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Project Management Rebooted™ | Plan. Then Let Go.

project management leadership project planning best practices project team best practices Apr 14, 2018

Have you ever planned something — an event or a project, and then got so attached to the outcome and the sequence of events (aka agenda), you held on too tightly and controlling, causing you to completely miss the opportunity to allow others to show up and contribute?  Your over-zealous planning smothering any chances for serendipitous, game-changing connections and outcomes to surface?

Yeah.  Me too.

That happens when you have a heavy presence of project management in your DNA.

You get so excited about your ideas, your methods, your approaches, and how you're going to make it all happened, you forget to build in that balance where you plan just the right amount, and include the spot or intention where you purposefully let go and let things happen.  When we forget to build this "letting go" piece in, we miss out on so damn much.

We miss out on creating space for others to share their contributions and presence.

We miss out on the wonderful way things can unfold organically and come together to create solutions and dialog we did not imagine previously.

Don't get me wrong - no project or event gets planned without hard work, sweat, maybe a few tears.  You can't have meaningful results and outcomes without hard work.

It's what happens after the hard work of planning is done.  Sometimes we keep going and going, nose to the grindstone, focused, determined to make our planned outcomes happen; leaving no space for the magic that occurs when we simply let go after the hard work, and let other people, other processes, other things, make themselves known to inform future possibilities.

And this isn't taught in most project management training and courses, let along considered a best practice.

I shudder to think how I've done this so many times.  Times where I've been so focused on the outcomes, the steps to get there, I unwittingly shut out the opportunity for different approaches and ideas to come forth through other people or alternative channels.  I can think of several meetings where I stuck so close to my agenda, I inadvertently choked off the ability for dialog and generation of new ideas to occur.

No doubt about it, the best stuff happens when you plan hard and then let go, surrendering to serendipity after the planning.

But, yes, the sweaty planning must come first.

Serendipity is invited when we choose to free ourselves from the expectations we put on ourselves, on others, on the process, on the outcome.  This freeing from expectations is intrinsically tied to humility - letting go is an act of humility, a laying down of the ego; we can confidently and elegantly plan our events and projects, and then allow our customers and colleagues the space to share their voice and ideas, discovering their own learning in the process.

What if you started letting go a little more, building that space into your project and event planning, allowing for the miracles of connection and magic to happen?

What would that look like?

What would it cost you to surrender to serendipity at that moment you know is right?

How would this enhance your project management style and leadership?


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