Anybody can be successful once, as the saying goes, ‘even a blind squirrel can finds a nut once in a while’, but for us to be considered good leaders we need to be consistently successful.
There are many ways of achieving this. I worked with one leader who achieved this by ensuring that he never undertook any tasks or projects that were even remotely risky.
When I offered him an opportunity to lead a major transformation project he said ‘no thanks, I only take on those projects which are 100% guaranteed to be successful‘.
I did ask him ‘if it’s 100% guaranteed, then why do I need you, I could put a monkey in charge and it would work‘. He didn’t answer that question.
To be considered good leaders, not only do we need to be consistently successful, but we also need to achieve something impressive.
Leaders who consistently achieve only small goals, whilst they will have a good track record they will never really be seen as good or great leader.
But taking on risky projects can be a risk to your career, and given that over 60% of all projects fail, there is a good chance that this could happen to you.
One way to avoid failed projects is to understand what causes them to fail, or to understand what are the things that make project successful, and then look to re-implement these things.
This is how I cam up with the FAST Leadership approach. Having spent the last 20 years turning round failing projects and under performing departments, and delivering large transformation programs, I have looked to try and understand those common elements that have allowed me to be successful repeatedly, even when delivering high risk projects.
Many of the methodologies that we get trained in, don’t really give you the right insights, they are valuable processes, but many of them will only deliver success if you already know whats needed, in order to be successful, and that’s where they fall down.
What I found over the years is that projects, departments, and transformation usually fail because of a lack of Focus, a lack of Accountability, a lack of Simplicity, and/or a lack of Transparency. Hence FAST.
People are often focused on the wrong things, like revenue rather than profits; or there is a lack of clear roles and responsibilities and then tasks get missed or left undone; or we over complicate things which then confuse and frustrate our teams; or we just lack visibility into our progress and by the time we realise it we are left needing a miracle in order to succeed.
If we can improve our performance in each of these areas Focus, Accountability, Simplicity and Transparency, then we can look to avoid most of the common pitfalls, which cause initiatives to fail and this would put us into that 20-30% of leaders who are successful.
And if we do this continually we will be well on our way to becoming good leaders and potentially great.
If you’d like to learn more about FAST Leadership and how to transform your delivery capability then contact me firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you details about the upcoming courses.