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Contractors: Bananarama Syndrome!

It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it…

Our guest blogger Alistair Burton shares his thoughts on the Contractor Bananarama Syndrome! Over to you Alistair …

I dig into my global experience in the delivery of change to tell you that very often it is not what you do but how you do it.

Along with any Program or Project Manager aspiring to be recognised and revered for the successful delivery of meaningful change I seek my inspiration from a wide variety of sources. Industry experts, trusted mentors, TED talks and of course the 80’s girl band Bananarama.

It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it.

Never a truer word spoken by project management experts in cropped T shirts sporting back combed hair. It is a mantra I choose to live by and throughout my career I’ve advocated strongly for equal or more weighting to be applied to ‘how’ someone approaches a task as opposed to focusing solely on ‘what’ they do.

In the field of project management what you do is easy. It really is. It can be taught and it can be learned. We have training courses, books and podcasts that give us everything we need to know in terms of the basic rigours and technical skills needed to plan, execute and deliver successful change. Yet many of us have the all too familiar scars on our knuckles from the torturous delivery of difficult projects.

How is it that a particular delivery can be so hard, so stressful and so fraught with tense steering committees and executive deep dives? We followed the manual. We did everything we had to do. We ticked all the audit boxes. What we did was text book perfect. Yet it was a horrible project and an experience we don’t want to go through again.

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