Impact above all
For a project to be a success, it needs to have an impact or a result. We usually devise plans, roadmaps and milestones to make sure we arrive at the right result. No doubt, the exercise of planning is invaluable. However, you can be sure of one thing: things wont work out as planned. This is the point when you should not forget that plans are only the means to the end. Impact is what really matters.
Start by defining specific objectives – soft as well as hard – and establish a measurement system that allows you to measure your progress. If you’re not making progress, you have to adjust your efforts and activities to make sure you reach your target. That way, it’s the end result – the impact – rather than the way of getting there that directs your efforts.
Authenticty and straight talk
Most people are apprehensive when it comes to change. New ways of doing things make one unsure, even resistant; particularly if one does not understand why or believe it’s worth the effort. The only way of ensuring that such feelings don’t get out of hand is to build trust in the project and the people running it.
Authentic behaviour – being honest and straightforward – is one of the most effective ways of building trust. But authenticity often means putting your authority, reputation or organizational stability on the line. Our advice? Do it anyway. Have the courage to reveal motives or admit to mistakes. Invest extra effort in explaining why and clarifying uncertainties. To believe in change, people need to believe in you first.
No compromising on people
Putting together the right team is crucial to a project’s success. Most organisations know this, but end up assigning people who happen to be available – or best case, those who have the most project experience.
- Internal change projects have the greatest chance of succeeding when the entire organisation is involved. A diverse team that consist of key stakeholders, who each have clearly defined roles that support project objectives. Such teams generate more input, greater commitment and ultimately more value – during as well as after the project is completed.
- New ventures and innovation projects need people who are entrepreneurial, are ready to take risks, can think outside the box and have the endurance to resist ups and downs – try, learn, try again. You rarely find such people in large organizaiton, as they usually do not fit the culture: you will have to look outside the organization.
Whichever route you go, one thing is for sure, if you compromise on people, you compromise on impact.