Episode 6: Talent Triangle

Episode #6
Original Air Date: 03.15.2016

32 Minutes

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Our Guest This Episode: Andy Crowe, Bill Yates, Nick Walker

PMI recently introduced the Talent Triangle. In this episode, the team breaks down the three sides of the triangle and explains why they are so important to you, your PDUs and your organization.

Favorite Quotes from Our Talk:

"It came from a lot of surveying that they did of employers. They went to people who employ or manage project managers and said, “What kind of training are they needing today? Are there areas they need to grow in? And what are those?” And that’s how the three legs of the triangle came about."

- Bill Yates

"When you look at strategy, there’s all these questions people have right now. What does this even mean? Are we talking about managing strategic projects? Are we talking about strategically managing our projects? Are we talking about aligning to the company strategy? And so there is some confusion out there about what it means."

- Andy Crowe

"That, I think, is where the program manager can add a lot of value, in continuing to pound on that drum of this is strategic to the organization. This is why we’re making these decisions. This is why we’re allocating resources the way we are."

- Bill Yates

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ANDY CROWE ● BILL YATES ● NICK WALKER

NICK WALKER:  Welcome to Manage This, the podcast by project managers for project managers.  It’s an opportunity to meet and discuss what matters to you in the world of project management.  Whether you’re already a professional project manager or working toward certification in the field, our goal is to help you along the way.  We want to answer your questions about preparing for and taking those certification exams, and hear some real-life stories of those who are making a difference in the industry.

I’m your host, Nick Walker, and with me are two guys who make this all happen.  They are our resident experts, Andy Crowe and Bill Yates.  They have the experience of seeing project management from all angles, and they want you to benefit from their experience.  All right, guys?  Hey, let’s get started.

ANDY CROWE:  Good morning.

BILL YATES:  Yeah, good to see you guys.

ANDY CROWE:  You know, even thinking that through, seeing projects from all angles is sometimes like seeing people from all angles.  Some of those angles are not pleasant.  Some are better than others.  Everybody has a flattering side.

BILL YATES:  I have a good side.  I have several bad sides.

NICK WALKER:  Well, you know, and I guess beauty sometimes is in the eye of the beholder, too, because one side might look a little bit different to one person than another.

BILL YATES:  That’s true.

NICK WALKER:  Someone might gravitate toward one side.  And that’s kind of what we’re talking about today; you know?  Most people probably like to gravitate toward that tactical side, carefully planned, meticulously executed, all with the goal of reaching a very clear objective.  The projects themselves are where the rubber meets the road, where things get done.  But it’s pretty obvious that project management is a field that is constantly evolving.  You know, it’s always changing.  The Project Management Institute has recognized some of those changes, and it’s recently come out with what it calls the “talent triangle.”

BILL YATES:  That’s right.  It’s not the Bermuda Triangle.

NICK WALKER:  Oh, good.

BILL YATES:  I just want to clarify.  It’s not.

NICK WALKER:  Okay.  You don’t get lost and disappear forever.

BILL YATES:  No, you don’t get lost in it.  There are three very clear legs, yeah.

NICK WALKER:  We’ll try to keep our head above water, anyway, with it.

BILL YATES:  There we go.

NICK WALKER:  Okay, guys.  Why is this coming to the surface right now?  Why are we hearing so much more about it right now, Bill?

BILL YATES:  Right, Nick.  The talent triangle was rolled out – I believe it was December of 2015.  It was in the fourth quarter.  That’s relevant to all PMP holders, really anyone who holds a credential with PMI.  Now PMI is saying you have to earn certain PDUs, hours of education, in each of these legs of the talent triangle.  There are a minimum of eight that we need to earn for technical, for leadership, and now for strategic and business management, so a minimum of eight hours of education related to each of those three.

NICK WALKER:  And is the education available?

