PMTips: It is our great pleasure to announce today’s interview with Andy Kaufman, an Award-winning Project Manager, Leadership Keynote Speaker, and a member of the Project Management Institute (PMI®). In the past 20 years, Andy has helped individuals and organizations lead projects, manage resources and gain both theoretical and practical skills, which are essential to delivering successful projects.  In addition to being a certified trainer, he is a certified Project Management Professional, author of several books, and hosts of The People and Projects Podcast, which provides interviews and insights to help listeners lead people and deliver projects.

 Andy serves as a president of the Institute for Leadership, Excellence and Development, where they assist the improvement of project management processes and leadership skills of employees at organizations such as the United Nations, Northern Trust, McDonald's, University of Pennsylvania, and many others across dozens of industries.

Today we will explore the world of project management by talking directly to Andy about his experience, practice, and advice.

Andy, thank you for accepting our invitation. We are honored to have you as a guest and share your knowledge with our readers and listeners.

Andy Kaufman: Juliana you need to know this is an honor for me. I am a big fan of the work that you do. You add a lot of value to the community, so thank you.

PMTips: Andy, you are well known in the project management world as an expert in optimizing development processes, training labor resources, and effectively delivering projects. Looking back to the very begging, you started your career as a Programmer/Analyst. Can you tell us more about your background in business data processing and the moment you decided to focus your attention on project management?

Andy Kaufman: Early like in high school I knew I wanted to get into software development and it was definitely kind of an emerging area. So my first job was doing software development and within the software, we treated things like projects at the time we didn't necessarily call people project managers, but we tended to think of our work as projects we used that terminology. Just like within construction that was used but there were many other areas that were not necessarily thinking of things in terms of projects.

Therefore, I grew up in my career thinking that I went from a software developer to being promoted into management for all the wrong reasons. Have you ever seen that before where someone's reasonably good at this and then they get promoted as a manager of that? That was my experience. I made all kinds of mistakes, but after a while, I learned how to lead a team and I was promoted into from a manager to a director and eventually a vice president. During that time project management became a little bit more formalized, as some would argue whether it's a profession or not but regardless it got organized and more formalized. What I found was it really resonated with me of having a more organized approach to how we deliver, so instead of if you know dependent on who is running the project that is how we do things having more of a common way of doing things across the teams that I manage.

Therefore, I have yet to meet someone who said at the age of eight they said: "Mommy someday I want to be a project manager." People don't generally say that sort of thing but they end up almost like accidentally becoming a project manager or they grow into it because they want to make a difference. That was really my path into it as well.

PMTips: Taking into consideration that you have more than 30 years of professional experience working on diverse projects, can you tell us more about the challenges that you have faced along the way?

Andy Kaufman: You know, each project always has its own challenges, which honestly is why I think it's great to be a project manager. I think it's great to be in this career because our jobs are typically not the same each day or each project there's always that variability. Over the course of time I started in technology projects but about 19 years ago is when I started my company doing what I’m doing now and most of our projects aren't tech projects you know. I mean we do all kinds of learning and development projects. Or developing new Curriculums for universities and things like that.

But over the years of doing it, I have to tell you the biggest challenges are rarely the technology.  You know it's almost always and I know this is a theme through your other PMtips guests as well, people that I greatly admire that you've had as part of your show, it's the people right. It’s almost always the people related to things that are the most challenging. That could be I can think of past bosses that were difficult bosses or uh challenging clients or really difficult you know team member sort of situations which once again does not necessarily make the job fun.

I think being a project manager is extra special because we get to deal with all those different aspects. It’s not just the technology, it is with the people side and so it's something that we never really perfect, so we never really arrive. It's something that we can keep trying to get better at and so even though it is challenging I think that just makes it a special sort of career path.

