Friday, November 5, 2010

eCornell recognized as Best Leadership Development Program

Congratulations to eCornell! According to their website, eCornell Won 3-of-3 at the 2010 Best of E-Learning Awards.

eCornell won in three categories at the 2010 Best of E-Learning! Awards hosted by E-Learning! magazine, including:

* Best Leadership Development Program
(eCornell’s Leadership & Strategic Management Suite)
* Best Soft Skills Training Content
(eCornell’s HR Management Suite)
* Best LMS Content Provider
(eCornell’s Enterprise Platform)

The winners in 20 categories of the “Best of E-Learning!” Reader’s Choice awards were announced at the virtual E-Learning! Summit on November 4 and will appear in the December 2010 issues of E-Learning! magazine and Government E-Learning! magazine.

eCornell repeated as “Best Leadership Development Program,” the category it won at the 2009 awards program.

“The Best of E-Learning! Awards program is the only reader’s choice awards in the market,” said Chris Proulx, CEO of eCornell. “The program is unique because it allows the buyers and users of the many products and services in our industry to provide first-hand input about their usefulness and overall impact on training operations. It’s an important measure within our industry, and we’re proud and grateful that so many of our satisfied customers voted for eCornell.”

I am proud of eCornell for being recognized as a leader in quality online education by adult professionals seeking additional knowledge to improve their skills and expertise in the workplace!

Thank you for your time! If you have any questions about my experience with the eCornell Project Leadership classes, please email me at

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Validation - How to change someone's attitude

'Validation' is a Wonderful video that illustrates the positive power we have over others and can use to change other people's attitudes.

Validation is 16 minutes long, and ends up as a love story, but the first five minutes are enough to grasp the gist of the message. An honest compliment goes a long way and connects you to other people. The only sad past of this film is the fact that not one of the people who were validated by the lead character bothered to reciprocate when he was sad.

How can I act to validate others?

How can I act to reinforce the behavior of those that validate me?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

How to negotiate with different cultures - The Global Negotiator by Jeswald W. Salacuse

I have just finished reading ‘The Global Negotiator’ by Jeswald W. Salacuse. Salacuse is a member of the Steering Committee of the Harvard Program on Negotiation.

Salacuse identified Culture as special barrier #2 to global deal making. He identified the four elements of culture as Behavior, Attitudes, Norms and Values. Salacuse also identifies ten ways that culture affects deal making, and provides data on how different cultures value each of these factors.

He brings up an interesting point in this part of the book – cultures may be different, but professions often carry their own set of values which are similar among workers from different cultures around the world. The military, for instance, appreciates risk taking and does not make decisions by consensus. This military ‘culture’ is the same, whether the soldiers are American or Japanese.

Building on this knowledge, leaders can provide additional opportunities for international teams to form relationships and improve mutual understanding by creating occasions for members of the same profession, like engineers, to work together, share expertise and interact with one another.

I would recommend this book for anyone involved in professional or personal interactions with a member of a different culture. Understanding the framework of how culture operates in personal and professional life has given me the tools to more easily identify and compensate for my own cultural beliefs.

Thank you for your time! If you have any questions about my experience with the eCornell Project Leadership classes, please email me at

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Leadership Videos on Youtube

Cornell University’s Samuel B. Bacharach, the Director of the Institute for Workplace Studies, has started his own channel on Youtube.

In the video ‘Leadership Is About Execution,’ Bacharach speaks about the difference between leaders with just vision and charisma, and leaders who have vision, charisma AND the leadership capabilities to execute their vision through building coalitions and getting things done.

I have subscribed to his Youtube channel and look forward to more educational videos about leadership.

Thank you for your time! If you have any questions about my experience with the eCornell Project Leadership classes, please email me at

Friday, September 17, 2010

Book Review: ‘Getting to Yes’ by Roger Fisher and William Ury

I recently finished reading the book ‘Getting to Yes’ by Roger Fisher and William Ury. The book expanded on the concepts I was taught in the eCornell Project Leadership Certificate Conflict Resolution class.

I learned how to separate the people from the problem, focus on interests instead of positions, invent options for mutual gain and insist on using objective criteria to arrive at a fair agreement. Additionally, the book focused on techniques for responding to attacks by using “negotiation jujitsu” instead of responding in kind.

I got a lot of value out of this book because it provided me with a method to rely upon when I am nervous or scared before and during a negotiation.

My biggest Eureka! moment in the eCornell class was realizing that by concentrating on interests instead of positions, I could free both sides of the table to craft an agreement that would satisfy both sides without necessarily needing concessions by either side.

I liked learning about “negotiation jujitsu” techniques when I read the book, because I feel frustrated and nervous when negotiations turn into personal attacks. Learning a method for handling personal attacks will help me be a more effective negotiator in the future.

I would recommend this book for potential students and alumni of the eCornell Project Leadership Certificate classes.

Thank you for your time! If you have any questions about my experience with the eCornell Project Leadership classes, please email me at

Friday, September 10, 2010

How to negotiate and create value for both sides

In this video from PBS Newshour's 'Making Sense of financial news' series, Robert Mnookin, author of "Bargaining with the Devil," shares techniques that everyone can use in important negotiations.

I remember feeling scared to negotiate a price when buying my first car. I ended up purchasing a Saturn because of their no-haggle policy. I learned several valuable techniques for getting the most out of both business and personal financial negotiations from the classes in my eCornell Project Leadership Certificate.

This video is a good refresher for the lessons I learned! Watch the video and read the transcript here:

Thank you for your time! If you have any questions about my experience with the eCornell Project Leadership classes, please email me at

Thursday, September 9, 2010

How to add and reference eCornell Project Leadership Certificate to a resume

Gregory Napierala from eCornell recently sent me an email congratulating me on earning my Project Leadership certificate from eCornell. He said that I should add this credential to the education section of my resume in the following way:

Project Leadership Certificate, Completed August 2010, Cornell University

I feel proud to be able to update my resume!

