By Marla Schimke
Seventy percent of transformation efforts fail. It’s a statistic that’s been thrown around for 25 years, most recently cited by McKinsey. PMI reports that 9.9% of every dollar spent on projects is wasted – and that’s an improvement on previous studies. There are many reasons for these failures, but organizational fatigue is a big one – and it’s getting bigger.
The problem is that the speed of business has increased, but the approach hasn’t. As a result, planning is occurring more frequently, with more projects being approved, adjusted and cancelled, but it’s still based on individual proposals from different business areas. At the same time, many organizations still approve way more projects than they are capable of delivering. This causes frustration, lost productivity and an overall sense of organizational fatigue – and the more frequent planning becomes, the worse it gets.
Organizations must be more strategic, even as they adjust their tactical work more frequently. Planning must change to align approved work with long-term roadmaps that guide the strategic direction of a product, service, or the entire business. Adjustments in the short-term must still contribute to progress on that strategy, and work that doesn’t contribute should never be approved in the first place.
Organizations talk a lot about creating an environment where their employees can “work smarter, not harder,” but they still operate with legacy planning techniques that are anything but smart. Change those planning fundamentals and you’ll go a long way to alleviating organizational fatigue.