Vital Ingredients

puzzle componentsI often present the ten pieces of a puzzle that comprise an environment for successful projects.  The pieces, however, will not stay together without glue. The glue has two vital ingredients:  authenticity and integrity.  Authenticity means that managers really mean what they say.  Integrity means that they really do what they say they will do, and for the reasons they stated to begin with.  It is a recurring theme in every environment where people interact that authenticity and integrity link the head and the heart, the words and the action; they separate belief from disbelief, and often make the difference between success and failure.

Major upheaval requires authenticity and integrity on the part of all managers.  Most change efforts do not fail from lack of concepts or from lack of a description of how to do it right. hoist on petard Most change programs fail when managers are hoist on their own petard of inauthenticity and lack of integrity.  This failure happens because people, when involved in the situations where managers violate authenticity and integrity, sense the lack of resolve, feel the lack of leadership, and despair of the situation.  When managers speak without authenticity, they stand like the naked emperor: they think they are clothed, but everyone else sees the truth.  When managers lack integrity they do not “walk the walk,” they only “talk the talk,” and people sense the disconnection and become cynical.  Management cannot ask others to change without first changing themselves.  Implementing a more project-friendly environment and creating a project office depend upon resolve to approach needed changes with authenticity and integrity.

I invite others to share your observed examples of “integrity crimes,” their impact on project success, and how you might react differently.

Adapted from Creating an Environment for Successful Projects:  Second Edition by Graham and Englund.
– Randy Englund,


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