1816 – Empowering Organizations for Independent Success with Clint Padgett

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks with the CEO & President of Project Success, Inc., Clint Padgett.

Padgett Wide

Project Success isn't just another project management firm; they are educators and facilitators of success. With a global reach that includes planning significant events like the Olympic projects for Coca-Cola and the FIFA World Cup, their expertise is undeniable.

Clint explained that their primary goal is to teach classes in project management and assist clients in executing project processes to ensure timely delivery. The scope of their work is impressive, and it's clear that they've mastered the art of managing large-scale, complex projects.

One of the key takeaways from the discussion was the importance of effective communication in project management. Clint highlighted the challenges that arise when messages become distorted as they filter through different levels of an organization. 

He advised addressing potential issues early on to prevent delays and setbacks. This proactive approach is something all organizations can benefit from, especially when embarking on projects with long timelines.

Key Points from the Episode:

  • Project Success: Teaching project management classes and helping clients execute project processes
  • Importance of effective communication in project management
  • Challenges of distorted messages in organizations
  • Common breakdowns in project execution
  • Addressing potential issues early to avoid delays and setbacks
  • Advice on communicating with detail-oriented team members
  • Project Success's approach of working themselves out of a job by teaching clients necessary skills and processes
  • Clint Padgett's books: “The Project Success Method” and “How Teams Triumph

About Clint Padgett:

Clint Padgett is a seasoned entrepreneur and project management expert, boasting over 30 years of experience in project management strategy, consulting, training, and project management office auditing. As the President and CEO of Project Success Inc. since 1994, he has been pivotal in reshaping project management to align with modern business models characterized by speed, agility, and reactivity. 

Clint's passion for project management is evident in his authored works, ‘How Teams Triumph' and ‘The Project Success Method.' Padgett extends his influence through ‘The Conversation with Clinton M. Padgett' podcast, where he engages with leaders promoting employee learning, challenge, and growth. 

Under his leadership, Project Success Inc. has pioneered a methodology bridging the gap between business operations and effective project execution, offering practical tools for management, control, and transparency. 

Clint Padgett's dedication to ensuring project success has significantly impacted businesses seeking to meet deadlines and thrive consistently in their respective industries.

About Project Success, Inc.:

Project Success Inc. (PSI) is a seasoned leader in project management, boasting 36 years of proven success with the Project Success Method. Focused on delivering results within deadlines and budgets, PSI's approach is especially valuable for endeavors like product launches, regulatory compliance, process re-engineering, and mergers/acquisitions.

The Project Success Method challenges conventional project management wisdom by introducing a practical perspective that consistently meets project goals. Beyond Agile and Six Sigma methodologies, PSI fills the gaps in organizational processes across various industries. 

With a quarter-century track record, PSI has successfully guided numerous clients through thousands of complex, business-critical projects globally. Their commitment to practicality and efficiency makes Project Success Inc. a trusted partner for those seeking reliable project management solutions.

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Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out Project Success Inc. website at

Check out Project Success Inc. on LinkedIn at

Check out Project Success Inc. on Twitter at

Check out Clint Padgett on LinkedIn at

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Josh (00:00:04) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant, coach, or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than $10 million in revenue. Just head to up my and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. With us right now. Clint Padgett. Clint, you are the CEO and president at Project Success. Your website is Project Success. Com Clint, you're also the host of the podcast The Conversation, with Clinton and Paget, helping teams triumph through commitment and conversation. And finally, Clint, I got to point this out.

Josh (00:01:17) - You're a fellow Navy vet, so you have some commendations behind you on the wall. So thank you so much for your service and really excited to learn about the impact what you do today.

Clint (00:01:28) - Well, thanks for having me on Josh and guys. Same to you. Thanks for your service as well. So Navy and Navy, I always love that shipmate. So what I do is we have a company called Project Success and we actually teach classes in project management. And then mostly what we do is help our clients, metro our clients, and help them execute that process in their organizations to be more successful in executing and delivering on projects deadlines.

Josh (00:01:50) - Yeah. And so how do you do that? I mean, what does it tell me more about, like how you engage with your clients.

Clint (00:01:56) - So a company will hire us. They'll come to our class, their team will come to the class. We teach them in a couple of days how to do project work. What's the best way to work with teams? And then the practical applications of critical path methodology.

