Or do you walk away ready to give your team the same answer you got from your boss or the customer contact person? Telling them “Ours is not to wonder why. Ours is just to do or die.”

Would the client be averse to the “why” question? If so, “Why? How about if the question were rephrased as, “We often find that there are several ways to achieve your business goals and some are often better than the solution we first think of. Can we explore the reason for your objective so that we might be able to better serve you?”

Note the possibilities here. The client might be completely closed to any other solutions and require that you “do or die.” Or, the client might be interested and open minded enough to identify the reasons for the objectives and be open to alternative solutions that would be less costly and more effective at achieving business objectives.

That is why wise project managers insist upon getting answers to the proper questions. Failure to do so not only makes for suboptimal solutions, but putsd the manager and team in a position to take the blame for it.

 

The Right/Proper Questions

Detectives ask questions to uncover means, motive and opportunity. Project managers may ask questions that take them “out of the box of conventional thinking, but they must ask questions that consider the situation at hand:

  • Are expectations rational?
  • What will happen if we don’t ask the right questions?
  • What are the business goals and project objectives?
  • Why are they the objectives?
  • Are there alternative objectives that would achieve the goals?
  • What are the criteria for success? Why? Who established them? Who will determine if they have been met?
  • What are the consequences of failure? Of success?
  • What are the risks  that might get in the way of success?  What are their likelihood and impact?
  • When will the project be performed and when is it expected to be completed?
  • What human and material resources are needed? Why? What quality characteristics must they have? Are there alternatives?
  • Are the resources available? When will they be needed? Why? How could they be made available?
  • What is the project environment like? Can it be made more “friendly” to project performance?
  • Who are the stakeholders and what are their roles and responsibilities?
  • Who will be impacted by the project’s performance and its results? How will they be impacted? How can impact be influenced to make it more positive?
  • What is the project history – e.g., was this or a similar project performed in the past? How can lessons learned be used to inform the current team?
  • What procedures and tools will be used? Why? Are there alternatives?

 

Courage and Patience

Often, everyone wants to just get on with the work, to “just do it.” It takes courage and patience to take the time and effort to step back and ask the proper questions, even in the face of resistance by key stakeholders to explore reasons and alternatives.

Know When to Give Up: Apply Objective Positivity, Patience, and Persistence

Knowing when to and when not to give up on a project is a sign of clear thinking and effective management and leadership.

Positivity, patience, and persistence are needed when you are working to achieve a challenging objective. Yet even these qualities can be overdone and become toxic. Without objectivity they can lead to frustration and wasted efforts.

Toxic positivity is over-optimism that avoids reality by denying the negative. Positivity is healthy, but too much of anything can be toxic.

Toxic patience and persistence is stubbornness – persistence without a realistic sense of the likelihood of success. It leads to wasted efforts, frustration, and damaging behavior. It is driven by a fear of failure or biased thinking.

With mindful objectivity, you can recognize when persistence and patience are futile. Then with a positive attitude, learning from the experience, you go on to the next challenge with a greater probability of success.

Pessimism

Struggling with a puzzle, my friend said “I just can’t do this. I’m quitting these puzzles.” Some hours later, she solved it.

Impatience had driven pessimism – “a tendency to see the worst aspect of things or believe that the worst will happen; a lack of hope or confidence in the future” according to  Oxford Languages.

Maybe the experience triggered deep seated self-doubt or maybe past experiences programmed a sense of failure when obstacles were encountered. Pessimism was overcome by patient persistence. Something kept my friend working at it. Possibly, it was the need to overcome the feelings that drove her pessimism.

Pessimism makes persistence more difficult.  Negative thinking sets up self-fulfilling prophesy – “I can’t do it so I won’t do it. … See, it’s not done. I told you I couldn’t do it.”  Pessimism in organizations saps motivation and leads to poor performance.

But remember the difference between realistic assessment and pessimism. Thinking that the worst can happen can be quite useful.

It is the part of risk management when we try to predict the conditions that will get in the way of achieving our objectives. Edward de Bono in his Six Hats Thinking method includes a Black Hat. In this part of the process planners and decision makers purposefully set their minds to identify risks, difficulties and problems with the intent to either overcome them or decide that the likelihood of occurrence and impact are strong enough to cause decision makers to abandon their plan.

