In the past I have written about surrounding yourself with good team members and staying loyal to them. The reason? You will earn their loyalty. And, that’s what really counts when you are faced with bringing in a successful project–on target, on time, and on budget.
For the long-term success of any project, you need a viable project team culture. So cultivate good people and keep them. In return, give them your long-term commitment and support.
Here are seven rules for creating the right conditions for a successful project team:
1. Hire the right team members
A: Hire for passion and commitment; B: go for experience, and C: get all the credentials you can. Attempt to find team members who are interested in the same things you are. Don’t let your project be a stepping stone on a team member’s journey toward his or her own (very different) passion. Asking the right questions is paramount: What do you love about project management? Who inspires you? In college, why did you choose the courses you did? You want to get a sense of what the potential team mate believes and values.
2. Communicate, communicate, communicate
Once you have the right team mates, you need to sit down regularly (biweekly or monthly) with them and discuss what is going well and what could be even better. You win some, and you lose some. Your team members need to feel trusted, to understand that they can speak freely without fear of retaliation. The trust you give is the trust you get.
3. Get rid of the bad seeds
Get rid of all the whiners . . . NOW! Put up signs: “This is a no WHINE zone!” Whiners sow doubt and strangle passion. Constructive critique is healthy, and whining is toxic.
4. Work hard
To get “passion capital” you must be willing to work hard. Hard work, done well, feels good. As Tug McGraw said, “Ya gotta’ believe!” Encourage a project culture where team members accept that long hours are sometimes required. Then, recognize and reward the sacrifice.
5. Be ambitious
Ambition is NOT negative. You can rest or you can rust. Successful project leaders encourage a culture that supports big steps and powerful beliefs. If you’re going to think, you might as well think BIG!
6. Celebrate differences
Great project teams are built on a diversity of behaviors, competencies, and interests. These differences generate synergy, which is critical to any successful project.
7. Create the space
Reward innovation and “different” thinking. Promote as much interaction as possible. Get team mates out of their cubicles. Give them a chance to talk to each other. It is this interaction that helps breed “resolutionary” ideas. Make the physical space conducive to connectivity.
What are your ideas about creating a passionate project team? Please post your comments here.
For related course information, check out Learning Tree’s course, Project Leadership: Building High-Performance Teams.