The long road to success is paved with small bricks. All too often, leaders will attempt to accomplish large, legacy-building feats, without taking the time to build the infrastructure they need to have in place to be successful. This more often than not ends up dooming their initiative and they either have a more difficult time launching than needed, or it causes more stress than it otherwise should. Make sure you pay attention to the following if you are leader:
Do you have an “implementer” and a “representative” as part of the execution group?
Building the right team is incredibly important to the success of the project. For example, a team of strategists and visionaries with no implementation-minded individuals could miss both deadlines and important details needed to ensure a successful rollout. Not only do you need to have the visionaries there, but you also have to have the implementers who can help the team collectively walk through every aspect needed for successful execution.
For this same reason, there should be representatives of the departments, business segments, or communities affected by the changes on the original team. If your leadership team for a project does not feature the voices likely to be impacted by the initiative in its idea, planning, and execution stages, then there is a high probability of unforeseen oversights that will have the potential to throw the project into internal or external disarray upon public launch.
Not only does “target audience inclusion” prevent “ivory tower” syndrome, but it also helps secure buy-in prior to announcement, and gets the feedback needed to produce the best solution.
Remember, no one likes being told something is for them…even if it could make their life better. If it impacts them, they want to know that someone who understands them and the unique challenges they face was a part of the development process.
Does everyone know the role they play
The first part of this is ensuring that those involved are in the right roles. Whether basing on your familiarity with their personalities and styles of work, or conducting personality tests and leadership style analyses such as Myers-Briggs and Clifton StrengthsFinder, it pays to understand who is on the team and what additional pieces they will need to be successful.
For example, if it is a team of visionaries, be aware that they will need operators to keep the project on task. If all optimistic personalities, do you have some grounded pragmatist or realist to help them think of issues that may go wrong? Do you have a visionary to highlight the broader impact it can have? How about a problem solver that is great at processing large amounts of information and coming up with solutions, regardless of how daunting the problem may appear?
Creating a balanced team is essential for a project to be successful, since they will need to have a unifying and inspiring vision, an understanding of everything that could go wrong, answers for if those things do go wrong, and a documentarian who can keep track of the thought process and explain it all to the organizational stakeholders.
Are you able to communicate the vision for buy-in?
You can have the best project in the world, but if the vision is not told in a way that is inspiring, impactful, and answers the question of “how does it make my life better,” then you truly have an uphill climb ahead of you.
If the benefits and vision aren’t clear then as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson would say: “It Doesn’t Matter What It Does!!!”
And that is exactly how people feel. They couldn’t care less about an initiative unless it is communicated to them in a way that resonates with their aspirations or solves problems that are important to them.
To this end, make sure that you have the communication strategists and marketing minds as part of the team. They can not only develop elements that will get your internal or external stakeholders excited to support the initiative as the building blocks are being put in place, but they will help craft the story in a way that makes people care.
Once you embrace the fact that people are self-interested, you are able to capitalize on the Dwayne Johnsons, and give them the information they need to feel good about the project – in the way they need it delivered.
The moral of the story is…
If you are a leader, build your team intentionally and carefully. Finally, beware the details. They will save you or do you in.
For strategies on accomplishing hard things, contact us at Wickham James. We will help cover your blind spots so you can stay focused on the path ahead.