Month: November 2009

3 Tips for Surviving Project Withdrawal Syndrome

 

After the turkey has been consumed and the thanks shared around the table there is a lull in the frantic storm.The days of planning, preparing, cleaning, and cooking are crazy busy and yet there is a sense of purpose, a sincere drive to make this the best Thanksgiving ever.   The day arrives and the day seems to fly by and before you know it Thanksgiving 2009 is done. The question is now what do we have to look forward to?

This is a similar scenario that is played out in organizations. You have a team that is focused on a project and they are motivated to deliver the end deliverables and day-to-day they are consumed by timelines, resources, and budgets, oh my! But once the deliverables are completed and the project is closed out there is typically a lull. The common focus and drive that existed for the team no longer exists. So how do you keep a team that was humming along motivated during the down times?

Here are a couple of tips:

Project Close Out  Meeting

During a project things are hectic and busy so take some time to reflect once the project is complete. Conduct a lessons learned meeting to capture what worked well, what are some areas of opportunities, what skills were in high demand, what were the surprises, and what do you want to remember for the future. Going through this type of exercise allows for closure and celebration.

It’s Ok to Regroup and Reenergize

Give the team permission to reenergize – it is ok to take time between projects to regroup, this could mean cleaning and filing all of the piled up papers on one’s desk or reconnecting with colleagues who were not on the project. It is important to pull up from the project and look at the big picture again and remember that there is life after a project and to regroup and reenergize before the next project begins.

Share With Your Team What’s Coming Up

It is important that the team knows what is coming up for projects so if there is anything that they would really like to work on they know about it early enough to let you know in advance of the project starting. This gives the team something to look forward to and something to strive for if they know there are some projects coming up that may tap into their skills, talents, and passions.

These are just a few tips that will help a manager or project manager survive project withdrawal syndrome. Just like we survive Thanksgiving withdrawal by looking forward to the Holiday Season, great teams will survive project withdrawal by looking forward to what is on the horizon.

Susan

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Happy Thanksgiving and Thank You!

 

Happy Thanksgiving and Thank You!

Recognition is a key motivator for your employees. Customizing it for each person is key as everyone has a unique recognition formula that works specifically for them.

Do you know what the recognition formula is for each of your employees? How about your colleagues?

Thanksgiving Day is a great reminder to not only appreciate your friends and family but also taking time to appreciate your employees and colleagues. I encourage you to take some time in the next few days or early next week to recognize your employees and colleagues.

Sometimes a sincere and timely thank you can go a long way in motivating and encouraging your employees.

Susan

A Note to Our Readers:

Thank you for all of your support, encouragement, and readership during the past 6 months. We are grateful that you share your precious time with us and we look forward to providing you with more great articles in the months to come. Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday!

Kurt and Susan

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Pink Glove Dance Motivated by Breast Cancer Awareness

There are probably many good reasons why Providence St. Vincent Hospital in Portland, Oregon was named as one of The Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals in the Nation. The video below visually provides an insight into how a common cause can be a strong motivator for bringing workers together from a variety of backgrounds. In this case, breast cancer awareness was the common motivator.

I wonder what would happen if the healthcare workers at Providence St. Vincent banded together and took on the healthcare debate in Washington D.C. – motivation is a powerful thing!

Susan

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The Four Drive Model, Blind Management, and Putt-Putt Golf – All in a Days Work

                                         

 

 

 

 

 

Yesterday, Kurt and I, (along with our good friend John Hall) facilitated two experiential teambuilding events, Blind Management and Build Your Own Course with 50 enthusiastic participants. It was wonderful to watch the different motivational drives in action.

Here are some of the ways the motivational drives showed up:

Drive to Acquire & Achieve:

  • Teams worked together to not only acquire the perfect materials to create their own putt-putt course but they also wanted to achieve success by creating an innovative 3 hole course

Drive to Bond & Belong:

  • The teambuilding events allowed the participants to work with individuals they did not know very well in activities that were specifically designed to help create an experience that fostered bonding.  By working together the individuals started to become a “team”. This is an incredibly important component that the participants can utilize back at the office – to utilize their new network of colleagues.

