Adopting a community mindset
Technical projects have a significant impact. They change the way we do business. Projects can have a greater impact on others as they can provide new services that make daily life easier, improve lives by providing new accurate ways to detect health concerns, increase citizen safety and provide long term employment opportunities for people to earn a living and support their families. Successful projects impact a far-reaching group of people, a community. Acknowledging this impact should be the impetus in changing our attitude to ensure success is at our fingertips.
From our experience, adopting a community mindset is a table stakes factor to project success. A community, by definition, is a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. A community-oriented mindset applies to how we approach individual relationships as well as groups. It creates a constructive environment built on collaboration, cohesiveness and solidarity. It unifies our intentions and goals and provides a solid support framework for all. Projects flow with synergy, problems are resolved effortlessly and progress is accelerated. Adopting this mindset has transformative and beneficial effects that can be seen from all perspectives.
Increased communication and transparency builds confidence and enables solutions to be built with greater clarity.
Fast-tracks alignment with cross-functional teams, the organization and third party businesses.
Focuses on collaboration, which has a synergistic effect and accelerates progress
Enables greater work consistency, lowers the incident of repeated work, and exposes interdependencies at an early stage.
Creates a fellowship and a desire to work together and contribute to the final goal.
Increases job satisfaction, boosts morale and raises team retention.
The biggest downfall to success
One of the biggest downfalls to project success is, quite frankly, attitude. All too often an “us-verus-them” mindset is adopted and, from our experience, obstructs project success. This mentality is dividing, creates competition when working towards the same objective, and operates from a place of superiority. It is built on categorization and the placement of businesses, teams and people. In a fast-paced project environment with numerous cross-functional teams, it limits progress, increases budget and delays time to market. The “us-verus-them” mentality permeates to all levels of business and at each level, its detrimental effect surfaces in distinctive ways.
Business relationship communication is suppressed
Stifled communication withholds information that contributes to project success. Underlying business drivers and long term objectives are often not revealed. Knowing this information allows for greater foresight and prudence when designing and executing project requirements.
Competition towards the same objective reduces project performance
The “us-versus-them” mindset is competitive, inherently self-serving, and reduces the desire to contribute at a greater scale. It exposes itself when individuals provide no assistance or knowledge transfer to others that require it, and destructive behaviors such as blame and punitive sentiment is often elicited. Self-elected “BigWig” or “Last Minute Hero” personalities can usually be identified on teams. Competition towards the same objective fundamentally reduces performance, as individuals try to limit the progress and success of others in order to capitalize on those achievements for themselves.
Incongruent organization and team perspectives
Organization and team perspectives are often not aligned. This is mostly due to a lack of knowledge and understanding between perspectives. Friction points often surface at late stages in project development, requiring completed work to be redone and adding scope creep. Early engagement with teams enables us to hear all voices and facilitate alignment, providing clarity when determining project requirements.
Increased team turnaround
The competitive, divisive nature of the “us-verus-them” mindset has shown to increase team turnaround. In this environment, the individual is less invested in day to day work and has less commitment to the shared goal. They work in isolation and feel unsupported, reducing overall job satisfaction.
It really starts with us, our attitude, and how we engage customers. Our processes have been created with fostering a community mindset as a top priority.
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