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Motivational Ideas For Teams Needed

The company I work for is very team-centric... every project has a formal team. Everyone on the team seems to be judged by the team's results and not as much if at all on individual contribution to the team, which is often hidden from more senior management

We have teams for planning and teams for projects and teams for special projects and teams for weekly/monthly/quarterly activities of all kinds. Teams, teams TEAMS!

In my opinion, the main problem is that because team results are more analyzed than individual contributions, some individuals contribute much less than others. Get enough of these folks on any one team and it can be a nightmare for the one or two people who are left to produce the actual results.

That's a long explanation for needing some ideas for motivating these teams. Some teams are led by me and others I'm just a participant in. Anything you've experienced that works to any degree would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance!

Answers

Michael Davis
Title: CFO
Company: Private
(CFO, Private) |

I've experienced that fun meetings are often more productive. Somehow folks volunteer for more and are a little more energized when in a good mood. I'd prefer Friday afternoon meetings to Monday morning meetings.

Raising the fun factor is not so much a top down directive, but the wrong approach at the top can surely kill it.

Usually, anyone in a meeting can help make it a bit more fun. I believe a person's attitude has kind of gravitational effect... pulling people along. This can be in a good direction or not so good direction. Starting with you, your army of one, try to make it a good direction.

Also, giving sincere praise is not exclusively a top-down activity. It sounds like, from your description, that folk's efforts go unacknowledged from the top. You may just have to do more acknowledging than you might otherwise. Even just a simple "thank you" can be huge. You might also want to give sincere praise in the presence of others including but not limited to the praise recipient and his/her direct supervisor. You may even want to prime the praise pump with a little appreciation before someone does anything amazingly noteworthy.

Consider bringing delicious, maybe even healthy, snacks.

Consider having the occasional meeting off-site if possible. Outdoors in good weather can be a nice change of pace.

See if you can get the other person(s) who often does most of the work on board with your strategy - thus, building an army of two.

Don't expect it to turn around right away. However, it is within your power to improve it.

Best of luck!

Michael

EMERSON GALFO
Title: CFO
Company: C-Suite Services
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, C-Suite Services) |

I think (from my understanding of your post) your issue is the FEEDBACK mechanisms and not necessarily "motivational" in nature. Team leaders should be able to provide feedback on individual team members and their contributions. Once a project is completed (even if the credit goes to the team), the team leaders can "evaluate" performance of his/her members. It is up to the company's culture whether they want to formalize (meaning it affects performance evaluations) this feedback mechanism or make it an informal but documented one.

Mark Matheny
Title: VP - FInancial Planning and Analysis
Company: Novolex (formerly Hilex Poly)
(VP - FInancial Planning and Analysis, Novolex (formerly Hilex Poly)) |

In the environment you describe, I think that the key is peer pressure. Perhaps at the close of the project, the team should evaluate each members performance. Keep in mind that a truly effective team requires a broad base of personalities. Make sure that your judgment is not too biased to how you see yourself as a team member. A good team leader figures out how to get the most from each individual's strengths and make sure the diversity of experiences is capitalized upon.

Anonymous
(Global Accounting Specialist) |

Motivation is internal. You cannot just make somebody motivated until that somebody decides for himself/herself to take action. The challenge that you have is to spark that internal initiative.
I would suggest having a rotation on leading the team projects. Have those individuals that usually contribute much less than others in the past to lead the projects. It may be that they had great ideas in the past but were ignored since the 1 or 2 folks that usually lead the projects dominate the conversation. Giving all team members the opportunity to lead deliverables will enable everyone to understand the pressures of leading a group and will be more cooperative the next time that they are in the follower role.

Joseph A Brown
Title: President
Company: Adoga International LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(President, Adoga International LLC) |

As a team leader, consider the following:
- Give each team member clear, concise responsibilities with set due dates. Consult the team and allow for feedback on the division of labor.
- Allow adequate time for feedback on deliverable results by the whole team for each member. Follow up with each regularly to ensure each member has the resources needed to succeed with his or her task.
- Tailor the responsibility load equitably, but also with consideration for each members' strengths, weaknesses and capacity.
- Encourage those more aggressive team members to assist any members that are struggling and find creative ways to recognize and reward those who go out of their way to assist another team member.
- Implement some formal or informal method for team members to recognize and praise each other sincerely.

Working in teams can be a lot of fun and very rewarding, but can also be very frustrating and almost unbearable. Planning and follow-up are keys to having more of the former experiences rather than the latter. Good luck.

p.s. the suggestion on rotating team leaders (if the team stays together for numerous assignments) can also be quite effective.

ArLyne Diamond
Title: Owner - President
Company: Diamond Associates
LinkedIn Profile
(Owner - President, Diamond Associates) |

You know the expression "there is no I in teams"? That's the problem - there are a bunch of "me" in teams - and each person needs to be acknowledged for his or her unique contribution. We are so busy "being fair" that we are totally unfair to those who are the brightest, most energetic and contribute the most.,

Our notion of "equality" often produces passive-aggressiveness and ultimately mediocrity.

I am about to give a speech to an HR group on this very topic.

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