PMTips: From Adjunct Professor at the Loyola University Chicago to hosting a podcast, and being head of the Institute for Leadership, Excellence and Development, there is no doubt that you have many responsibilities. How do you manage to stay organized and on track of your day-to-day professional activities? What does a typical day in the life of Andy Kaufman look like?

Andy Kaufman: You know I would guess it's the same as you Juliana, that really depends on the week, it depends on what's going on. But a typical day, I am teaching some sort of class whether it's a one-hour keynote at a conference,  or whether it is some sort of all-day workshop,  or a webinar you know, we've been doing virtual teaching for about a decade now. But increasingly with the coronavirus, almost everything has been virtual for recent months but most days I’m speaking somewhere and on the days that I’m not, I’m often either prepping for a podcast or interviewing someone for the podcast or working on the production of the podcast.

It depends on the week but that could be about a quarter of my week hours-wise. When I’m teaching my MBA classes at Loyola University's Business school that will take up a good amount of time each week as well.

Some lessons regarding this are left to my own devices, I would work 60, 70, 80 hours a week because I love what I do and I think you have some of this too Juliana do not you. Like you really seem to enjoy what you do.

PMTips: Yes, Likewise.

Andy Kaufman: So it's not a chore, it's one of those things that we truly enjoy doing. Two things come to mind from past podcast guests, one was James Clear who wrote a fabulous book called Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones that I would say it's required reading for anybody in our profession. And another one was Eric Barker who wrote a book called Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong, which is a play-off of his last name it's kind of a funny name. but something that James Clear talks about is it's a book about habits and it really is about the importance of habits and so much of our life is kind of like on autopilot like it depends on the research you look at but often 40 to 45 of our day is on autopilot.

So it's not just the choices we make that make a difference, they do,  but it's often the habits that we create that have this compounding effect over time. I find that I have to really work on developing healthy habits otherwise, I will just not stop working.

So for example, I track my time so I use a website but it is also an app, called Toggl, and it gives me visibility into my time. We often don't have visibility into our time, and by making work more visible I can look at it and say for example last week I worked a little over 60 hours and I can look of those 60 hours where did I spend my time.

One of the things that I keep an eye on is how much time do I spend on the podcasts. I have a team that helps me with the podcast and so if I’m spending too much time there it means I’m probably doing too much, I need to lean on my team more. So providing visibility or we might say transparency into my time so I post my Toggl report to my team on our Slack channel every week so I know not only how I allocate my time but I want my team to see how I allocate my time as well. Knowing that other people will see it as well, helps me be a little bit more responsible.

The thing from Eric Barker's book that I have found was really helpful and so he has a lot of really clever insights in the book, but probably one of the most helpful to me is this line that he says Juliana, and I think it's important for both you and I, and for everyone who visits PMtips is: The world will not draw a line.  So he's like the world will not draw a line if you choose to give your company an extra five hours do you think your company will take it? So what do you think Julijana, if you offer to work five more hours this week do you think your company will take it?

PMTips: Yes, I think they will.

Andy Kaufman: They will, yes absolutely. And if there's and if there's some sort of organization you volunteer at if you want to offer them more time will they take it? Absolutely.

You know so his point is, the world will not draw a line, you have to draw a line.

I find when it comes to managing our time if we don't take responsibility for it other people are glad to do it for us.  The thing that I find that I have to do is just say where do I draw the line

It can depend on what the situation is if I’m working on something and maybe depending on the deadlines you know you know.  I’ll work more hours or fewer hours but the world will not draw a line and the culture in Northern Macedonia and the culture in the Uk and the culture in South Korea and the culture in Italy right, each kind of culture is different of how we look at work and what is acceptable or not, but whatever culture we are it's ultimately our responsibility where do we draw that line. And I’ve had to learn how to do that.

PMTips: Even though they are similar, the several roles which you occupy, certainly would leave our listeners curious to know in which position you feel most comfortable: Being an adjunct teacher for the Healthcare MBA program, delivering keynotes and workshops, writing books, hosting podcasts or managing the business and technical development of an organization?

