The ability to multitask was long considered a laudable trait. In fact, the realities of life (and business) made it an essential skill. Experts now say splitting your time and focus among multiple priorities tends to shortchange all of them. That may be why so many business projects fall short of their goals. How can management avoid the distractions of everyday business to increase the probability of project success? There are multiple strategies to ensure every project has the right leadership and the appropriate management focus to guide projects from a solid start to a strong finish.
To identify the right strategy, allow everyone to play to their strengths, whether that means individuals move over to a project team or they remain focused on existing responsibilities. Decide if it makes better sense for a manager to directly oversee a project or delegate project management to an external SME. Finally, work with an expert in talent solutions to identify the specialized support needed to ensure success in the pursuit of both project and core mission objectives.
Know When It’s Time to Delegate
The most successful managers are extremely effective with task delegation. They are also very proactive in identifying key gaps in skill sets within their team. Too often, however, we find managers who tend to keep adding things to a long list of to-dos until one day, the model breaks. The staff starts feeling overworked, priorities consistently change, and morale suffers, which leads to larger organizational problems.
Management Distractions Can Impact Every Aspect of a Project
Ideally, department priorities should always be aligned with the strategic goals of the organization. In reality, when everything gets added to a to-do list, the day tends to fill with tasks rather than business priorities. Distractions happen, but most can be delegated or deprioritized. A tendency to micromanage, insisting on keeping tight control of everything in the hands of a single manager can not only overwhelm that manager but quickly derail a project on multiple levels. For example:
- Budget – Funding shortfalls can often be traced to a lack of planning in how to manage the budget at a detailed project planning level.
- Information flow/communications – In a distracted environment, manual processes prevail because there never seems to be any time to automate or create efficiencies to ensure effective communication across the organization.
- Mix of skills on the team – Prioritizing time to strategically assess skills and coach individuals to strengthen the team is a luxury you won’t have if you are stuck in the weeds of managing tasks and reactively dealing with distractions.
- Change management – Buy-in is key for the successful implementation and adoption of change. It’s important to communicate how changes align with organizational strategy to ensure commitment and support from the staff.
- Leadership – Employee engagement and career development are critical to attracting and retaining top talent. They are also critical to executing corporate strategy. The primary driver of company morale is belief in the leadership team. If distractions impede management’s ability to instill confidence in the staff, chances are they will look to find it elsewhere.
- Clear goals – Distracted managers may do more box checking than strategic thinking. Without the time and focus to create clear, measurable goals that are meaningful to the team, individuals may feel that they have no control over outcomes. That can demotivate rather than promote high performance, especially when compensation is linked to unclear goals.
- Collaboration – Distracted managers may be too focused on task completion to have time to promote collaboration. They need people to work independently, without the need for close supervision. High performers usually crave opportunities to take on increased responsibilities, but there is also value in collaboration and creating diversity in the decision-making process.
The Key to Project Success: Manage Distractions
Managing distractions is part of any job, and certainly part of any leader’s role within an organization that aspires to grow. Playing to people’s strengths and understanding any limitations within your team are critical to putting everyone in a position to succeed. Top-performing managers understand the importance of aligning their department with the strategic goals of the organization. They value quality talent, planning, culture, and achievement of goals over cost. They know plans and projects must be executed, but there is a limit to every team’s capacity and expertise. When they need help, they look to a staffing partner to provide the specialized resources required to execute the plan and ensure project goals are achieved.
Let us be that partner, helping you succeed with your next project.