If you have any questions about my experience with the eCornell Project Leadership classes, please email me at

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Should you pursue ongoing education in project management?

In the New York Times article 'Learning Curves on the Career Path,' Steven Greenhouse writes about the different reasons that adults with careers consider additional education.

Several people interviewed for the article agreed that continuing education improved their career prospects. Education experts interviewed for the article stated that project management is one of the growing occupational fields.

This article touches on several of the reasons I studied to earn my certificate in Project Leadership from eCornell.

Thank you for your time! If you have any questions about my experience with the eCornell Project Leadership classes, please email me at

Monday, August 30, 2010

My Project Leadership Certificate from Cornell University

I feel so proud of myself, I have finished all my classes and now am the proud holder of a Certificate in Project Leadership from Cornell University!

Thank you for your time! If you have any questions about my experience with the eCornell Project Leadership classes, please email me at

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Questions and Answers about eCornell online classes

Here is an email I received from a prospective eCornell student:

Thanks for blogging and sharing your Ecornell Project Leadership experience. I have found it to be very useful and informative. I am considering taking the Foundations of Employee Relations Certificate Program; however, I am a little nervous about the classes, homework, test, expectations, etc... I have an undergraduate degree and would have received my masters but did not complete my thesis. In any case, I have only taken a handful of online courses, which are generally challenging but not very interactive. I was pleased to learn that the courses can be as interactive I guess as one would make it to be via the chats with the professor and others.

My nervousness stems from my personal obligations:
I am married, the mother of three and I work fulltime. I also maybe teaching a class once a week. According to your blog and other information I have read, a student should allot 5 to 7 hours weekly. I believe you actually said devoting 1 hour daily would be very helpful. Three out of the five weekdays I could give one hour each day; and on the weekend I could give more.

Any advice would be helpful.

Thanks in advance.

Here is my reply:

Thank you so much for emailing me!

One of the things I find most valuable about the eCornell classes I have taken is the discussion boards. We are required to complete 2-3 assessments per class, where we answer questions that apply the lessons learned in the text to our actual work experiences. To complete the assessment, each student must write her own mini-paper, plus respond to the mini-paper of at least one other student. I have found value in reading the other students' papers and reading their responses to my assignment.

I think if you are able to devote an hour during the weekdays and more over the weekend, you will have enough time to complete the course. It all depends on how fast and accurately you can read and digest information.

I have had good results in supplementing my learning with reading the books that are utilized in the coursework. The names and authors are usually at the very bottom of each section of the course, as a footnote.

Kathleen Lisson

Thank you for your time! If you have any questions about my experience with the eCornell Project Leadership classes, please email me at

Monday, August 23, 2010

Tips on employee engagement - Free webinar from eCornell

How to Keep Employees Engaged in Challenging Times
by Cornell University Professor Samuel Bacharach

Wednesday, September 15, 2010
1:00pm Eastern/10:00am Pacific


Samuel Bacharach of Cornell University's Industrial & Labor Relations School will offer ideas and strategies for keeping team members engaged and productive.

Friday, August 20, 2010

How Different Cultures View Choice

In the Ted talk 'Sheena Iyengar on the art of choosing,' Iyengar, author of 'The Art of Choosing' and professor at Columbia Business School, presents research on how people from different countries view choice.

As an American, I view choice as a part of life, and measure social status and intelligence by the 'quality' of others' choices.

Think of a man and a woman going out to dinner in America. The man asks for the woman's preference, and when she says "I don't care, you choose," he becomes agitated, pestering her until she makes a choice, so he can honor her choice.

I helped a friend out at her bicycle race recently. She was competing in the Empire State games. She was very insistent that I make her a lemon flavored electrolyte water to carry on her bike.

I compared that to my own experience running 15K and half marathon races. Runners rely on receiving liquids from water stations along the race, and there is little to no choice. In fact, a smart runner will look on the event website to see what will be offered at the race, and start using the same type of drink in her training to acclimate her system.

A rule of thumb for runners is 'nothing new on race day,' which means that the runner must not try anything new - no new foods, drinks, clothing, shoes, sunscreen, etc. in an attempt to prevent an unexpected negative interaction. For me, having limited to no choice on race day is comforting.

How can we learn to see our preference for choice as a cultural behavior? Would learning about the role of choice in other cultures help us to achieve more success in international interactions in the workplace? When setting up a choice for others, are we doing them a disservice by presenting them multiple options, or even by not letting them defer to the experts instead of making their own choice?

Iyengar provides examples of how European, Eastern European and Asian cultures react to choice. She also explains a situation where she discovered that her coworkers did not make a choice based on what should have been the obvious criterion.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

eCornell Conflict Resolution class supplemental reading

So far in my eCornell Conflict Resolution course we have learned from two books, Conceptual Blockbusting by J.L. Adams and Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, by Roger Fisher and William L. Ury. Information from both these books is referred to extensively in the course notes, but I am also going to read the books to increase my understanding of conflict resolution.

The Wikipedia entry for Getting to Yes is here:

The Google Books link to Conceptual Blockbusting is here:

Thank you for your time! If you have any questions about my experience with the eCornell Project Leadership classes, please email me at

Friday, August 13, 2010

eCornell Conflict Resolution class review - the first week

I am in my first week of the eCornell Project Leadership Certificate course titled 'Conflict Resolution.' According to the eCornell website, the course focuses on, "understanding the organizational nature of conflict and the approaches that a leader can use to resolve conflict."

We are working with Role Theory, learning the sources of role conflict and utilizing the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, located at

I was surprised to learn that the class teaches that conflict is sometimes an integral and positive part of project management. It is recommended that project managers see conflict as a problem solving opportunity, not something to always be avoided.

