Leadership Lessons Learned the Hard Way; Part IV – Apply the lessons you learned!

The much-debated ‘Lessons Learned’ process is worthy of a mention in this series. It is one of the most important aspects of project management and organization leadership in my opinion. A leader’s commitment to the success of projects, their people, and the company, is demonstrated to a large extent by their ability to learn from past mistakes and make a better turn for the future. Needless to say, solutions to past mistakes and failures must be actively pursued and implemented.

Here are a few suggestions on how to ensure lessons learned don’t fade from memory only to resurface in the next project.

  • Ensure ‘Lessons Learned’ conversations are taken seriously, the appropriate amount of time is committed to make these sessions happen, and they are part of every project plan regardless of the size of the project. Every item in the list reviewed should suggest a course of action, so it is not a mere mention of a problem but a proposal for a solution.
  • Make improvements part of organization, team and individual goals. It is important to commit the time and resources to make these improvements happen, and check in on them on a periodic basis.
  • Ensure improvements are documented and considered during the roadmap creation process, so sizeable improvements are not brushed off and can benefit by a structured project implementation.
  • Ensure all levels of the organization are made accountable for solutions. Entertain ideas from all stakeholders to make this an effort everyone becomes vested in.

Making a strong commitment to learn from your mistakes sets the right tone for organizations and sets the company up for success one project at a time. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how to ensure lessons are indeed learned and not forgotten.


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