Whether leading a business or nonprofit organization, every successful leader learns a big lesson fairly quickly after moving into the corner office. That lesson is in realizing just how dependent you become on the leadership team and other key people. The best strategic plan in the world is worthless without reliable people to carry it out. For this reason, building a strong team and farm system of future leaders remains one of a leaders most important responsibilities, and one of the most rewarding.
During the time I led a for-profit business, we developed a very effective tool to help us develop our next level of leaders. This tool also helped us prioritize a laundry list of projects we had in play. We called it the Project Review Board (PRB). Let me explain.
- Too many important projects needing attention
- The same select people being asked to assist
- Our organization had become too anchored in silos which inhibited communication, collaboration, and performance
- Several second level performers seeking more visibility and looking for a chance to shine
- Cross-functional, multi-department teams to tackle our biggest issues
- A PRB made up of my direct reports to approve, prioritize, and manage the projects, and identify who would serve on each project team
- Priority projects were identified, appropriately resourced, and in time–completed
- Our second level key performers got a chance to shine in front of my entire leadership team as they worked on the projects
- The leadership team members got a chance to feel what it is like having the final say on things. I was not involved in how the leadership team operated so they had to make decisions without me serving as a safety net
- I was able to see my team perform as if they were the top leader…balancing priorities, making tough calls, dealing with people issues not in their own department, and more
I encourage you to try implementing a PRB. With limited resources and a lot of work to get done, it just might be a great way for your organization to thrive and deliver great results. What do you think. Will this work in your organization?
Contact me and I can fill you in on any details…