Project Management in Practice

Beyond the alphabet soup of PRINCE2, MSP, MoP, PMBOK, ITIL, Agile

Tag Archives: politics

All about attitude

Organisational growth is always a scary proposition. People are put out of their comfort zone and reactions vary from person to person. One common approach I see in these situations is to go for ready-made talent from elsewhere than take the risk to develop from within.

One major hesitation to invest in people comes from the fear of losing those people once they have been trained up and the thought that the competition will snap up what it has invested in. I read an interesting post shared by Sarah Ouakim, where she outlines the response from a CEO to his CFO, who had exactly this fear. What happens if the organisation does not invest in its people and they end up staying? How does that help the organisation grow? I applaud that CEO for clarity of thought.

Afraid to invest in people because they may leave? What happens if you don’t and they stay?

In order to successfully grow from within, the organisation also has to be looking for leaders from within. What the organisation must look out for is what Scott Edinger in his Harvard Business Review blog calls reverse leadership – where people with specific expertise important to the organisation step up even though they may not be in an appointed leadership position. The organisation must acknowledge that it is not a sign of appointed leadership not working well, but potential to grow its capabilities.

It is very expensive and time consuming to go about hiring the right leadership. If you get the mixture wrong, you can compromise the organisation and its culture. If you have the people with potential in house, it is infinitely less risky to empower them to take on leadership roles and hire keen junior staff. It is also a more sustainable of of growing. Flourishing reverse leadership usually does not happen by accident. The organisation must have a culture of recognising and valuing such effort.

If you get this right, people will be less inclined to leave. It is all about attitude.

The peril of quality lapses

Having a week off between jobs has given me the chance to spend a bit more time looking at the world in general. One news that particularly came to my attention is the case of a simple spelling mistake that has caused plenty of red faces for the Republican US Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.

This story shows all the hallmarks of leaving a developer to produce an application while little or no effort was given to ensuring the output was of a quality that would achieve the desired outcomes – rallying supporters. This is not something that will necessarily define Romney’s campaign to become the President. Neither did Romney make the mistake personally. His mistake was to hire staffers that were sloppy. In the days of spell checkers it is not a mistake that should get this far. Mistakes do happen, some more visible and embarrassing than others. On a week he has sealed the Republican nomination, he would have been looking to go after Barack Obama’s record as president. Instead, his staffers are left cleaning up after this gaffe.

The result of missing or ignoring some basic quality assurance measures can have significant adverse outcome. While this one was limited to some red faces, other instances can have severe consequences. Never assume quality is under control or someone else will ensure it. As project management professionals, it is our role to define acceptable quality criteria for the project outputs and set out processes that will achieve those.

Then again there are the likes of Kim Kardashians of this world who revel in adverse publicity … for her the quality criteria may be to ensure a big talking point!

Image Credit: CNN

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