“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” – Colin Powell

Business leaders constantly face adversity on their way to achieving success, so what differentiates a successful project leader from those who lead their teams astray?

There are three things business leaders need to keep in mind to achieve success: a plan of action, the right technology/tools and the ability to empower a team of people to achieve that plan.

  1. A Deliberate Plan of Action

While it may be tempting to dive straight into action once you and your team have a good idea, the first step to success is a well-thought-out plan. As a leader, you need to be able to see the overall picture and create a plan that has enough flexibility and contingency options built-in to overcome any unforeseen obstacles.

Effective leaders in the workplace must come prepared…create a plan of attack, but remain vigilant that there will be many unforeseen circumstances that can derail a project’s deadline and budget.

So what steps do you need to take to create a plan that’s comprehensive yet flexible enough to sustain unanticipated hurdles?

  • Do your research: Don’t be blindsided by an unachievable timeline or budget because you didn’t look at comparable projects and investigate possible hurdles to execution.

  • Outline a clear goal and communicate it clearly: Work with stakeholders and team members to ensure you’re all in agreement. Be sure to set specific milestones and deliverables against this goal so everyone has clear expectations on the timeline and what is expected of them.

  • Build in flexibility and contingency plans: Build extra time and budget into your plan, and identify key escalation points so you’ll be alerted before you overload your resources, ensuring you catch problems quickly before they escalate.

2. The Right Tools for the Job

A seasoned business leader knows they must choose their tools wisely. So what technology does a successful project leader use?

The answer: An easy-to-use project management software that creates transparency and alignment between team members and outside stakeholders, an easily searchable and structured way to collaborate, and time-tracking software, at the very least. But exceptional business leaders and project managers alike also ensure that they provide their team with project management software that has extensive integrations and an open API so they have access to the tools needed for any situation.

3. The Ability to Inspire Your Team in Trying Circumstances

Many projects experience shifting deadlines, team turnover and changing expectations from outside stakeholders. How do successful leaders keep their teams inspired in the face of what appears to be the overwhelming odds of project failure? They communicate to their team members why the project is important.

A good leader doesn’t just delegate tasks and ownership, they connect to their team on an emotional level. They clearly communicate what is at stake if they don’t complete the project on-time and and why each team member’s role in the plan is so essential. With changing project deadlines and time crunches you’ll most likely be asking your team members to work over-time and put their lives on hold temporarily. Unless you clearly communicate why the deadline has changed, remind your team of the overall impact of the project and why their role is crucial to the project’s success – you’ll find an unmotivated team or worse, you could find yourself without a team.

By combining a comprehensive plan, the right technology and clear and inspiring leadership, you’ll be able to conquer any workplace problem. The power to prepare, plan and succeed is all within your grasp.