Author: Eric Verzuh

Eric Verzuh, PMP, earned his PMP in 1992. He is the author of the bestselling Fast Forward MBA in Project Management and the PMP® Deep Dive, a better, faster, and more fun exam prep program. You can contact Eric via email at EVerzuh@VersatileCompany.com.

Microsoft Project + SharePoint = PM Maturity

Project Management Institute (PMI)® Professional Development Units (PDUs):This Webinar is eligible for 1 PMI® PDU in the Technical Category of the Talent Triangle. Event Description:Many organizations already own Microsoft Project and SharePoint – but few take advantage of the synergy these two products create when used together. Watch this webinar recording to learn:1. The most important factor to drive project management maturity.2. Five critical project management functions you can perform with SharePoint.3. How SharePoint extends the impact of Project to create compelling schedule visibility.4. Why SharePoint is easier to use than Excel for managing tasks.5. How to reduce the time spent preparing status reports while you increase engagement with your Sponsor. The Versatile Company wrote the book on practical project management. The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management has been the most popular handbook for project leaders and teams since it was released in 1999. Now Versatile has merged the practical lessons in this book into SharePoint to make a powerful, practical way to manage projects. Presenter:Eric Verzuh Eric Verzuh is the bestselling author of The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management. He is the President and Founder of The Versatile Company, a firm that delivers training on project management topics to thousands of professionals every year. Have you watched this webinar recording? Tell MPUG viewers what you think! [WPCR_INSERT]

4 Habits for Building Your PM Maturity

Have you read Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People? This blockbuster book has transformed millions of lives. A critical component of the message is habit. Regularly repeated behavior. Effectiveness is a result of doing the right things consistently. Consistency is also a theme in continuous process improvement and project management maturity models. If our project teams have good habits — consistency — we score higher on PM maturity scales and, more importantly, we have better project performance. Watch Eric Verzuh on-demand for “Microsoft Project + SharePoint = PM Maturity,” to learn more about how easy it can be to use Microsoft Project and SharePoint for basic project management activities. The focus is on “easy,” because if it isn’t easy, people often won’t develop the basic habits. And if they won’t do the basics, it doesn’t matter what other features a tool may have. This message is easy to understand, but it isn’t a quick fix or silver bullet because developing new (good) habits isn’t easy. (Yes, bad habits seem only too easy to acquire!) One thing we can do to encourage our teams to have good project management habits is to make it easier for them to do the right thing. We see it all the time in the training we deliver for our clients. At the end of a project management class people are excited to apply what they’ve learned, and they are convinced that the concepts and techniques will make them more effective. But if it isn’t easy to start these new habits, they put it off, returning to their previous habits. So how do we make it easier? Make the tools friendly! Nobody starts out to write software that is hard to use, but somehow a lot of the project management software turned out that way. Why is that? Because project management is a big topic and these tools can do so much for us. But the more they can do for us, the less we want to use them because it takes too much effort to learn it all and too much time to keep the data up to date. The second thing we can do is to take it easy on ourselves — start out with simpler goals and trust that we’ll get better over time. In fact, all maturity models rely on that principle: Focus on building one good habit at a time. My company, The Versatile Company, works with a lot of organizations that want to get better at project management; so how do we apply this thinking? Be clear about the most important factors that drive project success, prioritize them, and do one thing at a time. Focus on building good habits in this order: 1   Have a clear goal that management, the customer and the team all agree on. (You’ll notice that this does NOT require Microsoft Project.) This is all about project approval and initiation. Just by making sure that there is absolute agreement on the business value, scope and time and cost constraints, many firms take a huge stride forward. Importantly, it is the people who select and approve projects that need to develop this habit. 2   Have a plan that shows the schedule, with clear accountability and that is used to measure progress. Notice this habit is focused on the schedule only. Make sure there is a realistic schedule, and use it to keep people focused on forward progress. Here’s where the tools come in. Microsoft Project is a powerful tool that can do far more than simply create and update a schedule. But that is the place to start. At Versatile, we actually modify the Project interface so that new users only see the features that focus on building the schedule. That makes it MUCH easier to develop the habit of planning and updating the schedule on a regular basis. 3   Conduct status meetings on a regular basis and use an agenda to keep them focused and valuable. This is the opportunity to build the habits related to productive meetings. 4   Manage issues and risks. This is the habit of keeping track of the details of current problems and proactively solving potential problems. If you’ve developed the habit of conducting effective meetings, this habit will fit neatly into your agenda. I’ll stop here. Yes, there are a host of other good practices for project managers and teams, but for those that are trying to develop good PM habits, get control of these first. And the right tools will make it easier. We think SharePoint is an under-appreciated tool for building good project management habits. Over 70 percent of the people who attend our free monthly webinars report that their organization owns SharePoint. But only 20 percent realize it is easy to use for keeping track of the schedule, issues, risks and for running a focused a meeting. Build good project management habits, one at a time, leveraging the Microsoft products that your organization already owns. Image Source

