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Book shares guidelines for global project management

Thunderbird professors Robert Moran and William Youngdahl are passionate about creating a new area of thought leadership at Thunderbird called Global Project Leadership. In their new book, Leading Global Projects: For Professional and Accidental Project Leaders, Moran and Youngdahl argue that global projects and initiatives require new era leaders with increasingly sophisticated skills.

They also assert that since virtually all work is project work, all business managers are either professional or accidental project leaders – with the majority being in the accidental category.

Moran, a psychologist and emeritus professor of international studies, and Youngdahl, an associate professor of operations management and a certified project management professional, have worked at the intersection of their disciplines to create a “Truly Global” and practical book and set of executive development programs. Their book and programs demonstrate how being a skillful global project leader creates strategic results, even when projects are at the edge of chaos.

Moran and Youngdahl say most leaders are simply not prepared to deal with the realities of a project-based world. They are capable leaders in charge of major initiatives such as a restructuring or a major IT system design and rollout. Yet they may not know the first thing about how to plan and execute a major project. They do not think of themselves as project leaders.

Professional project managers excel at the use of project management tools, yet they often lack the leadership acumen required to influence diverse stakeholders effectively. They speak the language of milestones, gate reviews and performance variance but often miss the key strategic perspective that might favor project termination over relentless drive, allowing critical resources to be used elsewhere.

Moran and Youngdahl have delivered 30 Leading Global Projects programs for Novartis, a global pharmaceutical company, in Switzerland, the United States, Budapest, China, Italy, Spain, Singapore and Canada. Variants of their program have been delivered to American Express and numerous other clients through open enrollment programs.

“We’ve reached out to a thousand global project leaders with our programs,” Youngdahl says. “Maybe we can help a million with our book.”

Book summary

Title: Leading Global Projects: For Professional and Accidental Project Leaders
Authors:  Robert T. Moran and William E. Youngdahl
Price: $33 (£21)
ISBN: 978-0-750-682466
Description: Hardback, 272 pages 
Publisher: Butterworth-Heinemann (Elsevier)