Leading Cause of Project Failure: Lack of Executive Support

One of the single most important indicators of whether you will deliver successfully or not comes down to the support you’re getting from your sponsor.

Having support doesn’t mean you get everything you ask for (including doubling your pay)! What does it mean? How do you get it?

In this video Andy Kaufman, PMP, host of the project management podcast entitled The People and Projects Podcast discusses why executive support is so important, and how to get it.

By the way, you may find this project management podcast interview with Alfonso Bucero helpful. We talk about his book Project Sponsorship.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

AmandoTucero September 15, 2010 at 10:02 pm

We have big problem with sponsors. This was helpful video. thankyou.

Hamid June 26, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Thanks for this helpful video. My question is: How should I react as a project manager when I reach to different or opposite idea with my director in a project. Let say he ask me to follow that way while I insist to go this way!

Andy Kaufman, PMP June 26, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Great question Hamid…. First, it’s important to remember that you won’t always agree. If you and your Director always agree, perhaps one of you isn’t needed. šŸ™‚

Second, your Director has “positional” or “role” power. That’s very real and will often be difficult to overcome. My advice is to stay open-minded to try to understand not only their idea but the “why” behind their idea. Try to understand their assumptions and reasoning. It could be their idea has a lot of value that may not have been as obvious up front. I also recommend you consider if it’s an issue of right and wrong or preferences. If it’s a matter of preferences, then it’s reasonable to accommodate to your Director.

Third, if your approach truly is better (and their approach would be notably inferior), then look for ways to influence them. There are many techniques, some of which I mention in this video series. I suggest you consider Robert Cialdini’s book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”. John Kotter’s book “Buy-In” could be helpful as well. Where the former book helps you develop your influence skills, the latter book focuses on how to keep your ideas from being shot down.

I wish you much continued success, Hamid!

Hamid June 26, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Dear Andy,
Really great response! I appreciate your time. I am preparing for a job interview šŸ™‚

Suresh September 24, 2011 at 11:22 pm

Thanks for the tip.

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