Imagine that your company has this policy that makes every top manager change function every year. Crazy, no? Well, I know of a company that does exactly this. Each year the head of the Financial department becomes the head of the IT department, the head of the IT department becomes the head of the Marketing department and so on. Is there a purpose that justifies something a bit crazy like this is? There is, and they have two objectives: on one hand, to force interdependence between the top managers; on the other hand to grow each of those managers as professionals.
Why would a company want to something like this? What would they gain?
Curious enough? Keep on reading then...
First things first
This is really important because when you apply good ideas, processes or whatever in a different context you have to make sure that they will bring you the expected benefits. In most cases people apply best practices without taking into consideration the differences in context (even if it's just cultural differences) and at the end the results are not what they expected. And in some cases they may even get worst than they were initially.
The knowledge, experience and maturity that each of these guys get is really amazing. And it's their benefit in the first place, and of course they know it. But the company also gets something for it, to name a few reasons:
- reducing the impact when someone leaves the company
- having very able people
- having people that are not afraid of taking some risks
- having flexible people
Then you have an attitude problem: what if someone doesn't see the benefits and takes on a new function not relying on anyone else? What if he/she doesn't give a hand to someone else when it's needed?
Another problem is the learning ability. The younger you are the easier it is for you to learn. So you can be successful in such a workplace for sometime and get less and less successful over time.
- Recruitment is more complex and risky
- Learning ability
What does this has to do with Project Management?
Most projects have contexts that are dynamic and cross-function. Even if you are an expert team member in a particular field, let's say an SAP MM expert, you will do projects in several industries for sure so this kind of flexibility and adaptation makes sense. It also makes sense to strive for interdependency and growth in any team whenever possible.
In most cases, it is a bad idea to put an expert on a field working on something else on a given project - most people feel diminished. But you may be on the look for experts on your team that show interest on other fields so you can take every chance you get to challenge them on that other field of expertise. The same benefits discussed apply but mainly you'll end up with a happier project team - and a happy team is a productive team.
So if you keep this story on the back of your mind you may do some good to your current team and...
...Then you can be a better Project Manager.
Images from http://www.mcescher.com/, http://www.wikipedia.org, http://secondpicture.com, https://psdgraphics.com and http://reuters.socialpicks.com
Posted by Luis Seabra Coelho