I had a very interesting coffee with a colleague yesterday when we put the world to rights as we always do, but one subject was dominant, the success or failure of projects and one point that stood out was the failure rate of projects managed by one of the big four consultancies, it stood at over 50%. So the question we then went on to debate was why and whilst we both felt that it had a lot to do with the background of the consultants and their lack of business experience, the main reason we felt their projects failed was a lack of engagement with the staff throughout the organisation.
I often refer to rugby in my work and how the top teams operate as an analogy for successful business and once again I found myself turning back to my sporting routes.
In rugby a strong squad are empowered to deliver their product, winning matches, how they see fit on any one match day, clearly a necessity when you run onto a pitch. But what the best teams have is a great coach who will work with the team in the build up to the match, pushing them hard, training them, passing on their experience, giving them the freedom to try new things, to make mistakes in a safe environment on the training ground so that when it comes to the match there is a much better chance of success.
A business consultant performs the role of a rugby coach, working with teams to pass on experience, to challenge the way the business runs currently, to push the team to new levels and most importantly to engage the whole team with the project so they all want to achieve a successful outcome.
All too often I come across consultants who undertake their analysis based on figures and make decisions without taking into consideration the most important element of any project, the people.
Businesses will normally talk of their most important asset being their people but when it comes to actually delivering objectives they do not take into consideration the effect any change may have on the people and how they will respond.
So imagine, a rugby squad that has been playing together all season and the coach suddenly announces that he is changing five of the squad for the next match without any explanation, the effect will be massively unsettling. These players haven’t been sacked, just aren’t playing but no one knows why and none of the team know how to work with the new structure and the outcome if more likely to be a loss than a win. The same applies to a business, if you decide to make a change without engaging the team from the outset, you are more likely to fail.
To find out more about how we work with businesses to ensure their projects succeed get in touch.