As the sponsor, you have to be positive about the project delivering the benefits promised when you said it would. All of the time.

It sounds fairly obvious, and it would be great if I could just end this chapter here, yet I find myself reminding senior managers about this far too often, so it’s worth going into a bit of detail on how to keep the big bad negative wolf from your project’s door. Let’s start with an important fact.

If you’re negative about the project, everyone else will be negative about the project so it won’t get done.

Okay, that’s not strictly true. Sometimes the team will get it done by finding a way around you. After all, nothing brings a team together like a poor manager, but this is definitely not where you want to be.

So it would make everything better if you could decide to adopt what Carol Dweck calls a growth mindset, rather than a fixed mindset. Having a growth mindset builds motivation and encourages productivity. Those with a growth mindset believe that they have the ability to achieve anything. Conversely, having a fixed mindset sees only problems and issues. Those with a fixed mindset believe their abilities are fixed and nothing new can be learned or taught.

Of course, you can’t be upbeat and energetic all the time. That’s just not realistic as you’ll end up burning yourself out or making yourself ill. However, as long as you demonstrate a mindset focused on what’s achievable, others will follow. Having said that, ...

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