Navigating Project Success

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In the spring of 1953, mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary earned recognition for being the first climber to reach the summit of Mount Everest—but he wasn’t alone. Accompanying Hillary was Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay, who helped guide Hillary up the treacherous slopes. Without Norgay’s insight and familiarity with the terrain, Hillary likely would have never made it up on his own.

Like Norgay, we’re here to help our clients reach their summits. We built ReM Score™ with the goal of being our clients’ Sherpas as they navigate difficult business situations. Our clients are leaders who possess incredible vision and ideas but are struggling to make them a reality. We help them find the footholds that will elevate their performance to new heights and empower them to deliver on their promises to their employees and customers.

While our clients enjoy the spotlight of their successes, we thrive on the feeling of satisfaction gained from seeing our clients reach the peaks of their personal Mount Everests. The most exciting day of a new partnership is always the first—seeing the passion and purpose in our clients as to what the journey we are about to embark on can produce—and the last, as we join them in celebrating their victories.

Of course, our process wasn’t always as streamlined as it is today. In the early days of our firm, we realized that many clients were not optimally positioned to succeed. In response, we developed ReM Score(™) as a way to prepare clients to execute on their visions.

We created an approach that would streamline on-boarding efforts and help us understand where the vulnerabilities were before we launched into the work of the strategic initiative or project. It’s a way to measure what we now call Execution Readiness.

We wanted our clients to succeed more.

Opening Pandora’s Box

To build our better way, we needed to understand the root causes of why strategies and projects were not working. We needed to understand if what we were seeing was isolated or in alignment with a larger spectrum of efforts. The data was overwhelming.

As it turns out, this topic has been documented and studied for over twenty years by universities and behavioral economists with the following high-level conclusions:

  • 50% of all strategic initiatives succeed
  • 20% of back-office optimization projects succeed
  • 20% of acquisitions add value

The root cause is bias-based decision-making before the efforts began. Our clients’ biggest problem, which we realized was widespread throughout the business world, was that they weren’t optimally positioned to tackle the work they had hired us to do. This widespread lack of readiness was reflected in data showing that only 50% of all business decisions succeed. This meant that our clients had the exciting potential to double their success by improving their execution readiness.

We faced several challenges in helping our clients reach this potential. For example, it was difficult for clients to define what success looked like for them, and therefore, it was difficult for us to map out. As a company, we’d built a reputation on providing an incredible delivery experience, but we faced the challenge of engaging with clients, 85% of whom weren’t starting from an optimal position.

After years of experience across many different consulting situations, we decided we needed a method to onboard clients that would help us better understand their situation before committing resources to the project. The method would allow us to identify gaps in the client’s readiness so we could understand where we needed to bolster their skills, strategies, or resources. This information would help our clients and us avoid rushing headlong into initiatives that, in the end, would fall short or fail because of a lack of preparedness.

The Onboarding Process

We began developing a client-onboarding process, which included an initial interview, qualification review, and gap analysis to identify weaknesses.

As we onboarded clients, we noticed patterns in their readiness, regardless of the type of initiative they were attempting. It didn’t matter if the initiative was a technology effort, an acquisition effort, a new product or market, or a business-process reengineering. Considering how we didn’t intake a thousand clients a year across dozens of industries, we lacked the amount of data needed to decipher the meaning behind the pattern.

We turned to research, and in searching for answers, we found an overwhelming body of information on the topic. However, the biggest gap between the research and what we were experiencing was that much of the research being done was an inch wide and a mile deep. It was incredibly focused in highly specific areas. Behavioral economists had produced most of the data that connected people’s—especially business leaders’—decision practices to the financial impacts on the economy.

A huge amount of data existed around why business decisions failed, but nobody was connecting the dots. More importantly, there was no method of application to help leaders improve their outcomes. What we experienced and saw in our data was in line with what was happening globally at every imaginable scale of company, and had been happening for decades. Our data wasn’t unique—it was mainstream but overlooked.

Measuring Execution Readiness

All of the data pointed toward the existence of a sickness, but we didn’t have a test to determine whether or not a company suffered from it. To fill this gap, we needed a method to identify readiness problems in our clients.

We defined what we call the fourteen domains of measurement: alignment, technical capabilities, management, technical environment, priorities, stakeholders, business process and rules maturity, business capabilities, governance, decision-making, subject-matter understanding, organizational adaptability, criticality, and vision.

These domains span every aspect of a business and measure key impact points associated with the delivery and execution of the client’s initiative. Combined, these domains allow for the calculation of a single number measuring execution readiness, the ReM Score(™).

The ReM Score(™), or readiness score, informs businesses of their vulnerabilities and areas where they need to improve before they can successfully execute an idea. It allows them to address any shortcomings before spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on consultants and weeks or months seeking that opinion. Will a project take longer than they expect? Will it cost more than they’ve planned to spend? Does it require expertise they don’t have on their team? The readiness score provides these answers and more.

Giving Businesses the Power to Diagnose Their Weaknesses

In developing our platform and approach to measuring execution capability, M Corp created the phrase “execution readiness” as a fully realized concept, not simply two words tied together. Execution readiness means scouting the mountain and gathering a full kit of gear before you take your first step skyward. It’s knowing you have what it takes to reach the top.

We’ve embodied our role as Sherpa through the ReM Score process, helping our clients overcome their biggest obstacles as they climb toward peak performance. Now, with our guidance and insight, businesses can diagnose and address their weaknesses using the self-paced, comprehensive readiness test.

By ensuring they’re prepared to succeed before investing in a new initiative, leaders are empowered to beat the average 50% success rate and potentially double their wins. They can pursue innovative, thrilling ideas, fully confident that they have what it takes to turn their goals into reality.