October 27, 2020

Virtual Chief Performance Officer: Development Projects

There's a large swath of projects that are what I'd call "Development Projects". You give these projects to promising employees to develop their skills.

Decisions like this are easy.

Say you are introducing a new line of widgets. Do you let your Chief Merchandising Officer / Chief Product Officer do this? Do you let one of her Directors execute the tactic? Do you let one of your promising Managers take this project over, or do you let a gifted beginner do this?

Most of you would likely have a Director execute the tactic ... boring the person to death.

Don't bore that person to death!! Let that person be a Virtual Chief Performance Officer. And bypass the Manager while you are at it. Hand the project to a promising beginner, and give the promising beginner access to the Director, bypassing the Manager.

I know, here come the complains.

But seriously.

Use logic and math to make the decision for you.

  • If the sales potential of the new effort is low, Develop somebody.
  • If the probability of success is similar to a coin toss, Develop somebody ... because if the odds of failure are 50/50, then you'll have a chance to teach somebody how to deal with adversity. If the odds of success are 95%, there isn't a teaching opportunity. You Develop somebody when there are better odds of a teaching opportunity.
  • Does anybody care? Email personalization falls into this category. Here you have a 99% chance of success but nobody cares outside of 1-2 people in marketing and/or analytics. So Develop somebody.
Almost every project that comes across your desk should have a tag on it that says "SHOULD WE DEVELOP SOMEBODY HERE??" And the answer should typically be "YES", where possible.

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