I have been talking to colleagues who work in a variety of industries, different sized companies and all over the corporate ranks about the difficulty to execute projects in today’s business setting. Even in meetings where everyone agrees to green light something, the next steps are taking weeks, months and years to execute.
We came to the conclusion that when people say “Yes”, what they really mean is “Time to start the arduous task of making this happen.” The reasons are complex, but a simplistic view is that companies are more siloed and centralized than they want to admit.
Getting projects through the myriad of approvals, checks and balances, and legal clearance is taking longer than ever and is greatly affecting companies’ abilities to innovate, change and grow.
Take a company like mine, Halo Health, which provides patient education in waiting and exams rooms that customized to the health system or practice’s needs. On the surface, the question is simply do we want to replace cable TV with a digital education system? Which usually leads to a yes decision.
But in the environment we live in, from “yes” to installation becomes ten meetings, four requests for sample content, three rescheduled installation dates due to “IT” (which is never the case, so Techs don’t hate), and months of ultimately patients losing out on the ability to live healthier.
There is an overall fear of making a decision. People are hiding behind workloads, data, and insecurity. We as leaders need to break through this muck. 99% of the decisions that you make can be reversed, altered, or forgotten about. Do not let “no-brainers” get bogged down because you are worried that in the above case, a patient may switch doctors because they like watching CNN. WHAT!? That flawed logic tells me that you need to spend more time on making sure people know your differentiation from the competition. And hopefully a lack of patient education is not seen as a positive.
Leaders must balance flexibility and conviction. If you believe in the project that you just turned on, take it by the horns and run it through your company, knowing that you are going to run into roadblocks and challenges.
Communicate to stakeholders on the status of the project. If it is a low priority project, tell everyone. They appreciate knowing where they stand.
Hold people accountable. Projects losing steam because of bureaucracy are costing everyone millions of dollars in hard costs and thousands of hours in soft costs.
Shorten time from yes to go and you will be a corporate hero.