 Drive to Comprehend & Challenge:

  • The activities provided unique Challenges where the participants had to work together to both understand the challenge and complete it successfully. For example, when creating a putt-putt course from scratch and with limited materials, the team needed to come together to answer questions that provided them points to purchase materials,  design the ultimate course, build their hole, and then make sure the overall design worked.

Drive to Defend & Define:

  • The teams believed in their courses and many felt the urge to submit complaints and challenge the judges scoring results.  They had Defined that their putt-putt design was better than everyone else’s and they were passionate about enrolling others to their cause.

If you have an upcoming teambuilding event I encourage you to see how the Four Motivational Drives show up amongst your teams.

What are the dominate Motivational Drivers?

We would love to hear from you, share your comments below.

Susan

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Today I am Inspired by What Gives Life Meaning and Purpose

Last Friday, I heard an amazing speaker, Richard Leider(http://richardleider.com). He has done a lot of research on what gives life meaning and what are the qualities of living the good life. All lofty and sometimes seemingly unreachable goals but he offered up two questions to start the journey of discovering what gives life meaning and purpose.

1)    What keeps you up at night?

2)    What gets you up in the morning?

What about you?

We would love to hear what keeps you up at night and what gets you up in the morning, share your inspired thoughts or pictures.

Have an amazing afternoon!

Susan

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Today I am Motivated by Posterous

Today I am motivated by Posterous.

What?

Well, here is the deal when a fun new toy is looking at you from a far and it is bright and shiny how can you resist the urge to run up to it and play with it?  Posterous started to shine brightly in my face about two months ago and I have been patiently waiting to unwrap my new toy and play with it. Well today is the day to rip off the wrapping paper and play.

Raise a glass – “Here is to my afternoon motivation of learning a new toy!”

What about you? What is motivating you this afternoon? We would love to hear from you, post a picture, share your story.

Cheers,

Susan

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One of Life’s Great Motivators – Death

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In the past three months I have had increased exposure to death. I know just what you wanted to read about this morning as you are enjoying your favorite beverage but death is a part of life – albeit a part that most of us try to ignore and avoid for as long as possible.  But because of these last three months I could not just sit back and become numb to this thing called death; I had to look at it, dissect it, and of course learn from it. I invite you to come along on this investigative journey; you never know what you might uncover for yourself.

Death is either an extremely complex topic or beautiful in its simplicity.  It all depends upon on the situation. Sounds like a classic consulting answer, “Well yes, we can help you, but it depends upon the situation.” Ok I digress, see even as I write this blog article my instincts are to avoid death; even writing about death.  Boy it is a sneaky bugger.  

One of the areas I took a look at was death and motivation.  Death can also be a huge de-motivator: you can feel stuck, shocked, and just plain old icky. Yes, that is a scientific term, icky. However, death can also be an incredible motivator.  When we think about what legacy we leave behind after we die, we can feel motivated to change what we are currently doing.  I chose to look at death as a motivator because I prefer looking at the world through the eyes of an optimist.

Here is what I have uncovered so far about death as a motivator:

Fear to Courage:

Fear is at the top of the list of paralyzing emotions. It can do really nasty things to your thoughts, body, and actions. It is an emotion that can protect us at its best or completely kill off who we are at its worst. Death is the trump card to fear, for most people, is there a fear more frightening than death?

 Death can motivate us to move through fear to courageous actions:

  • having the courage to do all of the things you have been putting off,
  • having the courage to speak your truth,
  • having the courage to overcome bad habits,
  • having the courage to live your dreams,
  • and having the courage to live your best life.

What courageous acts have you been putting off because you have been paralyzed by fear?

Hesitation to Going for the Gold

Sometimes in life we hesitate, we sabotage our own actions before we even move forward with them. Death is a powerful motivator as it clears out any hesitations that may be around as you come face to face with the all knowing reality that life is short.  Lack of movement or any hesitation is a waste of precious time and there is no time like the present to go for the gold.

In what areas of your life are you hesitating to go for the gold?

Complex to Simple

Life can be full of complexities that are sometimes hard to sift through to uncover where we should be focusing our time both professionally and personally.  Death is a keen motivator on taking very complex lives and simplifying them down to the basics.

