Project Management Institute


Retired Read Admiral David J. Nash, U. S. Civil Engineer Corps, Director of Iraqi Reconstruction Management office, Baghdad, Iraq

Retired Rear Admiral David J. Nash, U.S. Civil Engineer Corps, Director of Iraqi Reconstruction Management Office, Baghdad, Iraq

Successful business leaders have a vision and then put forth the effort to attain that vision. You have to start with the end in mind. If you can clearly see where you're going, you can get there. You don't need to know every step, but vision makes the decision-making along the way a lot easier.

A good leader will identify the vision for everyone and instill confidence in them that he knows how to get there. When things happen beyond your control, you can become personally dissatisfied. But vision, if you have true vision, is a calling—you keep going no matter what happens.

People are attracted to different careers based on their personalities. Project managers like to manage many tasks simultaneously and keep them going in the same positive direction. They thrive on challenges and are leaders.

Throughout your career, you have to develop the ability to look past the crises—no matter how bad things get, you have to be able to put them in context. Periodically stop, turn around and look from whence you've come. If all you've done is go in circles, you should get off the merry-go-round. But if you have moved the project along, it gives you the heart to continue. If you're not paying attention to what's happening on a daily basis, you're going to step in a hole; you have to keep both the end and the means in your mind at the same time.

When you start a project, get people to sit down and think through why you're doing it. If people understand your vision, you always have an anchor that will keep people on task, but moving toward the goal. For example, we want to leave the Iraqis with more than bricks and mortar. We want to help them to build their capacity to improve their condition in the future. It becomes more than another job, and they want to participate in rebuilding their country to be stronger than before.



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