If you are a team leader of any kind, you know that momentum is more than a sports metaphor. It might be hard to define, and harder to quantify, but “getting the ball rolling” is the key to performance. You know creating team momentum is central to making sure tasks get done, projects meet deadlines, and things move forward. Project managers know the secret of a performing team is the momentum that carries everyone along.
Creating Team Momentum – Start at the Beginning!
The first, and best, place to start when looking to create team momentum is at the kickoff meeting. This is where the tone of the project will be set, and where the atmosphere of the team will take shape. A boring kickoff meeting will not create an enthusiastic team, but an exciting kickoff meeting where people are made to feel valued and part of the team will really kickstart the project with motivation and a sense of possibility! When it comes to team chemistry, playing catch up can be a death sentence; trying to put wind in the sails of the team once the ship has run aground is hard to do – and the effort and resources needed to accomplish that task are far greater than successfully imparting it to the team at the beginning.
Pro Tip: Make the kickoff meeting as fun and glitzy as you possibly can. Serve food, distribute branded swag if you can, and show your excitement. It can be contagious!
Okay, you threw a big bash to kick off the team’s project. Now what? The next step in creating team momentum might seem counter-intuitive at first, but is invaluable in the long term – ask for feedback from the team, both individually and as a whole! Two weeks into the project, on average, is enough time passed to call another team wide meeting. Go around the room. Give everyone a chance to speak, and a chance to shine. People will feel valued, and feel valuable. Those are key cornerstones for creating team momentum.
Pro Tip: At feedback meetings, pay close attention to who is speaking, and who is not. Some people are introverts, and need to feel welcomed before speaking. Give them the positive feedback they need in order to take part in the meeting. You can avoid a lot of project management pains this way!
We all know the feeling. The daily slog starts to be heavy, simple tasks seem to take forever, people start to get on our nerves…fatigue is a real problem! The successes of the past aren’t doing the trick, and people are starting to run on fumes. Here is where the project manager should intervene, effectively and decisively…and get everyone out of the office for a day.
Pro Tip: When you choose to get people out and away, resist the urge to being the work along, too. The R & R doesn’t have the same effect when it’s diluted with work, however small amount of it you bring along. Let people decompress, and they’ll return with a smile – ready and energized to jump into things again.