Clint (00:02:08) - Being able to do all the math and figuring out how long your project will take, what's the driving activities, which ones aren't, how to work with your team to be successful in a major organization, which most people are, and then following that, a lot of companies will say, listen, we really love this process, but it's going to be hard for us to adopt it. Can you come help us? And so we actually have consultants who go out and work with those clients in those client sites to help put our process in place on their projects with their terminology, their unique set of challenges, all their all that kind of stuff. And we work on all kind of projects across the globe. One of the ones that I'm personally involved with and quite often are the Olympic projects for Coca Cola. So we plan all the Summer and Winter Olympics for Coke, and you can probably see some Coke paraphernalia back there in the background. That's cookbook. Uh, we do all the FIFA World Cup planning for them as well.

Clint (00:02:53) - So anytime there's a major activation of a worldwide sporting event, we help them execute those events.

Josh (00:02:58) - Yeah. Uh, so we think about projects, things that just need to get done that we're working on. You know, internally we have a few things that we're getting done right now. Where do you commonly see breakdowns in getting things done within organizations?

Clint (00:03:13) - I think one of one of my favorite quotes by George Bernard Shaw is the single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it is taking place. And that, I think, is one of the one of the probably the most problematic things I have. Two that I can talk about, that's one of them is that I think I've communicated to me. It was clear. But my assumption, which is being incorrect, is that you received the message the way in which I attended it. If you think about when you were a kid, if you ever played the game, telephone where you know one kid has a secret, whispers a secret to the second kid who whispers it down the line.

Clint (00:03:43) - And by the time it gets to the fifth, fourth, or fifth kid, the secret is completely mangled, right? It's not remotely close to what the first kid said, and that actually happens. It plays out in the business world as well, where as a leader, the leader says what they think is a very clear statement of what they want, and yet is a team member on that team. I hear that through my own biases, the way that I define words, the way maybe even the kind of day I'm having. Right. Is it a good day? Is it a bad day? And, you know, my attitude may affect the way I hear something, interpret something, and then I take my interpretation of your message. And then I tell Bob, and Bob gets it through his filters and his biases, and he tells Sue, who takes it through her filters and her biases. And just like in the game telephone as a kid now, my business message got mangled as it progressed through the organization.

Clint (00:04:29) - So what we recommend and what we talk about in our methodology really is have conversations. When you have a conversation, each individual person can ask clarifying questions about, hey, when you say turn left, did you mean like left it right now? This driveway, the next intersection, the next stoplight? What? What do you mean where do I turn left? And by asking these clarifying questions and actually having a dialogue and a conversation, your message travels through the organization, the way in which it was intended. So that's probably one of the most one of the key things, I think, that makes projects go off the rails. And the other one, I think is at the beginning of a project, especially if it's a long project. If you have a six month or a year long timeline or two years like we do on some of the sporting events, then what is up happening is there's a sense of I have plenty of time. This is not my only project. I've got five other projects, plus my day job that I got hired to because project work is a side gig, as we all know, and I'm going to get to it.

Clint (00:05:24) - But my attention right now was really devoted to the other 4 or 5 projects that I'm already working on, which I've got things do for them next week and the next week or the next week. So my focus is there, and right now your project is two years in the future. It's this gray, nebulous thing that I'm going to get to, and we call that the uninformed optimism phase of projects where you're going to get to it. And the problem is, when there's no plan, the first six weeks or eight weeks of the project, nothing happens. And so now your 12 month project is 11 months, which really puts you behind the eight ball. It's called shift the worry curve and worry earlier.

Josh (00:05:58) - I feel my anxiety rising as you're describing that situation for sure. You know, and also to I wanted to point something out because you'd mentioned this on your social and I thought it was, uh, apropos is, um, you know, we've got different personality types in our organization. Obviously.

Josh (00:06:13) - You know, I would absolutely align with kind of more of the visionary, big picture type of thinking, you know, and I've got great, extremely talented members of my team that are more detail oriented. And that's very intentional that they are hired because they are more detail oriented. But sometimes there are gaps that exist, you know, when you've got that. Well, I don't know if I should say sometimes, uh, it's often or common. Can you maybe share some insights on how visionaries can communicate better or at least, you know, kind of meet our more detail oriented people closer to the middle?

Clint (00:06:56) - Yeah, I think that's one of the one of the roles a good project manager can play is to be that translator between the the big picture strategic thinkers. You know, as an engineer, I'll talk bad about engineers because I am one, but I'll also maybe throw a curveball at the strategic thinkers. And they tend to in my mind, they're big, fluffy white clouds and all that kind of stuff.

