One statistic I found interesting, whilst researching project failures, was that 70% of people in a survey of project failures said that they knew the project would fail before they started.
I found this interesting because it raised the question, was the project so poorly planned that it was clear it would fail, or did peoples belief that it would fail become a self-fulfilling prophesy?
Attitude is incredibly important when it comes to achieving goals, delivering projects or making improvements. With the right attitude people can move mountains, they can achieve things that were previously thought of as impossible.
But if you think the project will fail from the start then this just kills that can do will do attitude.
I mean why should anyone look to work hard on a project that they believe is going to fail?
As leaders we need to create belief, with belief we will get the attitude that we are looking for.
If 70% of people believed their projects were going to fail before they started, then when we have a new project, we can always look to ask our teams what they think, what do they believe.
Do they see this project as potential success or a potential failure?
We shouldn’t be afraid to ask this question, because what our team believes is going to impact their attitude and how the project all turn out. If they believe it will be a failure then you’re already setting yourself up to fail.
If they have doubts then we can look to address those doubts, either by making changes or providing clarity on why we believe it will be a success.
We need to increase the belief of our teams, convince them that this project can be successful and that it is worth their while to put in the extra effort that will be needed in order to be successful.
If we can’t increase their belief and change their view that the project can be successful, then maybe we really need to ask the tough question, should we even start a project where too many people, who will rely on, believe that the project will fail.
I always thought it was going to be difficult for David Moyes to be successful at Manchester United because too many people lacked belief in his ability.
This did him a tremendous disservice as it made his job so much more difficult, right from the start his job became harder, and each defeat created more naysayers which just compounded the situation until eventually it just became impossible.
I’m sure that if the Manchester United players had been consulted about who the new manager should have been I doubt many would have voted for David Moyes. I believe that they would have preferred a manager who had a track record of success, who had managed at the highest level and had won trophies more than one league in Europe.
With that a manager they believed in they could have had belief, played with belief, but under Moyes we never saw that.
We rely on our teams in order for us to be successful, so why not look to get their input, understand their views or their concerns.
This doesn’t mean that we hand control to our teams, or that we abdicate our responsibilities to them, we can always choose to accept their contribution or not, but it would be foolish to be ignorant of their concerns.
We need to create belief and the right attitude otherwise we could be looking at leading our team to a big failure.