This week’s focus:Judging by the World Cup results so far, it is increasingly difficult for the so-called ‘favourites’ to easily beat the smaller teams. Although Russia easily beat Saudi Arabia, it took England until the last minute to beat Tunisia, while Spain relied on a lucky goal to beat Iran and Argentina could only draw their opening game with Iceland.
All of these minnows – Tunisia, Iran and Iceland – were well organised. The players knew what the team was trying to achieve, were part of a shared system and clearly understood their own roles, as well as those of their team mates. Simply put, good organisation can take you a long way.
The organisations of these teams is a good metaphor for strategic projects. While I find that most operational processes of successful businesses are well organised, I rarely find the same approach for their key initiatives. Instead, I come across managers who face conflicting priorities, are unclear about their own responsibilities and where their own decision-making stops and other managers’ responsibilities begin, and who don’t have a common process for managing the delivery of the project.
At a recent client engagement, for instance, I spent the first four weeks of the project setting up systems for a cross-functional project team to communicate with one another effectively, finding ways to rapidly identify and resolve issues and creating a weekly management report, including key metrics. The results only started to flow once these structures were in place.
How well organised are your strategic projects? Are they as tight, structured and efficient as Iceland’s midfield against Argentina, or are they as loose, ill-disciplined and as lacking in focus as the Saudi Arabia team were against Russia?
Off The Record: Team by Lorde
We live in cities you’ll never see onscreen
Not very pretty, but we sure know how to run things
Livin’ in ruins of a palace within my dreams
And you know, we’re on each other’s team
© Stuart Cross 2018. All rights reserved.