People, Projects and Insights on Business Structure

[This is a transcript of my March 9th Twitter knowledge series – #PMNG (Project Management Nigeria) and #BizNG (Business Nigeria)]. 

Welcome to today’s 2-in-1 session: People & Projects and Insights on Business Structure. Today, I’ll speak on People & Projects first then segue into Insights on Business Structure. Please send in your questions and feedback via Twitter. Mention @subomiplumptre using the appropriate hashtag so I can track – #PMNG or #BizNG.

Let’s begin…

PEOPLE & PROJECTS

At the start of a new project, DON’T set goals, DON’T develop a calendar, DON’T plan and DON’T strategise.  Instead, have an informal session where you get to KNOW your team mates.  You’re going to work with them for a while. You’ll demand results. Get to know them first. Assess their strengths, weaknesses, motivations & motives. You’ll get a more realistic sense of who/what you’re working with.

For ongoing projects, spend some meeting days on social outings. Bond, build loyalty, uncover intentions and give your people a much deserved break.

Document instructions. Take your team through written notes. Call or meet 1-on-1 to ensure understanding. Do not assume.

When there’s persistent system breakdown, it’s a clear sign you should change your unit head, revamp the process, buy new equipment or get a reliable backup. 

Any task without an owner by default becomes the leader’s responsibility.

Regularity of meetings is key; whether virtual or in person. Enter these meetings into the team’s diary. A meeting a month may be used for training. Continuous knowledge is key and get team members to train one other. This builds leadership capacity.

Ensure your team adopts international industry standards so they don’t limit your international vision. Someday you’ll need international collaboration and your team may stumble if they’re not well versed in international terms, processes and standards.

After every major deliverable, debrief as a team to regroup, review and agree on remedial actions & immediate next steps.

In all things remember, the team is more important than the project. A successful team can be deployed again and again to deliver great projects. So, build a core team.

INSIGHTS ON BUSINESS STRUCTURE

There’s an interesting Nigerian case study – 2 companies. 2 dead founders. 1 thriving. 1 restructured & sold. The 2 companies are Aluko & Oyebode, a law firm and Cornerstone Insurance, an insurance company.

Many lessons may be gleaned from the evolution of both companies. I’ll outline a few…

A vital component of a grand vision is succession planning. Key man risk devalues the effort, financial worth and lives invested in a business. 

The personality of a founder must become the BRAND PERSONALITY of the business through a process of transfer or institutionalisation. While getting the job done keeps the business running; taking time out to build the culture ensures its long term survival.

The essence of a company and its history must be documented. It cannot solely reside in the heads of founding members.  A successor’s folly will be to mess with the core values of the company. A new vision, yes. But preserve the values.

The day you find your successor is the day your grand vision starts getting truly implemented. Anything else is like sitting on a stool with creaky legs. The stool might collapse when any real strain is introduced. A successor may be a partner, young protegee or executive committee. Think about and do what works best for your business in the short and long term. But, begin the process of documenting your history and values today.  Start communicating same with your staff.

Thank you.

To view the Q & A session, please search for the following hashtags on Twitter: #PMNG and #BizNG



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