A good friend and associate of mine, Stacy Goff, has been saying for years that project managers are agents of change. I’ve always believed this was true, however as I’ve begun my journey down the execution “rabbit hole” it has become even clearer.
Think about it. Why do you do a project? You do it to change something.
It may be to fix something that’s broken. It may be to implement new computer software that will make you more productive. Maybe it’s to after a new market or to expand an existing one.
In all these cases, you are changing the status quo. And you’re using a project as the vehicle to implement the change.
That being said, then project managers ARE change agents! But, that means that a good project manager or even a business owner that is trying to execute on their strategy must be open to change themselves!
This may seem like a given. But, more time that I care to admit when talk with a business owner whose business has stagnated the reason they’re not moving forward is they don’t think that they need to change to achieve their desired outcome.
Think about this. Even if you are expanding something that you’re currently doing, it’s still something different. If you don’t make the shifts necessary you won’t get the results you want.
Good examples are companies that use to use print media and the yellow pages to generate leads. When the market started to use different mediums like online directories and the Internet to get these services or products leads began to decline. The companies that didn’t shift to the new mediums died. The ones that did survived.
Let’s look at a company that wants to go to the next level or maybe hit the success stage of the growth cycle. It requires more people, more capital, more coordination, more space and equipment, more, more, more… If an owner has never managed something like this, the likelihood that they have the needed leadership and management skills are high. If they don’t acquire the skills what happens to their business? You’ve seen it happen hundreds of times – the business stagnates and just stays the same year after year.
Here is a perfect example where change needs to occur. But, because many business owners have had some level of success in their life they resist making the necessary change because they already think they are successful!
I agree THEY are successful. However, their business has not yet reached the success stage. As a result the business becomes more of a job than a business as the value comes from the owner’s actions instead of a part of the business’ operation.
So, what’s the project for change here? Actually, there are dozens of projects that need to be competed to make this transaction. But, the first one is making the owner understand that he/she needs to change themselves through gaining greater self-knowledge or their business will never become what it can become.
So you see CHANGE is critical. And, we use projects as the mechanism to create change. They first project for change in most small businesses is the owner, who needs to work on themselves to acquire the needed skills to manage and lead at that next level.
Have you seen this happen before? Share your examples, as they are more common than you may think. If we can get one owner to see the change they need to make in themselves it’s worth the effort as all the employees of a company are affected by the owners in ability to change. If you help one owner the impact is far reaching so share your stories.