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Greg Balestrero urges project managers to green their projects
December 15, 2010 at 7:00 pm #117848
Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Clifton Hill, a consultant with Robbins-Gioia.
Outgoing PMI President Greg Balestrero started his presentation with a prophesy: We are consuming our planet and in 40 years there will be nothing left to consume. That woke me up. I blinked and did a double take. Am I in the right room? Did I wander into a David Rockefeller or Al Gore fan club meeting instead of a presentation by the leader of the most fiscally successful Project Management Institute on the planet? And, should I feel guilty about the three-course dinner I just consumed? I wondered were he was going with this.
As the outgoing President of PMI and honestly, this was not the presentation I was expecting from Greg. Did everyone in the room know that they used the same technology to find a group of trapped miners underground that they did to locate and drill for oil miles below the Gulf of Mexico sea bed? And more importantly—much more importantly—as a result of that drilling, caused the greatest environmental disaster in the history of the planet? Gregory Balestrero did, and he was adamant about making that connection to lead into a presentation that sounded much more like the rambling thoughts of Steve Jobs, than the well-planned and well-executed presentation I would expect from a shameless promoter of project management.
At first, like the other 500 people in the room, I did not make the connection. But, as he continued, he connected the subject matter to the future and hope of the field of project management. “Everything,” according to Greg Balestrero, is connected and interrelated, and we as project managers have to incorporate our collective, interrelated experience into the management of socially-conscious and green projects. More importantly, excellence in the management of those projects. According to Greg Balestrero, this was a conclusion made by The Coca Cola Company when they implemented a project to revitalize the water supply that they had destroyed while making and bottling their soft drinks in a community in India. The corporate giant quickly became an unwanted guest. The mistake in underestimating the intelligence of the community around the issue ended up hurting their bottom line. Consumers have become hip to the fact that growing global prosperity, and the consumption that is a result of that prosperity, is quickly destroying their communities. According to Greg Balestrero, consumers will no longer tolerate this assault on their well-being and will not consume products manufactured by companies that continue deplete the resources that consumers need to survive. In the thoughts and mind of the hugely successful PMI leader, we must be socially conscious in our business objectives to succeed as project managers in the future.
He closed by making the connection that PMI’s success has been all about the people. In the spoken thoughts of PMI’s fearless leader, the success of PMI is a direct result of the excellence and innovation of PMI graduates in their work. The hope of the field lies in the excellence of the management of socially-conscious and green projects around the world. It was a brilliant and insightful presentation. He melted the ice that had formed on the heart and dormant, entrepreneurial mind of at least one well-seasoned and jaded project management professional.
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