A Guarantee of Project Success

How many times have you sweated the detail of one project after another, only to find that nothing is achieved?

It’s a catastrophe.

The process, planning and endless meetings become the ends not the means.

And of course there is the obligatory post-mortem where someone is expected to fall on their sword.

Two years ago Seth Godin (who else) wrote a blog post entitled The hierarchy of success. Here is a short extract:

“I think it looks like this:

1. Attitude

2. Approach

3. Goals

4. Strategy

5. Tactics

6. Execution”

[Before you read on, ask yourself where every project of yours starts 1 or 3]

When it comes to establishing why the project didn’t fly, we always assume a failure to execute, and it’s easy to see why. People didn’t buckle down, focus on the important from the urgent and give it enough time.

However, stand back for a while, and instead of pouring over the plethora of excuses, ask yourself did you take the right approach? You may think you have ground out all the permutations in advance of the project starting, but, seldom, do people do enough research to understand exactly what they are getting into. Most projects are launched on a wing and prayer, with the hope that the previous, successful modus operandi will do it again.

But attitude easily trumps approach.

Why are you doing this project in this way or at all?

It’s not just a case of thinking big or the impossible, it means bringing together a group of people who all have the same (or similar) beliefs, and have the conviction to see things to the bitter end.

How often have you found yourself up to your neck in the proverbial only to find that people lose heart, become demotivated and look for the nearest exit?


It’s seldom the money.

No, it’s about aligning their beliefs with the values of the business and squaring the circle.

If you want to guarantee success then spend more time at the head of the hierarchy and less on thrashing every day.


Why before How.

It’s not about doing more things, but more of the right things – the essence of leadership.

Of course, this hierarchy may guarantee success but just make sure that what you wish for, is what you get. Too often people achieve something, only to question if all the effort was worth the prize. Chasing the top line is fine, but is it sustainable?

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