BILL YATES:  Yes, it is.  I’m glad you’ve asked.  Yes, sir.  Have we got something for you.  Yeah, one of the things that we as a registered education provider had to do, we had to take a look at our existing courses that we offer, live and online, and determine which category they fall into.  And they can go across all three.  So one course could count – you could divide a five-hour course into, let’s say, three hours of technical, an hour of leadership, and one hour or one PDU of strategic.  So we had to categorize all of ours.  And we continue to add to that.  So, yeah, we do.

ANDY CROWE:  PMI is wise.  They know that PDUs and these continuing certification requirements drive a lot of behavior.

BILL YATES:  Right.

ANDY CROWE:  So it is an interesting thing to watch them change the rudder on the back of the ship a little bit.

BILL YATES:  Yeah, it is.  And I know, just from my involvement with PMI at the global level, I know that this has been in the works for quite a while.  And some of those on the learning side at PMI, on the training side, they have been excited about rolling this out.  It came from a lot of surveying that they did of employers.  They went to people who employ or manage project managers and said, “What kind of training are they needing today?  Are there areas they need to grow in?  And what are those?”  And that’s how the three legs of the triangle came about.

ANDY CROWE:  I love that they’ve sort of plucked the hamster off the wheel a little bit and said, okay, slow down a minute and look at what you’re doing.  You don’t just need to learn to run more efficiently.  You don’t need to learn to lead other people to run.  You need to sometimes look at the path you’re taking.

BILL YATES:  Make sure we’re headed down the right path.

ANDY CROWE:  Right, yeah.

NICK WALKER:  So it’s not like the Project Management Institute is forcing any kind of new reality.  I mean, they’re actually looking at reality and reacting to that.

ANDY CROWE:  I think so.

BILL YATES:  True, yeah.  And they didn’t – it’s still 60 PDUs every three years to remain certified.  They just divided those up a little bit more, got more specific with it.

ANDY CROWE:  And the good news is this podcast counts.

BILL YATES:  There you go.

NICK WALKER:  Hey, all right.  But, you know, this is kind of a combination of skills and expertise that seems to be becoming increasingly necessary to be successful – technical skills, leadership skills, strategy skills.  And as we were saying, you know, maybe we’re kind of gravitating to one of those parts of the triangle.  But, you know, maybe people are more technical; maybe people recognize the leadership skills. But it’s that one side of the triangle, the strategy skills, that maybe kind of sometimes gets lost in the shuffle.  What do you think, Andy?

ANDY CROWE:  I think it’s interesting, Nick, when you look at strategy, there’s all these questions people have right now.  What does this even mean?  Are we talking about managing strategic projects?  Are we talking about strategically managing our projects?  Are we talking about aligning to the company strategy?  And so there is some confusion out there about what it means.  We’ll try and clear it up.  Bill and I will try and parse this out and help make some sense of it.  But it is a confusing topic.  The first thing I wanted to comment on is there’s been so much energy put behind the tactical side for years.  And so what I mean by that is the skills you need, how to do particular processes, how to do particular tasks, how to create particular documents, or what we call artifacts, a lot of times in project management.  And so the tactical part got a lot of energy, and the left-brain engineer types love that stuff.

NICK WALKER:  Oh, yeah.

ANDY CROWE:  Yeah, they love to get a specific punch list as to how.  And the PMBOK Guide focuses a lot on that, the what and the how, and so the tactical aspect.  And then the leadership part comes along, and people start realizing, okay, projects don’t get done through robots.  They don’t get done through computers, and they don’t get done through software.  They get done through people.  Projects are accomplished by motivating people.  And so then all of this energy got into how do you lead?  How do you organize people?  How do you orient them toward a goal?

And John Kotter is the famous leadership guru from Harvard, or used to be with Harvard; and he kind of came up with that three-step formula that you set a vision, the leader sets a vision, aligns people to that vision, and then motivates and inspires them.  And so that got tremendous attention for years, and people became really interested in the aspect of what can I learn about leadership.  Now we’ve got this strategy component that came in.  And you’ve got a lot of people looking at this, wondering, okay, what exactly does that mean?  Bill, what does it mean to you?

