A company’s strength depends on its ability to create new value by initiating, developing, and quickly bringing innovative ideas to market. Unfortunately, the “value creation players” in many companies are often part of two “underrepresented groups.” In fact, many of them were let go, during years on continuous cost-cutting cycles.
The first group includes the engineers and scientists who were laid off, just as anyone else, and sometimes even faster (for lack of political skills). Furthermore, technical executives who represent them are often weaker than the financial executives who are constantly looking to lower operational costs.
The second group of value creators involves project managers who “make it happen.” They too, are often ignored by the top and are typically left on their own. Few organizations have a clear career path for project managers, and rarely do companies have a “Chief Project Officer,” who is focused on building skills of these “value creators.”
We outline two ways in which organizations and executives can reverse this trend and implement a value creation strategy and culture. First, growing, nurturing, and retaining the engineers and project managers who create the highest value, even in times of cost cutting and downsizing. Second, investing extensively in improving the value creation processes of innovation and projects; treating them as investments, not costs; and turning them into strategic execution processes for stronger building of competitive advantage.
Dr. Aaron Shenhar, PMP, PMI Fellow
About the speaker
Dr. Aaron Shenhar is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading experts in project management, innovation, and leadership. He recently received the IPMA Research Achievement Award and the PMI Fellow Award. He was also the first recipient of the Project Management Institute (PMI) Research Achievement Award, as well as Engineering Manager of the Year of IEEE. He holds five academic degrees in engineering and management, including a PhD from Stanford University.
After a career as executive in the aerospace industry, Dr. Shenhar served as tenured professor, founding new academic programs in project management in four universities. He is one of the most published and cited authors in the field, and his work has influenced project and technology management research and education throughout the world. He also served as consultant to major corporations such as 3M, NASA, Honeywell, Dow Jones & Co., U.S. Army, and Tata Group. His recent book, Reinventing Project Management, is the first project management book published by Harvard Business School Press.