Other texts the class uses include:

"How to Design a Conflict Management Procedure that Fits Your Dispute," Sloan Management Review

“The Social Psychology of Project Management Conflict,” European Journal of Operations Research

According to the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, the five styles of conflict management include forcing, collaborating, compromising, avoiding, and accommodating. If compromise doesn't work, I tend to use force to solve a conflict. I am certainly in need to learning additional methods of conflict resolution!

Thank you for your time! If you have any questions about my experience with the eCornell Project Leadership classes, please email me at

Monday, August 9, 2010

How to improve relationships and negotiation with foreign businesses

In the article, 'After the Contract, What? Negotiating to Work Successfully with a Foreign Partner,' Tufts University Professor Jeswald W. Salacuse offers four tips to improve your business' long-term cooperative relationships with foreign firms.

Salacuse makes a very good point in the first tip. A signed contract, which is usually the goal for North American businesses, is not necessarily the finish line for a foreign company. Businesspeople from other countries may believe that the creation of a long-term productive working relationship is just as significant as a well-negotiated deal.

Salacuse also discusses the value of considering prenegotiation, renegotiation and conciliation in long-term business dealings.

Read the rest of Professor Salacuse's tips here:

Monday, July 26, 2010

List of Action Words to Add to Your Resume

In the article, '20 Powerful Action Verbs to Kick Your Resume Up a Notch!' Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, CEO of Great Resumes Fast, provides a quick list of words that can make your resume stand out.

I like the words Directed, Leveraged and Mentored, but I think some of the others may be a little too over-the-top. What do you think?

On my resume, I organize my work duties to highlight my skill at management competencies. Cornell provided a list of their 18 management competencies in one of my Project Leadership Certificate classes (CEPL 551 Introduction to Project Leadership).

A list of 8 Management Competencies is here:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

How to answer weird, "trick" job interview questions

In the Forbes article 'The Weirdest Job Interview Questions And How To Handle Them,' Susan Adams interviews Rusty Rueff, author of Talent Force: A New Manifesto for the Human Side of Business. Rueff offers advice on how to answer oddball, weird interview questions.

I agree with the theory that 'trick' interview questions can be either an opportunity to show your potential employer your problem solving skills by going through your thought process out loud while answering a question like 'how would you move Mount Fuji,' or a chance to show your future bosses your personality by answering an oddball questions like 'what is your favorite comedian and why.' has compiled a list of odd interview questions in their website, but the more valuable part is their database of interview reviews submitted by job searchers. Reviews are sorted by type of job and company. This looks like an invaluable resource for project managers preparing for a job interview at Apple, Google, IBM, RIM, Infosys and other companies. The database is here:

Friday, July 16, 2010

Free Project Management Classes from MIT

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers free online courses through OpenCourseWare (OCW).

The MIT Sloan School of Management offers lecture notes on dozens of undergrad and graduate management courses here:

The MIT class 15.969 Dynamic Leadership: Using Improvisation in Business features video lectures. The course is here:

The MIT Engineering Systems Division offers lecture notes and projects from their Project Management courses from both the undergrad and graduate levels here:

Monday, July 12, 2010

Using Cognitive Surplus to Create Civic Value

Clay Shirky talks about cognitive surplus in this thought-provoking TED speech.

Shirky explores the difference between communal value and civic value. The creation of LOLcats, inside jokes and pet projects provide communal value. Civic value is created when participants make life better for the society as a whole, not just a self-selected group.

I like Shirky's finishing statement, where he quotes Dean Kamen, founder of the FIRST program - "free cultures get what they celebrate."

Shirky explains that the largest gulf is in between those who have undertaken and published a simple creative act, like making a LOLcat, and those who have not.

After listening to this presentation, I have three ideas:

Inspire myself and my colleagues to design and publish something creative, even if it is only meant to have communal value.

Discover how to design my work assignments to add civic value to my community and state, and express that to members of my team.

Find ways to celebrate the creation of civic value.

I first heard about Skirky from author and blogger Seth Godin. I enjoyed reading Shirky's book Here Comes Everybody. The book explores what happens when the tools of collaboration become inexpensive enough that groups can form and create value without formal organizational structure. Read Shirky's blog on Here Comes Everybody here:

Friday, July 2, 2010

Are eCornell classes hard?

I have completed 5 out of the 6 online classes required to earn a Certificate in Project Leadership from Cornell University’s College of Engineering.

My completed classes are:

Introduction to Project Leadership
Project Teams: Mining Collective Intelligence
Dealing with Difference
Earned Value Management
Influence Without Authority

Introduction to Project Leadership was the first class I took. I became familiar with the eCornell online learning environment. I "met" my instructor for several of the classes, Bob Emborski, as well as several students that I would see in later classes.

The course itself contained a lot of information. The main challenge was to learn as much as I could in the two week time frame of the class.

Thoughts on my First Week of Intro to Project Leadership

Review of Intro to Project Leadership Class -

Project Teams: Mining Collective Intelligence was the most time consuming class for me, because of my need to interact with other students to complete a joint assignment. My frustration with this assignment was a valuable life lesson.

Resources we used in the class -

Final Thoughts on Mining Collective Intelligence -

Dealing with Difference class provided information about cultural and personality differences. The assignments were time consuming but very educational. I spent a lot of time doing supplemental reading because the idea of being able to understand the personalities and cultural backgrounds of team members and use that information to build a more effective team is very interesting to me.

Thoughts about what I learned from my Dealing with Difference class -

The Earned Value Management class focused first on project control systems and then on employee motivation. The project control systems module introduced me to mathematical formulas for evaluating the progress of projects. The employee motivation portion was comprehensive and introduced a lot of new ideas and theories.

