Starters vs. Finishers

In my last blog I talked about customer service oriented support people vs. just being a good technician.  Today I’m talking about another sometimes overlooked metric when determining how to hire and evaluate employees.  Getting a project off the ground can be difficult, I would not argue otherwise.  Having a valued team that starts a project on the right path is important, but more critical is having staff members that can close the project and have an eye on the finish line.
We can surround our ourselves with critical thinkers, ideas people and red team leaders.  All of these roles are important for the creative and vetting processes.  However, if your team consists of only these types of people, your timelines will creep, budgets will need to be expanded and ultimately your projects may fail, or be so far behind schedule that they will be considered a failure even when they succeeded.  Closers on projects pick up the oars when the project canoe has pushed off the dock and ensure you all get to the other side.
Good project closers are the people that add some ideas to the beginning of the project and push hard for the entire project.  They gravitate towards helpful solutions and understand who to communicate with when the project does something that was unexpected.  Great closers have a couple of added benefits:
They have an eye on the finish line from the start.  They keep communicating with the necessary people and push towards completion steadily.
They know what being flexible is, and when to use it.  Decisions that don’t need to move up the chain stop with them, and they stand by them.
Great closers use the tools given them.  Vital feedback, idea changes and deadlines are their oxygen.  Metrics helping define where the project is and how to proceed is their sunlight.
They stay ahead of naysayers.   Countering the negative feedback with facts and optimism is in their nature.
We have all met people who we would go to war with because they will not die, they refuse to quit and will climb any wall to make things happen.  They are relaxed in the pressure moments and keep a steady foot on the gas pedal during the quite times.  These are your perfect closers, cherish them and include them in your toolkit as the prized performers they are.

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