Authenticity Internal Communication Internal Communications Meetings Resilience

Why did my project get derailed?

The Curious Case of the Derailed Internal Communications Project

Morris and Iris are colleagues at Table Talk Inc’s Corporate Communications team. They have worked for a few years and partnered on key initiatives. One Monday afternoon Iris enters the cafeteria and notices Morris slumped in his chair with his coffee untouched. He looks dejected and defeated. Iris taps him on the shoulder.

Iris: “What’s the matter? Are you all right?”

Morris: “Well, I can’t say I am fine. Quite disappointed with all that’s happened.”

Iris: “You mean the High Life platform project?”

Morris: “Yes. That one. I did everything possible to ensure the platform was ready on time for launch….and now…they tell me….(his voice trailing).

Iris: “Tell you what?”

Morris: “That, Vignesh and Stella aren’t fine with the features and we need to go back to the drawing board? It puts all the plans in disarray.”

Iris: “Oh, that’s awful! Drawing board? You spent 6 months on the project already.”

Morris: “I know. I did everything I thought was right. Preparing the plan, getting the budgets signed off, putting the wireframe in place, working with the development team to create the platform and getting ready for launch”.

Iris: “And you got all stakeholders aligned before hand?”

Morris: “I mailed the group the plan months ago and didn’t hear from them all. Some responded and some didn’t. I can’t be waiting for everyone to respond, right? Do I need to be including all views? That will kill the platform!”

Iris: “Hmm. Did you get buy-in of key leaders?”

Morris: “I did mail them about the urgency to get started. They are all aware of the timelines.”

Iris: “But did you gain consensus? Or at least let them know you were progressing with the project?”

Morris: “They are adults, right? They are as responsible as I am to know that they have mails waiting for them in their inboxes. Why can’t they check it and respond? Why must I be following up and asking them to respond on each action?”

Iris: “You have a point. Although it was in your best interest to get them aligned.”

Morris: “I am the owner of the platform and manage it end-to-end. Now, if most of them are fine, then what must I do? I can’t please everyone and wait for a go-ahead from all. I am working hard, if not harder than everyone. Why do I need to chase up and get alignment when they are also party to the platform? When will I do my work if I have to mollycoddle others to get them to do their part?”

Iris: “Well, do you know why the project hit a roadblock?”

Morris: “Roadblock? What do you mean? I did everything right, didn’t I? The months of hard work in vain? What is the meaning of this, Iris?”

Iris: “Why don’t you mull over the project’s journey and think about what you could have done to ensure success. Let’s talk tomorrow. I need to rush now for my meeting. See you soon”.

What is the underlying issue on hand? How did Morris get into this muddle? What must he do to recover from this situation? For internal communicators, what is the role of ‘selling’ your work to stakeholders? I invite you to reflect on this case study and questions and share your thoughts to help Morris. Interested in your thoughts. For more such cases, visit my blog

Have other topics you want me to write on? Drop me a note at [email protected]

#internalcomms #internalcommunications #sellingyourwork #credibility #programsuccess #relationships #stakeholdermanagement

Here are Internal Communications resources you can use: 

·      Learn: Internal Communications Fundamentals Course on Thinkific and Udemy

·      Internal Communications Series:

·      Chat with Aniisu – Internal Communications:

·      Internal Communications workshops:

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