Review of Earned Value Management class -

The Influence Without Authority class was another course with a multiple part assignment, which took time but provided the opportunity for me to evaluate and use the ideas the course taught in a real world situation.

First thoughts on my Influence Without Authority class -

I agree with eCornell's recommendation that students spend an hour a day on classwork. I was unfamiliar with the specifics of many of the theories presented in the classes, so I found the coursework challenging. My instructors were available via email to answer any questions I had and provide guidance and recommendations for supplemental reading. The majority of the classes have multiple part written assignments and group discussions. I highly recommend devoting an hour a day to each class, and not waiting until week two to start participating in the class.

I have found the classes very valuable, and well worth the tuition. I have already used the Eighteen Management Competencies handout to improve my resume, and utilized several of the theories and tools presented in the other classes to educate my colleagues and become a more effective manager.

Additional Tips:

Two Tips to get the most out of Project Leadership Classes:

Study Tip - How to keep track of online class coursework -

Thank you for your time! If you have any questions about my experience with the eCornell Project Leadership classes, please email me at

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Four Steps to Effective Persuasion

The Harvard Business Review article 'The Necessary Art of Persuasion' by Jay Conger is part of our resource list in the eCornell Project Leadership Class 'Influence Without Authority.'

The article describes how to persuade others by using four steps: careful preparation, the proper framing of arguments, the presentation of vivid supporting evidence, and the effort to find the correct emotional match with your audience.

Thank you for your time! If you have any questions about my experience with the eCornell Project Leadership classes, please email me at

Monday, June 28, 2010

Tips on Managing Virtual Teams

I recently attended an eCornell webinar on How to Manage Virtual Global Teams. Bradford Bell, Associate Professor at the Cornell University ILR School was the presenter.

Professor Bell stated that virtual teams must correct for a lack of the usual opportunities for social communication present in teams that physically work together. He recommends having a face to face meeting early on in the process and utilizing social media. Bell also provided details on optimizing configuration issues and influencing team dynamics. I learned a great tip for reducing side conversations on conference calls and how to develop "swift trust" in virtual teams.

The archive of the presentation is here:

The Powerpoint slides are here:

In my experience in working 'virtually' with coworkers from around the state, I have found that becoming Facebook 'friends' or following them on Twitter enables me to learn about their lives and engage more easily in social conversation.

Thank you for your time! If you have any questions about my experience with the eCornell Project Leadership classes, please email me at

Friday, June 25, 2010

What is an influential person? How to influence behavior through the use of metaphor

Jeffrey Gitomer lists the character traits of an influential person in his article, 'People of influence are successful. Are you one of them? - How to be a power influencer.' I like how he classifies influencers as not just smart but shrewd.

Aphorism enthusiast and author James Geary gives a ten minute talk on the use of metaphor in the English language in this TED talk.

He referenced a study where participants were swayed by the use of metaphor when deciding on an appropriate solution to a problem.

Geary cited Elvis and Shakespeare when discussing metaphor. My personal favorite metaphor is Reagan's comparison of American to a "shining city upon a hill." His metaphor captured the imagination and pride of Americans.

How can I use metaphor to influence action in my project team?

Thank you for your time! If you have any questions about my experience with the eCornell Project Leadership classes, please email me at

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

How To Motivate Creative Employees - The Lego study

In a blog post on the Samuel Bacharach blog titled, 'Leadership, Legos, & How To Manage', Bobak Moazami provides details on an employee motivation experiment utilizing Lego blocks. The study results suggest that employees become less motivated when their labor loses meaning.

When I read the results, my first thought was, Of course, that sounds like common sense. Author Dan Pink calls it Purpose, the need to work at a project that is bigger than oneself.

If this finding is common sense, are project managers using this tool to increase the motivation of their employees? What steps are we taking to show our employees the results of their work? Can I put together a brag book of past successful projects? Can I arrange for senior management to praise workers on their projects, in person or in writing, instead of just having the project manager pass the message along?

Do I register the seriousness of the situation when projects are stopped? When my team is forced to do the equivalent of see their Lego invention destroyed instead of admired and used?

I have a new friend that is an electrician. I asked him if he felt proud of the work he has done. He replied with an excited yes, and told me that he passes buildings he has helped wire in the Capital Region. He could easily list at least a half dozen buildings in Albany alone. How can I give my team a similarly concrete reminder of the successes of their work?

Thank you for your time! If you have any questions about my experience with the eCornell Project Leadership classes, please email me at

Monday, June 21, 2010

The case for Motivation : Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose

RSA Animate has drawn an insightful video based on Dan Pink's research on motivation, as printed in his book 'Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.'

Dan Pink also gave a 19 minute speech on the topic of motivation at a TED conference. The video is here:

I have two questions:

1. When faced with data that financial incentives DO NOT increase creative productivity, will you reject the facts and insist on CONTINUING to support the traditional system of bonuses and incentives for your team?

2. If you do want to improve productivity by utilizing this knowledge, HOW will you do it? How will you increase your team members' Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose? Will you give them time to work on their own ideas? Will you invest in their continuing education? Does your company produce products that benefit the greater good?

Friday, June 18, 2010

How to Promote Creativity in Your Project Management Team

We studied several different ways to classify the personality and learning style of members of a project management team in my eCornell class - Dealing With Difference.

The MBTI assessment helps project managers assess the personality strengths of their team members. The Kolb Learning Style Inventory provides insight on how team members prefer to learn.

Both of these tools can be used to promote creative problem solving in a project management team, so I have been thinking a lot about creativity in the past month.

I would like to think I am a creative person. Watching creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson in a 2006 Ted Conference talk titled 'Ken Robinson Says Schools Kill Creativity' left me with a hard question to answer.

How Frightened Am I To Be Wrong?

The ability to be comfortable with being wrong is essential to allowing creativity to flourish in my life.

