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The Importance of Example

A couple of recent projects provide an interesting comparison of the impact that the behaviour of senior executives can have on a project’s performance. I have always said people believe what they see in the offices (that is, what executives do day to day), not what is hanging on the walls of reception (company values and mission statements).

Executives must remember their behaviour sets the culture of the business. Recent examples of both positive and negative behaviour from executives and business owners have been:

  • Openly dismissing the importance of a process in which they had agreed to engage, with their involvement sporadic at best. 
  • Setting a bad example by taking shortcuts but expecting a high quality result. 
  • Taking phone calls in the middle of a session with a prospective vendor, walking out halfway through a meeting because something else seemed more important, and openly not scoring sessions while expecting the rest of the team to do so.
  • Attending the end-of-sprint showcase to judge their team’s progress for themselves. It is not surprising their team is performing well.
  • Actively taking action after receiving advice.

It would be a useful exercise to review your natural behaviours to ensure you are sending the right message.


© David Ogilvie

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