Death can motivate one to simplify life’s complexities:

  • Review  your priorities professionally and personally
  • Where are you spending the most of your time and energy?
  • Are you fully utilizing your skills and talents?
  •  What do you really need to be happy?

What areas of your life would benefit from some simplicity?

These are just a few of the many motivators death can bring forth. The key thing is to not shy away from the pain or sadness that many times comes with death but to have the courage to feel what you need to feel and then to simply go for the gold and live your best life.

Susan

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Improve Your Incentive Plans Design

A short deck on impacting the motivational impact of your incentive plans

3 tips to increase the Drive to Acquire & Achieve

Four Drive Model

The first drive in the Four Drive Model of Employee Motivation is the drive to Acquire & Achieve. This is typically the drive that most organizations focus on when they are trying to find a lever to influence employee motivation.

However, companies often get too caught up in the financial aspects of this drive (i.e., how much of a raise can we give, what is our targeted incentive/bonus payout, etc…).

The following are three quick tips to help you think about how to impact this drive and increase employee motivation.

1. It’s not just about the money. It is so much more…This drive also includes the drive to achieve. Achievement takes on a number of different forms. Think about this in terms of grades – there is no monetary component to this, yet we are driven to try to get an A. In organizations, recognition is a very powerful motivator because it recognizes individuals or group achievement (kind of like a report card). Organizations can tap into the drive to achieve by focusing on ensuring that recognition is done correctly (e.g., timely, relevant, and appropriate to the effort/result).

Achievement is also about setting realistic goals that can be achieved. Short-term milestones are elements to use to help keep this drive up. One way to think about this is to think about the need to reinforce achievement on at minimum every 5 weeks. If you don’t have a milestones set up that fall within that time frame, you will tend to lose people. Make sure that you celebrate those milestones as well.  One thing that we are trying to get better at The Lantern Group is celebrating when a project or milestone is done. We get so caught up in the next project or next event that we don’t take the time to stop and congratulate ourselves on a job well done.

2. Add Some Perks. While we tend to focus on the big items like pay and bonuses with this drive, some of the more powerful levers that we get to pull are smaller “perks” such as office space, titles, parking spots, flexibility to work from home and other things that help satisfy the Achieve drive.

In addition, there are a number of small perks that also tie into the Acquire side of the equation, such as pizza Fridays, movie days, lunch seminars, discounts on classes, days off, foosball or pool in the office, employee of the month/quarter/year… You will notice that a number of these also contribute to the other three drives of Bond & Belong, Challenge & Comprehend, and Define & Defendsee also Four Drive Model

3. Improve your Total Rewards Communication. Too many times we’ve worked with companies that offer fantastic total rewards – not just their base salary, but their benefits, bonus programs, culture and recognition opportunities; however, no one at the company knows about these programs!  This is because they are outlined in a legal terms in a five different 50 page HR documents. It is vital that you market what you are providing to people in a way that will capture their attention and convey the big picture.That means that you have to overcome silos within the organization and market your Total Rewards as a comprehensive program that highlights the offerings from across the organization.

Also, make sure that your Total Reward communications are not just a one-time effort at the beginning of the year, but instead a campaign that highlights various aspects of your offering throughout the year and keeps people engaged and charged up.

While the concept behind these ideas is simple, the implementation of them isn’t always as easy. If you need help, please give us a call. We can help you work through the issues and improve your employee’s motivation!

Kurt

Stefana Broadbent and The Drive to Bond and Belong

I came across a very interesting video the other day from Stefana Broadbent taped at the TED conference at  Oxford, England (July 2009).

I was interested because it relates to the Drive of Bonding and Belonging and how technology plays a big part in establishing and maintaining relationships.

Watch the video and see what nuggets of information you can gleam from Stefana’s observation about our need to Bond and Belong with other human beings. The separation between our public and private lives is a pretty thin veil. The Drive to Bond or Belong is one that many companies still try and control through access to the internet, social media tools, and separation of work areas. The more a company tries to control this drive the more the people will fight against it and find a way to connect.

Why not embrace technology and use it for good vs. control?

Let us know what you think about Stefana’s talk, we would love to hear from you.

Susan

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