I have worked with a good many clients who have too many projects and not enough resources. In many cases hiring extra resource to help the work, the co-ordination and the delivery is all that is required.
But in some cases the in-tray is simply piled high with many No1 Priority Tasks to the extent that people suffering change fatigue regard failure as business-as-usual.
The simple answer is focus, but that isn’t necessarily the right answer.
As a triathlete too much focus on swimming is always at the expense of cycling and running and the secret to success is know the perfect blend for the person, the course, the circumstance. As a former athlete and high performance coach my challenge is always to focus on the outcome and rely upon the process.
In business focus on your strengths is a regular but wrong suggestion. It is seldom your strengths that cause you problems but your weaknesses. Being brilliant at sales is of little value if you are not equally good at invoicing and receipting income.
I have worked with organisations with as many as 250 projects in a 20 year pipeline. The question is often is it better to do 100 things at 1% or 1 thing at 100%. This is a hypothetic argument since no organisation will do only one project per year – but it makes a point: If you attempt to do too many things there will be no discernible benefit and you will simply dissipate your energy.
Project success is nearly always in the planning. Good planning makes for easy communication, collaboration and execution. The same is true of business strategy. Too many objectives both exhaust the staff and confuse the customers.
Inevitably strategy is about competing interests and becomes highly political and personal. What is often missing is an agreed method of measurement or priority. It may (or may not) be return on investment, customer satisfaction, market share. What is should not be is who shouts loudest.
Perhaps the subject of your next strategy, planning or management away-day should not be which projects should we do, but by what method should we prioritise. Then, like the athletes I train focus on the outcome and rely upon the process.
The perfect solution is one which is suitable, feasible and acceptable.
Feedback and comments always welcome
TimHJRogers World Champs Rower, Commonwealth Games Triathlete, MBA (Management Consulting) PRINCE2 Projects & Change Practitioner, TEDx & Jersey Policy Forum
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