Project Management and People Problems

Unselfish, The Podcast Episode 01 Project Management and People Problems

Today, we believe that it’s simply human nature to individually pursue our personal goals and we expect that healthy and rational others are doing the same.

Unfortunately, the individualistic perspectives and market metaphors we bring to many of our situations limit the possibilities for us to express our best selves through altruism, compassion, collaboration, and even empathy.

Our assumptions about what is rational and fair in work situations often make it difficult for us to invoke a relational perspective. It may even seem irrational to seek to truly understand others and genuinely collaborate for our shared progress.

In this episode, we explore a concrete example: the world of engineering and construction, from the perspective of a project manager. What would an unselfish approach to project management look like?

Visit https://www.leadteamculture.com/lead/unselfish-podcast-show-notes-01/ for full show notes and transcript download.


[36:27] “By altering task and relational boundaries, employees can change the social and task components of their jobs and experience different kinds of meaning of the work and themselves. From the most routine to the most complex jobs, and from the lowest to the highest tiers of an organization…employees have some degree of latitude in how they craft their jobs.” (pp. 281-282).
Wrzesniewski, A., LoBuglio, N., Dutton, J. E., & Berg, J. M. (2013). Job crafting and cultivating positive meaning and identity in work. In A. B. Bakker (Ed.), Advances in Positive Organizational Psychology (Vol. 1, pp. 281 – 302). Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

[38:12] “The problem-solving mind-set can be adequate for technical problems. But it can be woefully inadequate for complex human systems, where problems often arise from unquestioned assumptions and deeply habituated ways of acting. Until people start to see their own handprint on such problems, fundamental change rarely occurs.” (pp. 51-52).
Senge, P. M., Scharmer, C. O., Jaworski, J., & Flowers, B. S. (2005). Presence: Exploring profound change in people, organizations, and society (1st Currency ed.). New York; Toronto: Doubleday.

[42:54] “Individuals enter the labour market as persons of character, as individuals embedded in networks of social relations…and as living beings endowed with dreams, desires, ambitions, hopes, doubts, and fears. For capitalists, however, such individuals are a mere factor of production…” (page 167).
Harvey, D. (2005). A Brief History of Neoliberalism. New York, New York: Oxford University Press.

[44:35] “If there is one message writ large within the annals of anthropology, it is to beware the solid truths of one’s own culture.” (page 8).
Gergen, K. J. (1991). The Saturated Self: Dilemmas of Identity in Contemporary Life (2000 ed.). New York, New York: Basic Books.

Disclaimer, copyright, and image and music credits:

This podcast episode includes autobiographical stories. Names and identifying details have been excluded or changed to protect the privacy of individuals and intellectual property of organizations.

This recorded audio podcast episode is © 2018, James David Thomas.

The image for this episode was created by the author in Adobe Illustrator CC using Adobe Stock #74676745 © ojogabonitoo under a standard license. Visit www.stock.adobe.com

Music used in this episode was mixed by the author in Adobe Audition CC 2018 from a public domain recording of the English Suite no. 2 by Johann Sebastian Bach, performed by Syuzanna Kaszo. The recording was sourced from www.musopen.org