Plan project in four steps

February 28, 2011
Filed under: Coach's Corner — Tags: , , , , , , — jonimar @ 10:26 pm

Q: I tried to empower my director with an important project. Each time I checked in with him he said he was on track and didn’t need any support. But when he presented to the client, it wasn’t at all what I envisioned. When I told him how disappointed I was, he said that he felt set up because I didn’t tell him my expectations ahead of time. What should I do in the future?

A: It can be tricky anticipating how much support and clarity a seasoned leader needs. To spare future headaches, follow these four simple steps for every initiative.

1) Create a united vision. Begin by sharing both of your visions for the project. Have your direct report go first. Discuss best possible outcomes and what they would actually look like in reality. This minimizes the expectation gap.

2) Plan and strategize. Once you’ve reached mutual agreement, forecast potential obstacles and an plan to resolve them should they occur. Put three to four key expectations on the table so your director knows exactly where the goalposts are. Be specific and measurable. Share any wisdom, insight or mentoring you would appreciate receiving if you were in his shoes.

3) Empower him to take action. Set up realistic targets and timelines for progress reports. Then turn him loose to meet the expectations and desired outcomes in his own way. Schedule regular meetings to ensure the project stays on track or to allow for course correct if the project requirements change

4) Debrief each project for the key learning. Grow your director by hearing what he thought was successful and why. Then share what you found successful and what you want next time.

Empowering your employees does not mean abdicating your responsibility as their leader.

Originally published in The Province, February 27, 2011.


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