Project Management Institute


Some Conflicts Only Exist in Our Minds

by Bob Rausch, Ph.D.  

“The mind is its own place and in itself can make a heaven of hell and a hell of heaven.”     ~ Milton, A Paradise Lost

SOME CONFLICTS ONLY EXIST IN OUR MINDSWe waste a lot of energy thinking and rethinking situations in our minds. I’m sure you remember times when you’ve taken a perfectly good problem and run it over in your mind until you ended up with a serious conflict. We become our own worst enemy when we use too much energy thinking about a problem over and over again. My father gave me a great example of this. When he was a young boy, there was a bully in his neighborhood. This kid was bigger than the other children and took advantage of his size by pushing the other kids around. Although he never touched my father, he was a threat in my father’s mind.

So my dad began lifting weights and taking boxing lessons. Then one day he saw the bully sitting on the porch outside of his house and while not saying a word and mustering up all his courage, my dad walked up and hit the kid right in the mouth. That may seem strange but it’s a great example of creating conflict out of a problem, and it all took place inside my father’s head. We waste a lot of energy by over processing a problem and creating a conflict that only exists in our mind.

Here are some pointers to help you keep things in perspective when problems arise with others: Learn More »

Productivity Tips You Need To Know

by Pamela A. Scott

I just got back from three days of workshops led by people who are very successful in their fields.  Here are some words of wisdom that may help you and me reach their level of success.

1. Use a spreadsheet to capture ideas of the moment while you are working on other projects.  This is how it works for Jeanette Cates.  She cuts down on distractions by having a spreadsheet file on her desktop. When she is working on a project and gets a thought about a different project, she flips over to the spreadsheet file and notes the idea.  At the end of the day, she reviews the ideas she captured and plugs them into her schedule.

2. Use spreadsheets to keep your lists on.  One page is your daily to-do lists, another page is your daily tasks, another can be improvements you need to make to the filing system, and another sheet is reserved for expenses.

3. If you do an activity three or more times, automate it. Create a template for that type of report to speed you up the next time you prepare one.  Or go to sites such as or and find a software geek who can create a simple program for you to automate the task. Learn More »

Learned Optimism or Learned Pessimism? It’s Your Choice!

by David Ryback, Ph.D.

Pessimists may indeed feel more anxious about social acceptance. They may feel more anxious about many things not going well, big and small. Psychologists have a term Learned Optimism or Learned Pessimism?for such individuals when they suffer from this in the extreme – neurotic. We don’t like that term because it connotes something very bad, when all it’s meant to point out is that some people have a greater tendency to become anxious about small things than others. For example, some people tend spend much more time on their work than they need to in order to ease their fear of being fired because they don’t appear “perfect”.

In the workplace, this tendency can come across as undue attention to details that are clearly irrelevant to bottom-line success. Sometimes it comes across as a control issue, particularly when foisted on underlings. For example, if the boss is a stickler for details that don’t matter in most people’s opinions, then it appears much effort is misplaced and subordinates feel frustrated about wasting their energy when more important things are being ignored. Learn More »

Effective Leadership for Technical Professionals

by Ron Shapiro

It’s no secret that good, effective leaders drive forward a successful business. But what makes a good leader? Technical leaders in particular, including as people working in marketing, finance, and sales, have a specific set of needs.

Effective Leadership for Technical ProfessionalsLeadership Needs for the Technical Workplace

Effective leaders should be the driving force behind achieving business goals and objectives, which requires that they meet a number of business needs.

  • Supporting colleagues. This is the first point on the list for a reason. Business leaders are not just there to crack the whip on their team members. Employees and teammates who feel well supported in their work are going to work harder, as long as the leader balances support with the importance of meeting deadlines and accomplishing goals.
  • Autonomy. In business, employees should have some level of freedom and discretion over the work that they do. Tying in with support, the autonomy awarded to colleagues also means high expectations. Employees who have a lot of free reign over their work also have high responsibility, and it is the leader’s job to motivate and check in. Leaders should also be able to reassess what is and is not working when it comes to employee responsibility.
  • Achievement. Ultimately, the greatest needs of businesses are those of actually meeting business objectives and goals.

Common Leadership Pitfalls

When leaders are ineffective, businesses suffer. But just how much? While it may be obvious that productivity decreases, it’s also true that retention falls short, employees are unengaged, their talents go undeveloped, and time is wasted. What makes for some of these pitfalls? Learn More »

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