Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Project Pitfalls: Influencer Buy-In

Recently, I spent time reading Nehemiah in the Maxwell Leadership Bible. This book is loaded with lessons on leadership and project management. In Nehemiah, the book’s title character identifies a project, rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. However, before beginning the project, Nehemiah is careful to evaluate key stakeholders of the project. In this evaluation process, he identifies King Artaxerxes as one of the key influencers that needed to be on board for the project to be a success.

Projects will not succeed without the buy-in and support of key influencers. A few years ago, I started a project without the support of a key influencer. At the time, I knew that the project would not succeed without his buy-in and ongoing support. However, rather than rectifying the situation, I let the project slide for several months. In hindsight, I guess that I was scared or did not want to be a nuisance or take up his time. Honestly, though, we ended up running around in circles for several months. I was pretty embarrassed by the floundering project. Eventually, though, we gained the support of the key influencer and the project turned around rapidly. He made it a priority in the organization and we reaped significant savings. Nehemiah 2:1-9 affirms the need to obtain the support of key influencers. They provide resources and support that ensure successful completion of projects (Maxwell & Elmore, 2007). Without them, it is probably more worthwhile to work on something else.
Maxwell, J. C. & Elmore, T. (Eds.). (2007). The Maxwell leadership Bible (2nd ed.). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

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