How many times have you been part of an important company initiative that didn’t go as expected?
I guess once at least.
In my previous corporate career, and now as a facilitator and coach, I have come across very often with internal projects that go nowhere.
I hear frustrated executives and managers complain about the poor performance, lack of tangible results, stagnation, dysfunctional teams, and low morale across the organization.
This is understandable. Most of these initiatives are considered instrumental for improving results, so the expectation is often very high.
As I see repeatably the same mistakes happen when it comes to lead and manage these critical initiatives, I thought to share some lessons and insights that can help you and your team to get clarity on what changes should be made to get better results:
- Is the top management still committed?
I see this too often.
Leaders announce the beginning of a new initiative with passion and motivation. They get involved early on but their interest fades out too quickly as well as their participation.
If you want to keep the momentum and demonstrates to all organizations that the initiative is important, don’t walk away. Stay involved and shows that you are there to support the team to succeed.
- Lack of a steering committee
Who is really running the initiative? I like the idea of shared ownership within the group, but someone must take the reins and provide leadership, give directions and make the whole team accountable.
It doesn’t need to be one person. In my experience, a small pool of passionate, accountable, and committed leaders works much better.
- Poor vision, lack of purpose, and unclear objectives
Many studies have proven that these three elements are necessary to generate high performance with teams.
Most of the company initiatives fail to address these three elements. The vision is blurred, the purpose is weak, the objectives are not specific.
Before starting any new initiative, make sure these three elements are in place and well communicated to the entire organization.
- Fluffy scope and boundaries
Even when vision and objectives are clear, I see scopes of work that get bigger and bigger without generating better outcomes.
The main reason is that team members say yes too easily to any new request that comes from the top. It’s a boundary problem.
Scope and boundaries should be defined at the beginning if you think they are right for achieving the vision and goals. Stop adding. Start focusing on the goals.
- How is the team playing the game?
The initial enthusiasm and motivation are often driving people to overlook challenges, in particular about teamwork and personal interactions.
I see often teams delve quickly into project management tasks, plans, etc. but not enough time to sit together before starting to decide how they want to play the game, what rules should be followed, what they are going to tolerate, how they should keep themselves accountable.
It’s not too late to do it even if you’re in the middle of the project.
So, there is more but these five lessons are very important because they can make a huge difference in the outcome.
What is your experience with these initiatives? Send me your comments as I am always interested to hear real-life stories.
And if you need help starting a new important initiative or getting back on track with what you’re already doing, drop me a line and we can brainstorm some ideas.