BILL YATES:  Yeah.  It’s this third piece of the, again, what PMI refers to the “talent triangle.”  It’s almost like a progression.  I agree with you, I think technical is where we gravitate to, especially early in our careers.

ANDY CROWE:  Right.

BILL YATES:  Can I get comfortable with the tools of project management?  Setting a schedule, setting a budget, estimating, determining what resources I need, those kinds of things.  And then I do realize, I wake up one day and go, oh, yeah, it is all about people.  I have to get people to produce this work.  So there’s a leadership element to it.  And then there is that evolution of, okay, this project that I’m leading fits into the overall scheme of my organization.  It could be my department.  It could be the line of business that I’m in.  Or it could be the entire organization is dependent on success with this project.

So now I start to look at it almost as a small business owner, of okay, this is strategic.  This needs to work, and this is why.  Maybe we’ve made a promise of functionality to our customer.  Maybe we’ve got to evolve or we’re going to die, and this project gets us there.  So there are elements to this, again, this third leg of the triangle, this strategic area, that I see it as now I’m becoming like a CEO.  Now, as a PM, I’m looking at this holistically.  I’m looking at, how do I optimize my resources to strategically hit those goals for my organization?

NICK WALKER:  Is that kind of a wake up call for project managers, when they realize how important this strategic process is?

BILL YATES:  I can see it as an aha moment, for sure.  It’s a point in your career where you say, okay, whoa, this is bigger than what perhaps I even envisioned.

ANDY CROWE:  Right.  And that’s not a new part of the conversation.  We’ve talked about the project context for years.  And so there’s all these elements that define sort of the context in which you’re operating.  And that can be your organization’s attitude toward project management’s part of the context, but then even how strategic your project is, how much it matters.  Hey, strategic projects get more attention, more resource.  They have higher risks than non-strategic projects.

BILL YATES:  And higher rewards.  Those are the ones…

ANDY CROWE:  A lot of times, yeah.

BILL YATES:  Yeah, as you get more mature as a PM, those are the projects that you really want to aspire to lead.

ANDY CROWE:  Right.

NICK WALKER:  So there are actual projects that get started, get implemented, get done without utilizing that strategic process?

BILL YATES:  You could argue that some are certainly more strategic than others, yeah.

ANDY CROWE:  Some have a lot more energy.  Some have a lot more focus by the organization.  Some tie to the organization strategy.  There are a lot of projects that are mundane that still have to get done.  They’re not strategic, but they have to happen.  They have to get done.  So, and we don’t always get to pick and choose.

But, Bill, I want to argue one more side to this, that this strategic leg of the triangle is not just about managing strategic projects, but it’s about stepping back and looking at the strategy of how we manage projects, as well.  This is where it gets interesting for me.  So I’m an entrepreneur, and I love all things entrepreneurial.  There’s a great must-read book for anybody who’s an entrepreneur.  It’s not new, but it’s a wonderful book by Michael Gerber called “The E-Myth.”  And Michael Gerber was sort of the first guy to write about this aspect of entrepreneurs work in their business, but they need to step back and work on their business, as well.  And so it became sort of a rallying cry for a lot of people:  Yes, I need to work on my business and not just in my business, which is really hard when you’re probably already working 16-hour days.

Same thing with a project manager.  We need to work on strategically how we manage projects, and not just managing the projects themselves.  And for some people this sounds almost impossible because they’re already spending untold hours managing the project, trying to manage communication.  You know, their hair probably looks like Malcolm Gladwell’s, frizzed out, and they’re feeling crazy right now.  And yet we’re saying, hey, you know what, you need to look at how you’re doing your job and not just the job itself.

BILL YATES:  Mm-hmm.  It reminds me of the statement of some people who’ll say, well, there’s not enough time in the day for that.  And others would argue that you’ve got to make time for it.  It’s essential.

ANDY CROWE:  Yeah, there’s not enough time not to do it.

BILL YATES:  Exactly.

