" ...she is skilled in project management, organisational change and team building and I have no hesitation in recommending her "
Chris Cobb, Chief Operating Officer and University Secretary, University of London

Why your team needs an "odd one out"!

Myers Briggs

Several years ago, I was recruited as part of a hand picked "matrix" team of functional specialists to introduce commercial and retail strategy to a large company that had, until then, worked on a traditional cost plus basis. This was a pretty tough call as the team had to try and achieve major culture change by influence alone.

As part of the team building process, we all completed the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) process. For those unfamiliar with MBTI, it is based on Jungian psychological concepts and helps to describe the preferred thinking/problem solving style of each team member. When the team's results were revealed, it appeared that all my colleagues shared the no nonsense, action based attribute of "extraversion", amongst others, but, there was I at the complete opposite end of the spectrum with "introversion" and "thinking" based denominators:

The odd one out....

With recollections of being the last to be picked for hockey teams flashing through my mind, I asked my boss how she could have made such an awful mistake!! Her response was simple:

With so many "doers", someone has to be responsible for the planning!"

Traditionally, we recruit specialists to our management teams to perform specific roles. Those roles are part of an agreed strategy but, what happens when something outside of the norm occurs that needs a different approach- and fast? Usually we take one of our specialists and give them the problem. Invariably this person already has a day job and, as a "doer" has neither the time nor the patience (or possibly even the skill) to execute a really robust solution to the current problem and to ensuring it does not recur.

What my "MBTI" boss had recognised was something that many companies or teams give no consideration to, especially when resources are tight and the pressure is on. She realised the critical importance of dedicated project management support to the success of a company going through a period of change.

Skilled project managers, by their nature, may not be the visionary leaders who create brilliant strategies or innovative solutions but they will be the ones who make sure that those strategies get delivered, on time, on budget and with all stakeholders firmly on board. A skilled project manager will spend the time assessing all risks to delivery and making sure there are contingencies for every eventuality. Their role is to handle the chasing, the communication and the form filling which will enable the experts to get on with delivering the solution.

When any piece of work falls outside the scope of normal daily operations, it may be worth defining it as a "project". Then, it's worth asking:

  • How long will the project take to deliver/what resource will it need?
  • Can you attribute an estimated financial benefit to the project or a financial risk of not taking action?
  • Is there a specific deadline for delivery?
  • Who in the company has the knowledge and experience to lead this project and how much available time do they have?
  • Is there a gap between the resource needed and the resource available, what impact does this have on delivery deadline and what is the approximate cost per day of none delivery?
  • Can that gap be effectively met by an experienced project manager on a short term contract?
Your final question may turn out to be not, "Can we afford to employ a project manager?" but rather, "Can we afford not to employ a project manager?"

To find out more about how Fourpoints could help you or to discuss marketing or management consultancy services, please contact:

Vicky La Trobe

Call: 07787 408 350

e-mail Fourpoints Management