Since 1989, I have been executing projects - always using the paradigm of people, process and technology to frame the activities and outcomes of the project charter. The success and/or failure of each initiative has been measured according to specific project activities under each of these components. Recently, I have found a more powerful application of this paradigm that exists in the actual execution of initiatives within each organization. It has been shown as organizations execute multitudes of projects the sum total impact of all of these projects will still subscribe to a general pattern of outcomes consistent with the organization’s ability to harness people, process and technologies to support and drive initiatives. Stated differently: the relative success of each project will continue to fall within a range of success that is governed by the organization’s ability to leverage all three of these components.
Further, I would suggest that leveraging processes and technologies follow a binary process – one which we can plan for and predict. At every project activity, process point or line of code there is a binary outcome making it easier to understand how to leverage processes and technologies to achieve the desired outcome. This is where we focus our attention – business process re-designing and technological tools.
The X Factor
People, by contrast, are definitely not binary. People have feelings, emotions and grey areas - like experiences, skillsets, genetics, environment and a bucket of other attributes all play together to determine how each person will react in any given situation. Rather than exhibiting reactions in terms of binary outcomes, people display a complex array of emotions, feelings, resistance or compliance. These reactions are difficult to plan for or react to in the context of a project plan line item. As a consequence, organizations can really struggle to maximize the beneficial impact that a cohesive team can bring to any discussion or initiative. This is where the people’s X-Factor becomes both a huge untapped opportunity and a perpetual source of frustration.
Is It Really about Change?
The good news is that we can improve on including, utilizing and leveraging people – and achieve this in a way that uplifts the entire organization in the process. This can be accomplished by a few common things that are so easily missed or forgotten:
- Each of us is different. We communicate differently, we listen differently, and we value different things. Are you getting the picture? As a consequence, we need to be able to adapt our communication depending on who we are talking to and how they need to receive the message.
- We need to be open to the fact that the other person may also have a valid point of view or opinion. As such, we need to create an environment where we can hear that opinion and effectively debate our different opinions to come up with the best outcome – without prejudice
- Lastly, once we have a set direction to achieve the best outcome, we all need to buy-in and support that vision and direction.
The achieved result of this process is better organizational performance and more engaged people. As easy as this sounds, the execution of it requires a fundamental shift in behaviors – up, down and across the organization.
Luckily, there are some known processes and specific methods that can be utilized in the journey to achieve organizational buy-in to project objectives. To understand more about those processes and specific methods listen to our webinar, “Trust Your People to Mature the Organization?”. This webinar is based around people’s behavior, habits, resistance to change and the lack of trust that slow organizations down to adopt the latest processes and technologies.