Monday, November 25, 2013

7 Things Rob Ford Can Do But Project Managers Can’t

(PM Hut Exclusive)
Maybe you have heard about Rob Ford, Toronto’s mayor who’s personal issues were exposed to the public, immediately propelling him into world celebrity status, à la Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber. If you don’t know who Rob Ford is, maybe you should Google him or YouTube him for a few minutes, and you’ll know what the story is about. If you do, then here are 7 things that Rob Ford can do, but you, as a project manager, can’t!
  1. Swear at your team members: I have been working in the corporate world for nearly 30 years, and I have yet to see a project manager who swore at his team members and came in the next day. Rob Ford swore frequently at his staff and the city counselors - but then again, he’s the mayor.
  2. Use swear words in front of your stakeholders: Rob Ford’s stakeholders are mainly the people of Toronto, and he did use swear words while on local camera, several times (once was at a local school). Again, as a mayor he can get away with this. But, if you, the poor project manager, start saying F or C words in front of your stakeholders, then expect to see that pink slip faster than you can say “Rob Ford”.
  3. Use drugs: According to the CHAOS Report by Standish, only 37% of projects are successful, and that low success rate is achieved only by drug-free, clear-minded, healthy project managers. Now, imagine if these project managers start using drugs, what will the success rate will be? Also, imagine the example you will set for your team members when they will know you’re a crackhead. Rob Ford was lucky, not only he got away with using illegal drugs, he was also hailed by many in his city (as well as in many other cities/countries) as a visionary and a true-down-to-earth-by-the-people-for-the-people character AND he got congratulated for a great job he did (and he’s doing) for the city of Toronto.
  4. Knock your team members out: Rob Ford knocked a counselor out a few days ago. Apparently, the excuse was that he was in a state of rage and he did it accidentally (he was actually aiming for another person, but that poor counselor was in his way, so she got her share). While it is very tempting to do the same as a project manager, unfortunately, you can’t. Not only knocking your team members out will get you fired, it might also get you into legal trouble.
  5. Lie to your stakeholders and your team members: Project managers discover the hard way that they can’t lie, because even the smallest of lies must be covered with a bigger lie, which then must be covered with an ever bigger lie, etc… until you reach a point where everyone discovers that you’re lying and … (well, you know what’ll happen afterwards). Rob Ford lied, and then he admitted that he lied, but when he did that, he was seen as a brave man who admits his mistakes because “he’s only human and he makes mistakes” (that’s his words).
  6. Act crazy: Rob Ford is lately going berserk in city meetings, for example, mimicking a drunken driver, yelling at city counselors and lawmakers, and making some gestures that were only funny when we were 10 years old, and he’s still the mayor. As a project manager, you just can’t act crazy - unfortunately, your team members and your stakeholders will not be as forgiving as the people of Toronto and will not tolerate your craziness. If you don’t believe this and think that you can act crazy on the job, then just try it for a few minutes and see what’ll happen (maybe it’ll work for you too, but I doubt it).
  7. Challenge those who empower you: The list of people empowering the mayor of Toronto is huge, and he’s challenging most of them. It shouldn’t work for him this way but it is because he’s now empowered by the people of Toronto. He actually managed to switch those who empower him with other people. Project managers can’t do that - the second they challenge their project sponsor all hell will break loose, and the project will be doomed to fail. Oh, and project managers cannot just go and change their sponsors.

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