Leaders Judged Harshly When They Don’t Deliver

Leaders Judged Harshly When They Don’t Deliver

Insights | 11 December 2018

In modern corporations leadership is no longer simply about setting strategy and winning hearts and minds. Success goes to those who can make change happen.

Remember the days when people considered change a bad thing? Today the general public, and therefore organisations, expect leaders to be effective change agents and are highly critical of executives who are unable to deliver the goods.

What is the track record for successful project delivery within your organisation? How would your stakeholders poll your performance as a change agent?

1. Strategic Alignment

Is it clear where, what, why and how the project contributes to your strategy? Are there any recent events that mean you need to review the alignment? Is the priority well understood and communicated? Consider the ‘what if’ we didn’t do this project now. What impact would this have on the short-term and longer term strategy? Would it just inconvenience us or would it have a major impact on the business? Is it possible to live without?

2. Value

Value and strategic alignment are inherently related. The assumption of course is that the project is justified via a solid business case that is reviewed regularly. But is it really? Have we defined what ‘value’ means? Are we looking at, for example, net measurable benefits over a period of time? Do we know our starting point so we can see measurable improvements? What does success mean in terms of achieving value? Can we gain early wins/benefits by applying agile approaches? How long should we wait until there is a return on investment? Is the user and business clearly involved in agreeing and validating value?

3. Empowered Accountability and Governance

Has clear ownership for the project results been established? Is there an experienced project manager empowered to facilitate the day-to-day of the project with agreed discretionary measures before escalating? Is an active senior sponsor ensuring that organisational challenges and roadblocks are dealt with? Is there a clear structure ensuring all parties understand their roles and responsibilities without enforcing an unwieldy bureaucracy of ‘command and control’? Are support structures in place for defining problems and solution options for clear and swift decision making?

4. Organisational Attunement

Are plans in place for how the organisation will accommodate the transitions that the project will introduce? Is any significant organisational resistance being understood and addressed by the executive team? Do we really understand the impact of the project on our (preferred) organisational culture? Are all aspects of the change being carried out relative to organisational values? Are we listening to the people-side of change?

5. Engagement and Active Communication

Are key stakeholders engaged and actively kept informed? Do you trust the information being reported and is it effective? Does communication identify risks, clearly defined problems and resolutions agreed, rather than share information? Does communication promote realistic expectations? Is adequate notice provided? Are communications events planned or do they occur in reaction to complaints? What could we do differently? What could we do better? Are we really listening or just continuously in ‘fire-fighting’ mode?

6. Enlightened Planning and Re-Planning

Has a useful plan been agreed and communicated with the necessary stakeholders? Is it broken down into manageable pieces allowing the organisation to commit to one step at a time? Do and can we adjust in light of recent learnings? Are we listening to and applying feedback? Is the plan realistic in relation to current organisational constraints (people/time/budget/feasibility?) Are we moving too fast? Too slow? Does it align with the business case and current requirements? Have key risks been identified that may impact the success of the project? Have we acknowledged that change takes time? Do we regularly review where we are at and revise as necessary?

7. Building Organisational Capability

Is there a high level map of all major initiatives, how they benefit the organisation and impact each other? Are major initiatives reviewed when the strategy changes? Are the organisation’s project and programme skills evolving into a mature core capability? Are we seeing change as a vital way of life in building organisational capability, as opposed to something that is suffered, feared or shunned?

“While executing change, effective change managers are constantly evaluating progress, looking ahead, and adjusting their approach and plans”.

The Effective Change Manager/The Change Management Body of Knowledge, CMI

If your business requires assistance with organisational change, contact us today on +65 6818 5771.

About The Author

Tracey Copland, Head of Best Practice at PM-Partners group

Tracey has been involved in management, finance and business consulting including Portfolio, Programme & Project management for 20+ years. Together with her skills and experience, Tracey is a flexible professional seeking to achieve a high work standard, focussing on value-add.

Having been with PM-Partners group for 15 years, Tracey has held roles including Consultant/Trainer, Head of Training and currently, Head of Development. Tracey has provided training and consultation services to clients in both the public and private sectors, across various disciplines and at all levels including Project, Programme, Portfolio and Change Management, and Agile practices.

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