Have you ever seen a project fail because people just couldn’t get along?

Everyone does their best to make the project successful but people disagree on the best approach. They want to do things their own way because they don’t want to be associated with a bad product.

I was a consultant for a project to build online training for ESL students. Teachers from different school boards had to co-write a script for the software. But they just couldn’t agree on the final draft. Arguments delayed the project while the budget ran out. Relationships were severed beyond repair.

If only I knew then what I know now, maybe we could have saved that project.

Maybe we could’ve saved that project

Since then I’ve learned how to hire team players with high social IQ. I’ve also learned some ways to get people past the blaming stage and into the solution stage.

The key is to set ground rules for respectful communication (which I borrowed from a Second City improv workshop). Then you can figure out what’s gone wrong and come up with solutions.

Just in case you find yourself in a similar situation, I’m giving you a PDF file with an intervention plan that outlines six steps I would follow now to save a project that was going off the rails.

Intervention plan to refocus a team from problems to solutions

  1. Call an emergency meeting
  2. Set the purpose and tone of the meeting
  3. Set communication ground rules
  4. Investigate what’s gone wrong
  5. Commit to solutions
  6. Keep the project on track going forward

Download the 6 Steps to Refocus a Team PDF


How do you keep your team on track?

Have you ever saved a project that was on the brink of failure? How did you turn things around?

I’m sure that there are a whole bunch of ways to refocus a team that I haven’t even thought of.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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