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Inspiration: Where Does it Come From?
By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP, Founder, Cheetah Learning

Who inspired Gandhi or Mother Theresa? Martin Luther King or Anne Frank. Who inspires you? Chances are, the people who do the inspiring live the inspiration.

Posters do not inspire people and neither do objectives that are written on a piece of paper and hung on a wall. As project managers, you are in a prime position to inspire your team. You can do that by demonstrating the attitude and level of achievement you want the team to achieve. “We must be the change we wish to see,” said Gandhi. So here are five ways to get you started on walking the talk.

1. Have a clear goal with a reasonable approach to achieve it.

Blue-skying goals may work for you personally, but people on a team need to clearly see how to get from “here” to “there” and believe that getting there is possible.

2. Be enthusiastic about each person’s contributions.

Remember those gold stars you got on your paper in fourth grade? You probably also remember how good it felt when your teacher recognized your work and told the class how well you did. Just because team members are all grown up doesn’t mean they don’t like to be appreciated. It costs nothing to tell people how they’re doing, how much they’ve improved or how they can work even better.

3. Eliminate the word “not.”

Try it in your next team meeting. If no one can say the word “not,” then everyone has to phrase things differently. Instead of talking about what can ”not” be done, you start talking about how to get it done. Take a look at what’s working, and then build on that to inspire your team to go for the gold.

4. Focus on the strengths of each person.

Focusing on weaknesses is like leaving “not” in your vocabulary. It’s faster and more effective to focus on the strengths of your team members and develop them. Not only do you see faster results, but you’ll have a happier team because everyone is doing what they’re good at and contributing their all to the effort.

5. Clear hurdles Superman style.

As project manager, you’re the front line for your team. It’s up to you to keep the project path clear of obstacles that pop up in the way. When you remove those problems, you show your team you’ve got them covered.

About the Know How Network and Cheetah Learning

The Know How Network is a monthly column written by Michelle LaBrosse, the founder and Chief Cheetah of www.cheetahlearning.comCheetah Learning. Distributed to hundreds of newsletters and media outlets around the world, the Know How Network brings the promise, purpose and passion of Project Management to people everywhere. Visit to learn more about Cheetah PM, the fastest way to learn about Project Management and get your PMP. You can also get your career in gear with CheetahWare, free Project Management tools from Cheetah Learning.

About the Author

Michelle LaBrosse is the founder and Chief Cheetah of Cheetah Learning. An international expert on accelerated learning and Project Management, she has grown Cheetah Learning into the market leader for Project Management training and professional development. In 2006, The Project Management Institute,, selected Michelle as one of the 25 Most Influential Women in Project Management in the World, and only one of two women selected from the training and education industry. Michelle is a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Owner & President Management program for entrepreneurs, and is the author of Cheetah Project Management and Cheetah Negotiations. Cheetah Learning is a virtual company and has 100 employees, contractors, and licensees worldwide.

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