Recently our son Trevor published a blog post entitled Every Oscar Winner for Best Picture, Ranked Worst to Best. In this post, he ranks, from 90 to one, each and every Oscar winner since Wings won the very first Oscar in 1928. Each winner is listed by the movie name, year it won, a picture from the movie, and a review summary. It took him three years to watch, review and rank the movies, which he did in addition to living a full work and social life. The ranking list, whether you agree with where they fall or not, is not only a fun read but is a major achievement for Trevor.
“If you do this, you’ll definitely increase revenue,” Mark said. Mark was a brash young consultant out to make a name for himself on his first consulting gig since graduating with an MBA. The client, Paula, was an experienced sales manager. She patiently listened to Mark’s presentation filled with consultant-speak and tired cliches. It was the “definitely increase revenue” claim that got her to chime in.
“Increasing revenue is always a great thing. Tell me, Mark, where have you done this before?” Paula asked.
“Well, our firm has done this with a lot of clients.”
“That may be true, but you’re pitching me on work that you specifically would be doing for us. I’m curious as to where you’ve specifically succeeded with a project like this and your experience with increasing revenue. Where have you done this before?”
Mark stammered for an answer. “I would have a team working with me that has the experience to deliver.”
“Mark, I’ve been around the block a lot and can tell when someone isn’t being up-front with me. You’ve never done a project like this before, have you?”
“Well, yeah; when working on my MBA we did a case study on this. I’m confident I can do the work and deliver results for you, Paula.”
Paula smiled politely. “Very good, Mark; let me think about it, OK?”
“Certainly. Can I call you next week?” Mark asked.
“I’ll be out, but I’ll give you a ring if we decide to pursue further. Thanks, Mark.”
Paula got up from her chair, shook hands with Mark and led him out of the office.
“Sheesh, what a poser,” Paula thought as she walked back to her desk, knowing she would not be calling Mark back.
Fred was livid with his performance appraisal. He had consistently been a strong project manager in his organization for several years, having received top-of-tier raises and bonuses from Gary, his previous manager. Earlier in the year he was reorganized into a new organization led by Janet, a seasoned and well-respected leader in the company. While Fred’s raise and bonus were respectable, he was not rated in the top tier of the organization. The two sat down to discuss his performance appraisal.
“Janet, this is the first time since working for this company I haven’t gotten an outstanding rating. I delivered everything on time, on budget, and within scope. Gary always gave me an outstanding rating and I did everything this year I’ve done in the past. What gives?”
“I’m glad we’re talking about this, Fred. Do you remember the discussion we had when you first joined my organization?”
“I do,” Fred said. “We talked about needing to be excellent in our delivery.”
“Yes, and what else did we talk about?”
“Thanks for meeting with me today,” Ann said as she sat down with Jim.
“Jim, I’m starting up a new customer relationship management project and my boss suggested I talk to a couple of other project managers to get some lessons learned.”
“I’m happy to help. First off, on my last project we delivered our intended scope, came in under budget and ahead of schedule.”
“That’s impressive,” Ann said. “How did you do it?”
Jim went on for a about 30 minutes talking about what a success the project was, and how there was a lot Ann could learn from their project.
“That all sounds great,” Ann said. “If you had it to do all over again, would you do anything differently?”
Jim paused for a moment. “Well, our user representative wasn’t pulling his weight.” I would have demanded he be replaced.”
“So your lesson learned is about the user assigned to the project?”
“OK, thanks for the time, Jim,” Ann said as she got up and left.
“Something’s not quite right about this,” she thought as she went back to her desk. She decided to interview a couple of the leads on Jim’s project and got a different story. They told her how the project was in chaos from the beginning, how the claims of under-budget and ahead of schedule were only after management granted additional budget and schedule relief due to an unplanned overage and schedule slip, and that none of the leads would work with Jim again.
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