Sir Winston Churchill, metaphysical project team member.

Sir Winston Churchill

Sir Winston Churchill

It is not everyday that your average 5 year old gets to read the memoirs of a legendary British hero, ex-Prime Minister – Sir Winston Churchill; let alone one’s Father asking his son to read it! Yet there it was, sitting right next to me. Almost as thick as my thigh, this hefty sized book carried on top of it a black and white portrait photograph. It was of a full faced bulldog looking man whom appeared to be staring straight back at me … a face which I would not easily forget and later whom I would come to learn like the back of my hand.

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“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”

Sir Winston’s penchant for incredible curiosity and aptitude for quick sturdy decision making was what made him the truly formidable wartime Prime Minister he was. It was this same characteristic that had instilled itself into the formidable leadership seen on this GSM portal project – for over 1 year considered a failing project. The more information Sir Winston’s intelligence network gathered the more cunning he was. He was relentless at managing information and imparting it in ways that would achieve the best possible outcome – even at the expense of human life, “… for the greater good”.

“It’s not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what’s required.”

Very early on in the GSM portal project our brainstorming workshops churned out reams of crucial project information. We identified pitfalls (risks) and tested solutions using evaluation tools. At each step during the project we had sufficient information to forecast when the client would make an about turn (project change). In some cases we allowed this, without billing them, to foster trusting relations. Other times we allowed the client to test our true measure. For example, when they suspended the project – we successfully deployed concise and effective countermeasures to restart the project.  “The consummate leader cultivates the moral law, and strictly adheres to method and discipline; thus it is in his power to control success.” Sun Tzu

“We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire…Give us the tools and we will finish the job.”

Prior to arriving on the GSM portal project, there had been other project managers and several attempts to deliver the much needed GSM portal. It had been in procrastinated development for over a year – and for several reasons failed to start when it was projected to. In my daily project log at that time – I remember noting that the difference this time was that my teams held to a vision … a much wider picture than the project itself. A vision where failure was not an option, where my consulting company would emerge victorious and the Croatian populace would derive considerable benefits.

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak, Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”

It is easy to stand up and speak in the midst of stakeholders on a failing project – scared out of their wits over deepening financial losses. Well that was what was happening on the GSM portal project Mk.1 before I arrived in Zagreb. An email from one of the client’s internal managers explained this fear, “We would lose our jobs if this got out.”She was speaking of the Clients heavy reliance on one of its famous contractors – which was still charging monstrous fees for its inactions. It was Churchill’s strategy to be poised and ready to absorb information that bought us several breaks in the GSM portal project. Even with all the accusation being levied at my teams, I sat calmly at the weekly taskforce meetings listening, taking notes, and never interrupted once the voices of my accusers. As the client’s internal manager said – in one of our many face to face coffee sessions in the city; she felt that this time she could actually say what needed to be said and trusted that something would be done about it. She knew that we were wise enough to hold our tongue despite the inaccurate information, and she rightly knew that when we made our move it would be accurately decisive. “Hiding order beneath the cloak of disorder is simply a question of subdivision; concealing courage under a show of timidity presupposes a fund of latent energy; masking strength with weakness is to be effected by tactical dispositions.” Sun Tzu

“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it”.

Our meticulous and curiosity driven investigative preparations were important requirements traits on this project. Sir Winston was the obvious choice to co-create the project’s strategic bunker and direct its intelligence gathering operations – along with the inventive genius of Leonardo Da Vinci (more on him later). Their respective insights jump-started a project that millions would later come to rely upon. Against a barrage of hostility we gleaned intelligence which underwent analysis in the Da Vinci Churchill strategic bunker to produce and support the instruments needed to give us absolute knowledge of our environment (and all it contained). When my Chairman confronted me, before I won the development contract for the GSM portal’s content management system, it was with absolute certainty that I told him point-blank, “we will succeed … I give you my word”. Some at that time saw this as arrogance but as Churchill wrote, “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it”.

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