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DEALING WITH THE UNEXPECTED

If the project really has been planned in detail the incidents of the unexpected may be less dramatic, and so the impact can be minimized. However even with the best planning things do go wrong and it's important that the right resources are deployed to fix the issue. This should be a carefully selected individual or team whose task is to identify clearly what has gone wrong and to seek help and support as required. Sometimes perceived problems and issues can be an excuse for inactivity, and with stretched resources everyone all running after the same ball can mean that problems occur in other areas simply because the focus has shifted.

Giving regular progress reports, communicating on how the issue is being tackled and identifying the lessons learnt can be reassuring and useful, but a policy of business as usual should be maintained for the customers and the rest of the employees.

In his best-selling, ground-breaking first book Maverick (1993), Ricardo Semler suggested the following:

To survive in modern times, a company must have an organisational structure that accepts change as its basic premise, lets tribal customs thrive and fosters a power that is derived from respect not rules. In other words, the successful companies will be the ones that put quality of life first. Do this and the rest, quality of product, productivity of workers, profits for all - will follow.

In his latest book, Seven Day Weekend (2003), Semler continues this theme: 'Employees must be free to question, to analyse, to investigate and a company must be flexible enough to listen. These habits are the key to longevity, growth and profit.'

Bennis and Biedermann in Organizing Genius (1997) make some very important points about talented individuals and organizations. In their case studies of seven great groups they identified some critical factors about how talented people work together. In their summary of the lessons learnt from their study they suggest the following about recruiting talented people:

In Great Groups the right person has the right job... Too many companies believe people are interchangeable. Truly gifted people never are. They have unique talents. Successful groups reflect the leader's profound, not necessarily conscious understanding of what brilliant people want. They want stimulus, challenge and colleagues that they can admire. What they don't want are trivial duties and obligations; successful leaders strip the workplace of non-essentials. Great groups are never places where memos are the primary forms of communication.


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