Andy Kaufman:  Ah that's actually a really insightful question because everyone wears many hats.

Like I wear the husband hat, I wear the father hat and I wear a business owner hat, a keynote speaker, and a workshop leader and a podcast host and you know many many many hats.

So as I grew in my career from software developer to manager to director to the vice president I got to the point Julianna where I was looking at what I was doing. Am I spending my time doing what I do best?  No.  And I think that's an important question that we often don't ask I think we often are like well I guess I just have to do this job because that's my only opportunity right now. I run into a lot of people, I’ve had over 250 executive coaching clients there are a lot of people who are living other people's lives if you know what I mean. they're trying to make mommy and daddy happy because mom and dad said to be an engineer, or you know to be a doctor.  Or well my boss gave me this opportunity I guess I’ll say yes and they're living someone else's life.

So I got to the point of trying to figure out well what am I best at and so I’ve had the opportunity to podcast to interview Marcus Buckingham you know the father of the strengths movement, and a big part of the strengths movement. When we are operating within our strengths, we are so much more effective and I have found when I was going through that evaluation of do I leave the corporate world and start something on my own, which can be a scary thing like I’m not a big risk-taker by nature. But I got to the point of, you know what I don't really like being a vice president of a corporate world. I feel like I was just dealing with politics and budgets and furthest away from what I really love.

And so to the point of your question what do I really love, I love developing people and so if you look at some of the major you know roles that you pointed out. When I’m teaching, I’m teaching two MBA programs, what am I doing I’m teaching, I’m developing people who are motivated to try to help their career. When I’m doing the podcast, it's really usually most episodes are not me in a teaching role, it's more of facilitation trying to draw, just like you're doing right now, trying to draw insights from the guests and make that available.

But it really is a teaching sort of thing, you know. How can we help maximize learning?

Whether I am doing a keynote or a workshop, or coaching the common theme across all, at the core, I am a learner, and I think you have that in. You are reading a book and you are just like I can't put this book down, look at what …I mean that's such a good idea.  It’s like, I don't know if I like that idea but you know we're taking it in.  And one of the best ways to learn, and this is proven research, is to teach. As we learn and as we teach, we continue to learn and the common theme across everything I do which makes all of it.

In some ways to ask me, which is my favorite, is like asking which of my five kids is my favorite kid. I mean I love them all, but what I really love doing is maximizing people's potential. If they want to grow in an area, how can I help them grow?  The podcast is about that, the teaching of the business school is about that, the workshops… everything is about how can we help people grow.

When I learn something, I want to immediately teach it as much as possible. Even though I have been teaching MBA class for many years,  each quarter is different because of new stuff that's been learned and it's like how can I pass it on to people.  It really is about how we can maximize the potential of people and each of my roles really get to do that

PMTips: Andy, you have been in an executive position in several organizations. Hence, you have managed business and technical development provided executive leadership to systems departments, and developed strategies that substantially increased productivity. During the course of these years, which project would you say was most challenging and affected your professional life the most?  

Andy Kaufman: Yeah you know it is interesting um as a guy I can't say this definitively, but I hear people say that uh that it's easy to forget the pain of childbirth the further away you are from it. 

And so I’ve probably forgotten much of the pain of some of the projects but I like to think of a lot of the challenges are the things that help build resilience and those challenges kind of build our ability to take other ones on.  I’m sure there are far more projects that I could talk about than I remember but one I interesting part of your question is which one impacted my career the most and I think that's a really insightful question, Juliana.

I worked for the company AC Nielsen for some years, you know we worked with data and reporting. And we had one particular project that was entitled to the Nielsen report writer and people typically contract with Nielsen because they have products that are sold through grocery stores or other retail chains. They want to understand how we are doing with market share.