Robinson tells the story of a little girl who was given low marks in school because she needed to move in order to think, and school rewards those who can sit quietly as well as those who excel in certain subjects. She found her true calling when her mother sent her to dance school.

How does that apply to creativity in project management? Do I accommodate those who learn by physically trying out a new skill as well as those who prefer to gather data and input from others before trying the skill? Do I let the extroverts carry the discussion, or do I make sure that the introverts are also asked to participate?

Thank you for your time! If you have any questions about my experience with the eCornell Project Leadership classes, please email me at

Thursday, June 17, 2010

How to Influence Without Authority - eCornell Project Leadership Class

I am in my second day of the eCornell Project Leadership class - Influence Without Authority today. According to the course information, "to exercise influence without authority, you need to see your organization as a political system, understand the nature of power and influence in your organization, understand your own personal sources of influence, and know how to leverage your own personal political power."

It looks like I will be studying the retribution-based, rationality-based, and reciprocity-based strategies of influence. I will also learn about the Power Motivation Inventory.

Thank you for your time! If you have any questions about my experience with the eCornell Project Leadership classes, please email me at

Monday, June 14, 2010

Review of eCornell Earned Value Management Class

I learned about employee motivation in my eCornell Earned Value Management class.

The classwork taught me how issues of motivation can be diagnosed and addressed the psychological contract as a conscious and unconscious source of motivation.

In the class project I had to discuss a recent project at work and critique my managerial behavior, how I manage myself as a resource and my efforts in using job design as a source of motivation for my team.

The lessons were clear and well thought out. The only section that was information-poor was the Accurate Self-Assessment competency. I feel frustrated because illusory superiority is a common cognitive bias. The Dunning - Kruger effect states that individuals who are worst at performing the tasks are also worst at recognizing skill in those tasks. Without being presented a reliable technique for self-assessment, how will I really know which areas I need to improve in my leadership style?

I have reserved some books at the library and I am also attempting to add to my knowledge in this area by looking online for a self-assessment model that is not specifically formulated for high school students entering college and trying to decide on a career.

Errol Morris from the The New York Times recently posted an interesting interview with Cornell professor of social psychology David Dunning on the Dunning-Kruger Effect in the article 'The Anosognosic’s Dilemma: Something’s Wrong but You’ll Never Know What It Is (Part 1).' I like Dunning's advice to college students -"find out who the smart professors are, and to get themselves in front of those professors so they can see what smart looks like."

Thank you for your time! If you have any questions about my experience with the eCornell Project Leadership classes, please email me at

Friday, June 11, 2010

Review of Job Diagnostic Survey for Job Satisfaction - eCornell Project Leadership Certificate

As part of the Earned Value Management Class at eCornell, we are learning techniques for designing jobs in order to maximize motivation in employees.

The Designing Jobs Appropriately segment focuses on Job Diagnostic Survey for Job Satisfaction authored by J.R. Hackman and G.R. Oldham. The coursework provides a detailed explanation of how to use survey results to provide job responsibilities that will motivate emplyees, but the class does not provide a copy of the actual survey itself. I have found a pdf copy of the survey at, available here: and a actual online test that is designed for restaurant staff but can provide results for people in any job here:

An important part of the survey that neither test compensated for is the Intervening Factor. The Intervening Factor states that if an employee does not have a need for growth in the job or in one aspect of motivation, he/she will not benefit from a job duty redesign that emphasizes those characteristics.

For instance, if I want to just do my job and get paid enough to engage in my hobbies, the boss making my job more complex by increasing my job skills or giving me ownership of the entire process of developing and producing the product I am creating would not motivate me.

The survey also does not ask the respondent if any of the questions are aspects of the job that he/she would base motivation upon. My job has a fixed work schedule, so I had to disagree with the statement that my job provides me the opportunity of self-directed flexibility of work hours. Flexible work hours is not a job perk that would motivate me. The test just automatically concluded that my job is less satisfying, without asking whether work schedule was a make-or-break source of work motivation.

Thank you for your time! If you have any questions about my experience with the eCornell Project Leadership classes, please email me at

Monday, June 7, 2010

Developing the Influencing Skills of your Leaders - eCornell class

I recently watched the webinar 'Developing the Influencing Skills of your Leaders,' originally delivered live on the web on April 21, 2010. This event was sponsored by eCornell in partnership with Samuel B. Bacharach, McKelvey-Grant Professor, ILR School at Cornell University.

I agree with his theory that charisma, good ideas and vision are not enough to make a good leader. Leaders have to get things done. Leaders must be able to execute. My favorite quote of Bacharach's is, "vision without execution is ... hallucination."

Bacharach also speaks about the importance of forming coalitions and anticipating and developing effective replies to the top six arguments against your idea before you pitch it at the meeting.

Watch the webinar here:

Thank you for your time! If you have any questions about my experience with the eCornell Project Leadership classes, please email me at

Friday, June 4, 2010

eCornell Project Leadership class review - Earned Value Management

I am starting to learn about Project Control Systems and employee motivation in my eCornell Project Leadership Earned Value Management Class.

The first module focused on learning mathematical formulas that enable project managers to definitively assess the progress of their teams in a project.

The balance of the course is focusing on employee motivation. I am learning about the Psychological Contract, the Cycle of Demotivation and Perceptual Objectivity.

Thank you for your time! If you have any questions about my experience with the eCornell Project Leadership classes, please email me at

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

eCornell Project Leadership class - how to anticipate personality conflict as a project manager

In my Dealing with Difference class for the project leadership certificate from eCornell, one assignment is working with our Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment. I took a version of the MTBI at Human Metrics. The free test is here:

I am an INTJ. Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking and Judging. According to Human Metrics, potential careers could be in the fields of Engineering, Law, Library Science, Management, and Computer Programming.