Stellar Performer: How the Gates Foundation Runs Its Enterprise PMO

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, guided by the belief that every life has equal value, works with partners around the globe in the areas of health, education and poverty. The Foundation issued nearly $4 billion in grants in 2014, and that number grows every year. Approximately 1,200 people work at the Foundation headquarters in Seattle, WA, setting the strategy and interacting with partners in four major program areas1: Global development: Working to help the world’s poorest people lift themselves out of hunger and poverty; Global health: Harnessing advances in science and technology to save lives in developing countries; The United States division: Improving U.S. high school and postsecondary education and supporting vulnerable children and families in Washington State; and Global policy & advocacy: Building strategic relationships and promoting policies that will help advance the work of the Foundation. In 2006, Warren Buffett pledged over $30 billion and joined Bill and Melinda Gates as a Trustee of the Foundation. It is now the largest private foundation in the world. The Foundation is infused with the type of results-oriented culture that is familiar to veterans of the software industry. Stewardship and impact are guiding principles, emphasizing the importance to accomplish as much as possible with the funds available. This focus on results and efficiency, paired with aggressive goals, creates a natural need for enterprise project management. This article is an excerpt from Eric Verzuh’s latest book, The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management, courtesy of The Versatile Company. In 2012, the Foundation COO recognized the need for a centralized enterprise project management office (EPMO). Employee surveys found that people were increasingly feeling overloaded. Executives could see that the number of projects and programs was growing, and that many of these had dependencies among them. The growing trend in corporate America to have an EPMO seemed appropriate for this business-like non-profit as well2. EPMO Leader: Change Agent, Visionary, and Project Management Expert Don Kingsberry joined the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in July 2013 with the express charter to build an EPMO, work he had done several times before at much larger organizations in the computer, bio-tech/pharmaceutical and consumer products industries. By choosing Don Kingsberry, the Foundation followed a key success factor for starting an EPMO: Choose a leader who is an expert in project management and is accomplished at leading organizational change. Kingsberry’s previous successes equipped him to quickly assess the work of the Foundation and propose a vision for implementing project and portfolio management standards. EPMO Role and Scope The primary purpose of the EPMO is promoting structure and standards for project management and project portfolio management. Most projects, large and small, are embedded in the functions of the organization, so project managers will continue to report into these departments rather than move to the PMO. The staff of five is capable of promoting their desired practices across the enterprise. As with most organizations, however, the EPMO is taking responsibility for some of the larger, most cross-functional projects. Projects affected by the EPMO are primarily operational, the kind you’d find in any business. The four major program areas accomplish most of their work through external partners, and not every grant is a project. Over a three year period, the EPMO has set its target to address standardization in how projects are managed, create more rigor in project selection to ensure the right work is happening, and to build the skills and culture of project management across the enterprise. These are not small goals, and Kingsberry is very aware that his team is changing the way people work, which is always a risk factor. Fortunately, the EPMO enjoys the sponsorship of the Chief Operating Officer and the Chief Financial Officer, another critical success factor for an EPMO in any organization. Establish Project Management Standards With decades of project management experience, Kingsberry knew he didn’t need to reinvent the wheel for the Foundation. The standards, as shown in the figure below, are familiar and could easily apply to most organizations. Ask him about the standards and he is quick to point out the four that make the biggest impact. First he cites the project intake phase as essential. “Why is this project worthwhile? Why are we doing it?” After intake, he likes the project charter. “There is something about a sponsor’s signature on that document, after the sponsor and project manager have created it together.” Like many seasoned project managers, Kingsberry values a project plan. He emphasizes that a plan has multiple critical elements: the work breakdown structure, key milestones, a critical path schedule and a baseline. His fourth favorite shows why he has been effective at building EPMOs in the past. He values organizational change management. “Change management is hugely important. Projects make changes.” Standards for managing projects include a common definition of what