Managing Overnight Success

I recently worked with a client organization that became successful, seemingly overnight. Their dilemma was about how to manage their instant success and continue down a road of high efficiency and productivity. While instant success is a dilemma that many organizations would love to experience, one of the things that struck me about my client was that they recognized very early the need for effective systems for continuous improvement. This recognition alone speaks volumes about how they will continue to be successful.

But how do successful organizations remain or become more successful? In my experience, there are three areas of focus for success. They are: executive engagement, communications, and project management.

  1. Executive engagement. When an organization is successful, its executive must continue to be engaged within the organization. This includes setting clear priorities that align with the organization’s initiatives and programs, using facts and data to support actions at all levels of decision-making, creating accountabilities, expectations, roles and responsibilities for the organization, and conducting and attending regular audits/reviews to assure and verify progress.
  2. Communications. This is very important to ensure that both executives and staff are aware of what is going on within the organization, especially in terms of support for the organization’s mission. All staff, but especially executives, should be active communicators. There is nothing worse than working in an organization and not knowing what the organization’s plans are or how those plans are being achieved. Provide regular written communications through newsletters, Intranet postings, or other means. Develop and disseminate communication aids to management. Organizations who are in the “know” are also in the “lead.”
  3. Project management. Ensure that your projects are well documented and that they meet your organization’s priorities. Establish a one-year project inventory and update it regularly. Projects must meet critical business and customer needs. If they don’t, they’re not worth doing. Projects should also be of appropriate scope and size such that the projects can provide your organization with significant savings and be achievable. Above all, ensure that each project has a Champion and a Project Manager and that both are held accountable for project results. Use project management concepts to ensure that your projects are on track.

With these three elements working constantly within the organization, success is inevitable. But there is one more thing that I’d like to mention here – creativity. Through executive engagement, communications and project management, include creativity and innovation to improve your organization’s performance. Don’t be complacent with your success. You need to work hard to ensure continuing success. Successful organizations and successful people may not always meet their goals 100 percent of the time, but they certainly strive for 100 percent in all that they do.

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