Maintaining Team Motivation and Morale
Herzberg's Hygiene and Motivation factors still apply today. Make sure you
are applying them! We have already mentioned recognition and rewards, and the
rewards need not be monetary. Teams need rapid response to project needs, with
360º communication, your visible presence, plus personal "Thank You"s! A barriers-buster
mentality consistently demonstrated. Your service as an "Umbrella" for unbearable
pressures from above. Open-ended commitment: "How else can we help?" These are
the messages that great leaders send their teams.
When Losing Talent, Act Decisively and Wisely
I position the
issue of Talent Loss as basic risk management. We must plan for, and act, just
as we would with any other project risk. So we establish Prevent actions: Hedge
for Talent Capture. Intervene actions: Act for Talent Transfer, and Recover actions:
Scavenge to mitigate. In all cases, we rely on Talent Collateral: The verbal and
written documentation (see the starting-point list at right) that reflects escaping
Explicit Knowledge, in the case of losing or lost Talent. Note that this list
suggests that we need to assure adequate and appropriate governance; some teams
disdain documentation that does not help them deliver their results.
A question I addressed in a recent web conference session on this topic was:
When we lose team members, how do we: a) Transfer knowledge; b) Maintain motivation;
c) Keep momentum? I listed scenarios for typical project Talent Losses:
- Internal Customer on team reassigned elsewhere
- Project Manager of strategic project leaves company
- One-third of team moved to a "higher priority" project
- A key developer in a Scrum-based Agile team leaves
- Project Sponsor promoted; she/he leaves your division
What would these
do to your project? How would you respond? Would the project survive? I supplied
a series of suggested actions for each situation.
Taking the Internal Customer issue, here was the impact, and my suggestions:
Talent areas lost: Product, Enterprise Context, and Interpersonal
Actions to consider
- Replace with another savvy customer; assign the new member's other job responsibilities
to another qualified person from their workgroup;
- Manage several weeks' overlap (not always possible, but smart);
- Establish rapport, and perform teambuilding for fast onboarding;
- Review & Discuss: Business Requirements, Validation Plan, Organizational Change
Management status, Benefits Realization, Stakeholder Management Plan.
Each of the scenarios and recommended responses evoked great interest and questions
from our participants.