ANDY CROWE:  You have to do this.  And so realistically what that means, strategically looking at how you’re managing your project, it can be some things as simple as, hey, I’m going to look at templates that I can reuse from project to project.  I’m going to look at new processes and new tools that I can implement.  But also organizations that put in a PMO, a Project Management Office, that’s huge.  That’s a huge step toward strategically looking at the way you manage projects.

BILL YATES:  Mm-hmm.

NICK WALKER:  It almost seems like you have to discipline yourself to do that, though, because when you’re looking at some strategic element in the project and are saying, this isn’t producing anything, you know, I don’t see the end to this, that must require some discipline to say, okay, but this is going to help me in the long run.

ANDY CROWE:  You’re working on the process itself.  Some people are so happy to be done with their project.  When it’s time, you know, they’re ready.  It’s like a schoolteacher on the last day of school.  They’re more ready than the kids are; right?  A project manager sometimes that’s ready to turn over the project, one of the most painful and yet the most profound things you can do is go ahead, conduct your lessons learned.  Some people call it a “postmortem.”  Some people call it an “after-action review.”  But take time at the end to look at it.

And the reason you’re doing it is right here.  It’s this third leg of the triangle.  It’s saying, I want to – you can’t do anything to affect the past; right?  You can’t go back and fix things you did on this project, probably, and make them smoother.  But it’s for the next time.  It’s for the next project manager coming in, the poor person coming in to do the next project.  You’re trying to give them lessons that’ll apply.  Some of those lessons may be unique to your organization.  Some of them may just be things you’ve learned.  Some of them may be tools that you created that you can hand over to the next person.

BILL YATES:  Right.  And I’ve seen organizations that are very disciplined in this approach to doing a retrospective for every project and learning from it, having a knowledge base, having somebody to manage that knowledge base.  It could be a PMO.  It could be another part of the organization.  But some companies, some organizations have identified the value in this.  And maybe they’ve been burned.  Maybe they’ve gotten tired of the ongoing projects that have, yeah, they’ve delivered what they were set out to do.  Here is our output.  But we made some of the same mistakes we made in the project before and 10 projects before.  Let’s get better.  Let’s get smarter.

ANDY CROWE:  You know what, Bill, project managers, one of the things that I’ve talked about before, not on this podcast, but when I’ve talked with project management chapters and groups, I’ve talked about career themes.  And so an individual project manager a lot of times starts seeing themes in his or her career that say, you know what, I’m having the same problem over and over.  Maybe communication is biting you.  Maybe your lack of communicating is biting you.  Maybe you are too aggressive on estimates.  Maybe you tend to leave certain things out of the plan, or not revise the plan enough.  Whatever it is, there’s oftentimes one or two things that’ll hit a PM repeatedly, throughout project after project.  And so we encourage them to go back and look at those career themes.

What you’re talking about also applies to organizations.  You can translate that up and say the same thing is true for a company, that they start seeing the same problems.  It’s almost woven into their DNA.  And in fact it is.  It’s because of things that may be difficult to spot.  But there are reasons why they’re having the same problem over and over and over.

BILL YATES:  Right.

ANDY CROWE:  You know?  So it is, it’s hard to hold these retrospectives, these after-action reviews, and do them honestly.  A lot of people want to do them, but want to make them, you know, whitewash them, make them look good, sweep the dirt under the rug and get on with it.  But it’s really helpful if you can have an honest look at your performance.

BILL YATES:  It’s so valuable.  These are the types of improvements that organizations thrive off of.  They build those in.  I can remember back to my software days how we had some really bright people that were leading these projects with utilities throughout the United States.  And we’d come back into the office – we were on the road a lot, and we were working the projects.  And we’d come back in the office, many times we’d get together for meetings; or it would be an informal – it would be everybody going to lunch on a Friday.  And we’d talk about the problems that we’d had to tackle and solve at the customer locations during the week.  And I cannot tell you how many times we realized I was staying up four hours that night, trying to solve the same problem that you figured out three months ago at another utility.  So, you know, we learned the hard way, and I’ve got the scars to prove it.  We learned the hard way of we need to do better at sharing and creating a knowledge base that’s shared.

