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Make It Personal

Reading this to the end, you will ideally note it as a very personal blog post as much as it is work related. This may not be a traditional approach, per se, but hopefully you’ll see why it applies.

My wife and I went through a life-and-death crisis last fall. It is a miracle that she is pretty much back to full health today, and the months-long experience taught me a great deal. First, I would never wish the ordeal we went through on anyone; I would, however, wish the positive outcomes from it. Let me explain.

The first week of her hospitalization was the most challenging of my life, and the second week was right behind it. As I stumbled my way through the hospital halls, the medical learning curves, the paperwork, the sheer number of medical staff, and my volatile emotional state, I was repeatedly struck by one theme: Every person I met, every individual with whom I interacted at the hospital, were wonderful in their roles.

The doctors, the PAs, the ECMO technicians, the nurses, the various therapists, even the cleaning staff. Everyone. Each expressed care at every moment, at every interaction. The volunteer woman who gave me a tour of the complex my first day there—a stranger—put her arm around me as she saw me struggle with composure while she navigated the campus on my behalf. The person at the information counter who shared her personal stash of dark chocolate after listening to the story of my wife. The ECMO nurse who made a special point of washing my wife’s hair while she lie in a coma. The list goes on. Their care truly helped me in the most significant way.

After experiencing this level of engagement, I recall deeply pondering it at 2 a.m. on one of the many nights when not being able to sleep. I was struck by the exquisite match between their character and the roles they played. Then I asked myself a very hard question—what strength can I rely on to get me through “this”—whatever “this” was at the time and what “this” could be in the future?

My answer? Treat this as a project. One that had one resource—me—and that I had to give myself tasks each day to fulfill. It didn’t matter how big or trivial these were. Make two update calls to family today, check. Make three work calls from the hospital, check. Perform the online presentation from my hotel room that day, check. Study ECMO, with the help of the medical staff, and be able to explain it, check.

Throughout I realized I naturally, semi-jokingly, herd people; and if I herded myself, like a project manager, I could survive. I am like a German shepherd — almost as much hair, but just not as bright. I am ecstatic to report, week by week and month by month, my wife has recovered, again miraculously. Project Management got me through, and I am amazed at how important PM skills were for me back then and how they are even more important in the workplace.

VPDCS has invested in this skillset for several staff members. Not only is it making a difference in our internal projects, but it will make a difference for your projects. Whether you come onboard as one of our clients for the first time or, afterwards, you need assistance with additional services, we are here to help—in a most significant way.

Article written by:

Andy LePere

Director of Client Innovation

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