‘EIA Project Managers focus on project targets and processes, EIA Leaders focus on project outcomes’
I believe this to be one of the fundamental mindsets that leaders in EIA possess, and a factor that helps them move up a tier in the profession. The right leadership in the environment of today’s project management world is crucial to providing a clear path and vision for attaining organizational as well as sustainability goals. In the EIA and infrastructure development world, it is also about creating agile teams with S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely) goals backed up by effective team management skills to execute desired outcomes effectively and to become more agile in their approach in handling uncertainties within IA and its related assessments.
As a EIA leader you are ultimately measured on one thing — the results that you deliver within the project scope. Given this ultimate measure and its wider importance to local communities and society in general, it is vital that you are outcomes focussed from the start (pun intended!).
So what are the key benefits of being an outcome focussed EIA Team Leader? As I see it there are 5 key benefits.
Benefit 1: Communication
If you are crystal clear what you want and where you want to take the project, issue or project team during the project, it becomes much easier to communicate it to those that you are interacting with or leading. If you can communicate an inspiring vision for the future, you are much more likely to get project managers, engineers and team members to support you in translating this into design options and ultimately reality.
Benefit 2: Time
No one has ‘too much’ time in projects, it is a rare luxury in our or any profession involved in infrastructure and construction. It is how we use that time that makes the critical difference. When you are outcomes focussed, you spend your time on those areas that are likely to leverage the greatest benefits for yourself as a leader, for the EIA and for the wider project.
Benefit 3: Big picture worldview
It is all too easy, especially in times of project challenge to become obsessed with the detail and trivial stuff. During these periods it is easy to lose sight of the big picture – reducing residual impacts and promoting sustainable development. Being outcome focussed helps you remember the big picture and what you want to achieve for the project, the project team, for your organisation and for you personally as an advocate of sustainable development.
Benefit 4: Planning
They say that failing to plan is planning to fail. If you are clear about what you want to accomplish, it becomes much easier to plan what you are doing, when you are doing it and how you will achieve it. When you sit down to work out EIA priorities you can simply ask yourself – ‘will this move me closer to the outcome I want?’.
Benefit 5: Results
EIA Leaders that focus on the outcomes get more done and as a result deliver better EIA outcomes for society. As you achieve one result, it will act as a reinforcement and motivation to achieve more – this helps start and reinforce the leadership cycle within you.
The take away message — Being outcomes focussed can lift your EIA performance and your own brand of EIA leadership to a new level. So start considering the formal and infomal roles that EIA leaders fulfil in projects and what steps can you can personally take to re-focus on outcomes?
At Leading Green, our approach to environmental leadership mentoring & training encourages our clients to look closely at their own internal leadership strengths and goals. Helping them adopt an inquisitive state of mind and supporting them in how sustainability can support their long-term business strategy. We run the only EIA leadership course that has been accepted for delivery by the Internation Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) at thier annual conference.