So a lot of trying to understand data in order to inform decision-making. So u the Nielsen report writer project was influential in my career for one primary reason, first, it was a good challenge. We’re using new technology, there's some new technology from Microsoft in particular. At the time we are using and a rather disruptive sort of project for us as an organization you know and during the project, things went really well with the project.

And at one point Microsoft said: Would you come and speak at our Tech Ed conference? Just give like a five-minute overview of your project?

So you know strategically, from their standpoint, they could tell their audiences about how wonderful their technology is but if they could get a customer to come and say: whoa Microsoft is great.  You know that is kind of what they were trying to get us to do and here is the interesting thing At that time if I was to stand in front of a group of 10 people and have to give a presentation I would be really nervous if there are only 10 people.  This was according to them going to be an audience of 7500 people. For some unbelievable reason, I said yes, and after I said yes, you know, sometimes the words come off your lips, and all of a sudden you're like oh why did I say that.

It was probably the scariest week of my life preparing for it.  thankfully there was a podium in front of me that I could hang on to like dear life, like a sailor holding on while you know the storm was going on. It was a scary experience for me but it went okay, I mean it went so okay that they said would you do that again? There’s another technology conference only do it for an hour. and I’m like okay.  And that led to another thing, and it led to I started speaking at conferences maybe only once or twice a year.

It was not about that project even anymore, but you know conferences are always looking for practitioners to come and speak. well after a while, I ran into somebody that they asked me they go do you speak for a living? and I’m like you can speak for a living? Like how does that work? Yeah like I did not even know that was a career. 

And I started spending time with people who did it for a living and trying to understand the business model, and I got to a point where it was this really important point of: Do I pursue this as a dream, or do I just take the safe route. The safe route would have just been stay with my current job even though I didn't necessarily like it that much. It was it had plenty of pay okay, it covered more than our needs financially I could just stay there, um maybe earn a retirement you know, something like that. Or do I take this step and I just got to the point where I just didn't want to if I got to live to be the 70s someday I didn't want to wish I would have I wanted to try it? And so that project had its fun and interesting challenges.

But I think a lesson we can abstract is sometimes our most difficult projects at least at the time that was really difficult, leads to other opportunities.  This led to an opportunity and I think project managers find this out as others do as well, that if we say yes even when it is a challenge it often leads to interesting opportunities and that is true for me.

So the project itself was just the catalyst, now I’m 19 years later doing what I absolutely love and it wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for that project

PMTips: Taking into consideration that the world we live in is constantly changing due to emerging technologies, thus how can project managers successfully face the new challenges and effectively manage projects?

Andy Kaufman: You know every once in a while I’ll hear somebody say I’ve got 20 years of experience but the more I speak with them what becomes apparent is that they have one year repeated 20 times.  Like they are really living off things that they learned many years ago. Now of course we are doing that.

But I think that probably the primary thing that we need to be focusing on as project managers are, how do we develop a habit of learning? Like how do we force ourselves not just to live off what we learned a long time ago?  So you know this because you're interviewing so often every time you have an interview you learn something right, even if it's just repeating something you knew before For me the podcast is a forcing function for learning and so it requires me to keep doing that.

I think for some certifications, for example, there is the continuing education credit so you have to get like if for if somebody's a project management professional pmp, they have to get pdus and so that tries to be a forcing function to keep us learning. But don't do it just for the pdus right, don't do it just to go through the motions.  I think the thing to keep us relevant is we have to at our core, we want to be a learner.

I interviewed, her name is Whitney Johnson, this is a couple of years ago she wrote a book called Build an A-Team and she shows it as an s-curve.  And if you can think of it as an s curve that down at the bottom is when you're new at something, it's uncomfortable yeah because you have to learn a lot it's not very comfortable you're most motivated on the upswing. and then at the top is when you feel like you're kind of like I'm confident and competent like that one of them yeah.  One of the points that she makes is: don't spend too much time at the top of the s curve, because if you spend too much time…. in fact, Juliana why do you think it might not be too good to spend too much time at the top of the s curve, any thoughts?