According to I am a 'Mastermind,' skilled at contingency planning. Famous masterminds include: Dwight D. Eisenhower, General Ulysses S. Grant, Frideriche Nietzsche, Niels Bohr, Stephen Hawking, Ayn Rand and Sir Isaac Newton.

I agree with this finding. I am very attached to having a clear plan for everything I do. I write out my yearly goals every January and post them near my kitchen sink, where I review them when I fix breakfast every morning. I enjoy long distance running, and have kept a detailed running log for the past year. I enjoy choosing, developing and following a training plan for my running.

Thank you for your time! If you have any questions about my experience with the eCornell Project Leadership classes, please email me at

Friday, May 28, 2010

How to manage an introvert - five tips for project managers

In the Wall Street Journal article 'How to Manage an Introvert,' Jennifer Kahnweiler shares tips on how to manage the introverts on your project management team.

I was surprised to read that I have many of the personality attributes of an introvert, and recognized a few of my friends as introverts as well. I enjoy time alone, and prefer to think things through before responding. I also prefer communicating via email or text chat versus in person.

I liked Kahnweiler's tip about balancing the level of interaction in meetings. Her trick is to give each member ten tokens at the beginning of each meeting, and collect one token for each comment they contribute.

Thank you for your time! If you have any questions about my experience with the eCornell Project Leadership classes, please email me at

Monday, May 24, 2010

How to use collective intelligence in your project manager workplace social network - Nicholas Christakis TED speech

Harvard Professor of Medicine, Health Care Policy, and Sociology, Nicholas Christakis provides insight on social networks in this TED speech. Christakis authored the book 'Connected,' which famously garnered headlines for proving that a person is more likely to become obese if his/her friends are obese.

Christakis explains how social networks operate and speaks about the idea of a social network as a 'superorganism.' Project Managers can take advantage of the positive qualities of their team 'superorganism.' In nature, animals form groups, and through collective intelligence, birds can decide how to migrate, wild dogs can hunt as a pack and human social networks can spread ideas.

Those are the positive aspects of social networking, but I have seen one depressed or angry member of a group lower the whole group's productivity and affect the attitudes of every member of their team.

By treating groups as interconnected social networks and utilizing the collective intelligence of the 'superorganism,' project managers can increase productivity and innovation in their teams.

Thank you for your time! If you have any questions about my experience with the eCornell Project Leadership classes, please email me at

Friday, May 21, 2010

Simon Sinek speaks on leadership and the Golden Circle

In an inspirational TED speech, leadership consultant Simon Sinek explains the thought process that great leaders use to effectively lead. He calls it the Golden Circle. The core question is: why does your organization exist?

The takeaway for me is that, in Sinek's words, "people don't buy what you do, they buy WHY you do it."

Those who lead share their dream of what the goal looks like, and their followers work to achieve it because they believe the same thing.

As a project manager, do I share my vision, or do I share my plan? Which would inspire team members more?

Thank you for your time! If you have any questions about my experience with the eCornell Project Leadership classes, please email me at

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

How to study for an eCornell Project Leadership class - study tip from student

It is the first day of my third class, and I am trying out a new technique for keeping track of my progress in the eCornell Project Leadership course - Dealing With Difference.

In my last class, there were several multiple multimedia learning segments. I learn really well from these presentations, but it is hard to quickly virtually "leaf" through the class material to pick up where I left off in my studying. The beginning of each multimedia presentation looks the same!

For this class, I am printing out the list found in the 'Course Navigation' section of Module 1 and crossing off the learning segments as I finish them. Hopefully this will keep me on track.

Thank you for your time! If you have any questions about my experience with the eCornell Project Leadership classes, please email me at

Monday, May 17, 2010

Final Thoughts on eCornell class CEPL552 Project Teams: Mining Collective Intelligence

The final writing assignment for eCornell Project Leadership class Project Teams: Mining Collective Intelligence was to write about the experience with the group assignment.

Here is my answer:


Based on lessons learned about project teams and group projects,I would have negotiated with my superiors in the Stranded! project for more commitment from team members and sought out information, including a list of team members and their contact information.

I will utilize more team forming activities when future groups enter the initial Storming process. I am now more aware of the importance of getting every group off on the right foot and establishing a team culture with rules of conduct.

I am in the process of continuing to develop group leader competencies by reading books on the subject. I have learned a lot of lessons from the book 'Team Building Tool Kit' so far, especially rules for running effective meetings.


We were given almost no guidance for the project and management (our instructor) expected us to organize ourselves and for all employees (students) to provide their own motivation to check into the class frequently enough to effectively contribute to the assignment. TALK ABOUT A REAL WORLD EXPERIENCE! I learned through frustration to not expect automatic productivity from a group of strangers. I would suggest to future students to step up and take the leadership role in your group.

Thank you for your time! If you have any questions about my experience with the eCornell Project Leadership classes, please email me at

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

How to use LinkedIn to improve your resume - Lisa Rangel, Chameleon Resume interview

I recently spoke with @lisarangel on Twitter. She is the talent behind Chameleon Resumes, an expert resume writer & job search coach as well as a former recruiter who "Knows What Companies Want."

Kathleenlisson @lisarangel is leading eCornell's webinar "How to Build Your Network for Maximum Career Growth" on 5/26

Kathleenlisson @lisarangel I've had requests to recommend connections on LinkedIn. What should I write? What are employers looking for?

LisaRangel @kathleenlisson first, I want to thank you for having me on as a job search resource this morning :) happy to help!

LisaRangel @kathleenlisson Employers r looking 4 genuine & sincere reco's. No reciprocal ones. Mention specific skills & results. No platitudes

Kathleenlisson @lisarangel Does recommending several people on LinkedIn have a downside for me?

LisaRangel @kathleenlisson Absolutely not. As long as the reco’s are genuine and specific and not solely reciprocal and vague, they will have value.

