Why projects fail: how to make sure you have the right people in the room.
Forming groups to make important decisions and develop ideas is a part of most of our lives. How can you be sure you have the right people in the room?
The first Citizens Assembly took place in Ireland recently to discuss important social issues ranging from how best to respond to the challenges of an ageing population, to abortion. The 99 citizens have been chosen by a polling agency to represent a wide range of views of the nation. This got me thinking about how important the right people are to a project’s chance of success.
The Enigma code wasn’t solved by mathematicians alone. Artists, linguists, writers, philosophers AND mathematicians all came together to solve the problem. By bringing diverse perspectives into a project you ensure that you will have solutions as diverse as the people at the table.
Don’t just invite people to join your team who you agree with. It’s those with differing views that will often inspire the most fruitful ideas. Tension CAN be productive.
#3 What’s in a number?
This is all about the size of your group and depends on what is the goal of your project. If you want to be expansive to, for example. develop lots of ideas then safety in numbers might be the way to go. However the more people at a meeting, the more facilitators you need. If you need to be more reductive - you might want to have less people involved, especially useful for when hard decisions need to be made.
#4 Someone needs to be in charge
Although this is about collaboration and participation, someone still needs to be the leader of the group - however this leader should not be dictatorial - they should act as a guide. When recruiting people for your project think about what kind of leader you'll need to be to ensure the group makes the best decisions.
#5 Take your time
Don’t recruit for your project in a hurry. Getting the right people on board requires time, effort and research. Having the best people in the room is key for the success of a project so it is worth taking time over it.