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Megaproject Management: Lessons on Risk and Project Management from the Big Dig by Virginia A. Greiman

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Chapter 12

Leadership

Nearly every man who develops an idea works at it up to the point where it looks impossible, and then gets discouraged. That's not the place to become discouraged.

—Thomas Alva Edison

It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste.

—Henry Ford

Introduction

Henry Ford and Thomas Alva Edison recognized almost a century ago that successful leadership is a result of perseverance and hard work. Leadership is not about the managerial capabilities of an individual, but, instead, leadership focuses on building a vision by inspiring a team of workers to take an idea and with that idea build a better world.

The organizational world, whether private or public sector, is shifting from formal hierarchies and management through orderly command and control processes to loosely coupled networks of different interests held in partial and fragile alignment through mutual learning and adaptation.

(Pelegrinelli et al. 2011)

As recognized by program management scholars, traditional notions of leadership as individual tasks have been replaced by shared, collective, or distributed leadership ideas.

(Ancona et al. 2007; Pearce and Conger 2003; Hofstede 2001)

This chapter takes the lessons learned from all the preceding chapters and the leadership research and scholarship and explores the essential characteristics needed to take large-scale projects—with technical complexity, a vast amount of uncertainty, and political and environmental risk—from ...

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