PMTips: You will never be able to learn anything new, never be able to face new challenges…

Andy Kaufman: Right. you get complacent, you don't get stretched and one of the things that she talks about is you can get automated out of a job because someone younger gets paid less knocks us off too right. So her point she says it in the book, you need to jump to another s curve, which does not necessarily mean- leave your company- it might mean, take on bigger projects maybe become a program manager. Look for other opportunities, go and teach you to know maybe on the side go speak at a PMI chapter or something to keep stretchiness.

And there's a quote by Eric Hoffer that I probably won't get it to word for word correctly and I've actually seen a couple of variations of it so I’m not even sure which exactly is the correct one from Hoffer, but it goes something like this: The learners who inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped for a world that no longer exists.

I love that quote because the top of the s-curve what happens you're beautifully equipped for a world that no longer exists given enough time things are different.

So I can't tell you how often although less but I run into people who go yeah agile that's just for the cool kids, or agile it's just for software or you know whatever it is it's just easy to write off. and say I don't need to go and learn that stuff and I’m not saying you even have to love agile or disciplined agile project management institute or whatever you don't have to love any of this stuff.

But there's this what am I doing to get exposed to these ideas, which is one of the reasons why it's good to follow PMtips because you're exposing people to all these ideas and it is the learners who inherit the earth.

And when we are in so much disruption not just because of global pandemics and protests and things of the current day, there will always be disruption and we have to keep finding ways, some forcing function to keep us learning and curious. One guest told me this, he goes keep a stance of uncertainty and that's his way of saying just keep this stance of I don't know at all and there are subtlety and nuance to what I what I’ve maybe believed for a long time

Be open to changing minds and opinions and so it is an I think the healthiest way to live and it's certainly good from a career perspective. Force yourself to stay curious, to be a learner, and not to get complacent at the top of the s-curve.  I think that is the key to us leading projects.

PMTips: Talking about challenges, 2020 is definitely a challenging period. What do you think the coronavirus pandemic can teach us about project management?

Andy Kaufman: It is interesting because is a year we will never forget right. I mean it's it is a challenging year but, two years from now, it'll be something different and it may not be a virus but it could be you know it could be all kinds of things.

And I think one of the really positive benefits from the coronavirus thing is this idea to still be productive and yet work from home you know. Like how can we as a team still be productive?

And I know there are many industries where that's not even an option, and there are some parts of the world where reliable bandwidth and power you know still is not an option. Therefore, I realized that I’m saying this from a very privileged point of view that I work in an industry in a situation that allows me to be able to do this.  But I’m telling you this opens up lots of opportunities.

Let’s say that there is great talent in Northern Macedonia, or let's take your case, great talent in Norway and they don't want to move to your office in Sweden and they don't want to move to Northern Macedonia but they still want to be part of your organization.  The infrastructure and some of the habits and policies necessary have been accelerated during this whole time of hey we can do this you know the collaborative tools are better now than ever.  And it will open up the ability for us to tap into talent regardless of where it is. I think even more so and so I think that's a very positive effect of this and I think its kind of given us a wake-up call of many things were going pretty good and then this happened my job isn't maybe as secure as I thought, or my industry maybe is not as stable as I thought.  We need wake up calls, they're not fun you know but we need something to kind of like jiggle our attention.  I think global lockdowns have helped in that regard.

So I  think the good project management has always been agile in the sense of we need to respond to change as it happens.  This is certainly forced some of us to say yeah we can have road maps and strategic plans but we also need to be able to pivot and adjust and I think project management is well suited to help organizations. I’ve got a really good friend he's in a very high leadership position in a pharma company for many years he's he got called in by the coronavirus task force at the US and he's very plugged in with what's going on and he's very optimistic about how things are going to turn out of this.  And I don't mean to minimize any of the pain that has happened because there's been a lot of pain there's been a lot of death and loss and things like that. But we've learned a lot and one of the lessons is global lockdown was a really bad idea and not necessary it protects the most vulnerable.  However, we now have data to support that, if there is a resurgence or the next time something like this happens.  

