How often do you see a project proposal that makes provision for staff incentives to achieve the project objectives? I’ll bet such a thing is a rare beast indeed, if not extinct. But this might be a substantive cause of project failure and disappointment.
In my experience, investment proposals and business cases never (and I do mean absolutely never) consider such things as the personal motivation and career cycle position of even the key actors, let alone those on the periphery of the initiative.
The universally prevailing presumption must be that these aspects are neutral to a business proposal. And yet, in reality, they are ultimately conclusive to the outcome.
To be blunt, the intended outcome is unlikely to be achieved without the hard work, good-will and contribution of those involved. These critical success factors should not be taken for granted.
So why don’t we always put suitable incentives into our project proposals?
However, most importantly, we should also carefully consider whether or not there is any potential mis-alignment of the corporate and personal benefit cycles, e.g. where the corporate reward for investment is long-term and low, while the ‘personal’ reward is short-term.
If we really want successful projects, we need to make sure that the corporate and personal benefit cycles are properly aligned and staged progressively.