Staff Wars: Change Star, Rogue None

A blog series to guide you on how to implement a new project initiative without it getting blown up.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are the author’s own and do not represent Erecruit’s support of a particular alliance – Empire or Republic.

With the Star Wars franchise officially in light speed over the next few years, this has presented me with yet another opportunity to use the lessons learned from the saga and apply them to the world of staffing. Who knew there were so many parallels? Yoda probably did, but sadly none of us were able to train with him, so you’re stuck with me…

Not too long ago, in a galaxy very nearby, you had a great idea. A concept that, if implemented successfully, could expand your organization’s influence, engagement, and footprint. You did your research, calculated the ROI, and pitched it to your Imperial governing board, who approved it. Yes! Let’s create this artificial moon, living environment and starship! It’s going to be awesome!

Staff Wars - Change Star, Rogue None.jpg

Following approval, you’re energized and ready to kick off the project without delay. You start to formulate your project team, selecting individuals from different departments and divisions whom you feel will best represent your business. It’s your [new] hope that this group of individuals will come together and, unified, drive the project’s implementation and success.

With your team assembled, you’ve outlined the project and have Imperial executive support. You’re 100% confident this project is going to remain in scope, on time and on (or under) budget! You’ve got this! What could possibly go wrong?

John Kotter, renowned author and change management authority, reported in his book, Leading Change, that 70% of change initiatives in organizations and businesses fail. This, he feels, is many times due to companies being ill-equipped for the impending change. It may be as a result of projects that were incomplete in their design or planning, implemented too quickly, or initiated without sufficient governance and change management. With this rather shockingly high failure percentage, what can you, and your leadership team, do to improve your organization’s project odds of success?

In this ongoing series, we will explore ways you can implement a project that may lead to better outcomes, as well as what to look for or avoid, told through observed experiences and actions of our ‘artificial moon’ project team leaders and members:

‘Orson’ – Project Manager

Staff Wars - Change Star, Rogue None - Orson.jpgAs the Project Manager of Project Celestial Power, Orson is primarily responsible for selecting key team members and their roles, along with serving as the main contact with the engineers and internal project leadership. Orson tracks timelines for milestones and deliverables, as well as budget and risk, working closely with his Project Team Lead.

Orson’s approach to project team member selection and recruiting may lead to resistance and increased risk to the project’s plan.

‘Galen’ – Project Team Lead

Staff Wars - Change Star, Rogue None - Galen.pngGalen’s role as Project Team Lead puts him front and center in the day-to-day operations of the project: advising and assigning team members to tasks, guiding training and testing efforts, removing any impediments they may encounter, and even working in a design and system administrator role, where and when it is needed.

Galen was ‘volun-told’ into this role by Orson and does not support the vision, objectives and goals of this project. 

‘Wil’ – Project Sponsor

Staff Wars - Change Star, Rogue None - Wil.jpgAs Project Sponsor, Wil is focused on keeping the executive sponsors, leadership and steering committee abreast of project progression, as well as any potential delays or cost overages. In addition, he serves as the lead for decisions regarding any changes that will (or will not) be approved for the project.

Wil is actually only 38. Lack of vision, goals and directives, weak or competing leaders, changes in scope and rebellion on the team can do that to a Project Sponsor…

Executive Sponsors

Staff Wars - Change Star, Rogue None - Executive Sponsors.jpgAs the executive sponsors for the project, these two have ultimate and final authority over project scope, budget, deliverables, timeline and resources (including determining project sponsor and manager).

These guys have a plan for the project that may not align with original scope, budget and timeline. In addition, their leadership skills aren’t necessarily in line with current servant-leader methodologies. 

The overall success of this project is dependent on the skills, insight, work effort, leadership and adoption by each team member noted above, as well as with additional business owners and stakeholders.

Throughout this series, we will present ideas and recommendations on how to avoid the pitfalls our doomed team faced and explore ways to promote cohesiveness, collaboration, and communication for project achievement.

In our next post, we’ll explain how vision, goals, and objectives are critical towards driving project alignment and success.

Want to keep up on the latest posts from Erecruit? Subscribe to our blog to receive email updates when new chapters in our Staff Wars: Change Star, Rogue None series are posted, as well as other insights and ideas regarding staffing and project innovation.


Amy Yackowski is the Director of Healthcare Best Practices for Erecruit. She is an avid watcher of the Star Wars stories and seeker of new ways to improve the contingent workforce management experience for staffing agencies and their clients through operational analysis and technology. Amy is responsible for helping Erecruit healthcare customers develop their framework, analyze their business processes and optimize their use, effectiveness and efficiency of the Erecruit solutions. Join her in conversation on Twitter, LinkedIn and

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