The word “stable” often describes mid-sized firms in the business literature. In contrast, executives of mid-size firms regularly report on the importance of being “flexible”. Both “stable” and “flexible” are relative terms. The question is – how can a firm achieve a balance?
In practice “special project” is the phrase most often use to describe activities requiring a flexible response. Generally, only a few people in an organization manage these projects because they require a leader with the ability to deal with ambiguity. These people can anticipate impacts of change and direct themselves and others to smoothly shift gears to achieve a common goal.
The question remains – how to achieve a balance without overusing the talents of a few key leaders? One solution we have seen work is to apply the project charter concept to special projects. This approach reduces ambiguity and trains new people to lead special projects. The more people who can lead a special project, the more a firm is both stable and flexible.