Lessons Learned #1: How to Get the Answers for Success Within Your Organization

I was speaking to a Fortune 500 VP of Innovation a few weeks ago, and he shared the following story with me: FY2017 kicked off with a lot of momentum, and they had 30 projects in their digital omnichannel portfolio which received funding, and a project team/vendors had been recruited by IT. Six months into the projects, the business side of the organization cancelled over 7 of the projects, and said they were “too busy.”

Obviously, this equated to wasted time, money, and the ever-expensive question arose: What other opportunities had they missed? How can the business know and understand if they have the capacity and expertise to execute?

How can the business know and understand if they have the capacity and expertise to execute?

Those answers should already be within the organization.

Here are some suggestions on getting answers and creating transparency before projects are funded:

  1. Create a transparent communication process which is a two-way street: A continuous internal communication process and feed-back loop will help to give you the answers needed for effective project engagement, and will give your organization the ability to think outside of the box.
  2. Before green lighting a project: Create a formal process to score risk and assess execution capabilities. These should go into your project use case and business plan. Communicate these metrics with everyone for cross functional transparency.
  3. Don’t follow the standard, one size doesn’t fit all: The same playbook for delivering innovation services and technology can fall short. To execute, find out what is unique about your business rules and processes, and survey your non-IT staff to uncover any hidden processes and issues.
  4. Know who you work with: Do you have enough subject matter experts to address your project? Spend extra time performing your due diligence on the people who will actually be doing the work, and engaging with your teams. Create a good mix of external/internal “A” players.

You can’t artificial intelligence (AI) your way to success or drop everything onto your services vendor and expect great results. For any company to be successful, it takes people, not machines.

Organizations must continuously think about how best to structure and deploy the right resources at the right time to get everything done. Asking your team for answers will bring about continuous development of talent, improve individual behaviors, and nurture the right cultural.

The answers already exist within your organization, so as leaders, we need to seek the answers.

Want to see more lessons learned? Check them out here.