During implementation, silence is not golden


Countless researchers and managers have commissioned studies on why major projects fail in order to achieve a higher percentage of successful implementations. Was it the vendor? The equipment? The culture? The timing? The budget? The resources? JUST TELL ME WHY IT FAILED!!!

Yes, it can be quite frustrating and sometimes it could even cost a person’s career…

But I came across this blog post on AnswerNet with a simple (possible) answer: silence:

Research carried out by training company VitalSmarts and professional services firm, The Concours Group, uncovered five crucial issues – what they term “crucial conversations” – that have an enormous impact on whether high-profile business initiatives ultimately succeed or fail.

The study, “Silence Fails: The Five Crucial Conversations for Flawless Execution”, suggests that when even one of these crucial conversations fails, a silent crisis plays out in a relatively simple dynamic that results in initiatives failing 85% of the time. The result of this failure sees projects going over budget, missing deadlines and failing to meet quality and functionality specifications.

However, when these conversations succeed, according to a survey of more than 1,000 executives and project managers across 40 companies found that the failure rate is reduced by 50 to 70%.

Those are astounding statistics! And what are the “five crucial conversations”?

1. Fact-free planning – the scenario that sees a project is set up to fail from the beginning with deadlines or resource limits that are not grounded in reality.
2. Absent without leave (AWOL) sponsors – managers who fail to provide the leadership, political influence, time or energy to see a project through to completion.
3. Skirting – when people work around the priority-setting process and are not held accountable for doing so.
4. Playing chicken – when team leaders and members don’t admit when there are problems with a project but wait for someone else to speak up.
5. Lack of feedback – team members perpetuate dysfunction when they are unwilling or unable to support the project, and team leaders are reluctant to discuss their failures with them candidly.

Now look back on your past projects or even your current projects, and do an honest evaluation of these bullet points. Is your project on the path to an inaudible self-destruction?

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