LisaRangel @kathleenlisson Making reco's show you have relationships and are happy to promote others achievements, as well...

Kathleenlisson @lisarangel Is having LinkedIn recommendations important for people not currently in market for a job? Is it worth it to ask for recos?

LisaRangel @kathleenlisson Yes & Yes. Recruiters sort results by those w/ or w/o reco’s. Get them!! Asking is also an excuse to chat with ur network.

LisaRangel @kathleenlisson When job searching, seize any opportunity for meaningful keeps your name out there and top of mind.

Kathleenlisson @lisarangel OK, but what about when you are NOT job searching? How important is LinkedIn?

LisaRangel @kathleenlisson Best time to grow ur network is when u don't need it! U will b perceived as interested in ppl vs. needing something.

LisaRangel @kathleenlisson growing ur linkedin network is growing ur own database of contacts that's 2 more degrees out from ppl u valuable!

Kathleenlisson @lisarangel Is there downside to having LinkedIn connection to person I don't know well? Can I have too many 'weak' connections?

LisaRangel @kathleenlisson Having more connections expands your reach. You need many meaningful connections and ‘meaningful’ can have many definitions.

LisaRangel @kathleenlisson 'weak' is relative ...

LisaRangel @kathleenlisson I am one of those nutty optimists that can aim to see potential opportunity in everything. :)

Kathleenlisson @lisarangel my fear is that a link of a link will call our link in common and ask about me. If answer is "don't know her that well," I lose.

LisaRangel @kathleenlisson I don't think u lose.maybe u just don't win as much :) I have qualified to links the length to which I know someone-no prob

Kathleenlisson @lisarangel If I haven't updated my resume in 5+ years, are there any new techniques I should learn? How has the game changed?

LisaRangel @kathleenlisson Content should be achievement driven and not a list of tasks. Ensure it's searchable & digestible to resume databases.

LisaRangel @kathleenlisson when writing resumes, use top 1/3 wisely-it's prime resume real estate!

Kathleenlisson @lisarangel Is ongoing education on a resume relevant / important to employers? My education portion hasn't changed in 10 yrs.

LisaRangel @kathleenlisson Employers are looking for commitment 2 ur field & lifelong learning thru ongoing education and professional associations

LisaRangel @kathleenlisson take classses or engage associations that can help keep your skills and network fresh--grow your brain and contacts at once!

Kathleenlisson @lisarangel Thanks so much for answering my ?'s.

Follow me on Twitter here:

Sign up for Lisa Rangel's FREE eCornell webinar on:
How to Build Your Network for Maximum Career Growth
May 26, 2010 @ 1:00pm EDT
Register & info:

Thank you for your time! If you have any questions about my experience with the eCornell Project Leadership classes, please email me at

Monday, May 10, 2010

Resources used to develop eCornell's Project Teams: Mining Collective Intelligence class

We are interacting in small groups and learning techniques to lead and facilitate groups in my Project Teams: Mining Collective Intelligence class at eCornell. Some resources we are utilizing include:

Tuckman’s Life Cycle model

Managing in the New Team Environment: Skills, Tools and Methods by Larry Hirschhorn

Team Building: A Structured Learning Approach by Peter Mears and Frank Voehl

The Wisdom of Teams: Creating the High-Performance Organization by Jon R. Katzenbach, and Douglas K. Smith

Thank you for your time! If you have any questions about my experience with the eCornell Project Leadership classes, please email me at

Friday, May 7, 2010

Free Classes on Commitment Based Management, Networking and Managing Global Virtual Teams from eCornell!

I saw on the eCornell blog that eCornell will be hosting three interesting business-related webinars in May and June.

Sessions are free and last about an hour.

Learning in a New World of Business:
Unleashing Your Potential with Commitment-Based Management

May 19, 2010 @ 2:00pm EDT
Register & info:

How to Build Your Network for Maximum Career Growth
May 26, 2010 @ 1:00pm EDT
Register & info:

How to Manage Global Virtual Teams
June 16, 2010 @ 2:00pm EDT
Register & info:

I wish I could take the Managing Global Virtual Teams seminar today, as I am in a global virtual team for my Project Teams: Mining Collective Intelligence class at eCornell for the next two weeks.

Thank you for your time! If you have any questions about my experience with the eCornell Project Leadership classes, please email me at

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

First Impressions: eCornell class on Project Teams: Mining Collective Intelligence

Today is the first day of my eCornell class, CEPL552, Project Teams: Mining Collective Intelligence.

Jan Roberson is my instructor. Dr. Roberson has a doctorate degree in Human and Organizational Systems form Fielding Graduate University and has worked as a Systems Engineer and a Program Manager for Lockheed Martin. She lives in California. I love the fact that, by utilizing an online learning environment, eCornell can use the best instructors from around the world.

The online description of the course promises that students will learn how to motivate their teams as well as use the collective intelligence of the team to enable the project to succeed.

The full description of the course is here:

The Wikipedia definition of collective intelligence is here:

Thank you for your time! If you have any questions about my experience with the eCornell Project Leadership classes, please email me at

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Review of eCornell Class 'Introduction to Project Leadership'

I have finished Introduction to Project Leadership, my first class at eCornell. When I complete all six courses I will receive a Certificate in Project Leadership from Cornell University’s College of Engineering.

The first class featured a lot of quality leadership and management information broken down into manageable chunks. The pace of the course and the way the information was presented helped me to fit learning into my workday. Within each module the concepts are presented in several different ways, including an audiovisual presentation, a story, and supplemental articles.

Different resources I used in the course include the following:

McBer Competency Map

“Lessons for an Accidental Profession,” Jeffrey Pinto and Om Kharbanda

“Leadership as the Legitimation of Doubt,” organizational theorist Karl Weick's chapter to the Bennis, Spreitzer, and Cummings text, The Future of Leadership: Today’s Top Thinkers on Leadership Speak to the Next Generation.

