The discovery of time (outside work)

This story is not about running… or, well, it actually is somehow… see for yourself:

Today, I spent a day at an adventure park with my family. The day started off at half past seven with my son waking my wife and me with the cutest laughter a 9 month old baby can have – ever. We got ready for the ride to the park, drove for one hour and spent time in one of the regions smaller, but most authentic adventure parks. We had the full package with lying in the grass, playing in the sand, taking funny children’s rides and watching animals. We had one wonderful day together as the small little family we are since my son has been born.

On the way back, I was checking the time: We had spent not more than 7hrs in the park. But yet, all the action and fun and good feeling felt like this had been a much longer time. It definitely was packed with lots of memories to hold on to for a long time.

The realization came as a shock to me: For the last couple of months, I had been engaged in a major project at my company. I do care very much for the company and colleagues I work for and this project was important to them. So, naturally, my last months had been filled with 10-14h-days at work. I literally sprinted through my work day not to disappoint anyone and to keep up with everything. Following several heated discussions with my wife, I had been trying to balance work and family life, but it never occurred to me how poor my choice of priorities had been.

Not until that moment in the car, returning from that adventure park, my son and wife in the back. These 7hrs spent with the two people I love most, in a tiny adventure park, had been more rewarding than any of the 14hr-days spent at work in the last few months. There were not nearly as many memories worth holding dear in the whole sequence of endless work days. And not one reward as fulfilling as the giggling of my son and wife, when we drove home.

This is when I discovered the true meaning of time and I want it written down clearly to remind me, the next time, I am tempted to work late:

  • If 7hrs of a day spent with the ones you love holds that much joy, what a waste were the 14hr-days spent away from them.
  • If months spent for something you care for deeply, fade in the light of just 7hrs spent with your family, then the priorities should be clear.

A break from running: Peter’s traveling 

Today, I’m traveling to the U.S. This is my first flight with Lufthansa: The airline that my dad is so very fond of.  So far, I can’t back up his high thoughts for this big German airline. The entertainment system on my seat is defective, the cabin is more than crowded and we’re late one and a half hours without even leaving the airport gate.

The way to the airport was much more effective, but all in all the journey so far turned out to be a reminder of what I value so much about running. Just to be clear, I’m thankful for the opportunity to go to the U.S. after a few years of not traveling by plane at all. But you know, it’s always more fun to complain. And after sitting in this cabin without moving for over and hour now, I have some thoughts on my mind. And since I’m embarking on a ten-hour flight with nothing else to do (TV’s broken, remember?), I gladly share these with you in full detail…

Continue reading “A break from running: Peter’s traveling “

Two ways to drive change…

Recently while running, I thought about the different ways change can happen. I’ve been involved in quite a few discussions and events involving change lately. Change on a personal level, change in business terms, change in general. None of those events were related, but somehow it felt like they were all handled alike.

So, the thoughts circulated my mind about the patterns behind the changes I’ve witnessed lately and as I ran along, all the change events were lining up in between two extremes of how change was driven.

Continue reading “Two ways to drive change…”

The people of Get there

This is the attempt to write down an approach to project management that occurred to me on a running tour.

The “Get there” approach is based on the assumption that a project team consists of the following work types:

The Visionary
Someone to drive innovation, knows what is going on “in the world” and not at all hesitant to give directions. Does not like to be kept from his vision, even though that vision might be blurry for most other team members and sometimes even for himself.

The Man of Action
This is the one everyone else is relying on, if there is something to be done. Likes to have his work planned in short, precisely defined tasks. Does not like to bother with “head in the clouds”-thinking. Hates the unexpected. Likes to get things done, now…

The Nerd
Someone who likes the Unknown. To him it does not matter, whether or not an idea is realizable at first. Easily becomes absorbed in a fancy idea. Does not like strict work plans and straight routes. Works best, when confronted with obstacles.

The Skeptic
If it were up to him, everything would stay like it is. Change is risky at best. And if change cannot be keep from coming, his duty is to remind everyone of the possible dangers. And cost…cost is the worst of all.

Check back soon to read about ‘The Kickoff’

‘Get there’ project management

I recently took my running shoes out for a walk and I thought about work.
I’ve been having quite a few discussions about project management over the years and I still try to figure out what are the key factors for good projects.
My route took me to a stunning view over the Black Forest and the Rhine river. Far away on the horizon one could see the next range of hills. They were almost hidden in the mist, but I could not help thinking of how the view might be, standing on one of those distant hilltops.

And suddenly, there was my analogy to what project management is about.

Ok, I admit that may seem a little far-fetched, but let me explain…

The start of project “Get there”

Let us assume we are a whole group of people, standing where I stood and enjoying that view.  Someone, call him The Visionary, suddenly bursts out “Let us get there!”. And he clarifies his vision by adding: “I see large benefit for us in standing on that distant hilltop. So I want everyone to work on a way to get us there by next month, because after that, the best time in the year for viewing the landscape is over.”

And there you have it: The start of project “Get there”.

Do you want to read more? Check out “the people of project Get there”