George Eastman, metaphysical project team member.

eastman-with-kodak

George Eastman

I have a backlog of e-mails (around the 7,100 mark now) so I am putting more effort into completing this mini-blog special a little more regularly – I promise 🙂 .  A quick scant through some of those emails and there is always this recurring question; “how do you manage to deliver those impossible projects?” Well I can only speak for myself here – every International Project Manager (IPM) is different.

“If you do not know how to ask the right question, you discover nothing”

The simple answer is that, “I stand on the shoulders of giants” my metaphysical project team, Da Vinci, Churchill, Eastman, Deming and many others. They help me to ask the right questions. “If you do not know how to ask the right question, you discover nothing” Dr. Edwards Deming. My clients commission me to obtain lasting results – therefore I need the best possible team to help me do that. An IPM cannot -must not- rely on experience alone. “Does experience help? NO! Not if we are doing the wrong things” explains Deming. My metaphysical project team help me to do the right thing.

there are invisible tools that many project managers are unable to apply

The wrong things are not always easy to spot. The reality of good project tools such as; Scope, Change, Issues and Risk Management (coupled with proactive communication and coordination), is that they can be considered as doing partially the right thing to overcome the wrong things. These tools are visible, you can see them, and you can use them. However there are invisible tools that many project managers are unable to apply, but must apply. These tools are metaphysical and include prediction, empathy, and instinct. These tools help to control areas that impact our projects in devastating ways – such as politics (a topic all of its own, to be discussed later).

there are different levels of project success

As far as I have been able to determine, most impossible projects have been delivered metaphysically. There are so many remnants of impossible projects surrounding us today, extremely successful ones. It is my belief, based on learning to get things right over many years, that there are different levels of project success – the highest of which is achieved metaphysically. By this I mean the ability to recognise and manage all invisible assets of a project (different types of intelligence, different ways of doing things, different environments). In doing so, the project not only succeeds its original goal but exceeds it to produce enduring benefits. It is these enduring benefits which produce supernormal profits.

Eastman’s invention of rolled film helped spur the introduction of films

Today, when I pick up my camera, and board the flight back to Nice (France), I realise I am using those enduring benefits that have existed for years; the camera, the aeroplane. Let me introduced you to George Eastman, if you do not already know him. Eastman is the Kodak camera inventor. He brought photography to the masses. It was on a New Media and Communications degree course that my Professors, Anne Hill and James Watson introduced me to him. Previously, photography had been the hobby of the wealthy. Eastman’s invention of rolled film helped spur the introduction of films. Films created cinemas, and so on – enduring benefits.

“The companies that survive longest are the one’s that work out what they uniquely can give to the world not just growth or money but their excellence, their respect for others, or their ability to make people happy. Some call those things a soul.” Professor Charles Handy

In terms of management, Eastman’s approach was “avant-garde”. He recognised early on the metaphysical properties required to build and sustain the Kodak organisation; trust, respect, loyalty and teamwork. Once he recognised those values within his employees; He invented ways for his employees to feel secure in the Kodak organisation, and invested in each employee’s long term future (beyond monetary value). In this way Kodak endured. For the time, 1919, this was remarkable thinking – well surpassing much of today’s management practices.

He recognised the different intelligence types

Eastman’s rolled film project created enduring benefits (not only through patenting and inventions) but through the way he managed his employees; recognising the importance of attributes, and fostering quality of inclusion at all levels of the organisation. The patents filed and acquired by Eastman not only came from his own inventiveness but the inventiveness of others. He recognised the different intelligence types and moulded them. Through skills in management and coordination Eastman latched very early upon the idea of how the Kodak organisation would grow. He predicted that Kodak would grow alongside advertising – and it did. Well ahead of Peter Drucker’s famous quote, “The best way to predict the future is to create it”. That is what Eastman did for Kodak and the world.

“we were not waiting around for the future to surprise us, we were creating it”

For Eastern Europe’s largest GSM Telecommunications portal project, Eastman’s contribution was tremendous. It provided the physical team the ability to leap beyond the obstacle of accepted recognition (popularity) innate to IBM, Siemens, and Motorola; to tap into and trust in their extraordinary abilities as the core project team. Through Eastman and Drucker, we were not waiting around for the future to surprise us, we were creating it – literally.

enduring benefits continue to produce supernormal profits

Today, Kodak remains an example of one the highest forms of project success, whose enduring benefits continue to produce supernormal profits. Today the GSM telecommunication portal project has grown from strength to strength, leading to the employment of thousands and saving countless lives – enduring benefits.

George Eastman continues to be the project patron saint for the enrichment of community, teamwork, loyalty, trust, education and more importantly inclusion.

I know that I am doing that here.

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