After having spent over 20 years turning round failing projects and under performing departments, as well as delivering large complex transformational change programs, I have developed an approach which I think, whilst maybe not a recipe for success, it is an approach which can significantly improve our chances of achieving it.
In my experience most projects and departments are failing or under performing for the same reasons, and if we can avoid these reasons then we will reduce many of causes of failure, which all increase our chances of success.
These common reasons for failure are:
So if we can increase our performance in each of these areas then we will have improved our probability of success.
Focus is about ensuring that we are focused on the right things. I love Einsteins quote ‘If I had only one hour to save the world, I would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem, and only five minutes finding the solution”.
This is to ensure that he would be focused on the right things, solving the wrong problem whilst interesting doesn’t help. If we are focused on the wrong things it doesn’t matter how good the solution is, we will still fail.
Accountability is about ensuring that we have the right person assigned to the right tasks with the right skills and the right expectations clearly communicated. Too often things fail because people didn’t know what it was they were supposed to do and tasks get left undone.
Complexity kills more initiatives than just about anything else, and given we have a natural tendency to over complicate things this is a major concern. As leaders one of our key tasks is to keep things as simple as possible, to get our teams to focus on Simplicity. To fight against this tendency to over complicate, if we can do that we can make our tasks so much easier. Complexity hinders our understanding, and when we lack understanding its easy to lose focus too.
We also need to have full Transparency into what’s needed to complete a task, too often we under estimate the effort involved and then we end up under resourced or we are too bold with our estimates to complete, which then leads to cost overruns and delays. We also need to have transparency into our performance so that we can see how we are progressing, to see whether or not we are on track.
So this is my formula for success.
Focus + Accountability + Simplicity + Transparency = Success
If you want to find out more, then why not sign up for me free webinar, the next one will be held on Nov 3rd 7pm GMT/8PMCET/2PM Eastern.