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Author: Jon Isaacson

Project Management and Service Leadership Podcasts

Supplement your personal and professional development by listening to quality podcasts

Many project managers find podcasts to be a great use of their windshield time as they drive from client to client or sit in commuter traffic. Similar to the rise and appeal of audio books, podcasts can be a great way to expand your mind while going about your everyday tasks. Those who are looking to grow their career, elevate their leadership skills or encourage their teams, may be asking, “What podcasts can speak to project management professionals?”

We are glad you asked, and we hope to help you answer that question with the content of this article. Enclosed is a list of the podcasts that we are aware of that provide value for project management professionals with guests who have seen a thing or two and can help challenge, encourage and inspire your growth.

Blue Collar Nation Podcast

Eric “The Tech Whisperer” Sprague and Larry “Pineapple Man” Wilberton built their construction business from scratch, learned their leadership lessons the hard way and were able to sell their company at a profit. They now focus their efforts on helping business owners and company leaders with the pillars of success that they learned while in the trenches of their organization. In addition to their Blue Collar Nation Podcast, they offer Morning Tech Meeting and have recently started Blue Collar Nation Radio which is a 24/7 collection of content for service based businesses.

Recent Guests on BCNP include:

  • Former Shamrock office manager, Lesley Barragan, who started with no industry experience and has gone on to build a thriving career
  • Jon Isaacson from The DYOJO Podcast was a recent guest
  • The pain of entrepreneurship with Eric and Larry

The GMS Podcast

You would be hard pressed to find a person in the service industry who doesn’t like Gerrett Stier. Mr. Stier started out working in his family electrical construction company when he found a need in the property restoration industry for temporary power distribution boxes. He launched his business, GMS Distribution, in the middle of the 2008 recession and hasn’t looked back. He recently launched The GMS Podcast and his genuine interest in grasping the unique services that his guests provide makes for a great discussion.

Recent guests on TGP include:

  • Michelle Blevins, the editor in chief of Restoration and Remediation Magazine (R&R)
  • Ben Justesen of Enlightened Restoration Solutions and Just Right Cleaning and Construction (JRCC)
  • Jeff Cross, Editorial Director of ISSA Media and the host of Straight Talk

The DYOJO Podcast

This podcast attempts to bridge that gap between information and entertainment, what Jon “The Intentional Restorer” Isaacson call infotainment. The DYOJO Podcast, which is the DO Your Job Dojo, brings entertaining and inspiring guests who will help you laugh and learn as you shorten your learning curve for leading service teams in any industry. Host Jon Isaacson is mediocre at best, but at least he tries and we are all surprised at the depth of quality guests he is able to attract for this video and audio experience.

Recent guests on TDP include:

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Flip this Risk

Dr. Karen Hardy “The Risk Management Story Teller” discusses, “The human factor of risk taking and how it influences our business and personal achievements.” Dr. Hardy has committed her professional career towards helping millions break free from the crippling fears of risk by using creative problem solving methods and brings her years of experience and achievement to her podcast. 

Recent guests on FTR include:

  • Nick Nanton, attorney and CEO of the DNA Agency
  • Nancy Potok, former Chief Statistician for the U.S. and COO for the Census Bureau
  • 5 risk management tips for protecting your organization from reputational harm 

Straight Talk

Straight Talk is a webcast from Jeff Cross, the editorial director of ISAA Media which also produces Cleanfax as well as Cleaning and Maintenance Magazine. Straight Talk will dig into industry issues, providing how-to tips, marketing and management advice, news, trending topics, and more.

Recent guests on ST include:

Pro vs. Joe Podcast  

Pro vs. Joe is a podcast within a podcast from The DYOJO Podcast. Bryan Close, The Joe, is not new to construction but their company All American Real Estate Services (Tacoma, WA) is pivoting to focus a significant portion of their business in water and fire damage repairs. He is new to the nuances of the industry and reached out to Jon Isaacson, The Pro, of The DYOJO, to assist him and his partner Brandon through this process of change and growth. For those new to the industry, you will receive a crash course in building your business. ​For those who have been in the industry for sometime, you will find that the conversation re-ignites your passion for the good work that our teams do day-in and day-out.

