Plans vs reality and your expectations

I just wanted to put something out that I have heard a couple of times over the last couple of weeks regarding the responses that I hear from people (Project Managers mainly) when someone asks how a particular job is going. Whenever I hear this in a working environment I am always being told “ah there’s been a load of problems going on” or “I’ve been having to deal with a lot of issues” or “we’ve had to do X because Y has gone wrong”. You know what this really winds me up. From my point of view that is just day-to-day delivery. Things do go wrong. Things don’t go perfect all of the time. And I think that people sometimes just need to re-align their expectations. If you think that a job is going to go smoothly all of the time, every time…it’s not!

“that is just day-to-day delivery”

Maybe I’ve been lucky in the fact that I have been involved in sport all of my life in both team and individual sports and knowing that even the best laid plans go pear-shaped from time-to-time; for example in a cup final you may lose your key playmaker 20 mins into the game or have mis-underestimated the oppositions ability under the high ball or during an ironman triathlon your stomach cramps on the bike and you need to re-adjust your nutrition plan that you have spent weeks perfecting or you find yourself out of position on the swim or with a flat tyre on the bike. You always need to adapt and have plans in place for when things go wrong or at least precondition your mind to be able to think on its feet when met with a challenge.

If anybody asks me how my jobs are going at any moment in time my answer is usually “good” “fine” “as expected”. The performance may not be as planned, the customer may be continuously changing their mind, or even not know what they want. I may have issues with resources, material may not have arrived on time, things may have gotten lost but for me that is part of the day-to-delivery of any project. Now I’m not suggest that you bury your head in the sand or mis-inform. Things are going to go wrong that you need to raise as an issue and look for outside help you need to be quicker to raise bad news than you ever are at raising good. However, you are in place to do a job and to make sure that things happen and that the project is going in the right direction.

How can you expect to motivate a team without being a constant source of positivity and enthusiasm?

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