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Honest assessment

In project work we often find that assessments are influenced by bias. Thoughts like “Never give up” or “Good vibes only” seem helpful but can reinforce the ‘Sunk Cost Fallacy‘ — the bias that leads people to carry on with efforts that will never pay-off. This bias fuels toxic persistence based on thinking that since so much has already been spent we must push on.

Fear comes into the picture as well. Project managers may feel that admitting failure can mean career set back. As a result, they may play down risks and over optimistically misstate the probability of success. Others may fear being labeled as a pessimist or trouble maker if they bring up problems and difficulties.

Making an honest assessment requires managing the decision-making process so that decision makers take multiple perspectives. They look at the facts, take positive and “pessimistic” views, use intuition, and creativity. When any one of these views are over or under used, decision quality will suffer.

Know When to Give Up and When to Keep on Keeping on

Often, the decision to pull the plug on a project is a subjective one. But with objective criteria, the facts, creative thinking, and effective risk management, consensus can be attained.

When you apply objectivity, you realistically recognize when patient persistence is futile. Then, with a positive attitude, learning from the experience, you go on to the next challenge. You don’t “through good money after bad.”

Know when to give up. Remember that failure is OK, particularly if you learn from it. Letting go and admitting failure frees you up to greater success.

Being able to objectively recognize the subtle signs of toxic positivity and stubborn clinging to lost causes is a success factor. At the same time, knowing when to keep going is one too. What if Thomas Edison gave up after 999 attempts at inventing the light bulb? It took 1,000.

Intuition

As with so many important issues, there is no clear, by the numbers, formulaic way of knowing when to give up or when to keep on keeping on.

Intuition comes into play as the inner sense of knowing that success is just around the corner overcomes negative thinking and the insistence of others that there is no sense in continuing. Intuition also can tell us that it is time to give up.

With mindful self-awareness you can become comfortable with paradox and with the difference between the felt sense of being driven by self-confidence and the sense of being irrationally stubborn. Add to that the power of candid and collaborative assessment and you will make the right decision.

Making the Right Decision

When ending a project before its objectives have been met, the right decision is the one that “seems” to be in the best interest of the organization.

The decision point may be at a preplanned checkpoint or at a time when senior stakeholders get so fed up with budget overruns or delays that they take up the question of cancelling the project.

At that point the need is to step back and decide based on the perceived value of the outcome, the realistic probability of success, and the expected cost and schedule to completion. It is as if you were starting the project from that point. Do not fall into the sunk coast bias, make an honest assessment, and avoid fear and blame.

Perhaps it goes without saying that once a decision to abort a project is made, be sure to hold an effective performance review to learn from the experience. Remember that failure is OK if you learn from it and avoid repeating it in the future.

VUCA, BANI and Digital Transformation: Managing Radical Change

Radical change is in the air. On a global level, the world order has been disrupted by war, pestilence, the rise of authoritarianism, and the obscuration of what ‘truth’ means. Add to this the confluence of digital transformation, hybrid, and remote work, and economic disruption and we have radical change. It is the kind of change that makes reliance on history and traditional coping techniques ineffective. It brings great uncertainty.

Everything is changing and there is no telling where it will take us.

Project and program managers, organizational leaders, technologists, and all who are affected by the results of transformation must master working with people undergoing change. To be a master of change is to personally be able to stay calm and focused when faced with chaos – to manage one’s own change response. Then effective action is possible.

On an organizational level, mastery is evidenced by transition planning and execution with an emphasis on the human factor – emotional and social intelligence, resistance to change, training, ongoing support, flexibility, resilience, acceptance.

Radical Change

“The bad news is you’re falling through the air, nothing to hang on to, no parachute. The good news is there’s no ground.” —  Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Radical change is a change that has a great impact. It is a revolution. It is transformation, metamorphosis. After a radical change, the caterpillar is no longer a caterpillar.

Radical change is not particularly new in world history. Just in the last few hundred years, we have had fundamental changes to the fabric of society – the printing press, the industrial revolution, capitalism, communism, the advent of electricity and electronics, radio, TV, world wars, computers, medical breakthroughs, nuclear weaponry, social media, and more.

Digital Transformation

In the realm of organizations, digital and business transformations are radical changes. Projects, and programs start and keep the change rolling to a desired new way of being.

Digital Transformation implies business transformation. It is a complex change that relies on people performing processes that use technology. Transformation shakes up the organization, its processes, and its roles and responsibilities. Jobs will go, relationships will change, new skills and a new way of thinking will be needed.

