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Think Like a Juggler – MCA Chicago Story

By February 24, 2021January 23rd, 2022No Comments
black background, near silhoutte of a man juggling three oranges, representing the challenges of project management, from our MCA Chicago Leaders to the Power of Story workshop webinar

A few weeks ago, I presented our Leaders STORY (Leaders to the Power of Story) workshop as a webinar to the Construction Education Institute® of the Mechanical Contractors Association of Chicago (MCA Chicago).

As I always do, I interview participants in advance to learn first-hand about their challenges to better help me customize my messages, exercises, and take-aways. As always, the MCA Chicago interviews provided amazing insights and excellent stories. And speaking of excellent stories, Greg from Harris Company, shared his project management story that I used in the MCA Chicago webinar.

Greg uses story elements and figures of speech to improve his story’s impact. And his Better Tomorrow Message, “Think Like a Juggler,” is compelling and memorable.

When you are preparing for your training class, your briefing, your All-Hands meeting, sales meeting, whatever it is, think deliberately on how you will convey your messages. How will you make them memorable and inspiring? The answer. Share experiences that will resonate with your audience immediately.

Here’s Greg’s story from the MCA Chicago Leaders to the Power of Storytelling webinar.

Think Like a Juggler

About 15 years ago, Dave, one of my favorite mentors, said, “What’s most important? Business Financials, Customer Satisfaction, or Employee Satisfaction?

I thought deeply about his question. Sat back in my chair for a few minutes. And then said, “It’s a trick question. It’s like a three-legged stool.”

Dave quickly responded, with a big Cheshire cat smile, “You are the only person who has ever got that correct.”

Greg smiles and continues, “And that’s the way project management is. Another way to look at it, it’s like juggling. (Greg instinctually starts to move his hands like a juggler on our Zoom call). There’s not one ball more important than the other. As project managers, we have to continually juggle employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, and business financials.”

This is such an important concept to project management. It is a question I always ask. I ask every intern. I ask every new project manager. I ask every new employee on the younger side. I ask everyone new to our business. Time after time after time, they ALWAYS answer with Business Financials. Why? Because we are so focused on money.

Then, I use this as a project management teaching opportunity. I tell them, “There will be times where we will make a decision that negatively affects business financials. There will be times where we will make a decision that positively affects the financials and possibly negatively affect employee satisfaction or customer satisfaction. Great project managers are ALWAYS weighing the pros and cons to make the best decisions we can. Every decision we make has an implication on one, two, or all three of these areas.”

Always remember, think like a juggler.

* Story graciously provided by Greg Wittek, Senior Project Manager

* And a big thank you to everyone at MCA Chicago, especially Rebecca and Jill.


  • Be a Clock Changer  (read)
  • Let Out the Spark  (read)
  • Bring Back Child-Like Wonder  (read/watch)
  • All story examples  (go now)


  • Turn Your Everyday Experiences into Engaging, Powerful Stories  (read)
  • “Pause” with Purpose in Speaking, Training, and Storytelling  (read)
  • In Storytelling, Balance Emotion and Benefit  (read)
  • Add Suspense to Your Story with “Near-Impossible Goals”  (read)
  • Anaphora – Increase Impact with this Type of Word Repetition  (read)
  • All Business Storytelling Articles & Posts  (go now)

Photography Source:  Picture from FreePik. Design © Copyright 2021, The Chief Storyteller®, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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Ira Koretsky

Ira Koretsky has built The Chief Storyteller® into one of the most recognized names in communication, especially business storytelling. He has delivered over 500 keynote presentations and workshops in nearly a dozen countries, in more than one hundred cities, across 30 plus industries. His specialties are simplifying the complex and communicating when the stakes are high. He is also an adjunct professor in public speaking and storytelling at the University of Maryland's Business School. With over 25 years of experience, he is a sought-after storytelling coach, global speaker, trainer, consultant, communication coach, and public speaking coach.