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Napoleon on Project Management


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Consultant and author Jerry Manas shares his slide deck on his international best-selling book, Napoleon on Project Management. Visit Jerry's website at

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Napoleon on Project Management

  1. 1. Napoleon on Project Management Jerry Manas, PMP [email_address]
  2. 2. What do 20 Million people have in common?
  3. 3. They all manage projects. ( i.e. Trying to achieve specific objectives through teams of people )
  4. 4. Most of them fail to achieve the objectives they set out to achieve. Many are seen more as paper pushers than leaders. Very few inspire people.
  5. 5. A Key Problem: Rules over Principles
  6. 6. The PM Challenge <ul><li>In this corner … The PM! Armed with tools & standards, but lacking: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Business Acumen </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leadership Skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conflict Mgt Skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Negotiation Skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Presentation Skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Communication Skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strategic Intuition </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In this corner … The Project! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Global, virtual team </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Complex technology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Complex change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multiple Vendors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Offshore resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conflicting Stakeholders </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Scrutinizing Executives </li></ul></ul>
  7. 8. The Search for Something New
  8. 9. “ There is nothing new in this world except the history you do not know.” - Harry S. Truman
  9. 11. Why Napoleon? <ul><li>Unsurpassed Accomplishments </li></ul><ul><li>Master of Organization (with no technology) </li></ul><ul><li>Heavily Documented Principles </li></ul>
  10. 12. Accomplishments
  11. 13. Napoleon’s Accomplishments <ul><li>Over 50 Battles (mostly won, mostly defensive) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Defied the odds, beating larger, experienced armies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Innovations in logistics, artillery, and organizational structure </li></ul><ul><li>A passionate and loyal following </li></ul><ul><li>Civil Code (still in use today) </li></ul><ul><li>Bridges, museums, marinas, monuments, roads, cities </li></ul><ul><li>The Rosetta Stone </li></ul><ul><li>Legion of Honor </li></ul><ul><li>Financial, Education, and Healthcare reforms </li></ul><ul><li>Creation of a Constitution & Republic/Empire </li></ul><ul><li>Reigned for 15 years as leader of Western Europe </li></ul>
  12. 14. <ul><li>“ In this age, in past ages, in any age… Napoleon.” </li></ul><ul><li>The Duke of Wellington (when asked about the greatest general of his age) </li></ul>
  13. 15. Napoleon the Diplomat Italy Egypt The Church England
  14. 16. Master of Organization - With No Technology!
  15. 17. Napoleon’s Time Management System <ul><li>Bi-Weekly Status Reports (War, Interior, Finance) </li></ul><ul><li>Finance Dashboard (Price of Wheat per Region, Min/Max/Avg) </li></ul><ul><li>Weekly Operational Meetings (to review needs & make decisions) </li></ul><ul><li>Monthly Fund Allocation Meetings (Project Governance, Business Case, SMEs in attendance) </li></ul>
  16. 18. Napoleon’s Daily Schedule - Morning <ul><li>Check Mail. Sort by: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Current (to be addressed that day) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pending (near future) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Answered (replied or needs no reply) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Trash (spam) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Review Issues. Sort by: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>High Profile/Urgent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To be Delegated </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Irrelevant </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Doctor’s In Sessions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Private (by appointment) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Public (open forum) </li></ul></ul>
  17. 19. Napoleon’s Daily Schedule - Afternoon <ul><li>Review Records/Status Reports </li></ul><ul><li>Take overall actions and/or delegate </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Based on mail </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Based on issues/status reports </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Scheduled weekly/monthly meetings </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Operational meetings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fund allocation meetings </li></ul></ul>
  18. 20. La Grande Arm é e: The World’s Greatest Virtual Team <ul><li>Berthier–Chief of Staff, Imperial Genl Staff </li></ul><ul><li>5 to 7 corps – self-contained (incl. engineering, logistics, medical), combined arms (i.e. infantry, cavalry, artillery) </li></ul><ul><li>Each corps led by a marshal, given full trust and accountability (within strategic objectives) </li></ul><ul><li>Corps had divisions, also self-contained </li></ul><ul><li>Close communication </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Through Imperial General Staff </li></ul></ul>
