Sally's Blog


Is it Time to ENCOURAGE Someone?

On a recent Saturday afternoon

while cheering on my favorite college team, the Clemson Tigers,

at a basketball game

I started thinking about encouragement.

College basketball players sure do get a lot of encouragement.

They get encouragement from


other players,

thousands of screaming fans,

the pep band,

and the cheerleaders.

And it doesn’t stop there.

Sports writers,


fans on their sofas at home,

all provide encouragement.

Now let’s think about your project.

How much encouragement are your “players” (team members) getting?

A lot?

A little?

Virtually none at all?

I’ve coached leaders on hundreds of projects.

Projects ranging from $10 Million to $18 Billion Total Installed Cost
In 10 countries and on 5 continents.

And diverse cultures.

And you know what?

I have yet to have a project team tell me they are getting adequate encouragement.

Many team members are getting so little encouragement

that they are ready to throw in the towel.


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Decision Making On Your Project Stinks

Decisions are crucial on capital projects.

Decisions AND the decision making process impact everything about a project.






Team Morale.

Even Careers.
Project teams need decisions.  

Teams can only be effective with decisions.

Rational decisions.

High quality decisions.

Timely decisions.

Well communicated decisions.

Without decisions teams flounder and slog along.

And the project takes a big hit financially.

One aspect of decision making need some serious attention is:

Decision Authority

I’ve consulted coached leaders on hundreds of projects.

Projects ranging from $10 Million to $18 Billion Total Installed Cost.

And you know what?

On the vast majority of projects, decision authority is either...

Not clearly defined,

changing frequently

OR not defined at all.

It is not uncommon for a team member to wait for a critical decision...for weeks…

Or even months.

They assume that someone is making the decision they need.


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It was a typical Wednesday morning.

I was jogging on our ranch in West Texas.

Jogging is not something I enjoy, or even do much of.  

I was “training” for the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot. That’s a story for another day.  

On this Wednesday, I was jogging on a very familiar road on the ranch.  It was my usual route.  

The weather was warm. The sky blue and everything was wonderful.

Wonderful, that is, until I encountered the...


But this was not an ordinary rattlesnake!

This rattlesnake was HUGE!

Had I not been paying attention to the terrain, I would have stepped on the snake! Thankfully, I saw it.

And I froze in my tracks...

... and waited until it slithered its huge self away.


Suddenly I was physically ill. I was nauseous and shaking.  

I was sick from the sight of it.

And how HUGE it was!

I'm telling you, that snake may have been the biggest rattlesnake in West Texas!  And there’s lots of rattlesnakes in West...

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The Most Important Lesson I Learned In Golf School

Some years ago I attended a week-long golf school. In Florida. In July.

 It was total immersion in golf.  

Beginning early each morning until lunch, we would hit bucket, after bucket, of balls on the range.

Then, after a short lunch we would then get personalized lessons while playing 9 holes of golf with the coaching pro. 

Since I like to play golf, not practice golf, I particularly loved the afternoon sessions.


The most important “lesson learned” occurred on the first afternoon.

It was especially important and has stuck with me, after all these years.

My coaching pro, whom I’ll refer to as Mr. Ralph, had me hit 20 balls from the tee box. 

Then we walked out to the fairway to see where I had hit them.  

It was like looking at a scatter diagram.  I’m an engineer. I love scatter diagrams.

A few of my shots had missed the fairway. The ones that landed in the fairway, weren’t in the same spot, but they were...

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The knowledgeable young lady at the state park nature center was reviewing the trail options with us.

You know, stuff like trail attributes.

 Levels of difficulty. Time to complete.

Essential information one needs before setting out on a mountain hike.

After all we needed to be able to complete the hike. And get off the trails before dark.


I didn’t hear a word she said.

 It was that humongous snake!

The one in the aquarium. The aquarium uncomfortably close to where we were standing.

Yes, that snake had my FULL attention! 

If anything can distract me, it's a snake!

Are you distracted on your project?  Of course you are!

What about your team? Are they distracted? Of course they are!

Are these distractions setting you up for unnecessary challenges?


We had three trail options.

Should we take the easy trail? No way. That would be, well, too easy!

The very strenuous trail then? Uh, no. We had no desire to be on the evening news for having been...

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