constitutes a project, practical standards for different levels of project complexity and a project life cycle with common deliverables. The basic definition of a project is drawn from the Project Management Institute: “a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.” To be subject to project management standards, the work must also meet two or more of the following criteria: Greater than four weeks in duration; Require more than 60 hours of effort; Cost over $25,000; Require more than two people; and/or Have at least 20 individual tasks. In addition to defining this minimum threshold for applying project management rigor, there are three tiers of projects, each requiring a higher level of oversight. The EPMO established these tiers so that they could take on the biggest, most strategic projects first. Tier 1 projects received their initial attention. These projects have the highest visibility and are the top priorities of the executive leadership team. The project tiers also factored into which projects would be included in the portfolio management activities. Over time, all projects will appear in the project portfolio. Initially, however, only Tier 1 and Tier 2 projects were subject to portfolio scrutiny (which I describe shortly). Tier 2 projects are not as large as Tier 1, but they do tend to be cross-functional. Tier 3 projects are primarily managed within a function or department. When discussing the standard project lifecycle, Kingsberry makes another point about reducing project risk. “Experience has shown that the larger the project, the greater the risk. So if our projects are big, we break them down and manage them as multiple projects. We try to avoid projects that last multiple years.” Project Portfolio Management Optimizes Resources and Limits Damage The EPMO is also adding rigor to project selection. “Once you define what a project is and then gather the inventory of all the projects, the next thing that is apparent is that they are not all equal and must be categorized.” As with most organization, the trend is that a larger proportion of work is accomplished by projects. That was leading to another common phenomenon, people were becoming overwhelmed. Kingsberry lays out three goals for portfolio management: strategic alignment, prioritization and sequencing. He emphasizes sequencing because some projects are dependent on others, projects share resources, and he wants to avoid drowning parts of the organization in too much change. Project Selection Criteria and Portfolio Visibility The EPMO does not make decisions about which projects should be approved. Instead, they promote a consistent project scoring method and facilitate the prioritization discussion. The table below shows the ten factors that determine the rank of projects in the portfolio. Projects that have completed their Intake phase are scored by their sponsor and project manager. During annual planning and monthly and quarterly reviews, new projects are presented by their sponsor to the executive leadership team. Many projects have merit, but the Foundation is trying to be careful not to overcommit, preferring to focus on better performance of fewer projects. The portfolio valuation criteria. Prior to the prioritization meetings, the EPMO team enters the scores into a spreadsheet that produces a portfolio bubble chart, similar to that shown in the figure below. “The big conversations happen about projects in the yellow boxes,” explains Kingsberry. “Can a project’s risk be reduced or its benefits improved?” The ten selection factors can also be weighted, which will change where the projects fall on the grid. It also allows the grid to be sensitive to the goals of top executives, “We can present different portfolio scenarios depending on the current strategic focus.” Project prioritization bubble chart. The EPMO also shines a light on organizational change. One of the EPMO dashboards measures the amount of change that different parts of the Foundation will experience as a result of projects. They look at the size of the expected change impact (small, medium or large), when the change is expected to start and end (different from the project start/end dates) and which groups and specific roles will be impacted by the planned changes. The EPMO actively engages across the organization to help departments do a better job of project management and oversight. EPMO staff facilitates quarterly project reviews for departments and at the top levels in the organization. Achieving Maximum Impact and Stewardship There is a sense of awe and deep responsibility for those working at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. They are the stewards of an immense endowment. The Foundation has demonstrated it can make significant progress on many health and poverty issues. And the work to be done remains enormous. The team in the Enterprise Project Management Office takes satisfaction in knowing that they play a part in achieving the Foundation’s mission, and that their work increases the impact of every project. Notes: 1. The Foundation’s website also provides a wealth of information about what the Foundation has accomplished and its methods of working with partners. 2 This article is based primarily on an interview with Mr. Don Kingsberry, February 2015.    