  19. 21. Communication is Power!
  20. 22. The Great Campaigns Ulm/Austerlitz - 1805
  21. 23. Lesson 1 : Ensure good visibility. Lesson 2 : Equip your team for success. Lesson 4 : Focus on the primary objective. Lesson 3 : Establish a system of communication.
  22. 24. Documented Principles
  23. 25. Napoleon’s Six Winning Principles <ul><li>Exactitude : awareness, research, continuous planning </li></ul><ul><li>Speed : reducing resistance, increasing urgency, providing focus </li></ul><ul><li>Flexibility : adaptable, empowered, unified </li></ul><ul><li>Simplicity : objectives, messages, processes </li></ul><ul><li>Character : integrity, calmness, responsibility </li></ul><ul><li>Moral Force : order, purpose, recognition, rewards </li></ul>
  24. 26. “ By beginning everything, we risk finishing nothing.” - Napoleon Exactitude, Speed, Moral Force
  25. 27. “ If I cannot complete it, at least I don’t want to leave behind me a long line of unfinished pillars, waiting sadly upright to be crowned by their vaults and the rest of the buildings.” - Napoleon ( on the Louvre wing being added; phased deliverables ) Speed, Simplicity
  26. 28. “ When a law does not make its intentions clear, a judge will often give a decision against his own will through acting on the strict letter of the law.” - Napoleon ( on why policy should be declared only on the most obvious and productive rules needed ) Simplicity, Flexibility, Character
  27. 29. “ This letter is the principle instruction of your plan of campaign, and if unforeseen events should occur, you will be guided in your conduct by the spirit of this instruction.” - Napoleon Exactitude, Flexibility, Character, Moral Force
  28. 30. “ Think over carefully the great enterprise you are about to carry out; and let me know, before I sign your final orders, your own views as to the best way of carrying it out.” - Napoleon Exactitude, Flexibility, Character, Moral Force
  29. 31. Napoleon’s Words and Actions <ul><li>Words </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ The Civil Code is the code of the century; its provisions not only preach toleration, but organize it---toleration is the greatest privilege of man.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Faith is beyond the reach of the law. It is the most personal possession of man, and no one has a right to demand an accounting for it” </li></ul></ul>
  30. 32. Napoleon’s Words and Actions <ul><li>Actions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Italian Campaign: Disciplined soldiers in Mantua for committing atrocities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In Italy, insisted on sole command when directors tried to install two co-leaders. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pleaded with the Genoese to rebuild a toppled statue of Admiral Andrea Doria, and offered to rebuild it. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Persuaded the Genoese to not exclude the nobles from public functions (“It would be doing the same thing that they themselves did”) </li></ul></ul>
  31. 33. Napoleon’s Words and Actions <ul><li>Actions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In Toulon, refused to take over the job of his commanding officer and instead convinced the officer of the right thing to do (proceed in bad weather) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Offered lenient proposals and moderate treaties to Italy despite orders to the contrary </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lectured soldiers en route to Egypt on respecting the local culture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Refused to have his likeness and name on national monuments </li></ul></ul>
  32. 34. The Four Warning Signs <ul><li>Power : separation, impatience, self-righteousness </li></ul><ul><li>Overzealousness : grandiose ideas, obsession, impulsiveness </li></ul><ul><li>Scarcity of Effective Leaders : disorder, mistrust, micromanagement </li></ul><ul><li>Unbalanced Lifestyle : burnout, loss of composure, loss of health </li></ul>
  33. 35. The Spanish Ulcer – 1808-1814 Goya’s Dos de Mayo
  34. 36. Lesson 1 : Great performers do not always make great leaders. Lesson 2 : Understand the terrain. Go and see for yourself. Lesson 3 : Never forget your principles.
  35. 37. “ The greatest mistake of my career was the interference in Spanish affairs... All my defeats came from this source.” - Napoleon
  36. 38. The Russian Campaign
  37. 39. Lesson 1 : Make sure your team is committed. Lesson 2 : Know when to cut your losses or reevaluate the mission. Lesson 3 : Grow effective leaders.
  38. 40. “ No matter how far you’ve gone on a wrong road, turn back.” - Turkish Proverb Source: Dennis Littky, The Big Picture: Education is Everyone’s Business .
  39. 41. The New, Improved (and tired) Napoleon
  40. 42. Waterloo Ref: Copyright 2000, David Lawrence Early Morning
  41. 43. Ref: Copyright 2000, David Lawrence No e-mail! No cell phone! Later that day… 3:00pm 6:00pm
  42. 44. Lesson 1 : Put the right people in the right roles. Lesson 3 : Beware the dangers of burnout. Lesson 2 : Use all available forms of communication.
  43. 45. St. Helena ( The Lessons-Learned Session)
  44. 46. “ History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” - Mark Twain
  45. 47. For More Information <ul><li>jmanas </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>