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Viewpoint | Improving programmes

Andrew Poole Costain

In today’s economic climate, successfu lleadership is about leveraging best practice in the management of uncertainty and unleashing a chain reaction of amazing outcomes and benefits.

Delivering differently is the solution. However, to deliver differently we have to think and behave differently.

We must now take a fresh look at risk management and how it can be effectively used to deliver differently. The international principles of managing risk provide a fit for-purpose approach to transform the effectiveness of programme management by enabling high-performing teams with effective and efficient use of scarce resources. The fresh approach does this by hosting and facilitating collaborative working, effective communication and inspiring change.

This works on two levels. At the top end, the more structured approach helps companies to make smarter directing and controlling decisions from the outset by deciding priorities for the allocation of constrained resources in pursuit of their business objectives and appetite for risk.

But drill down a bit more deeply and you can begin to see some really exciting personal developments taking place, both at the team and personal level. This approach offers time and space for people to share their thinking, make connections, solve potential problems, innovate and decide collaboratively how to manage cause and consequence.

A pre-requisite is being organised around the purpose and mission. When people in an organisation have a clear sense of what they are trying to achieve and the strategy to get there, they then own the shared mission around which they can unite and flourish.

In this age of hyper-competition, we must be organised to have all hands on deck. We want our teams to show leadership, not just look to cover their backs. Successful projects are run by empowered teams whose members feel they can look to the leadership qualities inside themselves rather than constantly defer to the hierarchy.

High-performing teams generate their own energy. In my experience the priorities are in the area of thinking and behaviours.The results are tangible, and can include the creation of new or improved services, better financial management and performance, and a more mutually-supportive culture.

Using international best practice principles should guide the development of our approach to risk management and contribute greatly to the future effectivenessof programme management. First, it improves decision-making by encouraging situational awareness and a grasp of future scenarios.After all, once you have made a decision, you are already determining the future.

Secondly, it contributes to dissolving perceived barriers that stop us achieving our goals by constantly asking “why” and“so what?” to get to the root of an issue.

Finally, it encourages and inspires the move to a new paradigm of true collaboration and empowered people and teams.

  • Andrew Poole is principal risk consultantat Costain

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Costain Logo CMYK

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