Gridlock

Prioritize Projects to Accelerate Productivity

What happens when we try to juggle too many projects? Gridlock. Too many of us experience it on the freeway every day. My car has a speedometer that reads 120 mph on the top end. That doesn’t really matter, if the cars on the freeway around me are traveling 15-25 miles per hour. Or if they stop completely. Why are we all moving in slow motion? Too much traffic for the highway. Congestion. Not enough capacity. Working on too many projects has the same effect. Project resources get slowed down by over-commitment Here are some numbers that tell a familiar story. A department with 40 projects; Every project has a team of four to 10 people; Every person is working on three or more projects; or Every critical path item for every project team is being worked by someone who has at least two other priorities and is only devoting a fraction of his or her time to any project. Now go ahead. Try to accelerate your project. Did it fall behind because a key team member was ill? Try to catch up. If your project is high enough in priority, you can take the people and resources other projects want and you can actually speed past them all. Just like the state patrol when they speed past you with their flashing lights and sirens. So your project caught up and got ahead. What about all the others? Further behind? This graph shows a resource forecast across projects for a department. Looks like too many projects! Prioritize Projects To Accelerate I don’t decide how many cars are on the freeway today. Nobody does, really. But projects are different. We know who selects projects. In our hypothetical department projects are proposed, approved and staffed. If there are too many — if we’re congested — we actually have the power to reduce the number of projects and increase the speed of the remaining ones. The key is enterprise project management, a combination of project program and portfolio management. Prioritizing your projects relies on five factors. All projects are staffed and you do have project plans, which makes it possible to know how much work a person is assigned to accomplish in a particular week or month; Project plans can be integrated to show all the assignments across projects for the people in the department; The department has priorities that department leaders generally share. Projects can be related to these priorities; All department leaders who initiate projects share a coordinated process for allocating people to projects; and Accepting that overall we’ll get more accomplished on an annual basis with high productivity on fewer projects compared with low productivity on many projects. (If you don’t want to accept the theory that working faster on fewer projects at a time will ultimately result in higher achievement, you’ll need to track planned vs. actual results on projects using both the high congestion and the low congestion strategies.) Among these five factors are four regularly recurring themes: People with the skills to make the right decisions; A consistent process that creates predictability and can be fine-tuned over time; Information technology that provides the necessary data with a minimum of effort; and Some person or group within the organization responsible for making this work. As is often the case the processes and technology for prioritizing projects have already been developed. To benefit, the department has to take the industry standard practices and technology and adjust them to fit the department’s unique characteristics. Projects prioritized by department priorities. Selection line driven by department budget. Microsoft Project Server and Project Online are designed for prioritizing projects and resource forecasting. Portfolio modeling allows projects to be ranked by department priorities and cost — literally producing a “best bang for your buck” list; Resource forecasting integrates Microsoft Project plans to show exactly how much work any person is assigned for any day, week or month, even when he or she is assigned too many projects. That also applies to related job categories such as engineer, technical writer or quality assurance specialist; and Project Server uses automated workflows to add consistency to the project proposal and selection process. Projects are not like freeways. We have control over the congestion. Prioritize to accelerate. Image of gridlock made available courtesy of Magnus Manske under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0) license.

Webinar: Manage Projects on SharePoint

Project Management Institute (PMI)® Professional Development Units (PDUs): This Webinar is eligible for 1 PMI® PDU in the Technical Project Management talent triangle category. If you are claiming this session, you must submit it to your MPUG Webinar History after it has been completed in its entirety. Event Description: Many organizations have implemented SharePoint – but few understand how to leverage SharePoint to manage projects. Join this webinar to learn: The most important factor to drive project management maturity. Five critical project management functions you can perform with SharePoint Why SharePoint is easier to use than Excel for managing tasks. How to reduce the time spent preparing status reports while you increase engagement with your Sponsor. The Versatile Company wrote the book on practical project management. The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management has been the most popular handbook for project leaders and teams since it was released in 1999. Now Versatile has merged the practical lessons in this book into SharePoint to make a powerful, practical way to manage projects.         Presenter: Eric Verzuh Eric is the bestselling author of The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management. He is the President and Founder of The Versatile Company, a firm that delivers training on project management topics to thousands of professionals every year. Have you watched this webinar recording? Tell MPUG viewers what you think! [WPCR_INSERT]