Back in 2017, for a presentation to CIOs, I wrote, The goal is to execute a strategy that provides effective, secure, and adaptable IT capabilities to enable business innovation and sustainability. Managing digital transformation means organizing, motivating, and empowering technology and business stakeholders to address long-term needs, technology trends, human needs, and uncertainty.”

I highlighted the need for cognitive readiness – “The capacity to adapt to a complex and unpredictable environment, to moderate volatility, accept uncertainty, acknowledge the complexity and minimize ambiguity to enable optimal performance.”

While digital transformation is not war in your homeland, it strikes at basic needs for security, belonging, and recognition. It presents an opportunity to work through the anxiety and stress to manage the change. It is an opportunity to cultivate self-actualization – “to become everything one is capable of becoming.”[1]

When digital transformation is seriously undertaken there is complex change on multiple levels. There is no solid ground, we are in free fall. And this brings us to the concepts of VUCA and BANI.

VUCA and BANI

VUCA has become a familiar term to many. It stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. A more recent acronym, BANI, refers to extreme VUCA, VUCAn .

Things are unfolding moment to moment. We are faced with extreme, instable, chaotic, surprising, and disorienting situations. BANI (brittleness, anxiety, non-linearity, and incomprehensibility) is an acronym that has come into use to help find ways to handle this kind of change.

  • Brittleness refers to being in new and uncharted situation. It is brittle because rigidity sets in – wanting to hold on to the way things were, wanting control.
  • Anxiety is caused by facing the unknown and lacking control. Beyond anxiety there is existential fear – “Will I lose my job? “Will I and those I love to survive?”
  • Non-linearity is the realization that we are in a highly complex situation with multiple dimensions spiraling in multiple directions. This feeds anxiety and incomprehensibility.
  • Incomprehensibility – we can’t get the mind around the situation unless we go beyond intellect, use intuition, and accept the freedom of not knowing.

Preparation, Acceptance, and Resilience

Digital transformation need not be a BANI experience. Anxiety can be avoided and managed with the right attitude and effective planning and execution. We can make the change comprehensible through analysis, communication, and training. We can make the brittle change supple by getting better at flexible planning and openness to change.

To manage extreme circumstances, cultivate

1) The abilities to accept, relax, stop resisting, allow things to be how they are. Remember, acceptance means being realistic about what you can and cannot change. It is the platform for effective action. Acceptance enables resilience.

2) Resilience and the confidence that you can handle anything that comes. Resilience means to recover and carry on. It is best understood as going through a difficult event and coming out of the experience better than you were before. Resilience relies on acceptance.

Leading through Transformation

To succeed leaders must engender innovation, resiliency, clear thinking, and collaboration throughout the organization.

In a recent interview, Professor Linda Hill highlighted the need for interpersonal and self-awareness skills to manage digital transformation and to be effective leaders in general. Part of their transformation is to not only cultivate their own skills but to ensure that the whole organization cultivate theirs. [2]

Digital transformation, pandemic, war, and socio-economic unrest combine to create anxiety and resistance to change as people realize that they are faced with the unknown in an extremely complex environment – VUCAn, BANI, free fall, non-linear, out of control, incomprehensible, no direction home.

To succeed, everyone, leaders and all the rest need self-awareness, emotional intelligence, systems thinking, and the ability to “let go” into the unknown, accepting the loss of the comforts of the past.

Professor Hill’s studies say that organizations at the forefront of digital transformation “hired coaches to work with the C-suite to help them figure out how to be effective leaders that were creating an environment in which people want to be willing and able to innovate.” [3]

Coaching and support are needed throughout the organization. This may happen naturally as C-suite people understand the need and act upon their understanding. Otherwise, those who understand the nature of the change they are experiencing can work to convince leadership that people-focus is a significant success factor.

See my Project Times article, “Welcoming Uncertainty with Self-awareness”[4] for more on this subject.

[1] https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html Maslow, 1987, p. 64

[2] https://hbr.org/2022/03/hbs-professor-linda-hill-says-leaders-must-engage-with-emotions-as-never-before?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter_daily&utm_campaign=dailyalert_actsubs&utm_content=signinnudge&deliveryName=DM181563

[3] Ibid

[4]  https://www.projecttimes.com/articles/welcoming-uncertainty-with-self-awareness/