One of the models proving valuable not only to myself but to many other people as well came out of the book I co-authored on Creating an Environment for Successful Projects. The revitalization process describes states that we all experience in organizations.
The model depicts how we move from the status quo or steady state to a state of individual stress because of some environmental change, such as a new manager or sponsor taking over the organization or a market shifting entry by a competitor. Perhaps the new manager wants to take short cuts that we don’t agree with. We have the choice of exit, voice, or loyalty. Many people don’t want to “rock the boat” or speak up and they remain loyal. So conditions worsen, and we enter a state of cultural distortion. At that point we might decide to leave to avoid the organizational disaster that is sure to come.
However, that “disaster” may be just what the organization needs. It gets the attention of the powers in charge that something needs to change. Here’s your chance to be heard. All that studying to get a certification and become a Project Management Professional may pay off. In order for the organization to enter a period of revitalization, it needs new leadership, new ideas, and people who get things done. That’s what project managers do!
Two points from this model are to BE PATIENT and BE PREPARED. People may not care about or are ready to hear your ideas for changes when times are going well or just starting to go bad. Pick your time and pick your battles. Recognize that now may not be the time to speak up. But keep studying, keep observing, conduct assessments, talk with other like-minded (or perhaps very different minded) people, experiment with new tools, processes, and procedures. A reasonable strategy during the tough times may be to operate as a Project Office of One in stealth mode. Know that the time will come. Be ready to step up and take charge or guide others to create an effective and efficient project-based organization.
If the “things got worse” scenario of the lower path is distasteful, develop skills to voice with power or speak truth to power. As I’ve documented that skill set elsewhere, leave it for now to say the revitalization model is a quite accurate depiction of the cycles that happen in organizations. Assess where you are now and what is likely to come. Realize also that the good times are subject to change as well and will not last forever. Such is life!
Randy Englund, www.englundpmc.com