Webinar: Managing Projects with SharePoint & MS Project

  Project Management Institute (PMI)® Professional Development Units (PDUs): This Webinar is eligible for 1 PMI® PDU in the Technical Category of the Talent Triangle. Event Description:  Many organizations have implemented SharePoint – but few understand how to leverage SharePoint to manage projects. Watch this webinar to learn: The most important factor to drive project management maturity. Why SharePoint is easier to use than Excel for managing tasks. How to reduce the time spent preparing status reports while you increase you Sponsors engagement. And much more! Eric Verzuh has merged his Fast Forward MBA in Project Management into SharePoint to make a powerful, practical way to manage projects. About the Presenter:  Eric Verzuh is President of The Versatile Company, which provides project management training and consulting to thousands of professionals each year. His clients include major government agencies, small and large companies, and nonprofit organizations in such diverse industries as aerospace, health care, information technology, and education. Contact Eric at eric.verzuh@versatilecompany.com. Have you watched this webinar recording? Tell MPUG viewers what you think! [WPCR_INSERT]

The table above is a simple example of a project charter. A project charter is a document that defines the project's goals, objectives, and success measures. It also identifies the project's stakeholders and their roles and responsibilities. The project charter is an important tool for project planning and management. It helps to ensure that all stakeholders are on the same page and that the project is on track to achieve its goals. The table above is a simple example of a project charter.

Simple, Powerful, Proven: Logical Framework Approach

One reason to like project management is that it works.  Most of the techniques you find in books and classes have been around for decades and their value is proven. So imagine my surprise at finding a terrific, time-tested technique that almost nobody in corporate America has seen! I’m talking about the Logical Framework Approach and its signature graphic, the LogFrame. Everybody agrees that projects ought to deliver value, and that projects ought to be strategically aligned. The LogFrame visually establishes the strategic link of project plans to strategic goals. If you happen to own a copy of my most recent edition (the 4th) of The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management, then you have a six page overview of the Logical Framework Approach written by Terry Schmidt, who helped pioneer this technique over 40 years ago. Here are a few highlights from that overview, found in Chapter 16. Start with the graphic, a classic example of a picture that is worth a thousand words.   You quickly grasp that the lowest level is our project plan, in a Gantt format.  The “logic” of the Logical Framework Approach works from the bottom up: IF you complete all the tasks on your project plan (the fourth row) THEN you’ll produce the deliverables, or project outcomes listed on the third row. IF you produce the deliverables listed in the third row THEN you’ll generate the results (benefits) listed in the second row. IF you produce the benefits associated with the Purpose of the project (second row) THEN you’ll be supporting the strategic goal described in the first row. That “IF – THEN” logic better add up, or this project isn’t strategically aligned. Now add more rigor: The columns labeled Success Measure and Verification challenge your Goal, Purpose, and Outcome to be specific, measurable, and observable. So where does this technique fit into our project management tool box? And why would it have escaped the notice of so many? Consider the LogFrame a vital part of a project’s business case.  It clearly describes why we are performing the project and establishes the measurable value that the project will deliver.  Maybe that’s why it isn’t familiar to project managers; it should be used before a project manager is assigned, when we are evaluating potential projects. The other reason it is still a stranger to corporate America may be that it was developed for aid  projects in the developing world.  The approach and LogFrame graphic were developed in 1969 by Leon Rosenberg, of the management consulting firm Practical Concepts Incorporated, to help the United States Agency for International Development, USAID.  This agency needed a method to evaluate potential projects, and the Logical Framework Approach became the standard for applying for grant applications to any funding organization, private or public. I was introduced to the LogFrame and Logical Framework Approach when I started working with NGOs a few years ago. I’ve since introduced this technique to our clients who are trying to improve their early analysis and project evaluation. Terry Schmidt offers several resources to learn more about this common sense, high impact approach to summarizing the business case for a project. You can visit Terry’s website or read more on Terry’s book.  

image of Robert Sapolsky a professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University. He is also a MacArthur Fellow and a National Academy of Sciences member. Sapolsky's research focuses on the relationship between stress and disease. He has shown that stress can cause a variety of health problems, including heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Sapolsky has also studied the effects of stress on the brain. He has found that stress can damage the hippocampus, a region of the brain that is involved in memory and learning.

