By Renee Lura
I've been thinking of prior software and project implementations and remembering varying interpretations of those past events. Perhaps it’s how it shows what is really present—here and now. Or it could be the anticipation of future possibilities. I decided to analyze these implementations I've carried out over the past 17 years.
What Did I Learn From the Successes and Failures of Past Local Government Projects?
It looks like we may have missed a step or two while swiftly diving into one particular project. We’ve rushed in without enough information and the gaps posed challenge after challenge. The team looked to be communicating quickly, yet, without all the information imperative to understanding what needed to be done in the project.
Interestingly enough, we seem to have tied some things together nicely. Though we started not knowing who should do what or even how to accomplish some of the deliverables, once we took the time to define our resources and contributions, effective teamwork began to show.
Build effective and innovative teams.
Foster a culture that encourages everyone to ask questions. Successfully supply and receive information through clarifying and verifying. Create value by creating a continuous loop that asks questions, rephrases understanding, and confirms what to do with this information.
Helpful questions to ask yourself:
- What information could be missing?
- How would I find out more?
- What would happen if I approach this with curiosity?
- How is that different from an approach only including a need to be right?
Take time upfront to establish clarity and accountability.
Identify who needs to be involved with the project and what their roles will be. Clearly defined roles contribute to ownership, accountability, and effective teamwork.
How Do I Show Up in the Present Moment, and How Is That Affecting My Projects, My Team, and Our City's Vision and Goals?
What a doozy. I’m tied up, task after task after task. I try to focus on what others are saying, but in my head, I’m computing the next move. Getting things done is important, but it appears to be hampering the connections and energy of the group—and the project. We accomplish so much, yet we’re not celebrating our successes and wins. I’m losing sight of our why, and others are too.
Then, I noticed something else interesting. I recognize our process efficiencies and the way we’re getting things done. We take the time to explore, innovate, and fail forward. We test things out knowing there will be failures, so we can learn, grow, and get even better results down the line. I recognize we're actually pilot testing—trying things out in small increments, then going back and refining what we found. We’re creating a series of steps the team can repeatedly use to be productive and reach our goal.
Move through the day with more intention and focus.
While being mindful of what is important, invite people in instead of shutting them out. The words, actions, and decisions you’re making with clarity and intention have turned on that superpower feel. Amplify this superpower by spreading it around and celebrating your small wins. There are always creative ways to show appreciation, recognize contributions, and intentionally celebrate daily victories.
Helpful questions to ask yourself:
- Am I making this task more important than the relationship?
- If I choose to decide in this moment, what’s most important and what will I focus on?
Encourage testing and failing forward.
We sure feel alive when we are brainstorming, collaborating, and moving into a space that allows us to create new progress and results. And once we establish systems that work for us, we are able to improve our approach, increase productivity, and use it over and over again to create efficient processes.
What Are the Real Outcomes We Are Looking for, and Why Have We Chosen to Commit Ourselves to This?
Implementations are all about the future. We implement a new course of action hoping to improve things in the future. We can draw on the past to shape the future.
But without a trusty crystal ball, I can only imagine what the future holds. Things could start off a bit shaky! The team might not be clear on its goals. In a room full of service leaders passionate about their community, many could feel they lack direction and understanding of why certain things are happening.
Take time to create and share clear goals.
Communicate like a confetti cannon just went off! Discuss, define, and understand your why. List ways you can improve the understanding, knowledge, and visibility of your goals to your team, organization, and citizens. Build goals with the customer in mind and think about the best way to engage your community.
Helpful questions to ask yourself
- What result are we really looking for?
- What could happen if we don’t make this change and reach the result?
- Who benefits from this result?
- How does this goal need to be communicated?
- What small changes or actions can be made to support it?
Meet your targets by creating measurable, actionable results.
Identify the actions you can and will take, then create ways to measure those results. Define the different ways you can observe and gauge your success, like calculating your return on investment, time and resource savings, and citizen satisfaction. Choose. Commit. Deliver.
There is still time for change and improvement. After pondering the past, present, and future, I'm energized and excited. Excited for failing forward, celebrating the small wins, and reaching goals that tell the story of why it’s all so important.