Spring into Action

Project Management post submitted by Admin

What is “spring”?  This term we use today to describe the season following winter has its’ origins in terminology describing a time of year when plants would “spring up”.  In fact, most ancient cultures considered the March or April time frame to be the beginning of a new year, a time to celebrate the loosening of winters’ grip and the renewing of the planting/harvesting cycle.  Today we associate many different activities with the advent of spring. We talk about “spring cleaning”, “spring break”, “spring training”, just to name a few.  Suffice it to say that our society today considers “springtime” as a time of renewal and a call to action.  This is especially true in the world of business.

The business world functions on a “quarterly” basis.  That is, we have divided the year into quarters and generally refer to the performance of most activities relative to which quarter they are scheduled to occur.  Thus, the second quarter corresponds to “springtime”.  We have completed the activities of the previous four quarters and have had sufficient time, (the “first quarter”) to evaluate and analyze what had transpired and are now looking forward to taking on the new years’ assignments.  This is the time of year when budgetary dollars are released and the troops are gearing up for the fight ahead.  The direction has been set, the plan has been finalized and the starting gun has been fired.

So, how can we insure that we understand the plan, that we are equipped to execute the plan and that, (more importantly) the plan will be successful?  Although there are as many ways as there are different types of businesses, there are some common principles that can be applied to almost any endeavor.

Understanding the Plan:

It is common in our world today for businesses to overly complicate some of the most basic functions of their operations.  This is not to say that some functions are no more complex than others but that the processes in completing some of these functions are often sub-divided among more personnel than what is required. With the proliferation of businesses “centralizing” the decision –making authority we see that the tracking of performance and general activity has become a multi-stage process by which data producers, data entry personnel, data reviewers, data scrubbers, data approvers etc., are all involved in a chain reaction to “push” information up the chain of command.  Although most companies with this type of process will argue that it makes for better reports to keep the “centralized power” informed, the reality is that the arduous nature of managing this “chain reaction” leaves little room for each link in the chain to fully grasp the “big picture”.  Each individual may be fully competent of their portion of the process but most likely will not appreciate or understand the “links” beyond those just before and after their portion of the process.  While this type of process fosters extreme efficiency relative to the particular activity, it promotes at best, apathy towards other portions of the process and at worst, disdain for those when it appears as if the corresponding “links” are not interacting as they should.  I am not suggesting that the “process” should be eliminated or even changed but that each person involved in the process should have an understanding of the “big picture” relative to the plan.  This will generate, not only a stronger sense of ownership of their particular portion of the process but, greater desire to be a part of the team.

Executing the Plan:

If everyone understands the plan then what makes the plan a reality?  In a word, it’s called TEAMWORK.   The world of business has always been driven by competition and it has been noted that if a business is not moving forward than it is actually moving backwards.  Competition compels businesses to look for any advantage they can find in order to “one up” their competitors and to “drive” the business forward.  The concept of “TEAM” is a basic element relative to a business’ operating performance.  The individual members of the team provide support and encouragement to their teammates regardless of the particular responsibility.  When one falls, the others step up to perform. When one succeeds, the others share in the glory. All recognize that the plan cannot be successfully executed unless everyone feels as if they are truly a member of the team and that their combined efforts promote success.  Does this “team” concept stifle or eliminate the competitive desires of the individual team member?  Not at all! As each member strives for greater efficiency in their particular role, (and as a result, individual SATISFACTION for a job well done), they will recognize that their own efforts will be viewed as an important and integral function of the overall process.

Ensuring Success:

Regardless of the particular plan, no one can ensure its’ success.  However, as we have seen, there are ways to enhance, encourage and promote certain processes and philosophies that can lead to a greater potential for success.  If we can identify and implement streamlined processes, along with developing a cohesive work force then the overall results of our efforts will be greater than if we continue to function otherwise.  Most successful businesses will tell you that they purposefully have thought out, developed and continuously implement a defined “culture” within their organization.  This “culture” is promoted within every aspect of the company and is not only taught to each new employee but that all new hires accept and are required to uphold the defined standards of the culture. Each company will have an individual culture that fits ownership beliefs and goals.  The common denominator is that the particular culture binds the workforce together, (TEAM) resulting in greater success.  Success and failure, though both are important in their own way, are a direct result of the team culture.  If that particular culture is founded on the right principles and is a continuous functioning aspect of the company then success usually follows.

The HiPath Group is founded on and has achieved success by understanding that success is a team effort.  We can provide any level of support to help insure that your team can realize their greatest potential for success.