(This post contains affiliate hyperlinks. Please read my full disclosure.
I have been a bit lazy with my project management reading lately, but I did manage to read The Conscious Project Lead: How to Create a Culture that is Successful for Your Projects, Your Teams and Yourself.
Colin EllisI was fortunate enough to meet Colin D Ellis by talking to Ellen Maynes. It wasn’t difficult to find the book I wanted by browsing his website.
Colin writes with humor and eloquence, and it was a pleasure reading, even though I was on a train with headaches.
What is a Conscious Leader for a Project?
Colin writes, “I would argue that there are only 2 reasons for project failure: poor management and poor sponsorship.”
The book is light in methods and tools, but heavy on stakeholder engagement and authentic leadership.
Colin explains that the triple constraint is no longer a good yardstick for projects. He explains the characteristics that are required to lead projects well. These are:
These characteristics are combined to give you agility, ability, and stability. This diagram shows his Conscious Project Leader model.
Keeping you accountable
You can read the book in 52 chapters, so you can work on your skills over time. You can either pick one chapter for the week or go through it over the course of a year. If you feel ambitious, you can go for 52 days.
Each chapter ends with a box for the next steps. However, it is very user-friendly. He offers suggestions for what you can Do, Read, and Watch, as well as pre-written social messages you can share with your network using the hashtag #CPL.
This would keep you accountable. Research shows that learning is more effective when you actually do something with the information you have read.
How to Deal with What’s Important
This book covers what I consider important about project management: leadership, culture, and governance.
There are many tips to help you work with others on your projects, including hiring for cultural fit, creating vision and having difficult conversations.
Colin’s book won’t teach you how to manage or estimate risk. However, there are chapters about that. The book gives you a taste of the methods. But the meat of it is stakeholder engagement and how to make your style more effective.
The Conscious Project Leader is well written and laid out. I liked the tone of voice and style. I loved the photos. If I could, more management books would include illustrations.
It is personable and effective without being preachy. This is what might happen in a book about mindfulness.
It’s a pleasant surprise to me to read something by a British author even though he now lives in Australia. I understand the references to Python and The Voice, football Morecambe, Wise, and more. I am grateful that there are no analogies to baseball.
This is a great option for project managers who want to improve their skills.
Colin and I have had many collaborations over the years. Here are some of our most memorable hits:
How to create a culture of collaboration in your project team
Video interview about project management leadership (excuse me for my windswept hair).