Recent topics on PVJ include:

  • PVJ 004 Motivating your team with vision
  • PVJ 003 The growing pains of a young business
  • PVJ 002 Powering up with good partnerships
  • PVJ 001 Branding fails and networking

So many great tools at such a great price (free)

Keep listening, growing and being intentional. Wherever you are at in your career, it is awesome to know there are peers who are sharing their knowledge to help you chart your path. Please, share your favorite podcasts to listen to for leadership development, business growth and property restoration via our website or on instagram @theDYOJO as we would enjoy expanding our playlist.

If you listen to any of these great podcasts, be sure to help them out by subscribing, writing a review and sharing on your social media accounts. Keep doing good things and keep an eye out for my soon to be released book, Be Intentional: Estimating which will be a compilation of content related to building the right mindset and habits for success at any level within the property restoration, construction and insurance claims professions. 

Symptoms vs Sources in Project Management

Successful project management requires developing your soft skills.

Project management skills require the ability to solve an unending series of issues. You create a plan that includes contingencies and yet, when humans are involved there will always be opportunities for conflicts to arise. As a professional, you understand that people-problems can be the most difficult to identify and resolve. It is important that we use our limited energy to determine sources of dysfunction rather than chasing after symptoms.  

When someone near you sneezes, do you brace yourself and think, “Great, now I’m going to get sick?” You experience the external symptom and know it reveals that this person has either had a reaction to something or that they are ill. The sneeze could carry particles of some disease that will spread to yourself and others. You may say, “Bless you,” or offer your favorite remedies for the common cold. 

You know that when someone sneezes (symptom) there is an underlying source. 

On the other hand, in business, you experience dysfunction all the time and yet get sidetracked by thinking solely about the symptoms. Symptoms are what attract our attention when sources are where solutions must be applied. As a person in a position of leadership, it is important to intentionally develop your ability to decipher the nuances between symptoms and sources if you want to be effective with leading your team. 

What is the difference between a symptom and the source when addressing dysfunction? 

The online Oxford Dictionary definition of a symptom (noun) is, “A physical or mental feature which is regarded as indicating a condition of disease, particularly such a feature that is apparent to the patient.”

When used in a sentence, Dental problems may be a symptom of other illness.”

What do you do when you begin to experience tooth pain? The pain is a symptom of some source. It could be a cavity, a sensitive tooth or something much greater such as decay or infection. Ibuprofen may temporarily treat the symptom of pain but it will not address the source. After a few days of increasing discomfort, you decide to go to the dentist to determine the issue and discuss solutions.  

Interestingly, the online Oxford Dictionary uses another example which is apropos both to our culture as well as the business environment, “A sign of the existence of something, especially of an undesirable situation.”

The second sentence utilization from Oxford states, “The government was plagued by leaks—a symptom of divisions and poor morale.”

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In the example, leaks (symptom) in the government were caused by divisions and poor morale (source). I would add that division and poor morale are symptoms of lack of trust and unwillingness to set aside ego for the greater good. When human interactions are involved, the source versus symptom discussion has layers of complexity. 

  • Dysfunction, like the common cold, affects your team’s ability to perform their duties. 
  • External symptoms expose underlying internal issues.
  • To treat a symptom like dysfunction, you must uncover the source(s).
  • When symptoms are left untreated, they invite a host of other symptoms and sources.

As a project manager, as well as a person in a position of leadership, you can either peel back the layers of symptoms to address sources or the layers of symptoms can build until they overwhelm your resources and suck the life from your organization. Successful project management includes developing your people management (aka soft) skills.  Explore beneath the surface to determine what sources in your team are causing these dysfunctional symptoms. Addressing one layer of symptoms and sources will likely lead to opening another layer. 

