- Cost management
- Increased customer focus,
- Improved productivity.
This is probably fueled by the fact that the top three things that keep them awake at night are
- Managing the cost base
- Leadership capability
- Ensuring that they business has the skills and talent that it needs to succeed.
So they key question must be how are leaders focusing upon answering these challenges. My experience would suggest that new programmes and projects have been created as part of a grand plan to deliver improvements against forecast.
Teams will have be established to develop and implement new ideas, or better still strategies to bring about change.
Some lucky team members will have been seconded full time across from their ‘real work ‘s deliver the programme. Others may not have been so lucky and end up trying to run the day job and a project or two on the side.
In accordance with current management thinking the teams will spend a good deal of time dreaming up project definitions, business cases, risk logs, and dependency charts.
Arbitrary performance measures will have been crafted to make the projects look successful going forward.
Contingencies will be in to place to ensure that any slippage is blamed upon some other part of the business.
And so the game commences.
As I found out in one business last week the programme from last year was still running in full flight having slipped in to the new financial year. No allowance had been made for the impact of one upon the other.
It was as if there was no conflict. Maybe the Board could not see the problem, but for the team on the ground the chaos was all to easy to see.
The meeting convened in the ivory tower was unable to sort out the mess at it first attempt!
Power games were at play, along with careers and bonuses. The unwritten rules of the game were at conflict with common sense, and the intended direction of the business.
Who would raise their head up and shout ‘wrong jungle’. No one seemed brave enough at the first attempt.
So back to the new years list of projects.
Projects drift seems inevitable, slippage against milestones likely; and measures against time, cost or quality fudged conveniently
to protect the senior responsible officer. Someone who is probably so far up the food chain that they would not be able to recognise the project operating on the ground and be able to give an informed account of what was truthfully going on in the business.
At the end of the day the industrious activities of the programme headed up under the guise of helping the CEO achieve the three priorities identified above are likely to be botched to look like success. The truth may look a little different.
Let’s hope that the CEO and the Board are so busy in strategic meetings that they don’t get to find out the truth.
But hang on a minute, is this the best way to lead a business?
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