PM Quote of the Day — anonymous (attributed to Thomas Edison)

Vision without execution is hallucination

Per the link above, I also believe that this is an apocryphal quote. I don’t think any of the major quotation books or sites attribute it to Edison. I sounds to the modern ear like something Edison would say, but the language is anachronistic.

PM Quote of the Day — Theodore Levitt

Kodak sells film, but they don’t advertise film. They advertise memories

It has been a while since I used film in a camera.  But sure enough, Kodak still advertises memories  not JPGs.  So it should be for our projects and programs.  Too often we get caught up in describing the impact of our initiatives in the wrong order:

  • First, all the work that we and our team is doing.
  • Second, all the great things that we’re building.
  • Third, how many more resources we really need to build it right.
  • Fourth… fifth…
  • And finally, if we ever get around to it, we admit there may be some benefits to the project.

Of course, this approach will give audiences the wrong memories.  When pitching something, one wants to draw the audience in with an enticing vision of the final destination.  They don’t care so much about what it took to get there.

A more subtle problem is that focusing on work, technology, and obstacles makes one sounds self-centered  The message comes across as — look at all the work I’m doing, what I’m building, how I’m suffering — as if no one else is doing the same.

A project should be advertising dreams, not drudgery!

PM Quote of the Day — Helen Keller

People do not like to think. If one thinks, one must reach conclusions. Conclusions are not always pleasant

When I read this quote, it reminds me of how I have approached situations that must be met and decisions that must be made. My own thinking — at least my own un-aided thinking — leads me to self-justifying conclusions or self-seeking behavior. Too many of my snap judgments and reactions proceed from one premise: I am right. This problem is bad enough when I react quickly to a challenge; it is devastating when I am agitated or doubtful.

I discuss self-examination and meditation so often because these practices help me be clear-eyed about myself. Someone once said that “self-searching is the means by which we bring new vision, action, and grace to bear on the dark and negative side of our natures.” Meditation allows me to use that “vision, action, and grace” to look at myself, my words, and my deeds as others see me.

If I pause before deploying tongue and pen — even for a second — I’m freed from the tyranny of self long enough to do the next right or good thing.

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