Lisa Anderson (50)
There’s no need to be concerned with your project’s leadership UNLESS you want to ensure success! It seems to be more challenging than ever to find excellent project leaders yet it is one of the most critical periods of time for delivering bottom line business results. Since the recession, competition has been fierce; thus, standing out in the crowd in terms of service, products, margins etc. is tough. Project results can deliver the difference between success and failure. What type of leader do you want in charge of your project?
Although unemployment remains higher than pre-recession levels, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find high-skilled resources such as project managers. Should we “make” or “buy” project leaders? Both – since project leaders can deliver results outside of the norm, it makes sense to pursue as many paths as possible. What are we searching for as the top qualities of a project leader? What do the best leaders do differently than the rest? 1) Clarify objectives. 2) Translate into plans. 3) Focus on results.
What company doesn’t have at least several projects going at once to try to support essential objectives? In my 20+ years of experience as a global business consultant and operations executive, I’ve yet to see one! As projects are commonplace in organizations, it becomes critical to figure out how to ensure success – delivering the intended results on-time and on-budget. Unfortunately, it is often far from a no-brainer to make this occur.
Interestingly, my clients often are looking for that “magic” solution which they often think relates to implementing the latest fad which seems to be getting positive attention in the news such as lean manufacturing, six sigma, etc. Yet they often fail to achieve sustainable results. Thus, they call me in to look over the situation and determine the optimal path forward to rectify the situation. 80% of the time, I find that the projects will deliver results if they “go back to the basics”: 1) Project leadership. 2) Critical path. 3) Exemplars. 4) Follow-up
Volatility is the new norm in today’s business environment. How often does your supplier decide to close up shop? Or, does your 20 year customer decide to go through a rigorous selection process? Or, does natural disaster cause a disruption in your supply chain? How about political strife? Are you planning a new ERP system implementation or upgrade? Undoubtedly, if you want to succeed in the new normal, you will learn to thrive amidst change!
Although change has always been around, it seems to be one of the most challenging roadblocks my clients face. How do you give your employees, customers and suppliers confidence to successfully navigate these ever-changing times? You must find out; otherwise, you’ll likely spend the next 20 years hoping to survive. Who wants that sort of existence? Thus, a few strategies for success should come in handy: 1) Leadership. 2) Exemplars. 3) Modeling. 3) Trials. & risk.
In my 20+ years of experience as an operations executive, a global supply chain consultant and a non-profit trade association leader, I’ve found navigating culture change is a requirement for success – no matter the initiative. If your company isn’t merging cultures, embarking on a major change initiative such as an ERP implementation or dramatically changing the business to ensure top notch customer service in today’s volatile new normal environment, you’ll probably be left in the dust. Thus, those who thrive in this chaotic business world learn to be proficient at culture change.
My clients who cover diverse industries (from aerospace to consumer products to healthcare products) unanimously find culture change to be one of the most challenging obstacles to overcome. Successful culture change is not dictated. It isn’t a one-time event. And there’s no formula for success. Thus, a few strategies for success should come in handy: 1) Strategic clarity. 2) Give it a boost with enthusiasm. 3) You get what you measure. 3) Make it visible.
Volatility is the new norm. Results must be an assumption as companies struggle for high growth rates, fight to find and retain top talent and find that execution alone is no longer enough to succeed in the new normal business environment. In order to stand out in the crowd and succeed, we must think differently.
Instead of looking at the latest and greatest fads and expensive programs, why not turn your thinking upside down and consider a simple yet effective approach to success? The power of focus! What could focus do for your projects?
In today’s new normal business environment, customers want products and services delivered quicker. Investors want month-end numbers faster. Customers expect new products yesterday. Executives are expected to sift through an immense amount of information and make rapid decisions. Boil it down – speed is a differentiator.
In my experience as an operations strategist and global business consultant and with hundreds of projects of all shapes and sizes behind me, I find that there can be hundreds or thousands of moving parts in any project or program. In these situations, it’s hard enough to keep track of all the pieces and tasks, let alone find ways to leverage speed. So, what should we do?
In today’s new normal business environment, it is imperative to stay ahead of the pack. Only those companies that innovate will outperform their competition. Thus, it is even more critical to pay attention to the top project priorities and how to leverage them to deliver bottom line business results.
In my experience as a global business consultant and with hundreds of projects of all shapes and sizes behind me, I find that it is critical to pay close attention to which priorities are not only popular but also typically deliver key results that contribute to company success. In today’s new normal business environment, it is even trickier to stand out in the crowd as everyone is doing whatever they can to gain an edge to grow the business. There are a few project priority trends worth noting – why not leverage these for 2013 success?
In today’s new normal business environment, leaders must do more with less – and deliver superior customer service at the same time. In my 20+ years of experience as an operations executive and global business consultant, I’m seeing an unprecedented number of projects that must be run simultaneously to deliver business objectives. Thus, program management is essential – those who succeed with outpace the competition. I’ve found that there are 6 Don’ts to avoid:
As a global business consultant, entrepreneur and operations strategist, I’ve seen countless business strategies, plans and projects succeed or fail based solely on what might be considered a nonessential question. On one hand, I’ve promoted that leaders and project managers ask questions; however, I’ve seen that approach fail as well. Instead, it boils down to whether you’re asking the right questions at the right time.
This situation arose recently in a client project. After following what seemed to be all the right processes – implementing improved internal communication processes, working closely with the supplier to resolve tooling issues and keeping the customer in the loop with progress to ensure improved delivery performance, a failure occurred.
Do you sit in project meetings? How about develop project plans? Report out to executives or board members? Track results? I’d bet if I tracked the time of 10 managers on any day of the week, at least 8 of the 10 would have some sort of involvement in a project for at least part of the day. For most of my clients, it would be 9 out of 10. So, as an overloaded manager, why not think about a few tips to stand out from the crowd?