Leaders set direction, align resources, and motivate action as suggested by the panels in Figure 1. Another way to put it is that a leader develops, holds, nurtures, communicates, and drives to achieve a vision.
As in Figure 2, it helps to think of the leader holding a map, like Harry Potter’s Marauder’s map that is always changing, making sense of it, and navigating the course with those led looking on over the shoulders. The best leaders constantly check with their top team to confirm that they are headed toward the same goals, in the same way, and for the same reasons.
Assign a single capable person to serve as Project Manager (PM) responsible for the entire project through to completion if one is not already assigned or if the one assigned has proven ineffective. The PM should be someone who has previously been successful in similar circumstances in terms of project scope, scale, and complexity. If someone with requisite experience is not available to serve as PM then arrange for the experienced person to serve as a close adviser to the PM until a new plan is in place and performance relative to the new plan is on track.
Have the PM work with the client, the project team, management, and advisers to pull together a revised plan.Review the plan thoroughly with the PM, the project team, and with outside stakeholders, including the client, to be sure the path to completion, all the way through to client acceptance, is well formulated, understood, agreed to, and sensible.
Leaders who are in control of operations compare their organization’s actual performance results to:
Past results to know whether their organization is trending up, down or sideways.
The results other organizations that are doing things similar to theirs achieve in order to know how well they are doing relative to industry benchmarks, especially relative to those who do best what they are doing.
Plan, budget, projection, or forecast in order to hold themselves accountable to what they said would happen.
Target or goal to know if it is time to be done with what they are doing!
The exhibit below provides precise definitions of terms leaders can use to talk about their organization’s performance with their leadership team and organization stakeholders.