GolfballLet's talk about project management techniques by way of the old joke about a golfer who gets home after a round of golf and tells his wife it was the most exhausting round of golf ever. When she asks why, he tells her he was playing with his buddy, Frank, who had a heart attack and died on the 10th hole.

She replied, "Oh my gosh, that must have been horrible."

"You're not kidding," he said, "The whole rest of the round it was 'Hit the ball, drag Frank; hit the ball, drag Frank."

Identifying "Lazy" Early

The phenomenon of "Hit the ball, drag Frank," can feel like working on a project team with a team member whose laziness renders them dead to the project. Who hasn’t been on a project team where it feels like, "Work on the project, drag Frank; work on the project, drag, Frank”?

If Frank has been on one of your project teams before, you may know ahead of time what is ahead of you. If you have a project team with new, unfamiliar teammates, however, are there ways to determine upfront who will and won't perform as the team tries to reach its strategic objectives?

We typically find project team members fall down because of either of two types of laziness:

  • Mental laziness - They aren't up to doing strategic thinking, working on issues, and taking necessary actions.
  • Organizational laziness  - They don't - or can't - work diligently with the people and processes critical to creating strategic impact.

Either one is frustrating. Someone who exhibits both of these types of laziness, however, can cripple a project team and its efforts.

Project Management Techniques to Address a Lazy Project Team Member

Here's one of our project management techniques you use early on in a project to identify any “Franks” so you can start planning for alternatives to dragging them throughout the project.

Talk to team members (especially new ones) early, asking questions about their expectations and initial thoughts on potential solutions for the team successfully accomplishing its objectives and creating strategic impact. As each individual team member responds, listen to their answers. Which cell in this matrix do their answers most closely resemble?


Based on where the responses fall, you can get an early sense of whether your project team contains some individuals with mental laziness, organizational laziness, or both.

Depending on the team composition you can start planning and implementing other project management techniques to minimize the amount of time and effort you will have to expend dragging Frank through the upcoming project. – Mike Brown


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the free Brainzooming email updates.

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you enhance your strategy and implementation efforts.