Clint (00:07:15) - But you need somebody who could do that translation, because the way I talk about project work is if we're selling products and engineering is out there, building products and marketing can't find a market for if I can't find a customer for, we're not going to be successful. If, on the other hand, marketing is out there pitching a product that engineering can't build, then we're not going to be successful. So we have to do what you're talking about, which is put each other on the same plane to have a conversation about the project. And we do that and mostly about forcing people into the room, because what'll happen is when I teach classes, I notice I observe this all the time. That might be 45 or 50 people in the room, and all the engineers sit together, and they're quite happy to sit together because they all know each other. They all think Dilbert is hilarious. They all have the shared bond of having taken differential equations in college and survived. Right? And they get each other and then all the IT people sit together and they don't mind sitting close to the engineers because they're also kind of technical.

Clint (00:08:09) - But then there's like this big divide. And then over here on the other side of the room, I have all the marketing people, and if I play devil's advocate and I'll throw some stereotypes here, but I think there's a grain of truth in these stereotypes. As an engineer, I look over the marketing people and I say, you know, you guys talk about strategy and big fluffy white clouds and what do you actually do? You talk.

Speaker 3 (00:08:30) - About.

Clint (00:08:31) - You have a lot of meetings, usually over really nice lunches, I noticed. But at the end of the day when you go home, what have you done? When I go home as an engineer, you know, you can see the thing that I designed and touched. You could be tactile. You can see it, feel it, play with it. You can use the code that I've written. It's you can see it. Right. I got something done today. What did you do? And the marketing person says, wow, Clint, I had no idea that you had such a low opinion of the value that I bring to the team.

Clint (00:08:56) - So let me help you out. You engineers are so far down in the weeds. If you didn't have somebody like me giving you some direction, you'd run into the wall or fall off the cliff. You need me to give you that direction. And so and that's the reality of the situation is get them in the room to have the conversation of what is it marketing wants? What can engineering deliver? Have that dialogue and don't make each other the bad guy in the in the evil one. And what can we actually deliver? And let's agree to that and move forward. And then that's what we find is where you level set is really just to force people to have the conversation they don't really want to have.

Josh (00:09:30) - Yeah. So tomorrow, as of when we're recording this right now, we actually have an hour long, you know, kind of leadership session where I've got some big plans and some big ideas for the year. We're kind of just kind of getting started in the execution of that. Um, you know, obviously it can never happen fast enough for someone like me.

Josh (00:09:51) - And so, you know, I'm coming in with some urgency here and you've already shared some great tips, but like, if I know that I'm going to be showing up to a meeting, there's some things that, you know, and again, you've already shared some great ideas here, but are there some things that I can prep myself for so that I can be a better visionary for my team? Maybe it's the way I present things or, you know, if I've got a list of, you know, desires, you know, just how I can communicate that in a way that's not going to evoke a lot of panic or stress or, you know, from someone's like, oh boy, here we go.

Clint (00:10:28) - I think that two things come to mind. One is, why are we doing it? If you enable people to understand the why, that's better than just go do the what? Because if you tell me to Clint, I want you to walk down that left hand trail. I'll walk, but I don't know why I'm doing it.

Clint (00:10:43) - But if you say, Clint, the goal is to get to the top of that hill then. And I think you should take the left hand trail, I may say, you know what? The left hand trail is actually blocked. We should go to the right. It looks longer on paper, but it's actually quicker to get there. That's if I understand your goal. The. And that can help you achieve your goal rather than just pick up this rock. That's not very helpful, right? So I think that's one of the biggest things you can do. And the second one is visionaries have, I think have maybe a bad rap in that is a technical person. I may think they never listen to me. They they want what they want and they're not willing to hear the truth about it can't be done. And there's always some yin and yang and some push and pull I get that is a visionary. You're going to push the boundaries. I guess what I would say is be willing to listen to what can't be done without breaking the laws of physics.

Clint (00:11:28) - We can think outside of the box, but if one of the tasks needs to be get the Delorean, invent the flux capacitor and go back in time, it's not going to work. Right? So I think your job as a visionary is to push the boundaries. And our job on the lower end technical side, maybe, is to say, that's great, we'd love to do that. But right now, that capacity that doesn't exist, here's what we could do. Is there any way to make this fit what your goal is and get to the same place?

Josh (00:11:52) - Yeah, that's pretty solid. Um, share a bit more about how project success fits in with an organization and like what engagement looks like.

Clint (00:12:03) - So it's for us, it's pretty simple. Um, it's probably a really bad business model, except we've done it for 40 years successfully, and that is we work ourselves out of a job. So we come in, we teach the process, and then we let's just say we work with you side by side to implement that at your in your environment, with your unique challenges.

