As a project professional, successful project delivery (or programme) is probably the most important goal you can ever set. The big challenge though is that it’s one of the most complex, the most challenging and elusive goals that you will ever have and one that is fraught with risk. The payoff is immense, your career and job depend on it. This article looks at how Mindset and Cause and Effect are equally as important to the success of project delivery.

In my 20+ years of running change projects, I’ve constantly been told that it is impossible, well incredibly difficult at least, to deliver projects to time, cost, quality and scope, as it’s seldom achieved in totality.

So why is project delivery so hard?

Given that you have the technical and managerial abilities necessary to deliver your project, it’s my belief that very few people ever move beyond the physical aspects of project delivery and that MindSet is a key ingredient that will determine the very fine line between delivering all of those four goals (time, cost, quality and scope) and underachievement.

Why MindSet is critical to the success of your project?

At the centre of our MindSet is the Belief, Behaviour, Results Model© and is taken from the key principle that what you believe you will achieve. Our beliefs, values and attitude make up our personality, and put simply our belief system determine all of our behaviours and consequently, our behaviours determine our results.

In other words, when you believe your goal is achievable, you will behave in the appropriate way to achieve that goal. Whilst this will never guarantee success, starting from the point of believing that you will succeed, is a much healthier place to be. The key then is to focus on the beliefs and behaviours to get the desired result.

Why understanding Cause and Effect is critical to your MindSet and to the success of your project?

So just imagine then, if your project team held the belief that one or more of those goals were unachievable. What would the result be? You now have two problems to overcome. A team who have a limiting belief believe that the project won’t achieve its goals and who are taking less than 100% responsibility for the successful achievement it; they are at effect (Cause & Effect).

It’s is a universally accepted law of the universe that when there is an effect (an event) there is an underlying root cause; something causes every single effect in the universe.

Likewise, when looking at your project every effect or event has a root cause and when you believe that those events are caused by something or someone outside of you, you are not at cause for the successful delivery of your project.

The one thing I can guarantee is that if you are not experiencing the results that you do want or you are experiencing the results that you don’t want, that you are at effect, and you’ll know that you or members of your team are at the effect when you hear phrases like: “It’s not my fault”, “The users made me…..”, “ The budget dictated…….”, “ I had no choice….”, “The users just don’t understand….”

Why you should always be at Cause?

Being at cause gives you choice and empowers you to make changes and take action to achieve your goals, in this case, the project, whereas being at effect means that you have placed choice outside of yourself and are living in other peoples agenda and plan. Once you take 100% responsibility and accept that the successful outcome of your project is your creation you open up new opportunities and choice to create the result that you want – a project delivered successfully.

What to do to get from Effect to Cause?

The most important mind shift that you can make to get from effect to being at cause is to totally accept that both your personal results and the outcome of your project are your responsibility.

This means that it is your responsibility; it doesn’t mean that you have to do everything personally, as once you accept that the successful outcome of your project is a foregone conclusion and your behaviours match that belief, then immediately you have taken control and are at cause giving you and your project the maximum possibility of success.

About Guest ContributorConsultant, Speaker, Author, Coach

Chris is a seasoned Project Professional with over 20 years’ experience in all aspects of change projects, across FTSE 100 companies spanning Retail, Travel and Financial Services

He is an accomplished communicator, a professional speaker, coach and NLP Master Practitioner and Master Hypnotherapist

Chris now splits his time between Project Delivery and working with private clients though his tailored coaching programmes to achieve exceptional results both at a personal and business level.

More information can be found at and Chris can be reached at [email protected]