Assume the Project is Dead and You Killed It

Following a disappointing project, leaders often conduct a post-mortem. In this time-honoured tradition, the executive will sit with his or her team and explore what went wrong – what were the steps or factors that caused the undesirable outcome? The goal of this analysis is to spark individual and organizational learning in order to help avoid a similar fate in the future.

The obvious shortcoming of this approach is that it occurs after a project is completed and it’s too late to change the results. Although certainly valuable, post-mortems depend entirely on hindsight. However, with some projects, a second chance isn’t possible, and it’s important to get it right the first time.

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Craig Dowden, PhD
Craig Dowden (PhD) is President of Craig Dowden & Associates, a firm focused on supporting clients in achieving leadership and organizational excellence by leveraging the science of peak performance. Craig delivers evidence-based executive coaching and leadership development training. His first book, Do Good to Lead Well: The Science and Practice of Positive Leadership, will be published through Forbes this fall. Connect with him @craigdowden.
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