Aspirations and Anxieties

Last week at the kick off (or should that be the get go?) of the Thomson Reuters’ New York Project Management Unconference, we asked people to express their aspirations and anxieties about the afternoon ahead of them. Here’s some of what people told us:


  • Building community
  • Sharing ideas
  • Recognition
  • Excitement
  • Lead by example
  • Collaboration
  • Renew motivation
  • New ways to look at things
  • Communicating with confidence



  • Will people get involved?
  • Not enough collaboration
  • Same old same old
  • Only do this once a year
  • Don’t recognize anyone
  • How to network?
  • Dealing with change
  • 20 people won’t show because of work pressure


The bullet lists summarise what people told us and you can click on the thumbnail pics above to see and download much larger, easier to read versions if you want to digest the whole thing. I think there’s some real power in what people said, particularly around the anxieties they expressed.

What we went on to experience was one of the liveliest, most participative sessions it’s ever been my privilege to be a part of, and though I have no evidence to back this up, I feel strongly that in part it was because people were invited right at the start to make a contribution. There was no fuss, people weren’t asked to stand up and ‘incriminate’ themselves, we just created some mental space for people to get involved, gathered some scribbled notes and then Tim Casswell and his team got on with illustrating them.

We had a photographer on hand and though I’ve not seen the pics yet (apart from one) I understand that they too give a really good impression of the energy levels and the sense of useful fun in the room.

Here’s some post event follow up from Anthony Allinson. There will doubtless be more to follow about the event and our experiences as I and others have the chance to digest what we talked about and learned, but for now I just wanted to share this first thought with you. We all want to be heard. Create an environment that’s all about your guests, invite them to talk and play, and your time together will be so much better for it.

Openings Unlimited

The world of work has a strong tendency to try and narrow options and close things down, too often with undue haste. From my experience, extra time invested in opening up minds and conversations with a broad range of stakeholders (or should that just say….people?) in the exploration phase leads to better decisions and time saved prior to and throughout implementation. For starters, if you take the initial paths that genuine dialogue create for you, subsequent communications are much simpler and clearer because you’ve involved those who have an interest in you and your people from the start – so there’s inherently less need for bullshitting, sorry I mean finessing that stuff later.

As technology increasingly helps us connect more easily, there is a shift in approach and increasingly I’m finding and learning about companies willing to try a more open approach. Thomson Reuters is one such company, and having run a successful unconference for their technology teams earlier this year – it’s now the turn of the Project Management community. Starting tomorrow, Thomson Reuters is creating face to face opportunities for its people to open minds, converse and look for opportunities together. You can read more about the lead up to this project and get a flavour for what is happening here, for the purpose of this blog post I want to focus on one particular thing worthy of note.

The event tomorrow is not only for Thomson Reuters Project Managers. It’s also for their fans, their customers, other colleagues who rely on their service, and people (like me even) who are simply curious about how to make the world of work….better. This inclusive method is something I’ve been fortunate to participate in previously and I’m very excited that such an influential community within Thomson Reuters is now taking up the baton (sorry I couldn’t resist!). So there will be more on this subject as the next few weeks unfold, perhaps once you get a feel for what is beginning to emerge you might like to get involved too?

photo credit