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The Importance of Motivation in Project Management

The Importance of Motivation in Project Management
By Michael L Young

A poorly motivated team has been known to unravel even the best project plan. A good project manager needs to know how to harness the initial excitement that comes with starting a project and use it to maintain motivation – leading to success throughout the project’s lifecycle. We now know that contemporary project managers need to be more than just schedulers and contract managers. They need excellent skills in managing those complex human elements that have the potential to bring any project down.

Motivation Theory and how it works

Most people who’ve been around management for a while would have heard of the key management theories about motivation. There’s the difference between intrinsic (like values and beliefs) and extrinsic (like money and recognition) motivation. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is also often referred to. This theory proposes that people need to meet lower level goals such as the need for food, shelter and security before they are motivated by higher level goals such as the need for achievement and social acceptance. Read the Complete Article

10 Signs Your Employees Are Unhappy

10 Signs Your Employees Are Unhappy
By Cheryl Cran

In these busy times leaders and teams are so focused on getting through myriads of tasks and projects that often signs of discontent can be missed or ignored.

Leaders that focus on employee ‘happiness’ in addition to productivity and bottom line results have a greater competitive advantage. Happy employees are engaged employees.

Here are ten signs your employees are unhappy:

  1. There is a lack of energy

    Energy is the secret behind success – when there is a palpable collective energy in an organization it is like a ‘buzz’ where people are eager to contribute, eager to provide ideas, eager to share. When there is a lack of energy it indicates apathy.

  2. There is a sense of everyone ‘going through the motions’

    Unhappy employees show up with an attitude of simply getting through the day and doing the minimum to keep his or her job.

Read the Complete Article

4 Essential Elements to Building Trust Within Your Team

4 Essential Elements to Building Trust Within Your Team
By Richard Lepsinger

Trust is the essential ingredient that binds every successful team together.

Building trust takes time, especially within virtual teams where face-to-face interactions are few and far between. And as many of us have learned the hard way, it takes only a moment to destroy.

To build trust within their teams, leaders must first understand the four components that create it.

  1. Credibility

    Credibility is the extent to which your team believes in what you have to say about a given topic. It’s demonstrated through experience in a particular area and a proven track record of achieving results. If you lack credibility as a leader, it can be difficult to build trust within your team.

    In this instance, it’s important to acknowledge your limitations and consult someone else within your team or outside the team for an expert opinion.

    Other ways to improve credibility within your team:

    • Avoid exaggeration
    • Answer direct questions with direct answers
    • Offer to help find a solution
    • Build partnerships with team members at different locations and rotate them
  2. Reliability

    While credibility is demonstrated by your words, reliability is demonstrated through actions.

Read the Complete Article

Increase Work Productivity by Going on Holiday

Increase Work Productivity by Going on Holiday
By Patricia Goh

It is of underrated importance for workplace employees to take time off from work and break out of their 9 – 5 routine for better productivity. Understandably, with bills to pay, clients to meet, deals to close, who has the time to lie on a Caribbean beach sipping margaritas all day long? Paid holidays are common in the working world. However, 75% of Americans don’t take claim their paid holidays. When your senses gradually dull, you might want to think twice about having a break from work.

Child at heart

With September looming, students in most countries are returning to school in the fall with new stories to tell and new expectations, ready to start their academic year with a new sense of self, confidence and enthusiasm. They are well-rested and more importantly, they have had a change of scenery. They might have been to camp, gone abroad or even did nothing and stayed at home, but the schooldays routine was broken and that allowed them a breath of fresh air. Read the Complete Article

Thoughts About Motivation

Thoughts About Motivation
By Bill Scott, Global Knowledge Course Director and Instructor

I delivered a Project Management, Communications and Leadership class at our NYC training center last month. We discussed motivation and how project management was being influenced by Frederick Herzberg’s Hygiene Theory (which has little to do with hygiene). The Herzberg theory is more related to the two-factor theory than hygiene. But that’s another story for another day. Herzberg developed a list of items the he classified as hygiene factors, better known as demotivating events, such as:

  • Policies/procedures/administration
  • Management
  • Physical working conditions
  • Working relationships
  • Salary/status and security

Herzberg’s list of motivating factors included:

  • Achievement
  • Recognition
  • Job interest
  • Job responsibility
  • Growth
  • The work itself

Herzberg’s theory basically says almost all demotivating factors have to be removed before the motivating factors will motivate. Imagine a motivating meter hanging around one’s neck with a pointer at the 12 o’clock position (neutral). The 12 o’clock meter pointer position indicates no motivation and no demotivation. Read the Complete Article

Maintaining Team Morale When Your Projects Get Tough

Maintaining Team Morale When Your Projects Get Tough
By Bruce McGraw

‘I don’t measure a man’s success by how high he climbs but how high he bounces when he hits the bottom.’ – General George Patton

Today I had a tough travel day – The Northeast US is snowed in by Winter Storm Janus (When did we start naming winter storms?) and flights and airline staff were crazy. I had some time to think about rough times, team work and managing projects under severe conditions.

