It’s happening all over the place: leaders are hijacking critical projects from their internal teams and implementing a “bypass” play in order to get things done. While you might question the non-conventional leadership style, the wisdom or the potential fall-out inside the organization of such tactics, these leaders are more worried about missed opportunities, missed revenues or loss of ministry impact than trying to protect the organizational pride and inefficiency.
Lately, much of my consulting has been with key leaders who find themselves in endless meetings, studies, and discussions of projects that have been stalled for months and even years because of organizational inertia. As leaders they see the opportunity and want to seize the moment, but cannot make forward progress with their teams.
Fear, incompetent, ignorance, philosophical differences, and so many other issues often play into this organizational paralysis that keeps a lot of good businesses and ministries from making a strategic move. However, in my experience organizations have a window of opportunity in which to leverage a new technology, a new venture or a potential outreach. But then enters the obligatory company buy in. And trust me, I understand the need for the widest acceptance possible, but sometimes that’s the kiss of death. I’ve sat in meetings where I knew the project at hand would never get done: too many people, too many opinions, too much fear. Somewhere along the road, leaders have bought into the idea that they lead a democratic organization and if the majority is not excited about a project, then they will not pursuit it. That’s bad thinking.
If as a leader, you cannot dismantle the machine and start over, then it’s time for your “bypass” play. Here’s what I’ve seen work:
- Keep your team as small as you can: two to three people is ideal
- Make your scope focused and manageable. Think delivery in weeks, not months.
- Understand the project’s critical mass: What’s the minimum we need to make this work.
- It’s more important to deliver it fast than to have it fully right. Trust me on this one. Nothing is perfect. People remember the first in a class, not necessarily the best.
Take inventory. What project or initiative you have been trying to get done that has dragged on and on? What about something cutting edge that you just know your people will torpedo it before it even gets born? Maybe it’s your bypass time.
If you could call a bypass play at work, what would you do, or create?