Posted by: kerrywills | December 10, 2010

Are you Ptolemaic or Gallilean?

Around 100 AD, Ptolemy drew a picture of the universe that had the Earth at the center and everything else revolving around it (called the geocentric model).  Several hundred years later Copernicus and Galileo noticed the movement of celestial objects could not be explained with this model and proposed that the Sun was the center of the universe and that objects (such as the Earth) revolved around it (called the heliocentric model). This was such a change in thinking that Galileo stood trial against the church itself.

Geocentric and Heliocentric Models

I have worked with many people who have the Ptolemaic view of themselves, in that everything revolves around them. They do work on their schedule, when they want to, how they want to, etc.  It is everyone else who needs to change their styles, calendars, etc to accommodate them. These are usually people who have some organizational power, which feeds their belief of importance and being at the ‘center of the universe.’

What we need to realize is that the universe that we work in revolves around our customers and our team members. Like the views of Galileo in his time, for some people this is a complete shift in thinking and possibly seen as blasphemy. As Project Managers, all we really have is our team members so it would not be beneficial to think the world revolves around us and to lose their motivation and support. Instead we need to revolve our work and priorities around the team to ensure that they will be successful. This, in turn, will make us successful as project managers.

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