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'Short-term gain, long term-pain'

Owen McCall | April 11, 2014
Often, we work really hard on a project and once we achieve our goal, the gains are short-term. Inevitably, organisational focus moves on, and the organisation rebounds back to the way it was. How do we break this cycle?

If we achieve the goal (which is about half the time, but that's a story for another day) the gains are short-term only. Almost inevitably when the organisational focus moves on, the organisation rebounds back to the way it was and leaves the organisation as it was, maybe even a little worse. What's the answer? Don't use projects as the primary method of delivering change.

Instead, focus on building the capabilities you need to be the leading organisation in your field, or in our case, the IT team that the organisation deserves. This doesn't mean don't do projects but rather focus your projects on supporting your organisation and teams to build capabilities over time rather than achieving goals per se.

How do you start? First, make a decision that your focus is on building capability over time and not on specific goal achievement. Then identify an appropriate model or framework that identifies the capabilities you need. If one doesn't exist, then develop it yourself. This should not be needed, however, as there are plenty of robust models available for our industry. Don't worry too much about whether it's the right one. They all have strengths and weaknesses but most of the leading frameworks are perfectly adequate. Simply pick one and lead your organisation to become practicing experts in that framework and those capabilities.

If you do this, you will break the cycle and your goals will be achieved naturally.

 

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