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SmartAdvice: How To Motivate And Build A Strong Team

Focus on satisfying fundamental needs first, such as workload relief and compensation, then move on to higher-level motivators such as empowerment, creative work, and advancement opportunities, The Advisory Council says. Also, consider waiting to adopt RFID until the technology's standards are ready, and check out which skill sets will be most in demand this year.

Editor's Note: Welcome to SmartAdvice, a weekly column by The Advisory Council (TAC), an advisory service firm. The feature answers three questions of core interest to you, ranging from career advice to enterprise strategies to how to deal with vendors. Submit questions directly to smartadvice@tacadvisory.com


Topic A: After three years of downsizing and cost cutting, how do I motivate my management team and build a high-performance organization?

Our advice: Let's address the effects of downsizing and cost cutting within a context of motivation and team building, since the principles behind motivating and team building are constant, while the issues affecting them vary with circumstances.

Motivation
Motivation is an inner drive that causes a person to behave in a way that leads to the accomplishment of goals, whether personal or organizational. All action comes from motivation. Motivation within any given situation is dynamic and complex: what motivates some or all team members once may not another time; and needs that are satisfied no longer motivate.

With the recent history of cost cutting and downsizing, a leader should look for re-emergent employee needs in the areas of workload relief, compensation, job security, and helpfulness toward coworkers. Focus on satisfying these fundamental needs first. Until these are met, most employees aren't concerned with higher-level motivators such as empowerment, group membership, creative work, planning, and advancement opportunities.

Designing IT jobs with built-in motivators for today's environment would therefore include factors such as:

  • Direct feedback that is prompt, objective, constructive and actionable


  • New learning and skills that are valued by the employee for his growth or security


  • Efficient work processes and scheduling to alleviate deadline pressures


  • Control over scarce resources, i.e., mini-budgets


  • Open communications to counter the rumor mill


  • Accountability


  • Elimination of unnecessary threats and punishments


  • Tasks and group missions that are related to both personal and organizational goals, and that pay off in results


  • High levels of trust, respect, and encouragement


  • Recognition of accomplishments and


  • Re-matching people to jobs based on the new vision and direction.


Related Links

Team Technology: The Basics of Team Building

Vijay Verma, The Human Aspects of Project Management


Consultants and other outside arbitrators are often better positioned to analyze the situation because of their expertise and nonthreatening posture. They can help in each phase of the motivation process, from identifying relevant needs and creating drivers to training managers. Success in motivating team members leads to improved productivity, better product quality, higher morale, and overall organizational success.

Team Building
Team building focuses on helping a group of people achieve a common goal that is higher and more complex than an individual can achieve alone.

Once a team has been formed and its roles and relationships identified, the stages of team building are:

  • Clarifying team goals


  • Identifying issues that inhibit the team from reaching those goals


  • Addressing those issues, removing inhibitors and enabling the goals to be achieved

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