Therefore, if project managers know anything there will be change.  It’s not a matter of if there will change it's only a matter of when. And so we know that we have to find ways to adjust but keep moving forward and we've had to learn that everyone's had to learn that.

PMTips: Andy lets focus our attention on your keynotes and workshops programs organized by the Institute for Leadership, Excellence and Development.  What is the main object of these programs?  What does a typical workshop look like, and what can the participants expect from such an event?

Andy Kaufman:  I appreciate you asking. Almost always the kind of like the presenting issue that someone comes to me with is we have a team of people or a department or within our company where we're being asked to deliver things but we're having trouble delivering. So you know, can you help us learn how to deliver more effectively. Or we have some uh promising leaders but we want to prepare them to take on more leadership capabilities and responsibilities. Almost always the presenting issue has something to do with leading and delivering.

Our keynotes and workshops are under that umbrella of leadership or project management and I mean those are big categories. so underneath leadership, it could be anything from dealing with conflict or decision, making or managing time, and you know coaching and I mean there are lots of in influence is a big part.  So increasingly, we are being asked to give keynotes and workshops on influencing skills like how do I influence a boss or client. Because a lot of times project managers don't have authority you know, we can't just go kick somebody's butt to get it done we have to find a way to influence and nudge and you know try to help them do things,  so that's would be under kind of the leadership side.

And the project management side of our workshops and keynotes are very rarely just purely technical project management because the most difficult part of project management is rarely learning the technical aspects of project management. They're important but almost always it's the people and the leadership and the knowledge of the industry and business, so almost always we're in-house at a company um or uh partnering with universities and colleges for open enrollment.

When I do work with the United Nations we'll typically have three or more continents in the sessions at the same time. I mean we'll have people from all over the world. And so it could be as large as an organization like the United Nations, or the World Health Organization, or the International Criminal Court that we work with or it could be small startups.

It can vary widely but our typical workshops and keynotes are heavy on practical and highly interactive and so even the web sessions we do the webinars we have people actively involved in the conversation. So it's not just a lecture sort of thing.  This summer we're doing a virtual series a project management virtual series that we typically deliver in-house to help people get their pmp certification but even if they're not going for certification we'll have people from all over the world. They're just I want to get better project management and I’m really looking forward to leading that session this summer as well.

PMTips: You are the author of "Navigating the Winds of Change: Staying on Course in Business & in Life", "Shining the Light on The Secret", and an e-book entitled "How to Organize Your Inbox & Get Rid of E-Mail Clutter". Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind your books and the key points for your readers?

Andy Kaufman:  Navigating the Winds of Change uses the metaphor of like sailing and there's wind and there are waves and we have the equipment that we have but how do we deal with it uses that metaphor as a way of looking at change. And I found that in part because I just like sailing but you don't have to be a sailor to appreciate the fact that you and I cannot control the wind right? we cannot control government policy we cannot uh you know um control uh pandemics and things like this. But what do sailors do? Sailors have to find a way. All right, there's a wind change I'm trying to get to here how do I adjust? And so it uses that metaphor that we can shout at the wind but that's not going to help us so how do we learn to navigate? And so using that metaphor there's a number of chapters that kind of try to give us a look at change.

Shining the Light on The Secret it was actually a response to many years ago now but I've been workshops and people were talking about did you read the book The Secret did you read this new book The Secret and they were praising this book and I started listening to what they're talking about and uh honestly it felt like a little bit of crazy talk.  And so anyway I read the book and I just felt like I mean I've interviewed experts on this topic of visualization, visualization can be helpful but nothing changes without action. and if somebody's just going to sit back and visualize I'm going to be a vice president of a company I'm going to have a fancy car in my driveway you know like I'm just going to attract it by thinking about it not only is it not effective I argue it is dangerous.  and you know I've subsequently from when I wrote that book I've interviewed in fact even just a recent in fact it's the current episode of the people projects podcast as of you and I talking here um they're just like there's no data to support that sort of visualization.

