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The Secret of Sustainable Project Delivery: People Interactions

Written by: Ruxandra Dariescu, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


How we think is the foundation for how we interact, learn, create, decide, perform, observe, innovate, invest, grow, trust, collaborate and, at the end of the day, how we deliver our work.

A few years ago, a teacher said to my son, “Your test objective was to solve a problem, and I like how you thought about solving it. It is original, and your results are correct. But I don’t want you to think that way. You have to think in the way will be marked.” They asked an 8-year-old kid to stop thinking his way because he would not get the recognition. He felt rattled and left the school building understanding that only one way of inflexible thinking would qualify for performance rewards.

Curious about how other school-age students think, I explored further the school time “thinking experience”. I asked teenagers from 4 different countries and of various ages if they took the time to think, understand and discuss their study’s usefulness during class. For example, if they learn about France as a Geography topic and have a country map of all the roads, do they discuss the map as part of a system? If it is a valuable object for someone driving across the country, does it make it equally useful for a sea Captain on the French coast? Do they think about the design meaning, or do only they learn about different symbols representation? Are they invited to think that Geologists, Meteorologists, or Climatologists use maps of the same territory but with a different meaning, relevance or design systems? The number of answers is equal: “never” and “less than half of the time” is invested in thinking about or discussing system-level aspects.

Fast-forwarding from the school benches to a group of business leaders, I recently asked them about their time ratio investment between thinking/doing. Only 15% of the respondents said they invest more than half of the time thinking on multiple levels. The majority said they spend 10 to 40% of their time understanding a problem and designing ways to solve it, leaving 60 to 90% of the time invested in doing, followed by much re-doing! The rewards seem to also go along with the doers regardless of how they get there.

The answers to thinking-as-a-child-in-school and thinking-as-an-adult-in-the-workplace align: less than half of the time invested is in thinking. It tells the story of “doers generations”.

But the world is changing!

The challenge arises when the space of doers becomes too crowded, is subject to automation or artificial intelligence application, and when the business world moves to rewarding other skills.

Cultivating a collaborative culture, working in teams, or maintaining social interactions are among the top 16 most significant problems of today’s business leaders ( Market reports about the future of work state that the top 15 skills required in the coming years include critical thinking, analytical thinking and systems thinking (World Economic Forum data). So, what is the secret that makes a project delivery sustainable?

When coaching for sustainable project delivery, the first step towards performance is supporting a project team to zoom into their thinking models and become aware of the entire system of interactions. Sustainable delivery means that teams can create and maintain a certain activity level, a rhythm directly linked to the agreed purpose and objectives.

Many business leaders make a positive difference in the world through their activities, take time and value thinking. They become performant in their work, deliver successfully and maintain their performance due to their investment in thinking. They understand their system of interconnected components, design decision-making frameworks, apply analytical thinking to correlate relationships, and follow a sustained sharp focus on the action.

They invite the people in their organisations to be part of a continuous exercise of awareness about the process of thinking, learning to intuitively recognise when the thought process is not serving the objective. The balance between thinking and doing is changing. Performant people think about the three secrets of interconnected systems of an organisation:

The Business Secret

The organisational system setup needs to consider all interactions as part of the environment design and culture. The Business secret: connect the purpose and objectives simultaneously with every plan, person, process and client. It is the continuous exercise of alignment between purpose and objectives that determines fluent interactions flows across the entire environment.

The People Secret

Combining knowledge and experience with project-specific roles and responsibilities rather than generic role titles create the premise for sustainable delivery. The People secret: understand that role titles without substance and a direct connection with relevant rewards distort people interactions and lead to failures in the delivery game.

The Operations Secret

An integrated system of processes keeps the environment moving together and gives everyone, at the same time, the direction in which the data, information, and knowledge flow to maintain the clarity of action. Supported by the right tools, people can play well together to deliver efficiently and sustainably. The Operations secret: ensure the relevance of processes and tools at all times because flaws in their intersections lead to ruptures in delivery.

A sustainable delivery performance approach moves the conversation from the endless cycles of the task, time, or budget to the value of people interactions systems connecting the business with the people and the operations. Our trademarked coaching model for project Deliverability, part of ACCORD Pulse™ toolset, brings transparency to team interactions.

The Deliverability model drives people away from blame, assumptions, and expectations in interaction. It supports project teams to visualise and track how individual subjectivity translates into team objectivity throughout the project. It creates the space for renewed connections between purpose, objectives, planning, collaboration, decision-making, team gameplay, continuous learning, and re-skilling for sustainable delivery.

By monitoring project Deliverability, the team adapts to a sustainable balance of the entire group’s play rhythm. As a result, people transform and free up the space to adopt the habits that connect them to deliver together.


Follow Ruxandra on Linkedin and find out about her upcoming book “Deliverability™ - the future of sustainable project delivery”:

Deliverability™ and ACCORD Pulse™ are brands owned and trademarked by the author.


Ruxandra Dariescu, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Ruxandra Dariescu is a Sustainable Performance Business Coach who founded and currently leads The Product Schools, a purposeful endeavour to Integral Digital Transformation design connecting the soul of the business with the natural environment, the AI-vision, the strategy and its people well-being and values.

She coaches and leads with the same amount of passion. A Biochemist Scientist by education, with a career of almost 25 years in leading executive roles, Ruxandra invented Deliverability™, a performance coaching tool centred around people working together towards a common project purpose. Through individual and team coaching programmes, Ruxandra helps business leaders understand that recognising a play pattern between people can transform performance and free up space for exploration, passions, well-being, and, ultimately, sustainable growth.

Her philosophy: take inspiration from nature, do good work, make a positive change, and breathe in a fast-paced world. Choose smart. Play together.

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