Project Actions and how results can be affected
The very nature of projects refer to change, whether it relates to infrastructure, construction, IT or organizational. The process and in particular the actions we take as project managers can either make the delivery better or a real chore to achieve. Projects are a series of actions which enable an idea into a real change, this can relate to making more money; improving people’s lives. Actions include the ability to express oneself by speaking, writing, or with body language. This soft skill is an essential tool.
The delivery of new or modified products, architectural brilliance, events, and processes can impact both the project environment and the environment that receives the results. Once these environments are changed, then there is a direct effect on people’s lives, the way they work, think, their values and how they relate with others.
The very action of a project or any action for that matter, whether it is to make things better or not, creates a ripple effect. The effect may be short lived or may be felt for many years down the track. Comprehending the effect and its possible ripple effect should motivate people to be careful about what they do, say, and think. Every action has an effect; at times the effect can be subtle and minor. This is the foundation for process thinking and quality management.
Take a project to implement a new process for example, where an operational group can disrupt the organization. The project may cause a new or ongoing conflict between management and labor, and either makes for better ongoing performance. Performance which may degrade depending on how well the project has executed and how the new process has been performed and maintained overtime.
The best of intentions or biases, values, and beliefs are the drivers of decisions, which drive behavior. The way decisions are made influences relationships and outcomes. For example, being overly aggressive or using underhanded methods to achieve a goal can cause distrust and anger that clouds relationships going forward and negotiations in general.
There are a number of actions or strategies to promote and achieve the best performance. People who ignore the consequences of positive actions are normally surprised by others reactions and the results of their behavior. This can lead to consequences and in these instance project consequences.
Remember, to take a breath when faced with a critical decision, especially when placed in a situation which can become heated. Relax, pause, breathe and think about what action will be taken next. By diving-in, risks unforeseen consequences can occur and quickly escalate. Respond only after the due diligence of assessing from multiple perspectives the pros and cons, risks and rewards, ripple effects, and alternatives.
Most project managers have at least a moment to step back and consider the ripple effect of actions and words. It is only the lack of awareness that acts as the blocker.
Training can provide and cultivate self-awareness to enhance the possibility of a natural process of letting things unfold. The ability to understand flow which can ensure skills, intelligence, analysis and intuition emerge in perfect alignment with the need of the situation. Also being able to objectively observe what is going on internally and externally to create the platform for what to do next.
There is a ripple effect in most decision making as ultimately it has an effect on actions. Being responsive means making conscious decisions and discerning whether they are unbiased, justifications or rationalizations after the action has been carried out. Being reactive means there is no conscious decision making, only the outburst or withdrawal, which should be avoided.
It would be great to get your point of view on this soft skill, actions and how they are delivered, affect projects. Please add your thoughts in the comments section. In any case, being mindful enough to remember the Law of Cause and Effect and responsive enough to choose appropriate actions, words and thoughts.