ANDY CROWE:  My first exposure to this concept, late ‘90s I was working for Cambridge Technology Partners.  And they would send in a project office team every two weeks to audit their projects.  So they would meet with me every two weeks.  It was a really intimidating environment.  And I’m sitting around a half-moon-shaped, sort of crescent table, and I’m in the focal point of that.  And you have all these people…

BILL YATES:  Yeah, that’s like a bull in the ring.  That’s intimidating.

ANDY CROWE:  Yeah, yeah, yeah, no, it was.  And the first time I was absolutely terrified.  You know, I’m sitting there with people who are asking me questions about the documents I produced and the challenges I was facing.  And I’m answering.  But you know what, about the third or fourth time we did this, I started realizing they were not there to bust my chops.  They were on my side.  And so they were helping.  And they would say, you know what, you’re trying to solve a problem, there’s a guy over here in Oklahoma City that works with us who’s maybe already solved that problem.  I want to connect you two.  And over time I started realizing, this is tremendously helpful.  And that was one of the first times I started getting a vision for how this could work, a better way.  There’s a better way to do it.

BILL YATES:  Yeah.

ANDY CROWE:  You don’t have to – you do not have to solve every problem yourself, every time.

BILL YATES:  Right.  As we’re having the conversation, it reminded me of a book, “Creativity, Inc.” by Ed Catmull.  And I remember hearing Ed speak at a leadership conference.  And he talked about – and of course this is the movie industry; right?  So “Creativity, Inc.,” think of some of the movies that Ed Catmull and his team have produced.  And when they talk about the retrospectives that they go through after producing some amazing animated movie, they talk about having to walk the team through this retrospective in a unique way.  They had to mix it up.  Which everything, as I’m sitting there listening, everything in me as a PM is going no, no, no, no, you want to get better and better and revise your questions and start using the same ones and interview the same way.

But he said with his folks, so the project team members that they had, they had to really mix it up.  So they’d have to do the retrospective in a different format just about every time, or people would start to play the system.  Now, again, that doesn’t really match up with my experience with software engineers.  But I thought that was an interesting way to, again, a different way to evoke those pure responses and get the right feedback about what went well, what did not go well in a project.

ANDY CROWE:  The old joke about any lessons learned meeting is when you ask, you know, you get everybody together and say, “What could we have done better?”  The first answer that’s always going to be thrown out is going to be communication.

BILL YATES:  Yeah.

ANDY CROWE:  Everybody always feels like communication.  And that’s sort of repeated over and over in every organization.  That seems to be a real struggle for project managers.  But again, it’s an opportunity to improve strategically how you’re getting things done.  It’s not just your execution on this next project.  It’s a better way.

NICK WALKER:  Let me just bring a question out of left field, which I often do, not being in the world of project management.  But is there ever any danger of pushback from members of your team when you try to bring in these ideas, these suggestions?  Do you sometimes have people who would just rather not deal with that end of things?

ANDY CROWE:  Absolutely.  Did you ever – what was the movie, was it Temple Grandin, the lady who had autism?  And she helped them figure out that animals don’t like change.

BILL YATES:  Right, right.

ANDY CROWE:  Animals like stability and focus.  And people, team members can be that way, too, Nick, definitely.  They don’t like change.  They’re comfortable with their way of doing things.  When you implement new processes, even if those processes are useful, a lot of times people can be very resistant, very threatened by change.  And to be honest, somebody’s job might be threatened.  Somebody may have done it a certain way and have some security in that.  And you’re introducing change; that can be incredibly threatening.

BILL YATES:  Yeah.  The cows are getting angry.  Remember that quote from that?  And I think of, back to Ed Catmull and Pixar Studios, you think about “Toy Story” and some of the creative minds that created these characters and the incredible visuals from that.  Again, you’ve got to know your team; right?  For me, I couldn’t imagine changing things up every time we’d finish a project and go through a retrospective with some of the similar team members.  But for Ed Catmull, for that team of leaders, that’s what they had to do.  They had to mix it up, or people would game the system.

