Need for Holistic Application of Cognitive Readiness


for Project Value Creation: Complete

Leadership for Project Team Success



Italian Institute of Project Management (ISIPM)
Roma, Italy

Winston Strategic Management Consulting
Idaho, USA

Jesus Martinez ALMELA
Bioagroprojects Biotech
Villareal, Spain


The purpose of this paper is to set forth a research plan and call for volunteers to engage in the research, initiated in the Research Conference of 2021, on an important issue impacting projects and programs, but more importantly society [4]. Given the proliferation of articles, publications, surveys, and other communication modes about stressing one character expression of a capability or skill of the three intelligences over other character expressions of the myriad of capabilities and skills that comprise cognitive readiness, one needs to understand the impact of such communications. The focus on one expression such as empathy or passion can leave a team not understanding the objectives, necessary team interactions, and other aspects of team leadership and management necessary for delivery of outputs and benefits for the organization, the market and society. Understanding the impact of this focus on areas of team interactions; team development, including both personal and professional; performance and resilience of teams during times of crisis and disruption; and various personnel decisions will be vital to directing training, course development, team communications, and other personnel interactions.

Keywords:   Cognitive readiness, Competence, Complexity, Empathy, Flexibility, Resilience


Cognitive readiness or competence to perform a position, such as project manager or leader is not well understood, documented, or studied through case studies or experimental laboratory simulation. There are documented lists, survey results that state team members value certain traits, opinion pieces, and frameworks [8], but none of these documents present solid case studies or validated and verified research of project managers engaged in delivering outcomes. The documents are based upon surveys, input from project management experts, and in some cases team members. While these documents do not per se stress one trait or one area of competency over another one, the most recent articles and posts appear to stress one trait over the others: empathy. The hypothesis of this paper is that the promotion of singular traits, non-psychologically or neurology-based grouping of traits, or traits du jour might end up doing more harm than good. Several tasks need to be undertaken for the benefit of the profession and related fields, including human resources. Further, there needs to be assessment studies for training, educating, and mentoring project managers or leaders based upon further research building from the documentation that exists in competency and cognitive readiness.

There is a dearth of research articles, surveys, and case studies directly on point as to the application of cognitive readiness in the profession. One can find research on individual traits, scholarly articles on emotional intelligence, and some research related to the integration of emotional and social intelligences. One currently must use articles written by various psychologist who have studied the professions of policing, military, and recently education. The focus on individual competencies or attributes in project management needs to change. It is hoped that this focus can be enhanced by demonstrating what has been done to date in project management, but more importantly in other professions to assist them to be effective and successful, especially in complex, disruptive environments. Cognitive readiness is not an additive to project management, but it is a transformational change in how we view the competencies: skills, capabilities, and knowledge that can be brought to bear to achieve effective and successful outcomes [1].


As Kathleen Hass, a researcher in complexity science, stated, “As complexity science teaches us, human behavior is complex because humans are always reacting to their environment, and therefore human activity is impossible to predict. In addition, teams are complex adaptive systems within the larger program, the program is also a complex adaptive system operating within a complex adaptive organization; the organization is trying to succeed (by changing and adapting) within a complex adaptive global economy [1].”


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Editor’s note: Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English.  Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright.  This paper was originally presented at 10th IPMA Research Conference: Value Co-Creation in the Project Society, 19-21 June 2022, Belgrade, Serbia.  It is republished here with the authors’ permission.

How to cite this paper: Di Filippo, I., Winston, R., Almela, J. M. (2023. 2022). Need for Holistic Application of Cognitive Readiness for Project Value Creation: Complete Leadership for Project Team Success; originally presented at 10th IPMA Research Conference: Value Co-Creation in the Project Society, 19-21 June, 2022, Belgrade, Serbia; republished in the PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue IV, April 2023.  Available online at https://pmworldjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/pmwj128-Apr2023-DiFilippo-Winston-Almela-Holistic-Application-of-Cognitive-Readiness-2nd-ed-1.pdf

About the Authors

Ivano Di Filippo

Rome, Italy


Ivano Di Filippo is Project Management Neuroscientic Researcher, CEO of the Cognitive Readiness in PM (CRinPM) International Research Program, Scientic referent Member of ISIPM (Italian Institute of PM) in CaProSoc, International Research Program Co-Lead, author of the book Cognitive Readiness in Project Teams: Reducing Project Complexity and Increasing Success in Project Management. He has solid experience as a consultant and project manager in complex projects. He studied medicine at the La Sapienza University of Rome and subsequently computer programming. He has been working for over 30 years with the Radiotaxi 3570 Company in Rome, Italy, and is currently the coordinator in charge of human resources in the operations center.

