Awhile back, I wrote about the project that just never ends. The other day, I got the news that it is in hibernation and will be coming back in 2011. This got me thinking about all the time that was spent and all the time that gets spent on projects or work that amounts to very little, other than a waste of time. As leaders it is easy to ask a question or maybe attempt to gain some knowledge on a subject – that simply sets the organization on a whole new effort. I can safely say that I have been on both ends of those situations. Looking back, I have a few examples:
- The never ending project or sponsoring something that is too early on to move forward. To clarify these, they are the ones that the leader may see, may hear about or just have a question as simple as “why have we not looked at X?”. These projects take on a life of the own. Everyone wants to do a awesome job and provide the level of detail to what they are being asked. I think, we take that a bit too far. Why? I know I have made the assumption that this could not be real, so give it about as much time as necessary. Only to find out that my assumption was wrong. So, the next time – I am off on the complete analysis. Only to come back with the same answers as the quick way. Either way, the work is not really used for much or considered by many a waste of time.
- Every team has a “star” player, overload that person. Every manager that I have had (and me included) have one or more (hopefully more) stars on the team. They are the go to person that gets stuff done. They seem to have endless capacity or just make it look easy. Fact is, those folks don’t know their limits and just keep on, keeping on. Until the work is not getting done or complaints about the person start showing up.
- Not managing performance, quickly and effectively. I have had teams that have been pretty high performing teams, but not everyone performed the same. When performance is slipping, there is something wrong. Addressing it quickly and effectively, will help everyone.
- Labels. It is so easy to put labels on people and projects. Once you do that, the label will stick forever. Projects that start off wrong and struggle – get the label of failing. What happens when the team gets their act together doing the middle. Most leaders have already given up on that project or project team. Performance is usually documented once a year, labels come with that. Could take you a year to shed the label! Referencing my performance management posts – just in case you want more detail.
Being leaders is not easy, during the day to day activities; there are times when error’s in judgment happen. It is the good leader that is able to quickly see that they have made a slight error and correct it. Work has to get done and the people in the organization need to feel enriched for the experience as well. Wasting time, helps no one. Look at the long term stuff, rather than the short term. Remember to keep your goals in front of you.