Ego Management = Project Management

Ego Management = Project Management

First, let’s discuss our own egos. It can be easy to get puffed up because someone liked a book, or because we passed a milestone. But it’s important to stay in touch with reality — not to let our own hype cloud our minds. We’ve all heard stories about celebrities who changed after they became famous. There are a few authors like this, certainly, and to some degree, change is good. But not when it disconnects you from normal boundaries of sense and good judgment. So here are some strategies to keep yourself in check, should you attain some measure of success.

  1. You’re not always right. If people argue with you, whether it’s about your approach to develop and deliver the project objectives, it doesn’t mean they’re automatically wrong because they share alternate opinions. Listen to what other people have to say.
  2. Success shouldn’t change you completely. If you find yourself cutting ties with all your old friends and colleagues, that’s a problem. There was a reason you were friends in the first. Ask yourself this: is it because they don’t treat you with awe like everyone else, because they knew you in your pre-fame days? If so, then take two steps back, apologize for falling out of touch and buy your old pals dinner, because you need them to remind you where you came from.
  3. Other people matter. If you start seeing folks as tools or means to an end, and you only cooperate or make nice to get what you want from them? You have an ego-swelling problem in need of emergency maintenance. Conversely, do be wary of people who eye you as a rung on the way up the ladder, but don’t let it blind you to the opportunity to make new friends. You’ll learn to tell when someone really likes and when they like the idea of knowing you.
  4. Remember your struggle. Most people didn’t get where they are without some fight, whether it’s in publishing, the corporate world, or an entrepreneurial environment. If you pay it forward now and again, you’ll not only enrich your karma, but it will keep you in touch with other people who are still climbing the hill behind you.
  5. Last and most important, make a reality-check friend along the way, someone who will tell you when you’re being absurd and insane and will not let you buy a pet elephant to ride down the streets of your hometown when you make your triumphant return for a whirlwind twenty city book tour. This friend will be honest with you, no matter how little you like hearing you. But it’s always up to you to listen.

But wait, there’s more! There’s not just your ego to consider. There are other people’s as well. Are you honest enough to be a reality check friend for someone else? Tell them if they’re going too far? I think I could be… for some people. With others, honestly, I would be afraid to broach the subject because I think they’ve already gone too far down that road unchecked and nothing I say will matter.

 Ego Management in Projects

Many a times, one would notice and see that managing and massaging the ego’s of your stakeholders and your team, gets the job done, No matter how good your plans are, you will always be successful when you manage Ego of people who work with you or you have a dependencies with them. A number of times, one would have observed that getting thru to the BOSS is difficult, unless you are able to manage his / her secretary. It is now the secretary more important that the BOSS (remember the referent power).

Just a few drops of praises and good words, would have your job done at all cost. At times, I have started to realize that people at the lower level are attention seekers, Provide your all attention and antennas’ to them and bet you, you would have purchased their loyalty.

I have myself experienced that once you massage the ego of people, it allows you to get your job done, Am I proposing the EGO Management to replace Project Management, no way, but one cannot hide and move away from reality of life. One would have seen that all the theory that would exist in the books is not really practiced in real life. Your plans would be worthless, if adequate level of ego management is not applied and practiced, In the real world of today, one cannot get the job done only by processes, how many a times, we have had to use our personal rapport with people and ensure that the said task is done.

Processes do help, but not always, ask any CMMI level 5 company, the truth would be bitter than what you and I would ever imagine.

After all we are Human Beings

Let’s be honest on this front, that all of us have an element of Ego, otherwise you and I would not survive. Ego is an essential part of our life, I am afraid but to admit, that people would lie if they stated that they have no Ego. It would be a blunt lie.

We as humans always have believed that we are right and the other side of fence is different or incorrect, we rarely have the courage to admit that we are wrong.

There’s also the question of kindness. Say you agree to judge a contest and you’re asked to give feedback on each submission, But the partials you read are all really terrible. How do you give helpful feedback that won’t totally destroy someone else’s ego and leave them unable to work at all when you really think the answer is, “Try again.” It’s a hard balance between bald truth and constructive criticism, and sometimes there’s just nothing constructive to be said. The project is flawed. I’m not good at this, even now, and have started avoided judging contests for this reason.

