In 1901, former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt spoke words that still resonate today: “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events and small minds discuss people.” Her wisdom, steeped in a rich history of guiding discourse, offers us profound insights that extend far beyond mere judgment. In this post, I’d like to delve quickly into the world of project management and how these words resonate with our profession.
Great Minds in Project Management
In the realm of project management, we understand that our actions hold significance when they are driven by purpose, envisioned outcomes, and aspirations. A project takes on a life of its own, and it’s our responsibility to guide and manage it. This endeavor becomes not just gratifying but also energizing. Great project managers lead by example, initiating productive dialogues and inspiring others to discuss ideas that extend beyond the obvious. Great minds in project management are mission-driven; they have a task that they’ll passionately pursue throughout their careers. They are adept at articulating complex ideas succinctly and are always ready to tackle revolutionary concepts. Great minds discuss:
- Making transformative changes
- Creating something extraordinary
- Taking bold initiatives
- Putting plans into action
- Pioneering revolutionary concepts and implementing them
Average Minds and the Status Quo
Average minds in project management often find themselves discussing events, concentrating on the challenges, and sometimes getting stuck in the rut of planning without execution. While examining facts, numbers, and events is undoubtedly a realistic approach, believing that merely discussing events makes us wiser is a flawed assumption. We should always remember that actions speak louder than words in project management. Average minds discuss:
- Focusing on immediate events
- Expecting things to fall into place on their own
- Staying entangled in perpetual planning
- Initiating projects but not seeing them through
- Being all talk and no action
Small Minds and Their Gossip Mill
In the world of project management, small minds often engage in unproductive chatter, criticizing colleagues or gossiping about their private lives. Such behavior can be toxic, breeding negativity, hate, and anger. When people feel inferior or envious, they resort to judgmental and damaging discussions. It’s essential to avoid negative talk that hinders individual and collective progress. Small minds discuss:
- Unsubstantiated rumors
- Senseless chatter
- Intrusive discussions of personal lives
- Backbiting and gossip
The Bigger Picture in Project Management
Discussing ideas in the context of project management means diving deeper, exploring the underlying causes, questioning the status quo, and seeking innovative solutions. It requires intellectual depth, reflection, and awareness. It is our responsibility as project managers to prioritize meaningful discourse. To truly excel in our field, we must strive to be great minds, embracing the discussion of ideas while respecting the relevance of discussing events and people. To be an effective project manager, we should aspire to be a blend of all three, with an emphasis on being a great mind discussing ideas.
The Power of Choice
In project management, every thought, every conversation, and every decision we make has a significant impact. We have the power to choose the mindset we wish to embody – the great mind discussing transformative ideas, the average mind focusing on events, or the small mind mired in trivial gossip. The choice is in our hands, and it’s imperative that we make it wisely. Let’s choose to be the great minds that lead our projects to success by nurturing innovation, embracing challenges, and fostering meaningful dialogues.
What kind of mind will you choose to be in your project management journey?