As a project or team leader, you are responsible for keeping your team on track, regardless of whether you hit a roadblock or not (That does include bad weather). In today’s environment of complex projects and management demands for faster/cheaper/better project implementation, you also must be responsible for keeping your team’s morale up—even when things go bad or we lose. I manage a PMO team that gets constant challenges as it bids new work for clients and I have to deal with both the demands of winning as well as the morale and health of the team

Here are some things a good manager does to maintain team morale and positive energy—even in the face of a failure. Read the Complete Article

Empower Your Team to Succeed

Empower Your Team to Succeed
By Tracey Fieber

Running a successful small business is never a one-man job. Getting it off the ground and continuously elevated up to new heights requires a collection of skilled professionals following an accurately designed strategic plan. But even the most thought-out plans run into unexpected problems from time to time. This makes it crucial that you empower your team of professionals to make the decisions needed in order to keep the company’s progress on track.

Why Empowerment Is Key

No matter what industry or field you’re in, or how many people you have working in your company, empowering your employees has the potential to generate big results. Just a few of the different ways that empowering your team can help your business succeed include:

  • Better use of human capital – The individuals you’re hiring for the various positions in your company are being chosen because of their skills and qualifications.
Read the Complete Article

The Quality of Your People Will Dictate The Quality Of Your Business

The Quality of Your People Will Dictate The Quality Of Your Business
By Damien Parker

Many years ago, as a member of The Executive Connection, I had an opportunity to listen to the wisdom of Tony Barnes, the last surviving member of the remarkable J Edwards Deming team which revolutionized Japan after the devastation of the WW2.

Now you’d think that one of the founding fathers of quality control would be cock-a-hoop at the progressions of many of us into such programs. Not so. In fact he believed that “88% of all quality programs in the west had failed”.

Back then, Barnes was somewhat scathing of a system which created a paper warfare simply to get an ISO rating. Barnes’ simple suggestion as to why we have gone wrong was this:

“An inordinate focus on the quality of the product and the processes, rather than on the quality of our people.”

And here are a few other Barnes observations – they were true back then and they still are today:

  • Barnes On Office Systems

    “Don’t make people the slaves of business systems.

Read the Complete Article

It’s Time to Help Your Team Embrace Creativity

It’s Time to Help Your Team Embrace Creativity
By Michelle Symonds

Creativity is an important part of the success of a business or project. It is what makes work stand out and is vital to innovation. Being creative in the workplaces can take a project to the next level. While you may be creative yourself, it is important to maximize the creativity of the whole team to achieve greater success. While project management courses can’t inspire your own creative style, they can help you learn how to inspire it in others.

As a project manager, there are several steps you can take to inspire the creativity of your team.

  1. Brainstorming

    When one person thinks of an idea, it can then inspire even better ideas from other people. Soon, ideas are bouncing around the room. Getting everyone together to brainstorm ideas is a great way to inspire creativity, however some people find this environment difficult.

Read the Complete Article

Project Management Gamification – An Overview

Project Management Gamification – An Overview
By Kelly Smith

The recent talk of the town in the project management scene is gamification. This new trend is increasingly popular within enterprises that seek new methods to motivate their workforce. What exactly is gamification? It’s simply the process of applying game mechanics to non-gaming contexts and functions, such as training programs and community activities aimed at psychological motivation of employees. Below, you can find a comprehensive overview of everything you should know about gamification in project management.

Gamification – benefits

We all enjoy games because of their inherent challenge and recreational aspects. These two features can be easily translated into the environment of project management and applied to stimulate the mind of employees who will have what psychologists call ‘cognitive surplus’ in their gamified tasks. Gamification brings about a sense of excitement because of its novelty – the change of pace itself will have a positive impact on the employee motivation. Read the Complete Article

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