Bahrain Talk Exclusive: DON’T FORGET TO FOLLOW THROUGH

Written by: Casey Piquette As an avid baseball fan, I have learned that having the perfect pitch is all about the follow-through. In baseball terms, the follow-through is the closing movement when the supporting leg touches the ground to stop forward body motion after the baseball is thrown. This final movement is what ensures that a perfect

Written by: Casey Piquette

Follow throughAs an avid baseball fan, I have learned that having the perfect pitch is all about the follow-through. In baseball terms, the follow-through is the closing movement when the supporting leg touches the ground to stop forward body motion after the baseball is thrown. This final movement is what ensures that a perfect pitch goes straight into the umpire’s glove. Pitchers put great efforts into their follow-through. A pitcher can have the physical means- strong and fit physique, and they can have the tools required- the baseball, glove, uniform; but with no follow-through, the pitch can result in a foul ball.

Many times, organizations are missing the “follow-through”. They have the physical capacity for a task- the knowledge and the plan for a task, and they have the tools- the budget and the resources; but even with this, they throw a “foul”. The task or project runs off course and the target is not achieved. In the business world, “follow-through” can be compared to the process of monitoring; and just like in the baseball world, a new project or initiative is nothing without the monitoring.

One of our clients was responsible for producing and running a program to support public sector growth and development. The client had the physical means and the tools. The organization’s staff was empowered, they had an influential voice in the community, and they had all of the tools and resources needed. The objectives were set for the program, the budget was allocated, and the program was launched. It quickly grew in scale and popularity and beneficiaries were taking interest. Then, soon enough, everything backfired. Complaints and criticisms were piling in and the quality of the program was becoming a controversial topic.

Once we took an inside look at what was happening, we were able to see that the main issue was in monitoring.  The program was launched, the scope was growing, but that growth was not being properly monitored. While the program was achieving results, they were not aligned with the objectives of the program and there was no process in place to discover that this was happening. It had led to unsatisfied stakeholders and unmet expectations.

There are three simple tips that can be used to ensure that this valuable process is not overlooked.

  • Ensure that it is someone’s responsibility to play as a coach to the process. Many times project managers, or “pitchers”, get so caught up in their own game that they are not able to see the process from a “coach” perspective. There needs to be an advocate to pioneer accountability to the monitoring process. This can be either an external (auditor or consultant) or someone within the organization who is not involved directly with the project to provide an outside perspective.
  • Continuously refine and check process. A pitcher continuously practices and aims to improve their performance. They know that without practice, their “process” will begin to weaken. The same goes for monitoring. Processes will not always be as effective as the first day they are launched. There needs to be the mentality of continuous improvement.
  • Look beyond the numbers. A pitcher could be throwing 90 mile-per-hour curve balls, but if they are not hitting the target, the pitcher is not helping their team to win the game. Sometimes monitoring becomes solely focused on numerical KPIs, and the qualitative or aesthetic element of monitoring is lost.

 

Monitoring does not have to be a complicated, but it must be a recognized part of the delivery process. As baseball great, Casey Stengel once said; “Good pitching will always stop good hitting”. Keep your organization a winning one with the perfect pitch.

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