Project Management

The Human Side of Strategy

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at [email protected]. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

I recently spoke to an executive who was frustrated that he hadn’t been able to drive improvements in his organization’s performance. He had invested in a lot of high-priced consultants, had followed guidance from analyst firms almost to the letter, and had embraced all the latest trends around strategic portfolio management, adaptive and continuous planning, enterprise agility and the rest. Yet he hadn’t seen any substantive improvements to the company’s key business metrics. The board was getting impatient, and he was understandably concerned that his time was running short to turn things around.

This executive still believed in the concepts that he had invested in, and the other executives in the organization were also supportive of them, so why weren’t they delivering the right results? While there are likely many contributing factors, the one thing that struck me was the absence of people in the process. Not literally, the executives were still interacting with each other and with planning, selection, prioritization and the rest. But those people were abdicating their own judgement to the models and frameworks that were being used. They were ignoring the human side of strategy.

Does it feel right?

A friend of mine specializes in helping organizations recover from bad situations. Those situations may have been caused by bad investment …

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"If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man."

- Mark Twain