The Last Mile…


Today is John's last session with his Leadership coach. His recent failure to deliver the projects forced him to seek the guidance of a professional. John is a project manager in an MNC. Thanks to his technical skills, his leadership skills, he has moved the corporate ladder pretty fast. In short, you name a quality and he has proved that he possesses it. The management didn’t have any option but to promote him as the Project Manager.

But since then, the days have not been the same for John. His projects are either delayed or are not up to the mark and at times both. Nobody can believe a person like John can go wrong in delivering projects.

Thanks to the sessions he is going through. Things have changed a lot. A recent project has been delivered on time. John seems to be back in groove. He seems to be getting things on track, getting his edge back. Wondering what did the coach teach him? Lets explore it.

Who is John

John is a very accomplished professional possessing all right technical and leadership qualities. He would start the projects with great enthusiasm, get the team motivated, everything would be executed according to the plan. Till the final stage, the project would be on track. As the project reaches the finish and John is able to visualize a successfully delivered project, he becomes complacent, the grip on the project timelines, on the deliverables and the team is relaxed and that’s it, the project starts falling apart, things start to get off the track. A project that was sure shot success suddenly becomes a disaster. Everybody banking on John and the success of the project is disappointed. The last mile is missed and so the journey is not complete.

The Syndrome

Isn't this the case with most of us? Isn't this the case with many other things? Didn't you feel at times this is the story of one of our projects?

A good movie becomes a disaster just because the last 30 minutes climax was not up to the mark. Nervous 90s is a very well known syndrome which makes the batsman lose wicket being just 10 or less runs short of a century. Its like a pilot at the time of landing getting out of cockpit to have a coffee with the air hostess as soon as the runway is visible. The criticality of the landing is very well known to all of us.The Last Mile

People get overwhelmed and start loosing focus when the goal is visible. This results in failure despite having all the qualities and skills, despite using all the knowledge and the techniques, despite putting in so much of effort. Such failures become difficult to digest as the pre-requisites were very much in place.

We are landing now…

The gist is for everybody of us, for leaders, its absolute necessity to have the focus, the enthusiasm, the energy and everything that is needed for a project to be delivered are in place till the actual end of the project. When I say project, it need not be building a rocket. It could be as small as writing an email.

The smart thing to do after such an experience is to shake up your self and do what John did. Get back to the drawing board and starting getting the drawings right, get into learning phase. Get in touch with people who had similar experience and analyze what they did to get the things right like I mentioned in my post .

The inspiration for this post is the saying in Gujrati, “Kinare aavine vaahan dubyu”…meaning “To sink the ship at the shore”

I have tried to keep my focus till the end of this post…Do let me know what you guys think using the comments section…



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