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Insight Newsletter

Insight Newsletter Archive


INSIGHT Newsletters

Our INSIGHT newsletters share seasoned advice and fresh insights about many project management topics. We invite you to spend some time learning more about how to make your projects a success.

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April 2011

Dear Colleague:

In this month's newsletter, we've decided to take on a touchy issue in business: The complacency of mediocrity. Organizations spend billions each year working on new strategic initiatives to meet their organizations' objectives. Yet, on average, two out of every three initiatives will fail.


Combatting status quoSure, the project may complete with some semblance of the original objective intact, but most likely not until going back to ask for additional funding, more time/resources to complete, or reducing the scope of the original objective.


So how, might you ask, can companies spend so much money and time on key initiatives and then allow them to fail so frequently? More often than not, complacency is to blame. Status quo. Project teams come back to the well so often that it is an expectation of running the business. In some cases, planning is so poor at the beginning that it becomes hard to prove what the original budget or timeline or scope was supposed to be.


In this month's article, Alisa Speese writes about complacency and provides some ideas for how to combat it in your organization.


It is not easy to fight complacency. It is somewhat ingrained in our society. If you want to buck the trend and make better use of your strategic spend each year, contact us at 847-808-9999 or Peritius can help you set higher expectations and recognize more of your objectives by using that spend more effectively.


Best regards,


Laura Dribin Werner
President & CEO
Peritius Consulting, Inc.

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On October 1, 2010, Integrated Systems Management became Peritius Consulting.

Complacency: How to Break the Cycle

By Alisa Speese, PMP
Practice Director


I have been a practitioner of project management for longer than I care to admit. And during my career I have worked with dozens of corporations - most all Fortune 1000. Regardless of how many times I hear it, I still find it difficult to understand why failure is accepted.


Complacent employeeOf course, in my daily interactions with corporate executives, few mention the failures. Instead I hear code words granting permission to exceed budget or timing or both. But pick up a newspaper or trade journal and there are numerous articles related to failure. Corporations have learned over the years there are few consequences for failed project work - and failure has become accepted as part of the fabric of corporate cultures.


Studies on workplace safety show that the absence of problems breeds complacency. However, in the case of project delivery, it is the exact opposite. Repeated failure breeds apathy and acceptance of the status quo. It is easy enough to seek additional funds and go back to rework the strategy.


How to Break the Cycle of Repeated Failure

I believe that there is a path to break the cycle of repeated failure. Until that cycle is broken, organizations continue to lose money on poorly run initiatives. The following are some strategic approaches:

  • Hold one person accountable
  • Allow the business to lead
  • Ask the hard questions
  • Tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth
  • Assess the bottom line results to the business

From a program management point of view, here are some other ideas:

  • Keep it simple and practical. Get back to basics. Take the time to really plan properly, evaluate and track changes to the plan, and document everything.
  • Invest in communication. Appropriate, proactive communication results in transparency, which means no surprises. Period.
  • Insist that project managers have impeccable soft skills. Invest in leaders who delegate, negotiate, sell, coach, mentor and build strong, healthy teams.
  • Accept a new style of governance where business leads, decisions are made swiftly and mistakes morph into growth opportunities.

So avoid complacency - choose success.

About Peritius

Peritius Consulting is a management consulting firm that helps its clients execute their strategic plans. For over 21 years, Peritius has helped its clients navigate from vision to reality, allowing them to realize their strategic ROI. Please contact us to learn more about how we can help you deliver strategy in the most effective, cost-efficient manner.   |     |     847-808-9999


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