November 7, 2007

Chicken Little and Sky Catcher

My dad used to always say, “If you're not part of the solution you're part of the problem.” (though the saying is generally credited to Eldridge Cleaver). I've tried to take this philosophy with me to every project and believe it is a good rule to live by. For the sake of clarity I'll define this as being a person that brings solutions not problems (hugely insightful I know).
Everyone has been on a project with someone that has “Chicken Little Complex”. They bring up every possible pitfall in the project, why ideas won't work, and regularly send emails to the project team when pending disaster is inevitable - leading everyone on the project in a fire drill effort that generally could have been avoided (i.e. Foxy Woxy's hole). As a project manager or a project team member strive to be the antithesis to Chicken Little. I call this person “Sky Catcher”. I've held this title on projects multiple times in my career. Sky Catcher is the person on the project that objectively looks at each situation and offers solutions to problems, but more importantly becomes the person that helps advise Chicken Little.

Imagine how different the story would be if Chicken Little was productively educated by Henny Penny on the elemental nature of the atmosphere, the concept of gravity, prompted with ideas of what could have hit her on the head, and more importantly the danger of “forest frenzy” due to adoptive apprehension.

If you have a project team member with “Chicken Little Complex” make it your personal duty on the team to be “Sky Catcher”. Provide solutions but also help prevent others from only bringing problems. Most likely you will find yourself in the position to offer advice often, and may just find yourself leading the next project.

1 comment:

Mark Brooke Photography said...

Well put. My wife is my "sky catcher". But at the same time i am hers i guess that is the beauty of marrage.