I like books which make me think, books that help me move on the path I choose. Books that bring out the best of my inquisitive instincts. “The presentation secrets of Steve Jobs” is such a book. It is loaded with unpacked and ready to use techniques of the best CEO of the times we are living in.
I believe each project manager is a CEO, by roles, if not by definition. It is one of our roles to come forth in front of various audiences of teams, stakeholders, sponsors. If you want to learn Jobs’ secrets behind being “insanely great in front of any audience” then you may want to read this book. If you’d like, you can do your own research into it. Only if you want to. Otherwise, Gallo did it for us.He unpacked Jobs’ magic in tiny bits to absorb with ease.
Gallo takes the reader through 18 scenes divided between 3 acts on Create the story, Deliver the experience, Refine and rehearse. In each act, there are doors and passages to simple, yet amazing techniques to apply in presenting to any audience. He highlights the basics of preparations and unveils what I see as the essence of it all: talk about things you are passionate about; rehearse, rehearse, rehearse; and be authentic.
If you are looking for inspiration in times of adversity, you’ll find it in this book: “My basic reason for writing this book is that I believe that people can become better at dealing with adversity, if they know the concept Battle Mind, and master the underlying techniques.” the author tells us.
The concept of Battle Mind came from military psychology. Accordingly, the Battle Mind is “a state of mind that helps soldiers survive, focus, and take action in military operations, where there is no room for hesitation.” Merete takes forward the question why do some people perform better under pressure, while others lose control. The book offers practical guidance and techniques to master the art of dealing with crisis and emergencies.
In addition to the practical advice and actionable tips it offers, I appreciated the book for a number of other reasons. It is rich in real life stories from battle fields to corporate floors to learn from. It contains numerous references to other great books and research papers to get further in-depth inspiration for a “yes, we can” mood any project manager needs to exhibit for the team to follow suit.
As we processed the last payments for services delivered in 2020, we were grateful for having created opportunities for others. Thanks to these, they managed to stay afloat. And even thrive perhaps a little.
We learned to read each other on the screen. We compensated the missing clues by asking more frequently: “What do you mean?”
We got frustrated by the 10th email on something we could have solved in 3 minutes by walking into each others’ offices. And we picked up the phone to air it.
We acknowledged that while many of the processes this year were global, the way we felt their effects is individual and highly personal.
We learned the art of planning to re-plan and plan again.
We loved the “mute all” button. And “camera off”, which let us stroll unwatched to the kitchen for yet another bite of cookie.
We felt like naughty grandchildren shouting into grand-dad’s ear: “Can you hear me?”, still grateful for all the technology we have to connect.
We learned some things about our neighbors’ routine and know now not to accept video-calls during certain hours while teleworking.
We managed our time-in-the-office and teleworking and learned by heart the schedule of our partners and team members spread across the continent. Only to learn that it changed again.
We dropped the “all-or-nothing” approach. We allowed for complexity and different shades or nuances. We sought what was possible to do and went for it.
As externalities of travel and sanitary restrictions kept proliferating, we stopped should-ing on yourself and team members. We replaced the constriction of “should,” “ought to,” and “must” with “can,” “choose to” or “decide to”.
We thanked each other more and reinforced the gratitude at work.
We will keep at least some of these in mind as we enter a New Year. We will continue to learn, as we’ll navigate the course, that life is change and change makes life, in projects and beyond.