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July 2007

Full Contact Project Management

project management Sluggin' It Out — Just Like Rocky!

There must be a hundred or so "Rocky" movies out there, or so it would seem to me. But the best one ever, according to the Coach, is the first "Rocky." Okay, now; simmer down. I hear the objections out there, all across the country. You can hardly believe your eyes and fear that Coach is about to showcase Rocky as some kind of a PM guru. You are convinced that, this month, Coach has finally flipped out entirely! Rocky the PM? "Absurd," you say. And I'd agree.

But I'll bet you agree with this: To a PM, Rocky is a fantastic example of someone who sets and achieves his goals. Gotcha! So, let's take a quick look.

Hear the music? Sure you do, because everyone knows that theme. See Rocky running through the neighborhood, up the steps, then dancing around and imagining victory with his fists in the air? Using a side of beef as a punching bag — see it? Of course! Finally, can you see him in the ring, going toe-to-toe with Apollo Creed, the heavyweight champion of the world?

At the end of the fight, Apollo wins by decision. He tells Rocky that there's not going to be any rematch; he's had enough of this upstart, this new guy, this unknown. It's harder to recall that part of the movie — the losing part. But the fact is this: Rocky gave it all he had — more than Apollo ever imagined he could give him — because Rocky left it all in the ring.

Rocky lost, but what did he gain? Respect! Not just from Apollo, but also from his "team" of coaches, trainers, family, the referee — everybody. And when Rocky did get his rematch, he made the most of it, because — this time — everyone knew that he deserved to be there and it wasn't just some fluke. I would argue that Rocky's first loss was the best thing that ever happened to him career-wise.

You see, fighting a good fight against a world-class opponent, even if you lose, puts you into an elite category. Rocky knew he had weaknesses, but he also knew his strengths and how to make the most out of them. Rocky believed in himself; he was fearless and he knew he could fight against anyone.

And that brings us back to our own real-world and real-life battles in the arena of project management. How you can set and achieve your own goals? How you can go up against world-class competition and fight your own good fight, leaving with the respect of your "championship" clients?

So I want to suggest you spend more time in the "gym." Become a student of your profession: Be education- and action-oriented. The best thing is that the gym membership is free. As "Full Contact Project Management" begins its third year as a column in Masonry, we want to up the ante a little bit by offering even more helps on the website (i.e., our gym). Actually, we're beginning a new one, www.fullcontactBlog.com, which will be more interactive, featuring regular training updates, including some in audio and video. It also will provide an easier way for you to get your questions answered.

There is so much technology out there that we can tap into and use to upgrade our skills. Many people have portable mp3 players and the smart PM will be able to download free audio courses and take them with him or her. Or, for those who still prefer reading the written word, we've got that too.

I'm hoping that this next year together will result in growth for you — both personally and for your businesses — and continued growth and excellence for Masonry magazine, the MCAA and the industry. With all of us "working out" together, visiting this new gym every week or two and interacting with our peers, it will be a great year for all of us.

Are you leaving it all in the ring? Maybe you just begin by leaving more of it in the gym.


Coach Gary's Corner:

Need to get better at this PM stuff? Go to the new website at www.fullcontactBlog.com and participate there with Coach. Subscribe and get free audio updates that will help your projects. And you can still go to www.fullcontactpm.com, click on to the archives, and use the helps available to you there. Finally, you can get Coach Gary's book "Get Paid for a Change!" at either site.






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