'Can Do'

Some asset development projects get bogged down in arguments between the individuals and organisations involved and, as a result, never happen.

These arguments can take place over a host of issues, for example over the best uses of the land/buildings, whether to take risks like borrowing money, whether to campaign to get decision makers like councils and landowners to take action, or over points of principle like refusing to charge certain groups or individuals for services.

Most of these can be addressed through discussion and good communication, building understanding of what needs to be done to move projects forward and why. More difficult is when individuals or organisations refuse to forget events in the past or always characterise other parties (whether the Council, landowners, community organisations, etc) as the villains of the piece that abuse their power and are unsympathetic to those who are affected by the consequences of their decisions. In these cases an agreed mediator or independent facilitator can be helpful.

Similarly, projects can be delayed by a lack of urgency or priority being given to progressing projects by some of those involved. In some cases this may mean funding runs out or volunteers and supporters drift away leaving only cynicism as a legacy of the project.

One way to avoid this is to agree a timetable with all those involved so that everyone is aware of the need to take action or complete tasks by particular deadlines. Another way is to make sure that all progress is celebrated and marked and everyone's contribution is acknowledged publicly. Public praise for those who help move the project forward can often be a stronger driver for action than negative campaigning or confrontation. It can generate support for their ongoing involvement from both the public and others in their organisation, and increase the pressure to progress the project through raised public expectations.