Ever play the telephone game? You know, the one where you whisper a message to the next person, who whispers to the next person until you reach the end of the line. Does a message reach the destination? Sure! Does it stay intact? Never.
I was recently informed that things fell out of alignment for a critical section of a larger implementation plan. There were three vendors involved, numerous engineering pillar leads at the customer and FOUR project managers across the group! Lots of issues and questions—little progress.
Spin-off email chains, single vendor meetings and direct verbal conversations were contributing to continuity and context problems. We pulled people together, recommunicated the objective, achieved two-way confirmation of understanding between various parties, sent clear notes and defined owners and follow-ups. Back to the races.
A single quarterback that is responsible for ensuring success is crucial. They need to define, communicate and confirm understanding, no matter how many times the ball passes hands—or you’ll be playing the business telephone game. After all, didn’t we learn back in kindergarten that doesn’t work?