You may oversee community volunteers and mobilisers, or manage community expectations. You may lead a team. You might just manage information. And, then again, you might be the one who oversees the whole project, and has to keep donors sweet.
But Do You Manage Reactively Or Responsively?
Operations-Focused Managers Manage Reactively
If you've ever had a manager who was reactive you'd have noticed there was little stability. Maybe tension around the project office. New ideas get introduced and dropped suddenly; ill-thought out changes become the norm. It may have felt that the project was simply a series of crisis meetings.
If they managed a football team, they'd be switching players and tactics constantly. And the result?
The team loses, the fans (stakeholders) lose, and we might be looking for a new manager next season.
Results-Based Managers Manage Responsively
As a manager you consider, you plan and reason, and you are calm. And your focus isn't just on project operations - it's on the project purpose.
- Initial project plans are never accurate anyway. Stakeholders interests can change, and other stakeholders can emerge that could affect the success of the project.
- Our assumptions are just those - assumptions: things we expect to be true. But in reality, they may be off-the-mark and there may be other external factors we overlooked when planning. Risks can emerge that were never anticipated.
- And, of course, even if we could manage stakeholders and the external environment (in itself unlikely), we still have to monitor progress towards results to steer that ship safely and successfully.
We Can Only Respond If We Have The Right Information At The Right Time
And that means you need a decent M&E Plan. One that makes sure Monitoring & Evaluation is integrated into the project, that progress is tracked, and information moves smoothly.
So you're not putting out fires all the time. So you can steer your project towards achieving results for target communities.
Results-Based Management is more than just a tool to help managers. It's a philosophy, a way of approaching what we do differently, where everything we do and everything the project provides contributes to achieving outputs, outcome and impact.
It's based on sound project planning and M&E planning, so you are never taken by surprise. So you can manage responsively. And if you want to learn those skills, and design, Monitor & Evaluate development projects that get results and attract donor support, think about joining our online RESULTS-BASED MANAGEMENT, MONITORING & EVALUATION course.
So you can respond, and not react.