Traps that make many projects fail to deliver results

Think Plastic Brazil

Guilherme Wiering

Founding partner – Pratika Consultoria


Projects are powerful tools for transformation. To a certain extent, they create a specific space in the chaos of corporate routine to discuss and analyze problems and opportunities, with the purpose of generating some type of result, based on a thoughtful, in-depth and then implemented solution (of course, the harder!). But why is it that so many transformation projects and programs fail to produce results and fail along the way?

A 2019 article by Stephanie Blackburn Freeth addresses quite simply some of the reasons and traps that make projects, or changes, fail to thrive.




For Stephanie, 5 possible failures can happen, when at least one of these attributes is not present and aligned with the other four in a project, generating scenarios curiously dubbed by her:

– Lack of vision of what to do, or which paths to take (strategy, in my interpretation) – defined as “confusion”;

– Lack of specific skills and competences, often new requirements in the face of a new scenario that presents itself – defined as “anxiety”;

– Non-alignment in the various incentives of those involved – defined as “resistance”;

– Lack of appropriate and necessary resources for this change to happen defined as “frustration” and;

– The lack of a detailed and feasible action plan, defined as a “false start”.

Projects go relatively well in the first stages, from analysis (diagnosis) to the definition of the action plan. But when it comes to execution, two commonly overlooked elements may be missing: new skills / competencies and alignment of incentives.

Do we really have the skills and competencies to follow this new path? Many executives do not make room for this discussion or for the investments needed to get there – this may involve training people in the organization or seeking new specialists.

Another element of very common failure is the misalignment of incentives, whether financial or recognition (emotional), causing actions and movements in directions and speeds with no pace among those involved in the project (after the meetings, of course).

In order to be successful and extract effective results from projects and change processes, the tip is to consider these five elements from the beginning and check throughout the journey if everyone remains well taken care of, ensuring a complete approach. This will certainly significantly increase the chance of building expressive and lasting results, not just a story to tell around.