Other situations will arise, like when you’re asked to review a document and the same just doesn’t work for you. There are techniques one needs to  learn to manage without hurting anybody’s feelings. It all contributes to the fine art of ego management.

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Halo effect in Project Management

The halo effect has a close relationship with marketing. Marketing is the number one field where halo effect is successfully used.

Halo effect simply explains the biasness showed by customers to certain products or services based on some favourable or pleasant experience with some other products or services offered by the same manufacturer.

Let’s take an example. Apple introduced the iPod some years ago and it was creative in its functions and design. Apple iPod introduced a gateway to novel thinking and extremely eye-pleasing experience for iPod users.

The positive perception about Apple’s iPod then had a positive effect on other Apple products. With the introduction of iPod, Apple noticed a high demand and increased sales for rest of their products.

This is again common in the automotive industry. An automaker may introduce a halo vehicle in order to create positive perception of their products in the hope of increasing sales of their other vehicle models as well. The halo cars are mostly sports cars that are mostly related to eye-pleasing designs, superior performance, and technology.

Reverse of Halo Effect:

Halo effect has its drawbacks as well. Although one halo product can make a huge difference in sales, one bad product can also ruin the reputation of an entire company. This is the reverse of halo effect.

Toyoto Prius, the hybrid car, is one of the best examples of reverse halo effect in the recent times. Toyota is usually considered as the best quality car manufacturer in Japan.

But recently, an issue cropped up with the latest Prius model where, it had a fauly accelerator pad. Due to this issue, Prius gas padel could jam once pressed hard and could lead to accidents as well. Once this was uncovered by a few customers, Toyota recalled thousands of Prius cars to replace the faulty gas padel.

The issue did not stop there. Customers then started noticing similar problems, not essentially related to the gas padels, in other, more established models, where there were no issues reported earlier. This is an incident describing reverse halo effect.

Unconscious Judgements:

Halo effect is best described using the concept of unconscious judgement. When we judge something, we may run through an analysis and critical thinking. But, there is part of judgement which is done unconsciously. We are not consciously aware of this judgement process. This is why we cannot explain why we are attracted to certain products from certain companies more than the same products from other companies.

Halo Effect in a our professional life:

The biggest usage of halo effect may not be marketing area, but it is in our daily life. One good project and the project manager is made the hero of the system, on the other side one bad one would have made the project manager get banished for life. He / she falls from grace.

Think how we get haoled when a developer does an excellent job, sits over night completes the project, goes out of the way and helps the customer / client. This guy becomes the star of the system, He is the current flavour. Now image a few months later, the same system develops major issues and crashes, What will happen to our dear friend?

This concept of halo effect is due to a few elements in any organization who tend to sway the opinion about any individual. I still feel threatened when I am delivering a training workshop, as after 23 years also, one is always under the radar.

It time that we stop this approach of judging people in any organization, A classic case in current times is MS Dhoni, Indian Cricket Team caption, when we won the world cup, he was the son that every mother wanted to have, he was Mr. Perfect, and then in a space of 8 months, when we lost to England and Australia, Dhoni’s head was on the call, Come again 1 week ago, when he hit 224 runs in the match, He was the HERO. 

Conclusion:

The halo effect is one of the best tools for marketing. Marketing concepts and strategies employ the halo effect in order to get the best results when it comes to promoting products and services.

Although a halo product or a service is used for making a positive impact on a customer’s mind in order to sell rest of the goods or services, sometimes other techniques are also used. One of the popular tricks is to use ‘go green’ or ‘save environment’ themes to create a positive perception among the customers.

The pleasent experience the customer may have with such campaigns maybe useful for selling more products and services to them.

Athough halo effect is useful and advantageous for businesses, it is not quite beneficial for the end customers. Judging a product or service by some other product or service from the same manufacturer may mislead them in their buying process.

In such cases, people you do not assess the pros and cons of the product or the service they want to buy. Instead they allow the perceptions to influence their buying decision.

Hope the Halo effect will be contained and retained only for products as sold and would not be applied to individuals in an organization.