An important Research and Innovation project has been going on for over 11 years and sees Ivano CEO in the development team born with Russell Archibald and Daniele Di Filippo. The project is always having a high resonance not only in the field of Project Management but also in that of Neuroscience applied to PM, particularly at the university level as a driver for learning and training the discipline. Already many top-level project managers, groups of scientists, and MBA universities have joined the project by supporting it with enthusiasm. The research driver of the project is based on the importance of a High-Performance Team based on Cognitive Readiness.

The objectives of the project: Create the conditions for all projects to be successful, especially complex ones that bring benets and well-being to the world. Innovating the standards of PM, through the conscious use of human intelligence and in particular the cognitive, emotional, and social intelligence activated by meditation while maintaining a neuroscientic basis for a holistic approach that sees the technical and cognitive PM management working in harmony for the realization of a “Next Project Manager Generation”.

Ivano can be contacted at https://www.cognitivereadiness.world/ ; ivano.difilippo@genialsoftware.it or  https://www.linkedin.com/in/ivano-di-filippo-69054335/


Rebecca Winston, JD

Idaho, USA


Rebecca Winston, JD, PMI Fellow, is cuurently a senior program, project and security management advisor based in Idaho Falls, Idaho, USA.  She was formerly Director at Ahtna Government Services where she managed the Second Line of Defense Program and international programs;  Director, Homeland Security Programs/Argonne National Laboratory where she managed interfaces with Department of Homeland Security and conduct the management oversight of all related programs and projects; and Business Relationship Manager for National Security, Idaho National Laboratory (INL), responsible for business contacts throughout American National Security Sector.

She has established strategic and business planning for the National Security sector; managed Defense Programs; performed oversight and technical management of several projects in information software, networking, network security, independent validation and verication, and environmental technologies, including site installation of technologies. She’s held new business development duties with industries and governments globally, and perfromed many other tasks throughout career at the INL. She also has a long history of leadership within the Project Management Institute (PMI) in the United States.

Rebecca can be contacted at rebeccawinston@yahoo.com   or https://www.linkedin.com/in/rwinston/ and Winsthttp://www.winstonstrategicmanagementconsulting.com/n Strategic Management Consultin



Jesus Martinez Almela

Villareal, Spain


 Jesus Martinez Almela, Projects, Programme and Portfolio Manager, Certified IPMA Projects Portfolio Director Level A, Biosystem and Agricultural Engineer, MsC, MBA, PgD, International Trainer, Coach and Consultant. He is founder and owner of Bioagroprojects Biotech PPM and P3Competence for training, consultancy and interim project and programme management (2008-today). He was previously founder of Selco Advanced Engineering and Project Management (1988-2009), an EPMC Company with turn-key projects in Southern Europe, USA, Latin America, Japan and China. He is developer and owner of five patents of invention since 1993 (animal waste and waste-to-energy). Specific areas of expertise: Rural Smarter Development, Agroindustry, Food Security, Waste-to-Energy, Biotechnology, Renewable Energy.

Jesus is past IPMA president and current Chair of the IPMA Council of Delegates (2021-2023).  He is Head of the Spanish Certification Body (accredited ISO17024:2012) for Project Management (2005today) and Chairman of the LATNET Network Associations for Project Management (14 countries Spanish speakers) since 2012-today. Focus of activities related to project management: Trainer for Project, Programme and Portfolio Manager, Interim Coach for Human Talent Development, Advisor for International Business Development, Organizational Competences including Change Management, Leadership, Innovation and research projects.

Selected training and consulting experiences

> Training and lecturing in more than 40 countries for > 500 companies and >30 Universities since 2005;

> Consultant for relevant Megaprojects like 3rd set looks of Panama Canal Programme Extension, Intercoop, EACI-UE, Hitachi, Korail;

>  Developer of International Standards for Research and Project, Programme, Portfolio, Agile Leadership, Coach, Consultant and Trainer in Project Management (1999-today) like ICB3, ICB4, PEB, OCB, ICB4 extensions for CCT and Agile Leadership;

> Lead of the SIG-Special Interest Group for Smarter Rural and Liasison for Smarter Cities and Smarter Water;

> Personal coaching of executives and business developer;

> Author of 8-eight books and > 70 professional and scientific papers;

> Awarded worldwide (5 grants) since 1999 for relevant contributions to engineering, biosecurity and waste treatment projects.

Jesus can be contacted at jma@bioagroprojects.com