Published on Saturday, February 28, 2009
There are some very talented individuals out there who have successful started their own businesses and worked hard to grow those businesses into viable entities. One thing that must be remembered – not all creative, entrepreneurial individuals translate well into good business men and women.
Bringing Talent to the Table
I’ve worked with small business owners who basically are the entire company. They make sales based solely on their skills and what they bring to the table. However, once that company has grown beyond the one creative individual, then you have a larger issue to deal with…how to manage and allocate the resources effectively across several projects and future engagements.
As Project Managers, we take for granted that we have a finite pool of resources and hours assigned to the projects we manage and we apply those resources to the detailed tasks for the projects. Seems simply enough, right? Now, put yourself in the shoes of the one very talented and creative individual (usually with limited business process sense) who has seen his or her business grow but has not really adapted to that new, larger business model. What happens next? I’ve witnessed it…and I’ve been called in to help fix the mess on more than one occasion.
What happens next is that the talented CEO travels the globe successfully making sales on the company’s offerings while paying little to no attention to the company’s resource allocation and its capacity to meet both current project demands and future demands for newly acquired business. Needless to say, this scenario can bring disastrous results.
For example, let’s say that the very talented CEO makes a sale in Tokyo and commits to a project starting in FY09 Q2 and completing in FY09 Q4 utilizing key equipment and personnel resources. However, when that information is relayed to the US-based team everyone but the CEO quickly comes to the realization that two pieces of critical equipment and four key personnel resources will not be available until Q3. What this means is that the Tokyo project will never complete in Q4. Something has to give. Either the current project has to slide or the new Tokyo project has to be pushed out and both scenarios will put a dent in the armor of the very talented CEO and his future selling ability and integrity.
This seems like something you and I would never do, but it’s possible. It’s a very easy trap to fall into. Think of the commercial where the head of a very small brewery is traveling around the country and making sales of his beer. He keeps calling his partner back home and telling him of all the sales he’s making and rather than being overjoyed, his partner is stressed about their immediate need to expand. It paints a picture of the leader of an organization not having a good handle on the current availability of resources to meet sales or demand.
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