Background

My Mother working at IBM

My Mother working at IBM

When I took control of Eastern Europe’s largest GSM telecommunications portal project, I did it to halt the bad decisions, to instil better trust amongst all stakeholders, and to quash the under current of cronyism. I could never have done this without trust. The question is, where did this trust come from?

As a young boy, growing up on a farm just beyond Stonehenge, you learn to take on roles and responsibilities very early. For example, one of my many farm chores was to clean out the barns every morning at 06:00.
A really interesting thing about those responsibilities was that most of the animals kept themselves’ clean if their stalls or pens were kept clean; interesting because roles and responsibilities were never really defined, well not for the animals anyway.

The great man is he that does not lose his child’s-heart.” – Mencius

The point being; the farmer (my Uncle Nigel) and I, were consistent. We stuck to consistency. Through our consistent actions (Uncle Nigel’s and mine), we helped the animals to behave with a natural responsibility in helping us to maintain their health care. Being consistent taught the animals to trust us. Consistency alone was not the only trait used to obtain the animals’ trust – there were many. For example, I learnt how to change an animal’s emotional state – if you have ever come across the Russian scientist Ivan Pavlov then you will know about “conditioning”. Food is a pleasure to most animals, and I linked this to obtaining specific behaviours from them.

“I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.” – Thomas Edison.

Managing trust and to be trusted is a very important trait to be had on the farm. For example; the farmer needed to trust me to get up early and manage my daily chores. In the beginning I did have help from my Grandma, after all I was only 4 and a half years old but strong and tall for that age. I was eager to learn and made many mistakes at the beginning. I learnt from those mistakes – how to communicate them and how to reconcile them. I realised that this also engendered my Uncle’s trust. Later on, I came to realise that others would come to appreciate these traits by trusting me to rescue and deliver their projects.

It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently.” – Anthony Robbins

Consistency generated reliability, hence forming what is commonly termed a “learned trust”. The animals, through consistency, trusted that they would be watered and fed daily. My Uncle, through consistency, came to depend on me to complete my chores. Without consistency in roles and responsibilities; learned trust cannot be maintained. “The mark of a champion is consistency – and true consistency is established by our habits” writes life changing guru, Anthony Robbins. Being consistent meant being taken at our word, with no possibility of letting the farming partnership down. Without our consistency generating a learned trust, the farm would not be able to run successfully.

“A consistent man believes in destiny, a capricious man in chance.” …Benjamin Disraeli.

Managing projects really is no different than managing a farm. Both require planning. Both require breaking down the work into manageable pieces, and both contain a critical path. Within both farm work and project management, roles and responsibilities need to be consistent and regularly maintained to foster trust.
Consistent actions, deliberate and purposeful, are the bedrocks of trust. There was no doubt in my mind that I would not be able to unite the project stakeholders using trust.  Through this trust, I took control of Eastern Europe’s largest GSM telecommunications portal project and delivered it.

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