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How to Lead a Project Your Team Will Actually Follow

An expensive mistake I see businesses make is attempting to move their big idea forward when people are not on the same page.  When this happens, the big idea becomes the quickest path to failure.

Like authors Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winter of Rocket Fuel describe it, imagine all the people in your organization or on your project team as arrows. Some point one way; others point in a different direction — all depending on what they see as the values, priorities, and key issues related to your big idea.

When arrows — your team — point this way and that, clearly people are not on the same page. The result? Your initiative gets stuck or moves so slowly that no matter how much pressure you put on the bow, you can’t hit the target.

This unfocused effort to move your best idea can feel immensely frustrating. Even though you’re known for getting more done than expected, you can’t do it all. You need to deal with this, and you need options. Here are 3 options to consider:

  1. Coach. Coach the existing project leader behind your idea to instill in the team the values, priorities, and key issues related to your idea. This essential effort will unleash a stuck idea, so it can move forward freely. On the other hand, maybe your project leader isn’t equipped to deliver the info in a way that brings people, ahem, arrows together.
  2. Swap. Ideally, you could call on someone in-house to take over the project leadership, organize your team, and move beyond road blocks. Truth is that most companies don’t have the time or ability to re-purpose someone to pick up and direct a program to successful completion.
  3. Supplement. Contract a seasoned strategic partner, someone who skillfully balances efficiency and quality and steps in to quickly access the dynamics of your team and get goals on track. You need a project leader that brings confidence and diplomacy to create the reasoning and clarity behind your biggest initiatives.

At the end of the day, you need a person to get all the arrows pointing in the same direction, on task and focused. You need a firework show of productivity to get the job done successfully — and enjoyably.

Want to learn how easy it can be to get all your arrows aimed on the bullseye? Let’s schedule a 20-minute call. I want to hear your story and explore how you can get everyone in lockstep so your efforts move forward freely, and everyone’s goals, values, and priorities align around the project. The best part? The meeting is on me!

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A passionate organizer of people and initiatives, Erica Smigielski brings over twenty years of experience in project leadership to financial software and SaaS companies who want to launch their next big idea. She leads large-scale, complex projects like product launches and company mergers and acquisitions as well as focused efforts to bring structure and process to fast-track businesses. Erica holds certifications as a Stanford Advanced Project Manager as well as a Certified Group Facilitator, making her a master orchestrator of strategic planning, as well as a skillful communicator who can expertly navigate complex group dynamics.