I’m undertaking a learning review of a relatively complex project today. The project has gone well, but the big question is ‘How do we replicate our success across the business?’
The answer to that question has two responses. First, there are some actions – such as more focused skills development and simpler processes – that can be delivered relatively quickly.
The second answer is that there are other, even more critical factors that are far harder to replicate. For example, developing a service-driven culture, creating a strong team ethos and finding ways to effectively help colleagues respond to more difficult customer questions, have all been instrumental in the project’s success.
The ‘easy’ way forward is to focus on the first group of actions, the ‘quick wins’. These actions can be delivered over a matter of weeks and may well have some impact on business performance. The problem is that their success is almost impossible to sustain without the support of the second group of actions. I call this group the ‘hard wins’.
Many development projects I’ve worked on over the years have focused their roll out plans exclusively on these ‘easy’ actions and have shut their eyes to the importance of the ‘hard’ wins.
As with any difficult problem, however, quick wins are not enough. The best way forward is not easy. Instead, we will need to work through the hard-to-replicate factors and find ways to test, develop and refine them so that they can be delivered consistently.
This means that we need tenacity, patience and good judgement to find the best solutions and not succumb to the calls to simply deliver the ‘quick wins’ over the next few weeks.
Where are you under pressure to deliver quick wins when you know that the success of your project really requires a concerted and coherent focus on the hard wins?
© Stuart Cross 2019. All rights reserved.