Have you ever been in this situation? You’re in a meeting, and the colleague on your left starts talking about the next big idea. The benefits are discussed and excitement builds to get started. So you ask, how are you going to do that? The colleague looks puzzled and says, “That’s not my job, my role is to come up with big ideas”. Nervously, you glance at the colleague to your right. Who responds, “That’s not my job, my role is to keep things running smoothly and the customers happy”. So, the question remains, who is going to turn the idea into action?
The answer, a project team. Great, one problem solved. But, the follow up question is always, who should be on a project team? The project team should be comprised of strategic thinkers, ‘operators’, and individuals with specific skill sets such as project management, process improvement, change management, and learning and development.
The organization is placing a significant amount of trust and responsibility in this team. Which means the members need to be carefully selected. When selecting the team from the possible candidates, how can you tell the difference between the individuals that have been there done that and those that just talk a good game? By asking questions about their past performance and, based on their answers, using the following model to determine their competency level.
- No discretionary judgment
- Little situational awareness
- Rigid adherence to rules / plans
- All attributes and aspects are treated separately and given equal importance
- Limited situational awareness
- Uses the same guidelines for all attributes or aspects
- Sees actions partly in terms of longer-range planning
- Conscious, deliberate planning
- Uses standard procedures
- Sees situations holistically
- Sees priorities; decision-making is less difficult
- Uses situationally relevant principles for guidance
- Analytics used to solve problems with novel approaches
- Deep understanding of skill set, and has an intuitive grasp of situation
- Others seek them out as mentor
In a perfect world, you could fill a project team with experts. However, it isn’t feasible for everyone on the team to be an expert (which could present its own challenges). It is important to understand which roles are key to the success of the project, and fill those roles with qualified people. The remaining roles are prime opportunities for high performing talent that need experience.