Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Why low risk projects are a smart leadership tool

As a People Leader/Manager do you have more ideas than you can implement? Are you frustrated by not achieving as much as you would like?

My experience shows that one of the Top Ten motivators for employees is 'opportunities for improvement'. Imagine if you joined these twofactors together; your frustration with not getting as much done as you know needs to get done, with your team members desire for opportunities for improvement.

Below is a four step process for creating low risk successes from this situation.

Step 1
List all your ideas/actions for things that you believe need to be done.

Step 2
'Chunk' these ideas/actions into groups - these groups of ideas/actions form the basis of possible projects.

Step 3

Using the attached matrix, identify whether or not your projects are:
  1. High Risk - Hard Implementation
  2. Low Risk - Hard Implementation
  3. High Risk - Easy Implementation
  4. Low Risk - Easy Implementation

High Risk means that if the project fails there will be a significant and negative impact on the organisation.

Low Risk means that if the project fails there will be no major negative impact on the organisation.

Hard Implementation means that the resources required to implement the project involve both a lot of people and a lot of money/assets to successfully complete the project.

Easy Implementation means that existing resources with minimal budgetary impact can be used to successfully complete the project.

Step 4
Low Risk - Easy Implementation projects are your gold. These are the projects that you can easily provide to your team members. Should the project be a success then the organisations benefits (because it gets something useful that otherwise may not have existed), the staff member benefits (because they have implemented something that didn't previously exist) and you benefit because a number of the ideas/actions that you had on your original list will now have been implemented.

The beauty of creating low risk projects is that they generate opportunities for people to shine. If you have never tried a system like this before, try it out and please let me know how you go.

Gary Ryan is the founder of Organisations That Matter and has published his popular first book What Really Matters For Young Professionals!

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