For the past several weeks and on a daily basis we’ve all awakened as witnesses to the challenges and stumbles that the new administration is experiencing as it takes over the running of our government. What we’re experiencing today is a team working to find its rhythm. ‘Smooth transition’ is not yet its’ middle name. Certainly, and for our individual and collective benefit, hopefully it will settle down in the near future … and yet, what we are seeing is the resulting need for re-work at its best. The government has a huge budget so making corrections and the cost of them isn’t apparently so impactful in the overall scheme of things … or at least it seems that way.
However, in private business, re-work has a very definite impact and is anything but positive. The need for doing something over brings about the following and unintended realities:
• A demoralized team of people who were charged with the task
• Lost enthusiasm and disappointment for the project … although it may be temporary
• Finger pointing looking to place blame on another or others for what they didn’t do or did to create the
• Wasted dollars that potentially erode the anticipated profits derived from the project.
Working within companies of many types I see the downside associated with having to start a project over again. So often it occurs because people interpret the need to get it done as quickly as possible as the most critical goal and this leads to jumping in head first believing that issues can either be dealt with along the way or not even seeing potential issues. To many, whether working on behalf of the company management, a departmental plan or an ad hoc committee, getting ‘it’ done is the overriding goal driving their action. And this is precisely what contributes to having to do it over again and the related, wasted dollars.
Taking the up-front time to do needed planning turns out to be the cement that enhances success as there are straight-forward ways to greatly minimize and even avoid the need for re-work. The following steps, when taken by those involved in the project, help to insure economic and outcome success.
1. Get buy-in from all involved as to the intended goal of the effort. Giving each person a voice and the responsibility to use it can accomplish this as the purpose is clarified and understood. The result is an individual and collective sense of shared ownership.
2. As a team, outline the steps that are intended to be taken to insure that there are no unforeseen issues bringing unforeseen glitches.
3. Resolve disagreement within the group prior to embarking on the project … this rather than pushing them aside thinking they will be resolved as you progress.
4. Establish a reasonable and realistic schedule for accomplishing the project that works within the time allotted to achieve success
5. Have tolerance for the need to make adjustments along the way that may, in fact, require a certain amount of re-work. Striving for the ‘perfect’ plan before launching can bring into the process analysis paralysis which you don’t want.
Modeling what we do in a business process after organizations that are very successful is a good thing to do. AND … observing organizations that stumble and make errors that need to be redone is just as valuable for it teaches us what NOT to do as we travel our project’s path. Even though what we observe taking place in Washington D.C. is on a different scale, I know that within many companies and organizations, people are noticing and taking steps to avoid the discouraging, demoralizing and costly re-work that the greatest success can ill afford. It’s never too late to take stock and make sure that you are moving forward on a goal that will deliver the best possible outcome.