They say that there are three types of manager: those that make things happen, those that watch things happen and those that ask, “What happened?”
I recently watched a governance team in action (or should that be ‘inaction’?)
The project was not going well. The governance team, made up of senior managers from across the country, was moaning and groaning, blaming and complaining.
“The project’s not going well.”
“We’re not going to be successful.”
“We’re not getting the results we need.”
And so on.
A group of ‘watchers’ – watching the project fail while spending their time complaining about it. This is typical of too many project steering committees. Made up of senior managers with vast knowledge, and experience, authority and power, but all they do is watch and moan as the project sinks deeper towards failure.
Then, suddenly, one member of the committee said, “Failure is not an option; we’ve got to make it succeed! Now, what can each of us individually do to ensure the project is successful?
This notion of taking action, of actually doing something about it, of making something happen, seemed to strike the rest of the committee like a novel idea, even a radical idea. But they caught the fever and actually started coming up with ideas that would address some of the project’s core problems.
Too often, governance committees are essentially passive. They’ll make a decision if you ask them, but they are not actively looking to take action to ensure the project’s success. They’d rather complain and blame; moan and groan and continue watching the project fail.
If they do this long enough they’ll join the ranks of those that ask, “What happened?”
In our governance training, we emphasize that governance is about two things above all else – the delivery of desired business outcomes, benefits and value, and taking action. Project governance is not for watchers.
What governance role are you (or your governance team) performing on your project?
If you are watching what’s happening, you need to know you should be making things happen.
© Jed Simms, Australia, 2010