Now that you’ve finally hired the additional project team members needed, and you’ve checked, checked, and triple checked your strategic initiative’s plan and deliverables, it’s time to start your project, right? Wrong. Before you start any strategic initiative, clarify with your team the role the project plays in supporting your organization’s mission, and how each team member fits in. The more clearly every team member (veteran and new) understands how the project and their work – individually and collectively – will further your organization’s overall mission, the greater the likelihood your project will succeed.
The more clearly every team member (veteran and new) understands how the project and their work – individually and collectively – will further your organization’s overall mission, the greater the likelihood your project will succeed.
Too often, when a strategic initiative kicks off, it’s: All hands on deck, noses down, and let’s get going! That’s understandable because, let’s be honest, strategic projects ‘can’t fail.’ The future of your organization may be at stake – and that’s not an exaggeration.
Given their critical nature, it’s common to see strategic project teams work like crazy to hit the numbers, meet the target dates, and not make mistakes. However, that intense focus on the much needed, but tactical aspects of the project, causes gaping holes in the foundation and culture of the team. Gaping holes that lead to project delays, mistakes, low morale, team conflicts, team turnover, etc., etc., etc.,
Gaping holes in the team’s culture are present when:
- The new team members’ don’t understand how the project impacts the larger organization’s mission or its customers. To the new team members, the project is just a ‘thing’ they have to work on for their job.
- Veteran team members don’t care about or welcome the new team members because they’re not expecting them to stay. The veteran team members only hope the new people contribute something while they’re around and don’t mess things up too badly.
- Team members (veteran and new) don’t feel as if they’re a team. Sure they all work on the same project, but they work in isolation for the most part. They feel as if they ‘have’ to work on this project, with these other people, to make money – until they find something better.
If one of your strategic project teams is presenting any of these holes in their team culture, take time to have a series of conversations with them – collectively and individually. Create a sense of community and purpose for and with your team. Help them understand why the work they’re doing is important to not only the project but to the overall mission as well. Show them that they’re an important, wanted, and valued part of – not just a team – but of your organization’s overall community.
The sooner you create and support a team culture that supports your team members – new and veteran – the sooner you’ll be able to check things off that strategic initiative punch list.
Copyright MMXXII – Liz Weber, CMC, CSP – Weber Business Services, LLC – www.WBSLLC.com +1.717.597.8890
Liz supports clients with strategic and succession planning, as well as leadership training and executive coaching. Learn more about Liz on LinkedIn!