Yahoo’s Version of Sequestration: In Search of a Winning Culture

  The top two stories in the news last week were eerily similar. Sequestration cuts $85 billion from the Federal budget in seven months. Yahoo! ends telecommuting in June in an effort to boost communication and collaboration. The arguments for and against struck common chords: All opposed: It is a blunt instrument that causes unnecessary pain and doesn’t address the real problem. All in favor: It gets the job done. It’s the right medicine for a sick patient. I know why we all care about sequestration. These cuts will ripple broadly, taking a bite out of an economy still struggling to recover from the Great Recession. But why does HR policy affecting at most a few thousand tech workers at Yahoo! set us off? We don’t know exactly what motivated Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer to take this step, but the leaked internal memo gives us some strong clues. It doesn’t seem to be about home-based workers goofing off or under-performing. Instead, the emphasis is on communication, collaboration, speed, and quality. And this is why a ban on telecommuting at Yahoo! is important for all of us, because communication, collaboration, speed, and quality are important for every organization! Mayer and her executive team seem to be correctly focused on the universal question: “How can we promote a winning culture?” Part of their answer at Yahoo! is working side-by-side (this is only one of several recent cultural changes.) I’m not sure if this is right for Yahoo!, but I don’t count on this idea catching on. At Versatile, the demand for advice on leading virtual teams is growing and for good reason. Understand the Nature of Collaborative Knowledge Work It’s easy to see how toiling shoulder-to-shoulder creates informal communication. But the Yahoo! solution isn’t universal because it doesn’t address the foundation of high performance teams. Set aside manufacturing and retail work that is tightly linked to location. Focus on what we’ve called Knowledge Workers for the past thirty years – the kind of folks we envision working at Yahoo!. These people are engineers, brand managers, software developers, graphic artists, business analysts, accountants, attorneys, technical writers, etc. Some have even begun to call this group Innovation Workers, because they are always working on making improvements, solving problems, creating something new. What makes these Innovation Workers productive? A combination of organizational culture, individual ability, and team dynamics shaped by intentional leaders. Let’s break that down a little further. Culture. The dominant cultural trait in high performance, innovative cultures is trust. Leaders trust team members to bring their best efforts. Those team members trust management to be transparent, to share the rationale behind decisions and to give them honest feedback. Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin, made trust the key message in his evaluation of the Yahoo! policy. “To successfully work with other people, you have to trust each other. A big part of this is trusting people to get their work done wherever they are, without supervision.” Individual ability. Who are your favorite co-workers? The ones you are always glad to see assigned to your team? Why? What do they bring? Sure, they bring technical expertise. The engineers can calculate, the graphic designers are creative, and the attorneys know the law. But there’s a lot more than expertise that you like about these people. They’re accountable, which is critical. And they know how to work together to solve a problem. They listen, they invite opposing points of view, they present their own ideas rationally, and they run a good meeting. In short, their technical competence is the entry fee. What you really like is their collaboration skills. Team dynamics shaped by intentional leaders. When a disparate group of people come together to form a productive team, that is no accident. Leaders set a tone and a rhythm for routine interaction. They ensure the team is goal aligned, foster strong personal relationships, pay attention to communication and attend to problems. Standard project management practices are a good example, as are the routine cycles of the Scrum approach to agile software development. How Can We Promote a Winning Culture? Is it all a little easier when we are sitting within 500 feet of each other? The tempting answer is “Yes,” but in fact there have been plenty of poisonous teams sharing the same 400 square feet of office space. Proximity isn’t really the answer. Trust, accountability, collaboration, and leadership are the driving factors. Does distance present real obstacles to productivity and collaboration? Absolutely. But the formula for high performance is the same, no matter the distance. And with recent advances in communication technology we have little excuse to let distance be the barrier. The real challenge of promoting a winning culture is less about distance and more about size. Yahoo! has over 10,000 employees. Culture is the manifestation of values driven behavior. Creating widespread behavior change at that scale is a significant leadership challenge. The telecommuting decision was a lightning rod, but its impact will be mixed in with dozens of other strategy and policy changes. Quoting the leaked email, “Thanks to all of you, we’ve already made remarkable progress as a company — and the best is yet to come.” We’ll all be watching. Which brings us back to sequestration: clearly a manifestation of values driven behavior. Can 100 U.S. Senators and 435 members of the House of Representatives shift their values and behavior enough to release their own self-imposed gridlock? We desperately hope so. Promote a Culture of Innovation Communication, collaboration, speed, and quality are important for every organization. In 2013 we must add innovation to that list. In our rapidly changing world, few organizations can opt out of creativity and relentless improvement. Like our high performance factors, innovation is the product of culture, individual strengths, and intentional leadership.   Learn more about Versatile’s Course, Leading High-Performance Teams.