January 19, 2012

Carrot or Stick

Posted in Project Management tagged , , , , at 7:43 AM by Solutions2Projects, LLC

What is the best way to motivate project team members?  The short answer is that it depends.  It depends on the individual and as project managers it is incumbent upon us to find out what works for each person and tailor for each. 

 We must get to know the team members and understand what makes them tick.  This takes time that may not appear to be a value-add at the beginning, but it is certainly an investment for later in the project when things really need to get done.  Finding the lever that will get each person moving in the right direction toward the collective goal, helps to eliminate some of the bumps on the road to project success.

 This also means that incentives and rewards need to be built into the project and project budget.  While it would be nice to assume that project team members are intrinsically motivated to do the ‘right thing’, the ‘right thing’ is different for each person and doesn’t necessarily align with the project goals. 

The team can be rewarded or recognized collectively but individual agendas need to be identified in order to increase the likelihood for success. The rewards do not need to be costly and they sometimes don’t cost anything.  For some, recognition is the best reward. Others require cash.  And others, flexibility to work on project tasks at 2 AM. 

Think about what motivates you.  What does it take to get you motivated especially when you’ve been assigned to a project that takes you out of your normal routine and comfort zone.    What would motivate you to work more effectively?  What information or tools do you need or want?  What rewards do you like?  Are you motivated by fear or money or recognition?   

The first step is recognizing that getting your team members motivated to work effectively towards the project goals and objectives cannot be achieved with a one-size-fits-all approach.  The most important and hardest step is taking the time to find the lever that will make each team member a more productive member of the team but it’s worth the effort.

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