Stakeholder-management planning resources at

Managing project uncertainty: From variation to chaos by De Meyer, Loch and Pich.

The hardest part of the class for me was completing the test on how to manage tasks and style using the Project Uncertainty Profile.

I found great benefit in attending both of the instructor's "office hours" in the online chat forum. Last Sunday I had an enlightening conversation with a few of my fellow students from around the world on the ideas presented in the class as well as how best to communicate concerns to a project manager without the conversation resulting in irritation or defensiveness.

I look forward to starting my second class on Wednesday!

Thank you for your time! If you have any questions about my experience with the eCornell Project Leadership classes, please email me at

Monday, May 3, 2010

Napoleon Hill Newsletter

In addition to my ongoing education at eCornell, I also try to improve my mind by reading books on leadership, management and business.

I have really benefitted from reading the inspirational articles in the free Napoleon Hill Yesterday and Today Newsletter.

Hill's book, Think and Grow Rich, is the all time bestseller. He believed at the source of all great accomplishment is a "state of mind".

A recent newsletter explained how to apply Hill's famous saying, "Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve."

If you are in a place in your life where you are looking to improve yourself professionally, I recommend reading the Napoleon Hill newsletter.

Sign up for the newsletter here:

Thank you for your time! If you have any questions about my experience with the eCornell Project Leadership classes, please email me at

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Seth Godin: The difference between managing a project and running a project

Here is a link to a 45 minute-long live recording of a recent master class session by my favorite Change Agent, Seth Godin.

Godin spoke about the topics he covered in his recent book, Linchpin, including making the distinction between a project manager and someone who runs a project. The latter takes responsibility for making things happen. I was inspired to really ask myself - which am I? Just a manager, someone who reports to my bosses, success or failure, or am I somebody who gets things done?

Thank you for your time! If you have any questions about my experience with the eCornell Project Leadership classes, please email me at

Monday, April 26, 2010

Two tips to get the most out of Cornell Project Leadership classes

I am in my second week of my Intro to Project Leadership class at eCornell! In addition to logging on to the eCornell website and reading the lesson material, I have found two other ways to learn more about project management skills.

1. Follow the discussions via email. In the Discussion Forum, I chose 'Watch this Topic via Email.' That way, I receive the posts by the instructor and the other students in my email in box as they are posted, instead of having to log onto the eCornell website multiple times every day to keep track of the discussion.

2. Join the Instructor in the Chat Room during office hours. I 'met' several other students in my class and got a 'sneak peek' at the assignments we would be completing in later courses. The ability to network with other project management professionals and build connections is invaluable, especially in today's economy.

Thank you for your time! If you have any questions, please email me at

Friday, April 23, 2010

How project managers can improve productivity in their team - advice from RoundPegg

From, an informative 10 minute presentation on how to re-engage your team members. Goals, skills and fit are the three factors in the engagement or disengagement of a project team member (the other 7 minutes of the video explain Roundpegg).

I am going to begin to use a version of the question, "How can I support your effectiveness" in my conversations with team members.

Introduction to Project Leadership - thoughts on my first week at eCornell

My first few days of my first class in my eCornell Project Leadership certificate program went really well! The admissions counselor recommended that I take the Introduction to Project Leadership course first, as this class will provide the groundwork academically for all the other classes. I will also take Project Teams: Mining Collective Intelligence, Dealing with Difference, Earned Value Management, Influence Without Authority and Conflict Management, in that order.

The instructor, Robert Emborski, has a Master’s degree in Industrial Management from Clarkson University, and a Master’s degree in Information Management from Syracuse University. Emborski is also certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP) by the Project Management Institute. From his introductory email, he seems intelligent, friendly and approachable.

The first module discusses the organizational design aspect of being a project manager. The lessons are easy to understand, but provoke a lot of thought. Our first assignment was to critique a recent project we have either led or worked on. I am enjoying reading about the experiences of my fellow students. I printed out the article “Matrix Management,” by Larson and Gobeli to read this weekend.

Thank you for your time! If you have any questions, please email me at

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The First Follower : How to Start a Movement

I am inspired by this three minute talk on Leadership by Derek Sivers at a recent TED conference. Sivers, the founder of CD Baby, uses a video of a spontaneous dance party to show how to start a movement. Leadership is important, but Sivers points out that it is the first follower that is crucial to the project's success. The first follower shows others how to participate and validates the project.

How can leaders utilize their management skills to grow support for their project?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Why I Chose to earn my Certificate in Project Leadership from eCornell.

Hello, my name is Kathleen Lisson. I work in Public Relations, and I graduated college in 1999, which means I have not had to "crack a textbook" for class credit in well over a decade.

I enjoy reading books on business and leadership, but I felt that a more concrete indication on my resume of my commitment to life-long learning was needed.

I looked into courses offered at the well-advertised online universities, as well as at SUNY - Albany and Empire State College here in Albany, NY but felt that I wanted a "bigger bang for my buck" if I was going to invest my time and finances into a program of study. I needed a recognized leader in education and a program that would sharpen my skills in leading and managing teams. I love my present career, but I am always looking to improve myself and my skills. I needed a University and a course of study that would put my resume on the top of any company's 'short list' of potential hires.

The Cornell Daily Sun recently reported that, "eCornell, Cornell University’s online learning company, has recently been named a Top 20 Leadership Development Company by Training Industry Inc. and awarded “Best Leadership Development Program” by eLearning! magazine at the 2009 Best of eLearning Readers’ Choice Awards."

I decided on Cornell University, and I am now set to start taking classes to earn my Certificate in Project Leadership. I hope that this blog will help me be a more effective student and help you decide if Cornell is right for you, too.

Thank you for your time! I would love to hear your feedback and questions. Please email me at