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Tag: change

Tools don’t make us competent

Years ago I worked at a company that published content. When we needed a new editor, we’d hire random people from the produce department at the grocery store next to our offices. We’d then teach them how to use Microsoft Word. After a few training sessions, they were able to immediately create high impact content that engaged the audience and drove revenue.

Okay, I lied in the above paragraph. I’m making a point. All too often organizational leadership confuses tools with advanced professional skills. They think that if we just brought the right tools in, the current employees will suddenly do their jobs better. They miss an immutable truth about how to succeed. The first goal must be hiring people with the right skills. We then need to define the best process to get the work completed. The last step in the process is to provide tools that support the processes and complement the skills of the team.

People, process, then tools. No changes can take place without following this linear path. The short term pain of the changes will be much less severe than the failure of trying to teach unskilled people how to use a tool they see no value in using.

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Why project management initiatives often fail

Generally the leadership in a company or business unit realizes they have a resourcing and/or execution problem. They know that transitioning to a project organization is the solution. They interview and hire someone who is experienced in building and leading a project team. They assure the person that leadership is committed to the success of project management.

After the new hire arrives and lays out the plan, the internal pushback begins. Everyone is too busy working on all the high priority work to even discuss how to change how they work. They explain to leadership that the new hire “doesn’t understand” how that specific industry/organization/company actually operates. The new hire lacks the connection with the employees to induce them to change and lacks the authority to bring in people with the right skills to implement project management.

The leadership team gets caught between the promises they made the new hire, and the fear that their legacy employees will be upset/hurt/jobless if they proceed forward on the agreed-upon path to success. They waiver in their commitment. They make excuses and compromise their goals.

The new hire becomes disillusioned and their engagement decreases. They start searching for another job. They leave. The company then decides that project management isn’t​ right for their organization. Whenever someone brings up the need for project management, that person will be told that it was tried, and it didn’t work. They should just learn how to function in the current environment.

What can leadership do to make sure that project management initiatives succeed?

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Change is inevitable – suffering through it isn’t

Many people dislike change. They avoid it at all costs. They feel the need to resist the evil of it.

Life is constantly changing. Work is constantly changing. We need to not only embrace change, but be the change. Instead of asking “why?”, ask “why not?”. Seek out opportunities to change how we live and work. Change is good. It’s been happening since the first person left the cave to forage for food. Humans have an amazing capacity to adapt.

Once we accept that nothing stays the same, we are able to live in the moment and feel fulfilled.

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