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Weather Personal Disaster with PM
By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP, Founder, Cheetah Learning

Sometimes it feels like the rug is ripped out from right under your feet. Whether it’s suddenly needing to take care of a loved one or dealing with a personal crisis or emergency, life quickly begins to spin out of control.

You might not have thought your Project Management skills could help you at a time like that, but you can transform your disaster into a detour by using them. Here are a few questions that can help you get a handle on the situation:

How much time can you reasonably spend on your current project or on your professional commitments? Determine what you can realistically accomplish knowing what’s now on your plate professionally and personally. Sometimes you have to decide to let some of your responsibilities go or make a decision for your career to take a back seat.

Do you have a succession plan?

Part of your job as a leader is to know who will follow you, and who can fill your shoes. In an emergency, it’s a relief to know there’s someone you’ve mentored who can step in and keep the project moving smoothly.

Sometimes you’re not dealing with your own issues but with the challenges of those around you. Leaders are often born when the going gets tough, so keep these rules of the road in mind when a team member’s world is spinning out of control.

Lead with compassion

Compassion isn’t about ignoring what’s happening but about recognizing it and coming up with solutions that address the situation and support you and those around you. No matter who’s experiencing a difficult time, you’ll never go wrong by acting with compassion.

Set up boundaries

While it’s important to let people talk about what’s happening, you also need to set clear boundaries about when it’s appropriate to share. No one’s personal problem should sidetrack every meeting or conference call.

About the Know How Network and Cheetah Learning

The Know How Network is a monthly column written by Michelle LaBrosse, the founder and Chief Cheetah of Cheetah Learning. Distributed to hundreds of newsletters and media outlets around the world, the Know How Network brings the promise, purpose and passion of Project Management to people everywhere. Visit to learn more about Cheetah PM, the fastest way to learn about Project Management and get your PMP. You can also get your career in gear with CheetahWare, free Project Management tools from Cheetah Learning.

About the Author

Michelle LaBrosse is the founder and Chief Cheetah of Cheetah Learning. An international expert on accelerated learning and Project Management, she has grown Cheetah Learning into the market leader for Project Management training and professional development. In 2006, The Project Management Institute,, selected Michelle as one of the 25 Most Influential Women in Project Management in the World, and only one of two women selected from the training and education industry. Michelle is a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Owner & President Management program for entrepreneurs, and is the author of Cheetah Project Management and Cheetah Negotiations. Cheetah Learning is a virtual company and has 100 employees, contractors, and licensees worldwide.

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