ANDY CROWE:  Okay, so I’m interested.  I’ve not read the book.  I’m not familiar with how they do this.  So give me some idea of what it means to mix up the retrospective.

BILL YATES:  Yeah.  They would, physically they would do things.  They would take people out of their comfort zone, or out of what they’re familiar with.  So they’d make sure they’d do their retrospective outside the office, which I like that.  That makes sense.  You know, get me away from perhaps my manager or two levels above me.  So give me that sense of, okay, it’s just a bunch of peers that are hanging out, talking about how things went for the last six months on the project.  So get them out of the office location.  That was one.  And then again the format would change.  That’s the part that I was not comfortable with as a PM, as an engineer, with that kind of background.

ANDY CROWE:  Right, it’s supposed to be repeatable; right?

BILL YATES:  Exactly, right, right.  So they, you know, of course they would have a formula.  But they would ask the questions in a different way.  They’d rephrase.  Maybe they’d introduce an activity.  And you can almost think of what icebreakers or teambuilding type activities that they would incorporate into this retrospective.

ANDY CROWE:  That’s interesting.  You know what came to my mind when you were saying that, one of the best practices for exit interviews for team members who are leaving is to have them interviewed by somebody who was not their manager.

BILL YATES:  Right.

ANDY CROWE:  Preferably somebody in another department, maybe somebody they don’t know that well because obviously, if you have them interviewed by their manager, they’re going to probably be very limited in what they say.

BILL YATES:  True.

ANDY CROWE:  So it’s interesting with this, doing a retrospective, taking them out of the environment, asking the questions a different way.  It’s very interesting.  Just reminds me of that.

BILL YATES:  Right.  There’s, when I think about the big word of “strategic,” and I think about strategic alignment, Andy, one place I kind of go in my head is thinking about how PMI talks about how projects and programs relate to each other.

ANDY CROWE:  Okay.

BILL YATES:  And one of the things that I’m sure you’ve seen in your career, as well, as a project manager, if you have the opportunity to move into the role of program manager, suddenly the word “strategic” becomes a very different – it’s like you’re holding that dime and looking at it and seeing it from many different angles now.  And I think about my perspective as a program manager, looking at the contributions of project managers and project teams to my program, and the word “strategic” and what that meaning is there.

For me, you know, again, that kind of opened my eyes to, okay, now I, as a program manager, I need to determine what resources need to go where.  Where do I need to have the best DBA, for instance?  Or where do I put the prized testing tool that everybody wants to get their hands on?  So then I’m having to strategically determine which ones of these projects are essential to program success.

ANDY CROWE:  Right.  And just to refresh our listeners’ memory, a program is a group of projects managed together, and they’re supposed to be related projects managed together.  And the idea is you’re supposed to get some kind of common benefit by managing, by looking at four or five, 10 projects together, three, it doesn’t matter the number, but you’re organizing them together.  And then you can also include operations in the program side.  Projects don’t include operations ongoing, but programs can.  So they take a longer view.  They take a bigger picture.  It’s really a shift in your perspective.

BILL YATES:  True.  Yeah, I think that’s perfect, a word picture of the forest and the trees that, as a program manager, you’re up in that hot air balloon or that Cessna, and your view down on the projects and the resources and their activities, their tasks, is very different than…

ANDY CROWE:  More encompassing.

BILL YATES:  …that of the project manager.  Which is great.  I want my project managers to be focused on their deliverables.

ANDY CROWE:  You do.  But the danger is, and this is the whole reason this third leg has come in, is project managers have gotten hyperfocused over the years, and they don’t see anything outside of their project.  And so then you get into trouble.  So there’s got to be this awareness of the bigger picture, of the strategy, yeah.

BILL YATES:  Yeah.  And that, I think, is where the program manager can add a lot of value, in continuing to pound on that drum of this is strategic to the organization.  This is why we’re making these decisions.  This is why we’re allocating resources the way we are.

