“The best plan is only good intentions unless it leads into work.” — Peter Drucker, Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices
Commit to the Plan
The first step in getting resources for your project is to get agreement on how to deliver the project. Prepare the approach for delivering your project and call for a meeting with the stated objective of getting agreement on the plan; your unstated objective is getting a commitment for resources.
Prepare the meeting. Make sure you have addressed the concerns of key players. The ask for resources is only done if the team agrees to the plan as a team.
Build a Team Identity
This is also the time to build or reinforce the definition of the group. Identify the meeting and the attendees with a group name, e.g. Project X Sponsors; Project X Steering Committee; Project X Key Stakeholders.
Once you have agreement on the plan, it is time talk about the next actions. Instill a sense of urgency. We have plan, we have agreed it needs to get done; let’s get started on the actions before time is lost.
Peter Drucker goes on to explain that the only way a plan will lead into work is through the commitment of key resources to work on specific tasks. The plan is ‘only a plan’ if the project is missing the resources needed to deliver the results.
Set an Example
Start by committing your resources first. If you have an ally, have them commit next. It is important that the team supply their best resources for the job. Anything less and the plan is just good intentions. Anything less is showing a lack of commitment to the freshly agreed plan. The project will struggle to get completed successfully without a show of full commitment.
The Power Behind the Method
This approach leverages, in varying degrees, Robert Cialdini’s six principles of persuasion.
- Reciprocity – The project manager volunteer’s his best resources first.
- Commitment and Consistency – We get the team to commit to the plan first.
- Social Proof – The group commits together to the plan and we ask our ally, a group member, to commit to commit his resources.
- Authority – Peter Drucker is an authority on management. This will speak louder to the team than project management theory.
- Liking – We create an atmosphere for mutual liking by identifying the group as a team and approving the plan together.
- Scarcity – We frame our request in terms of avoiding lost time and taking advantage of an opportunity.
Agree to the plan as a team, ask the team to put their money where their mouths are and you have increased your chances of delivering your project successfully.