WMPMI PDD 2017 — PM-IQ – Thought Leadership for the Project Manager

On September 27th, West Michigan PMI Chapter organized the annual Professional Development Day around the concept of thought leadership. It is easy to say “I am a leader”, but more important is to be able to act / speak / think / behave as a leader.

The following presenters touched different areas in relation with leadership. I have added for each one of them the highlights of their presentations:


NORA BOUCHARD, “Zero-based listening: hearing without judgment”

When we are listening, we do this thru filters like perceptions, assumptions, experiences and relationships.

Statistics show: 50% of work time is listening, 60% of management problems are related to listening, we misinterpret or misunderstand 70% of what we hear.

Listening like for the very first time, without judgment. 

Choose to focus – clear external and internal distractions. 

Be accepting, not tolerating. Don’t use word “should”.

Tolerating is temporary, acceptance is permanent. 

Listen beyond the surface, find the request in each complaint.

Questioning further, ask for clarity to understand, and avoid “why”.

With toxic people give them 3 minutes to complain, then ask what they would do about this situation. 

When people are talking in the same time tell them “Let’s get back to center”.


ROBERT RICHMAN, author of “The culture blueprint-systematic guide to building the high performance workplace”

Make sure you make your boss look better, he is your gatekeeper.

Take a tour of company Zappos to learn about their great culture.

In a culture the vulnerable spot is frustration. 

Culture is believe / said / does.

A good culture is where time is equalizer, start and end meetings on time.

Experiment (design is better than program) being on time for two weeks and then inspect results. 

Humanize each experiment.

Design an experience by making this a game by four items

  1. Goal
  2. Rules, all to agree
  3. Feedback
  4. Opt-in

Hire/fire/ leader – be a model by VALUES

“Please tell me the thing you think I don’t want to hear” – this is what a leader should ask.


FRANK KECK, “Think different”

Knowledge is what you know, awareness is where you fit it in your life.

What don’t you know that you don’t know?

Chunk size is how you conceptualize, big chunk is high level picture, small chunk is seeing details ignoring big picture. 

People speak at 150-200 words per minute and can hear at 800-1000.

Cause of lack of innovation – stress

  1. Eat chocolate 
  2. Physical exercise 
  3. Laughter 
  4. Prayer / Meditation 

You can’t solve a problem with same info you had before the problem EINSTEIN

Opposite of judgmental is curious. 

“Creative thinking” is looking at same thing seeing something different.

“How to think like Leonardo DaVinci” book

“Phoenix checklist” book

Empowering your people: if you can change one thing about …… what would you change?

Creative thinking starts with second correct answer.


ANDREW TARVIN, “Leading on your feet, how to lead in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world”.

Leadership is an attitude in action

Action is better than intention


Need a Vision, 

Burn out happens from not knowing why you are working that hard.

Platinum rule: do onto others what they want done onto them (not what you want done onto you)

Respect precedes results

Failure is just data

Knowing matters but doing matters more.

Action creates more action.

Compliment people on what you want them to do.

Leadership is an attitude in action!

Action items

  1. Does your team has a vision?
  2. Leverage team versatility. Know your team members’ skills
  3. Encourage vulnerability. Read book “Smarter Faster Better”
  4. Build vigor
  5. Create velocity 

More resources from Andrew Tarvin can be found at tarv.in/wmpmi 


WMPMI did a great job planning and executing this event for our local community of project management professionals.

Please check out our website http://wmpmi.org/calendar.php for other interesting professional events like breakfast / lunch / dinner monthly meetings.

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