NICK WALKER:  I love hearing the real-life examples of how this has been implemented.  You know, and it occurs to me, okay, technical skills, those can be taught.  Leadership skills to an extent can be taught.

BILL YATES:  Some.

NICK WALKER:  But the strategic skills, I mean, is that something you just kind of have to pick up along the way?  Or can you actually go into this with some sort of preparation and teaching?

BILL YATES:  Yeah, I, you know, I want to go back to some of the early comments made by Andy, which I think are right on the money.  You have to be very deliberate with this.  This is something for a project manager where you can spend every bit of your wakeful day managing the project and worrying about it and looking at the risk register, making sure your stakeholders are being communicated properly, et cetera.  You have to be disciplined and say, okay, I need to adopt, I need to learn, I need to grow in this area of being more strategic, both in terms of the resources that I’m in charge of now and how I fit and the kind of value that I can bring to the organization.  How can I improve a retrospective?  Well, I’m not even close to being ready to do that retrospective on my project, but I need to go ahead and plan for it now.  So I’ve got to look at my day, and I’ve got to block out time every day, or at least every week, to think that way and to grow in that strategic area.

ANDY CROWE:  A couple of thoughts come to mind historically.  And it’s a little bit of a tenuous example.  But I read a lot of history.  You go back into ancient history; and, you know, people worked very hard to scratch a living out of the ground, to grow crops, to chase game, to kill, and to eat.  And up until the point when somebody stepped back and said, hey, you know what, I want to look at how we’re doing all of this, I want to kind of look at the process a little bit more.

And it got fascinating to see, like, what the Ancient Greeks were able to accomplish once they stepped away as best they could from the tactical and then started looking at the bigger picture of how do we live?  They created democracy, and they created the three-act play, and they created philosophy, and they started some of the medical achievements that we’ve done.  So, I mean, suddenly, when people look at the process itself, you can do all of this amazing stuff.  It really is – it takes some discipline to pull back.  And it’s actually very difficult to do.

NICK WALKER:  Great insight on this, guys.  Thanks so much.  You know, whenever possible we like to sort of get a little deeper inside your brains and see what motivates you.  And we’ve gotten a little picture of that today, a little bit.  But, you know, as we’ve talked about before, often what motivates you depends on what you’re reading.  So Bill, I’m just wondering what book might be on your radar these days.

BILL YATES:  Yeah, I’m going to throw you a curveball.  So instead of a book, I’m going to talk about a couple of – let’s call them “site visits” that I’ve had here recently.  I took a long weekend.  And it was funny, went to two very different construction projects, if you will.  My wife and I were in the Asheville area.  So first we toured a Sierra Nevada Brewery that has just opened outside of Asheville – state of the art, LEED certified.  Sustainability is the theme.  It’s an amazing structure.  It’s beautiful.

But then the next day we went to the Biltmore Estate.  So now you’re talking about the largest private residence in the United States, and it was built in the late 1800s.  And the Vanderbilt family, what they’ve done with 8,000 acres of land that they’ve maintained there is remarkable.  So I wasn’t reading as much.  I’ll confess to that.  But I was impressed by and learned a lot by those two tours.

NICK WALKER:  Excellent.  Well, that is one great example of just how real-life application can continue to motivate you.

BILL YATES:  There you go.

NICK WALKER:  Great, Bill, thanks.  Andy Crowe, Bill Yates, thanks again for sharing your expertise.  That’s it for us here on Manage This.  We hope you’ll tune back in on March 22nd for our next podcast.  In the meantime, you can visit us at Velociteach.com/managethis to subscribe to this podcast, to see a transcript of the show, or to contact us.  And be sure and tweet us at @manage_this.  If you have any questions about project management certifications, whether it’s the PMP, the CAPM, PMI-ACP, CSM, PgMP, or PfMP, or maybe you know someone who would be a good guest on the show, we’d love to hear from you about that.

That’s all for this episode.  Thanks for joining us.  Until next time, keep calm and Manage This.

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