Book review: Comebacks

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Are you a project manager contractor who lost your last job in the cloud? Or are you a permanent project manager who is having trouble managing your project? You should read Comebacks by Patricia Crisafulli and Andrea Redmond. It will not only help you to be a better manager of projects so that you don’t make the same mistakes next time, but it will also show you that there is still life after a major mistake or redundancy.
Comebacks tells the stories of ten very senior leaders who have suffered setbacks but then “recaptured their success on their terms”. It made me wonder if I would be able to be so pragmatic in these situations if I was subjected to Congressional hearings, as Patricia Dunn was. You will realize that everyone has bad times. If these people can recover, refocus their lives, and continue to be successful after some very public falls, then you can overcome anything.
Many of the leaders featured advocate for taking a break when you are facing a setback.
David Pottruck, former CEO of Charles Schwarb & Company’s, advises those in turmoil about their career to recognize the talents, abilities and experiences that have contributed to their success in the past. He said, “The things that made your career successful before can make it successful again.”
This means that you are more than the result of your last job. No matter how bad your last project was, it doesn’t define who you are.
Harry M. Jansen Kraemer, Jr., ex-CEO of Baxter International, argues that people are trapped in the past because they believe they can do it again. He suggests that those who have suffered setbacks should learn from them, but not dwell on them. It will not make any difference what you did at the last project board meeting.
Jacques Nasser, the former CEO of Ford, advised that you remember who you work for. It is important to have your board behind you at all costs – and we can simplify that advice for project managers. Your Sponsor and the project steering committee must be 100% confident in your abilities and will support you through any difficult times. You will lose valuable friends without them.
Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan, said that mistakes can hurt people. The effects of mistakes on a CEO are extensive. As a project manager, however, you still have the ability to impact shareholders, customers, and other groups.
These stories are inspiring and interesting. These stories won’t directly help you become a better project manager, but they will inspire you to do your best, to bounce back from a setback, and to achieve success, however that may look like.