He is the author of 12 books on project management with the most popular being, “Project Planning, Scheduling, and Control” now in its fifth edition. Its conversational tone makes the book east to read and offers practical guidelines of how to plan, schedule, and control projects of any description. Additionally, he has works published through McGraw Hill, American Management Association, and Perseus.
He is the founder of the Lewis Method of Planning Projects, which is currently the only technique that incorporates all elements to handle behavioral issues in project management teams by dealing with resistance and getting participation from employees.
As a Doctor in Psychology, he has delivered seminars in over 30 countries to more than 60,000 people, and has taught project management for over 10 years. He also has a membership website with online courses and he even has his own app called Highly Effective Project Manager.
In this episode, Dr. Lewis discusses the importance of project and people management, including on how to motivate employees.
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Excerpts from Episode 32 – “Projects are People” with Dr. Jim Lewis of the Lewis Institute
On Dealing with People Problems
Dealing with people problems or personal issues can be learned. On the contrary, if you don’t want to deal with people then this could be an issue for your career. Differentiate whether you want to manage people or if you want to do technical work because doing both is not really practical.
Project management is entirely about dealing with people. Project managers typically have a lot of responsibility and no authority. The only way they get anything done is through influence, which is essentially leadership.
Organizations should have dual or triple career paths: A technical path, a management path, and a project/technical management path, so that people can choose what they want to do.
Tips for Project Managers
“Leadership appears to be the art of getting others to want to do something you are convinced should be done.”- Vance Packard.
The first principal of dealing with people is to figure out what’s in it for the individual team member to engage them in collaborating and cooperating on your project team. If they’re not getting some psychological reward from participation, they’re not going to be very enthusiastic. Individuals need more than monetary incentives.
You can’t always have a perfect fit between what people like and what they want to do, but if it’s not at least 80% they’re not going to like the job very much.
Almost every human being has a desire to please people in positions of power and authority, beginning with their parents. Most of these young people want to come into the workplace and be appreciated for what they do. The greatest human need is acceptance and the greatest human fear is rejection. As a manager, if you accept these millenials and try to figure out how they make a contribution, you won’t have to worry about the entitlement mentality. They’ll learn quickly that the way to get ahead is to do something positive instead of something negative.
Online learning is growing. It will never go away. With today’s technology, online learning is sometimes the only way that people can receive an education. I vowed that if I were to do online training then I would try to make it as effective as possible because quite frankly there are some things that are hard to teach online that you can do easily in a classroom such as interactive behavioural skills. The online classes at the Lewis Institute have narrated slides with behavioural activities where the students learn interactive behavioural skills by watching a video, and then reenacting that scenario on video. The student can upload it and the instructor can give them feedback. This virtually teaches interactive behavioural skills effectively.
The Membership Website: The Lewis Institute provides ongoing support in the forms of discussions, newsletters, and podcasts.