We all think we have great ideas. When our organizations have the means to execute these revolutionary concepts, senior leaders may believe that they need to tackle them all at once. Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez says to slow down. He is an economist and a global advocate on project management and implementing strategies effectively in corporate settings. He coaches senior leaders to reinvent the world of project management because when leaders evolve their businesses, they build higher-performing teams and transform their organization as a whole.
We spoke recently about how projects affect every relationship in the organization, in and outside of the project. Moving to a project-based model is an excellent way to improve creativity, develop professional relationships, and accelerate nonlinear growth.
But too many projects may be too much of a good thing. Senior leaders may be a little trigger happy when it comes to getting all of these genius ideas done. Antonio has seen some dangers in the project management field. "I come across some organizations that have more projects than employees.... And they still need to take care of their business, [manage] clients, and produce things," he says.
There are tremendous downsides to giving your teams more work than there are people. With limited resources and funds, organizations spread themselves too thin, which can lead to strained creativity and relationships inside and outside the project. The success of a project correlates with the strength of their teams.
"Most of the companies, they were struggling to prioritize," says Antonio. "One of the challenges, when you're trying to prioritize 10 projects, is that you only have the budget for five."
Antonio has created a solution for this: a hierarchy of purpose. He defines it as "really looking at your purpose and using your purpose to determine which projects you should be doing."
When we can hone in on our purpose, we can strengthen the projects and the relationships between team members, senior leaders, and project managers, up, down, and across the organization. Having a more precise focus also improves employees' work satisfaction.
Although this is a new way of organizing for older employees, the benefits outdo the initial angst. "It creates a lot of uncertainty and angst on the more experienced, seasoned workers. They started working on a project, and the first months are a bit struggling, but then they love it," Antonio says. "It's a great way to learn. It's a great way to meet new people. New contents or projects are the future, I believe. And once you go beyond that angst, you will start enjoying it."
When you prioritize your projects, you can give teams a full chance to deepen their connection and collaboration, and to co-create to their fullest ability. Going across organizations and generations keeps your teams sharp, adds more perspectives, and increases creativity. Take Antonio's advice: Projects are a way to connect different groups and accelerate professional relationships constantly.