In any project, your team will make everything happen – or not happen. Teams are made up of people, humans hired to do the work. But if we treat them like “human resources” or simple units of labor, we will not get the best results.
Love them. Like them. Talk to them. Be a friend, a supporter. Let them experiment. Ask their opinions, and take their advice. If we have done our jobs right as a project manager, when the project is done the team should say “Look what we did!”.
A very wise PM once challenged me to go an entire week without using any personal pronouns whatsoever. No “me”. no “I” or “my”. Try it. Instead of saying “I want this done by Thursday”, say “The project needs this output by Thursday. How would you make that happen? What support would you need? What obstacles stand in your way?”
Try it. Build up your team. Then hang on!
Draw a circle. Make 3 pie slices in it.
In one pie slice, write a K. This represents how much you know (on a given topic)
In one pie slice, write the letters DK. This represents how much you Don’t Know.
In the last slice, write the letters DKDK. This represents how much you don’t know you don’t know.
Wisdom is gained when we reduce the size of the DK and DKDK slices. We gain when we learn something, and thereby reduce the size of what we Don’t Know.
We gain when we learn that there is something we never knew anything about, thereby reducing the size of what we Don’t Know We Don’t Know. We don’t have to know it, just that we don’t know it yet.
We can be so critical about not knowing; we can get so risk averse waiting for all to be known. That`s nonsense. There is always a big DKDK out there. This cannot be used as a reason for remaining stuck. Sometimes we have to just stick our necks out and try something, even if the outcomes are not clear. We will reduce our DK, or we will reduce our DKDK. Both are good outcomes.
I forget where I learned this. If anyone has a citation or attribution, please let me know. I would welcome the opportunity to include it.