Waterfall Leadership:

Waterfall Leadership:

Setting the stage:

Your organizational leaders always set the pace for your business success.  In the various triangles of leadership that trickle down within the organization, the leaders of each division or team must take directives from their hierarchical superiors and translate those directives into action.

In order for your project to succeed, you must be able to communicate these directives, goals and objectives efficiently and effectively.   Motivation, organization, and the ability to understand the big picture, are all things traits these managers (at all tiers in this hierarchy) must possess in order to be effective communicators.

Picture this:

Have you ever sat and watched a waterfall?  It’s beautiful!  In many ways, it’s like a symphony.   It sounds soothing, it’s harmonious, it’s very pleasant and relaxing to watch.   From the water flowing over the top of the cliff, to the way water fl­uidly blends into the misty river down below, waterfalls embody everything that your project success should.    Sometimes rocks get in the way, but the water just flows around them and makes them part of the marvelous scenery.

No matter what geological obstacles the water may encounter, it always seems to come together in just the right way to successfully conduct it’s symphony of the senses.  Even when it gets interrupted, blocked, or partially dried up, waterfalls are successful in their goal – to get to the end and keep that river flowing.


As project teams, you need to keep that business flowing.  Your project will encounter obstacles, blockages, technical difficulties, and mis-communications.   Your team must come together and understand the obstacles, what they represent, and formulate a cohesive plan to work around these issues.   If you cannot do this as a team, your project will suffer as a result.

Understanding is key:

Over budget?  Running behind schedule?  Lack of Resources?  Communication issues?  Technical difficulties?   NO PROBLEM!

If you are truly striving for business agility, you will be able to work around any of the issues mentioned above – as long as your have cohesive understanding.     These constraints are all just a series of compromises that must be made throughout your organization – and every project encounters them at some point or another.   Stumbling through these challenges and arguing over them only slows you down further.   Additionally, it causes the team to breakdown.

Seek to Understand:

Seek to understand the project goals and the constraints you face.  Re-evaluate them constantly.  When things change, understand why and communicate that up the chain until there is a global understanding.

Working together as a team, having systems in place for handling communication and/or project constraints throughout the project lifecycle are all signs of an agile business.

If you can keep the above goals in mind, then – like the waterfall – your business will flow fluidly and with a quiet roar of increased productivity and success.

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