  • Be mindful of your culture: Is there a clear process that empowers team members, at any level, to bring issues before the team so that they can be discussed? In his book, Joy Inc., CEO Richard Sheridan talks about the importance of a culture of open communication. He says, “What I hope is that we’ve created a system that exposes these problems sooner, so that we can deal with them while they are still small.” Sheridan discusses the role of the leader in removing fear from the team so that there is freedom to bring up issues and the empowerment to experiment with creative solutions. 
  • Expand your input channels: In this rapidly evolving business climate, it is foolish for anyone in a position of leadership to believe that they will be able to identify all of the issues as well as come up with all of the solutions. Former Navy Seal team leader, Jocko Willink states, “A leader must lead but also be ready to follow. Sometimes, another member of the team—perhaps a subordinate or direct report—might be in a better position to develop a plan, make a decision, or lead through a specific situation.” 
  • Develop your process: When you see issues arise, don’t be distracted by the symptom, dig into the sources. There is a difference between a negative outburst based in egos and a conflict which exposes an issue within your organization. A strong organizational culture is not afraid of constructive conflict and will navigate the process to strengthen the team.

Three keys to crushing your growth goals

Use your time intentionally as you make progress in your professional development.

There is so much pressure to live your best life. There is a new formula every day for how you can 10x your efforts to strike while the iron is hot. With so much information coming at you as a professional it can be difficult to determine whether you are doing the right thing to propel your career forward. Moving forward isn’t the only measure of success. It is possible to be moving forward in an endless circle that goes nowhere.

Pursuing a growth mindset requires asking difficult questions of yourself.

How then do you ensure that your personal development and professional efforts are not being wasted? We share three keys to ensure that you are not misapplying your time. Professionals, leaders and managers can use these steps to help review whether your personal strategy is leading down the path of achievement.

Step 1: Measure your growth efforts correctly

Recognize that moving forward isn’t the only measure of progress. Like being lost in the woods, you can be walking with great effort and purpose and yet find that you have succeeded only in arriving at the spot from which you started. How terrible is it to realize you’ve spent all this time only to discover that you moved forward in a large and arduous circle. Your setback wasn’t for lack of effort, but for lack of skill and commitment to identifying a sound reference point. In business you need benchmarks that track your progress.

Stop running in every direction by developing a plan guided by vision.

  • Where do I want to be?
  • Who do I need to be to get there?
  • What do I need to do in order to move myself in that direction?

In her book, Unqualified Success, Rachel Stewart reminds us that the key to success starts with understanding that, “The only qualification to get better: being willing to suck when you start.”

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Step 2: Identify reference points for your growth progress

We recently trained the first adolescent driver in our family. One thing that we continued to stress, whether they were positioning themselves in their lane or preparing to reverse into a parking spot, was that you have to identify a reference point. If you are going to reach your goals you need a reference point to guide you. By locating reference points you can direct your steps towards your goal and track whether you are making progress.

Start to build accountability for yourself setting goals from your vision.

Move your vision into action by setting some goals. You can work forward from where you are or you can work backward from where you want to be. Often it is best to think of where you want to be in 5-10 years, what does that vision path look like?

In his book Traction, Gino Wickman, advises that once you know where you want to be in 10 years you can break your vision into action steps. Keep it simple but make it trackable. In Traction’s terminology, with a vision of your 10 year target, or Big Harry Audacious Goal (BHAG), you can create a three year picture from which you develop a one year plan from which you can break that into quarterly ROCKS.

Step 3: Move your growth onward and upward

Wherever you are on the ladder of success, most in a position of leadership would say that they have the will to succeed. What separates achievers from dreamers is the ability to develop a framework and follow through from a plan of action. Align your will to succeed with action based upon your reference point to ensure that you are moving in the right direction. Honesty with yourself is as essential as constructive input from trusted mentors.

Continue to check your progress and habits by asking, “Is this working?”

