It was a special birthday for my mother, so the 3 children decided to throw a tea party for her. The room was booked, the invitations sent out, and the caterer (eventually) understood the special dietary needs of one of the guests. Everything was going well until….
Yes, it was going well until my daughters said; “We cannot think of anything to buy Grandma.” OK, but why wait until it was 3 days before the party?
Then a possible solution: “I hear that Auntie is buying a rose bush for Grandma, can we buy one as well?” Sounds like a good idea to me I reply. Then silence; “but we can’t do anything as we are at work”.
So am I, I replied; but guess who hit the keyboard and did the calls to the local nurseries where my mother lives and arranged delivery that day; me!
End of day review proves very useful
I usually sit down at the end of each day and have a self review. This made me realise that day I had quite liked the adrenalin rush from finding the nursery and ordering the rose bush. It felt good, but then it did take me away from a key business task which I then finished later than expected. I felt good… Then had a flash back to a client (one of several) who also liked the adrenalin rush.
I was brought in to train the project managers and some team members in this company to deliver these capital projects (they were each £750,000).
The client loved the adrenalin rush in their projects
I suggested to overcome many of the issues they faced (lots of risks that were not identified, very little understanding of the planning process, no clear project control mechanisms) that they:
- Develop a template to use on all of the projects.
- Meet on a regular basis (every 2 weeks) to learn from each other.
- Give each other a ‘heads up’ when something unexpected happens.
I was not surprised when there was some reluctance to accept the need for such a tool. The thinking behind the rejection was that they had an expectation to deal with the unexpected. They expected to work long hours and even all day and all night prior to reopening of each venue. When this was said, seven people nodded sagely.
They clearly loved the adrenalin rush!
Indeed the whole organisation enjoyed a good crisis, and the chance to solve it was deemed a great achievement. I did point out that many of their smaller projects had gone over budget by as much as 20%, but…..
I soon realised that 2 days of training were wasted on the group, and the company.
I wonder how many other companies love that adrenalin rush?
I wonder how many others love that adrenalin rush? How many projects suffer from a real lack of planning, learning, governance because project managers (or others) like the rush (it was part of the culture)?
So, what’s your adrenalin moment?
Oh, how did the party go? Brilliant! It went really well; the rose bush was planted and admired along with Aunties rose bush. The food was great, and the speeches emotional. Goes to show good planning is essential!