How to Organize Your Inbox & Get Rid of E-Mail Clutter is just a daily burden for us of how do we stay on top of our email and there is no magic. I mean we ultimately have to find ways that work with our own styles of how to do it. but think a lot of people are just overwhelmed on the email side and finding ways so the book shares ideas on potential ways to find a better rhythm on what I think is the daily burden of managing our email that just gives you a little insight into what those are about

PMTips: Are you perhaps working on an outline of a new content, which will be added to your resume?

Andy Kaufman:  Yeah in fact the right now we're about halfway through a book called Help for the crazy busy.  and it is based on a keynote that we have by that topic it's one of our uh most requested keynotes. like let's say a chapter meeting or at a conference, because most people feel crazy busy they just feel like I'm out of control.

The book is based on the keynote it has many many practical ideas that can be customized to each person's style. because a lot of things that are based on the subject of time management productivity are really good if you are a very structured person you know. like um I mean there's all kinds of books like David Allen’s Getting Things Done. If you love lists and you love structure you're going to love David Allen’s approach.  But some people are like ah that's just way too much for me. So it offers a lot of interesting ideas that the feedback from our work from our keynotes is always very positive in fact usually what people tell me is you read my mail you were speaking directly to me. And so the book is based on that.

PMTips: Andy thank you for giving us an overview of your next book and I look forward to seeing it published

To conclude what kind of advice would you give professionals who are at the very start of their careers in project management. What is your advice to experienced project professionals as well, who feel stuck and challenged in their day-to-day activities?

Andy Kaufman:  You know there's a couple of things we can even maybe just take from our discussion here today.

I mean some themes in this discussion have been it's about people and it's about learning and I guess when I was starting that's wasn't obvious to me. If somebody is early in pursuing a project management career just realize the thing that will make the difference in your effectiveness with people. Which doesn't mean you have to be extroverted. I think sometimes it comes off that way. like to be an effective people person you have to be extroverted. And I've had a number of conversations with experts on this that it is not a matter of extroversion.

It really, in fact, I've had Dan Pink on the podcast a couple of times and he talks about ambiverts. So the idea is a lot of times it goes from one to seven. One is highly introverted, seven highly extroverted four is the ambivert. And a lot of times it's the fours who rule the world because the ones don't speak up and the sevens don't shut up. And so there are times where if someone's more of a one or two where if they're more introverted and they hear you and I talking and they see how many of your guests have talked about the people side of project management. But I'm a one or a two I'm highly introverted you don't have to be a seven but you might have to stretch in this meeting up to be a four or a five and after the meeting is done just come back.

I feel like a lot of the coaching clients I work with a lot of the lessons we need to learn whether they're new or whether they're seasoned as project managers a lot of us could benefit from increasing our assertiveness a little bit. like a plus one of our assertiveness. I think a lot of times we would benefit from things like that.

Learn to love the journey of getting better with our people skills so you have to be more extroverted. In fact, if somebody's more of a six or seven what they might need to do is pull it back and learn to ask questions more instead of speak up. But learn to love the journey of how do I learn to read people how do I learn to influence people how do I learn to serve people. How do I learn this wonderful beautiful perplexing you know the art of dealing with people uh managing up managing out? The thing that like we talked about before, you never really arrive but can we just keep getting a little bit better at it. and can we keep just learning to be more effective it is such a wonderful way to earn a living and to build a career? That's why I love project management.

PMTips: Andy thank you for sparing time to share your experience with our users. It was a pleasure talking to you.

Andy Kaufman: Truly a pleasure for me, thank you.