Just because you have a vision and have started making progress does not mean that you won’t miss a turn or get caught into another loop. The value of having a written plan is that you have something to measure your progress against. If you add some peers to your circle, or a mentor, you can benefit from independent insights and accountability. Your plan likely will change as you move forward. You must adapt as you learn new information from trying, failing and receiving feedback. 

Growth requires will, skill and chill

Growth requires moving beyond your comfort zone. Progress demands the will, skill and chill in to reach your goals. You can say you have the will, but how consistently are you move in step with your vision. Skills can be learned when you maintain a hunger to improve. Chill is the learned ability to understand that you can survive this. The three combined allow you to push through obstacles, redirect your path and bring quality people to assist your efforts.

The will to succeed combined with the skill to accurately assess whether we are making headway can provide the chill to endure any obstacle.

The Cause, Cost, and Countermeasure to Conflict in an Organization

If you have dysfunction in your team, the cost may be higher than you want to admit but the cure may also be closer than you realize.

Frustration in the workplace, does such a thing exist? In a recent article in Forbes magazine, researchers discussed the primary sources of disgruntlement within organizations. According to the study, most employees noted that they were frustrated by personality differences and incompetence in their co-workers. This is not news to anyone who has worked in an organizational setting, one human plus one human will eventually equal conflict. The potential for conflict, as well as the intensity and duration, are compounded by the number of humans added to the equation. More people, more problems. What is interesting about the Forbes article is that upon further investigation there was an underlying source which contributed to the environment of dysfunction,

“In fact, teams having conflict had much higher levels of ambiguity in three categories of work: their team’s goals, roles, and procedures. So, while it is very human to assign personal motive and blame in times of trouble, there isn’t really anything personal about the core of workplace conflict. If you back up and look at the facts, a lack of clarity is what’s truly to blame.” (Wakeman, 2015)

The need for clarity is foundational to functionality and trust within an organization. Where there is a lack of clarity, there will be conflict. Office drama is costly, CPP Inc. performed a study in 2008 which discovered that employees in the United States spent 2.8 hours per week dealing with conflict which CPP estimated as costing over $359 billion in paid hours or the equivalent of 385 million working days (Lawler, 2010). Every business understands the need to watch the bottom line, so why are mangers unwilling to recognize the high cost of conflict? Think of it, if every employee in your office could increase engagement and efficiency by 7% by only changing one element, wouldn’t that be something a wise leader would be more intentional about?

Recognize the cost of inaction. Managers spend much of their time putting out fires, and yet our discussion to this point has demonstrated that the cure for dysfunction may be closer that you think. By understanding the cost of conflict, we recognize the value of investing in practices that will help our organization to identify and address these hot beds of discordance within our teams.

Realize the need to eliminate the blame game. When employees focus on blaming each other, too often managers are happy to allow them to target their ire upon each other rather than dealing with the core of these issues which creates a negatively recurring cycle. As noted by the author in a prior article – how leaders respond to conflicts can either reinforce cultural values that strengthen the team, or they can respond in ways that destroy morale (Isaacson, 2016).

Reduce conflict by creating clarity. If the research from Wakeman and her team as outlined in Forbes is accurate, then leaders can make a significant reduction in interpersonal conflict by being more intentional about organizational clarity. As a leader, you can alleviate friction between team members by being more clear about team goals, roles, and procedures as quoted above.

If we can sense the frustration in the organization and we can calculate the deep costs, we should be proactive in working towards long-term solutions. Often inaction is caused by an inability to identify the causes or formulate an effective plan, but now that these have been brought to light the only question left is whether we will be intentional about getting into the mix to make the magic happen. There are no shortcuts when working with interpersonal dynamics but progress is attainable through the countermeasures for the conflict we have discussed.

Wakeman, Cy (2015, June 22) The number 1 source of workplace conflict, and how to avoid it. Forbes. Retrieved from
Lawler, Jennifer (2010, June 21) The real cost of workplace conflict. Entrepreneur. Retrieved from
Isaacson, Jon (2016, July 11) Eliminating blame in your organization. Retrieved from