Richard Newton wears many hats. Included amongst these are his work as a consultant, author, blogger, change leader, company director, and program manager. His most well known project management book is The Project Manager: Mastering the Art of Delivery. He is also the author of the best-selling Dream It, Do It, Live It which applies project management principles to achieving personal dreams.
Last week I posted an article discussing the challenges and possible approaches to managing consultants on project teams. But what if it is you who wants to be the consultant? This week I look at the other side of the coin and discuss the approach to becoming a consultant.
I am often asked about management consultants as it something I profess to be, and is something I have talked and written about. This article is the first in a pair about the consulting profession. This first article suggests ways to manage any management consultants on your project teams. In the second I will look at it from the other direction and discuss how people go about becoming consultants and what it means.
If you are someone who has read management textbooks for a long time then you will have noticed, over the last few decades, the increasing emphasis on leadership skills. Successful businesses are presented as those that have great leaders. In contrast, unsuccessful businesses are often presented as those without a vision or without bold leaders.
Two of the biggest recent trends in management have been Six Sigma and Lean. These were originally separate approaches, but they are often conflated nowadays into Lean Six Sigma. In this article I treat them as one discipline, although each brings different tools, areas of focus and value.
In this article, I want to share some of my experiences of developing new products. I have been involved in several projects to launch new products, and a few to start new businesses. But I’m writing this as much for a general lesson I have learnt from those projects, as to discuss detailed lessons about product development.
At all times, but especially in tough times like present, successful project managers are those who skills are relevant to their customer’s needs. This is especially true when it comes to changing your role.
We are going through as tough an economic period as many people can remember. The fun of the Olympics aside, I keep hoping for light at the end of the tunnel – but I can’t see it yet! For lots of organisations the difficult times are far from over, and in some sectors the situation is actually worsening. In this article I want to stray away from pure project management – to a related topic: managing change. I do this because I think there are lessons for project managers.
There are many ways to structure organisations. This variety may be one of the causes of that on-going pain for many employees: reorganisations.
I set this site up to be a single repository and access point for all of my writing. I like the process of writing, and this site reflects that, in that it goes against many current trends: there are images, but overall it is rather wordy and not very visual. I make no apologies for this, as this is a site for those who want to read what I have written. I have a wider online presence than this site, for those who are more visually orientated or want to find out about my speaking or consulting services.
Since I published my first book in 2008 I have continued to write. I have published 10 books now. They have been translated into languages as diverse as Japanese, Russian, Italian, Korean, Romanian and Spanish, (and lots more). They vary from mass market to niche books, which might be loosely categorised under the themes of getting things done or making things happen in different contexts. On top of this, I regularly write articles, which are published all over the place. I wanted to provide a single place were all of them can be found. Some articles are published elsewhere first, especially if I have been commissioned to write a piece, but sooner or later they will end up here. Finally, there is my spasmodic blog where I comment on all sundry of things that go through my mind and which inspire me to write a few words down. I try to keep to the general themes of my writing, but the blog ranges more broadly.
Why changing hats? Like a lot of people I jump around between different roles, metaphorically changing my hat. I have family roles, friendship roles, client roles, writing roles and so on. Whilst my writing has tended to focus on the professional side of my life, there is a gradual migration to other topics. I take inspiration from all of my roles and more: work of course, but also travel, literature, my friends, academic studies, and what I observe and hear as I wander around. I can be inspired by pretty much anything, from the regular mundane details of life through to those very occasional profound experiences I have been lucky enough to have.
Another reason for the name changing hats is that a lot of my work deals with helping organisations and people to change - taking off the hat they are currently wearing and putting on another one. Sometimes this is easy to do. On other times it can be incredibly hard. One word I use a lot is ‘balance’. Often the hardest challenge in life is finding the right balance between the different hats we each choose to wear. It is also one of the most important challenges to resolve. I do not believe the good life comes from trying to excel with every hat we wear, but comes about by optimising the balance between hats. Well balanced people are happy people.
The final reason for changing hats is just that I like hats. When I go somewhere new, and I have travelled in dozens of countries, I always try to buy a hat.
Like most people, I have lots to do and limited time to do it in, but when I’ve got time I’m always happy to discuss books and writing more generally. (If you have come here in a mistaken search for my professional services, they are explained at a different site, Enixus.)
Farewell to the ‘m’ and the ‘e’. I have succumbed to the pressures of globalisation and adopted the American spelling of program as in program manager, program director and so on.