Clint (00:12:20) - And we can be there for as short as one week to get you guys rolling and then you're out the door. We can be there for the first project and do the updates every week or every two weeks, or some of our clients keep us around for the full 40 years we've been in business because they say this is a skill set we don't have, nor do we want. And you guys are really good at your job and it will take us three days to do. You guys can knock out in four hours. So let's just have you come in and do it. And then we but some of our clients really appreciate the fact that the one that comes to mind is we were there for three years and we went, we're there for two there. Each project was 14 months long, and they wanted us to stick around for two projects, wanted to show them how it was done, then one to hold their hand while they did it. But in the end, at the end of three years, we rolled off and now there's fully it's a fortune 500 company and they're fully successful doing it on their own.

Clint (00:13:10) - And I had the engagement manager told me that one of the things that found most impressive was you said you work yourself out of a job and you did. And we appreciated that. You weren't the typical consultant who gets your hooks in and stays forever. And I mean, that's not who we are. We're a small company. We can't really we don't want to put 30 people on your site forever. So but that's how we operate. We just come in, we teach you the process to help you execute it in your environment, and then we can leave whenever you're ready.

Speaker 4 (00:13:34) - Yeah.

Josh (00:13:35) - Uh, your website project And by the way, also the podcast which our friends can search, it's called The Conversation with Clinton and Padgett. Um, so for our friend that's been listening to our conversation, where do they go from here? Like, first off, who specifically should absolutely be reaching out?

Clint (00:13:54) - Usually it's the product managers, the people who is the people who, if their project fails or is late, probably lose their job.

Clint (00:14:01) - Uh, certainly lose sleep, but maybe lose their job. Those are the people. If you just want to check the box, it says we're doing project management. Probably not the one for you because there's a lot of people out there that will do it cheaper and not as good. You get what you pay for, but it's usually the product managers, uh, the head of the head of the departments, the C-suite, those are the ones who usually call us in and say, we want you two guys to come in for an engagement and help us with this on a project or a series of projects. That's usually who we work with. Individual project managers can go to our website and take our training classes, and we teach open classes where anybody can come once a month somewhere in the country. And individual project managers can do that. But usually the engagement managers are the higher level C-suite or product manager level.

Speaker 4 (00:14:43) - Yeah.

Josh (00:14:44) - And I want to just mention this too. You've you've written books. Um, do you want to share just a little bit about your library that you've contributed to?

Clint (00:14:52) - Do them over my shoulder here.

Clint (00:14:53) - Uh, basically the the first one was called the Project Success Method was released back in 2007 on Wiley Wiley Publishing. And that one really kind of talks through the the nuts and bolts of tactically, how do you plan and control projects? How do you agree on the scope of the project? What is a task? What is a duration? Who should come to the planning meetings? How do you run a control session? Really the tactic, the really technical tactical stuff. And then over my career, I started to realize that the harder piece of project management is the people side. To be successful in projects, you need two things. You need the process to be solid, and you need the people that are doing the work to be committed and engaged and accountable. And so the second book is really more around is called How Teams Triumph. And it came out a couple of years ago on Forbes books. And that one is really more about how do I and I put myself in an engineer shoes. And so I'm an engineer with social skills, which doesn't there's not a lot of us.

Clint (00:15:49) - Right? I always joke that I found the 20 of them in the world, and they all work for me today. But and so my apologies to anybody who's got offended by that statement, but I'm an engineer, so I could talk bad about us.

Speaker 5 (00:15:58) - And, um.

Clint (00:15:59) - So typically if I put myself in the stereotypical engineer shoes, they don't want to come to meetings. They want to go off and design the perfect widget. They find meetings to be a waste of time. They don't really like to collaborate with other people, especially the ones that are non engineers who don't get me, who don't think of the way I think. And I said, you know, to be successful in the projects, you need to work together in a collaborative way. You're not going to be successful unless you're a team of one. And so the second book was really more dedicated around how do I teach that person who maybe doesn't have that natural born gene to be an extrovert? How do I teach them to be successful in projects? And that's what the second book is about.

Clint (00:16:35) - So both around projects more on the technical side. One more on the people side.

Josh (00:16:39) - Yep, both are on Amazon. Both are also available at Project Success Comm. Clint Padgett, CEO president, Project Success. It's been great having you.

Clint (00:16:48) - Thanks, Josh. It's been a wonderful thank you very much.

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