Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet

Time only moves in one direction… relentlessly forward. The time of isolation is ending, and you’ll be moving forward. With 2020 plans in shreds, working to achieve short term goals is key to establishing momentum in the months ahead. Accumulating small wins will accelerate your progress. 

Making progress is a fundamental driver of personal motivation and performance. During my leadership years, I depended on this truth to improve results. More than any words I spoke, my associates responded with more enthusiasm and commitment when we actively engaged together to improve a product or process. They appreciated my support for their efforts, particularly when I listened to their ideas or got my hands dirty with them. These were the moments when our purpose and values became real for us all, strengthening and validating our culture’s role in the success of the business. 

Progress is measured by small wins that generate a sense of accomplishment, creating momentum and elevating performance. When your team’s work is perceived as being meaningful, when they observe how it’s making a difference and is appreciated, then their progress boosts satisfaction and inspires greater effort. 

You can help your team make progress and build momentum with these steps:

  1. Establish a positive, supportive environment, modelling the behavior you expect the team to practice. Provide opportunities for your team to collaborate in making something better. Solicit and listen to their suggestions; help them assess the value-generating potential for these. When a problem arises, immediately engage with the team to help them analyze the problem, without recriminations, and develop a plan for resolving the issue. Overcoming barriers builds confidence and creates a sense of forward movement.
     
  2. Remain aware of your his team’s everyday activities and progress. Focus on the project and recent team events, asking about wins or challenges they’re experiencing. Check on available resources or on stubborn obstacles inhibiting their progress. Help them prioritize next steps by inquiring about their action plan for the next day, and what one thing you can do to best facilitate their progress. These check-ins communicate urgency and confirm your support, without micromanaging them.
     
  3. Serve as a resource for your team. Clarify goals, enable autonomy, provide sufficient resources and time, offer encouragement, express appreciation, and promote a free exchange of ideas that help with the work or facilitate learning. Similarly, act to remove toxic inhibitors that are constraining their progress; these are typically the opposite of the positive catalysts cited above. Offer counsel on issues without prematurely suggesting a solution, guiding them to focus on resolution rather than affixing blame. Assist with the evaluation of alternative approaches, sharing your experiences when appropriate. Openly share information, from leadership’s view on their progress, to customers’ opinions and suggestions, to possible sources of assistance or resistance. 

Supporting your team’s progress in doing meaningful work, and engaging with them to secure small wins, will build momentum as you move forward, motivating your employees and improving performance. 

How might you boost your engagement with your team 
going forward?

How can they help your business move faster 
and with greater agility?