The #1 Reason Why Projects Fail

Why project failure leadership

There are countless reasons why projects fail. From team issues, through lack of project management skills, to the low stakeholder engagement, you can find couple hundred reasons behind project failure or delays.

If your organization ever led a project or initiative that was delayed, over budget, or under promise, you want to continue reading because I’m going to show you what you need more than bigger budget, new software or more people on your team.

After successfully leading some ground-breaking initiatives in environments with lack of support, I identified SINGLE reason why projects fail. I’ve seen it over and over again in companies of all sizes, across the industries, and around the globe.

The #1 reason why projects fail is… bad leadership!

Here’s why I believe this to be true. If you assign the exact same project to 2 different people – one being a great leader, while the other one lacking leadership skills, the first one will succeed, while the other one will fail. It has “almost” nothing to do with team, resources, architecture, etc. Project success rises and falls on leadership.

There are many definitions of leadership. Most dictionaries state that leadership is the position or title. This is NOT the leadership we’re discussing today. I believe that there are many people out there who have the position, but they’re incapable as leaders. They simply don’t know how to lead, and if they don’t recognize the need to improve their leadership skills, they are taking their teams and organizations to a halt.

Leadership is influence

By leadership I mean influence. The power to positively impact other people, situations and drive results.

Let’s look at couple examples of how improving core leadership skills of your people can help your organization improve its results:

  • Great leaders are constantly learning and improving, therefore having them as part of your team means that your organization will never stagnate. Quite contrary, it will continue improving and evolving as your leaders evolve and improve.
  • Great leaders know their limitations. They understand that they can’t do it alone. It takes a diversity of talent to get stuff done well and fast and they choose to tap into this pool to maximize their results. They choose to focus on the areas of their strengths, delegating the rest to their teams.
  • Great leaders are committed to their team success. They understand the power of a team, they empower and support others in their efforts. They care about their people and maximize their potential.
  • Great leaders go above and beyond. They don’t just clock in and out. They truly care about the outcomes, putting in extra effort, energy and resources. They choose to overcome the obstacles and they make things happen.
  • Great leaders plan ahead. They don’t just put off fires. They have a big picture in front of them, they strategize and aren’t afraid to ask for help.

I could go on and on about the impact great leaders at all levels of organizations have on projects, teams, and ultimately success of their companies. But instead, I want to ask you this: How healthy is your organization? Are your leaders equipped to tackle their projects, teams and circumstances powerfully or are they left on their own – with high expectations, but no support?

It’s time to stop wasting your time, effort and energy on things that act like band aid (e.g. changing your policies, implementing new strategies and buying new project management software) and start treating¬† REAL issues and maximize the potential of people you already have in your organization!

Is it time for your company or organization to improve leadership on your teams so that you can improve results of your mission critical initiatives, cut costs and improve customer satisfaction? If you’re ready to take action, contact us here.

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