Those of you who saw the NFC Championship game between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks yesterday are certainly asking yourselves the question about how a team can appear to play so poorly for 55 minutes of the game and then win the game to go to the Super Bowl in two weeks. The Seattle Seahawks are certainly an excellent team and certainly a well coached team but needless penalties as well as a sluggish offense gave the Packers opportunities to build a 19-7 lead late into the fourth quarter. The Packers certainly capitalized on every opportunity they saw to build a lead that looked insurmountable with five minutes to play in the regulation game. But Seattle continued to play “their game,” insisting on using the strengths in their tool kit that had taken them to the NFC Championship game.
Finally, with great effort and agility, they took the lead 22-19. A last second field goal by Green Bay sent the game into overtime. After winning the coin toss, Seattle moved down the field to score the winning touchdown and the game 28-22.
What happened? What was the key to Seattle’s success after floundering for most of the game?
RESILIENCY….the quality of an individual or organization to continue to pursue a MISSION and VISION despite continual and repeated short term setbacks.
Louis Tice of The Pacific Institute was instrumental in using RESILIENCY in his leadership and potential development courses for individuals and groups. Resilience is something that can be taught and visualized in everyday life and activity to the point that it becomes a part of your philosophy of life. Winning takes more than just one successful game victory. It takes a development of skills and capabilities to know how to win in the face of extreme adversity, to keep the end goal in mind while playing through setback after setback that can be demoralizing to the person or team who doesn’t know how to “win.”
After Ohio State defeated Alabama in the NCAA football semi-final game this season, Coach Urban Meyer said he had never coached a more “resilient” team in his many years of coaching football. Ohio State lost several quarterbacks to injury throughout the season and played the Alabama game with a third or fourth team quarterback. They lost an early game to Virginia Tech at home in Columbus and their offensive line seemed very immature and not functioning well together. But “resiliency” and keeping their focus on the end result of being a “winner” led then to the Alabama victory and ultimately to the National Championship in NCAA football. RESILIENCY is learned, not acquired by any other method such as osmosis or “just being a team.”
As a project manager, you are often called upon to deal with short term adversity in your project processes and in your daily project work. Stakeholders can be obstinate….sponsors can be belligerent…budget leaders can be intolerant, project team members and contractors can be single minded or share a different perspective of how projects should proceed.
As the PROJECT MANAGER. you and only you can build the RESILIENCY into your project team and the project environment. ARE YOU UP TO THE TASK? Being a “winner” at the project manager game dictates that you develop the RESILIENCY to face every short term setback and move forward to the next challenge.
Not every project you manage will require that you act in the last few minutes before the project derails as in the case of the Seattle Seahawks, but it does require that you build in RESILIENCY while building in skills and capability to perform. These are distinctly different animals and some project managers don’t acknowledge the key role which RESILIENCY plays. Many project managers don’t know that being a “winner” means more than just winning that budget battle with your manager every time you meet.
Project Management is a never ending adjustment to your current conditions which are changing all the time. RESILIENCY is your best hope to survive and prosper and introduce sustainability to your organization.