Making personal development fun is my goal. People are sick to death of meetings and obligations by the time they get around to developing themselves. If I had a nickel for each time I gave the mini lecture about “putting your own oxygen mask on first” with the hand gestures familiar to us all from flying. You have to rank yourself high enough on the list to replenish and develop yourself. Fun has to be high on the list too.
How do I make it more fun to do a deep dive into the soul to bring out the best side of you? Getting outside your normal situation at work, whether you normally wear a suit, or you wear jeans and converse to work. Structure works. Formats outside the world of “appointment/ set goals / time lapses / accountability / reset goals / time lapses” will make it more fun too. But that pushes me to the edge of my creativity.
I am an extrovert and work better in collaboration (and in accountability) with others. So I find partners to brainstorm and create programs.
Guess what? I am having more fun working with others. Oh yes, but, it’s more challenging. Remember those group projects in school that nearly killed us? Yeah, remember forming, norming, storming, performing, adjourning? Yes, you can pretend that your group isn’t going to go through those but let’s be real. Any productive group has a version of that process. Groups that have leaders who set themselves up for success will move through the stages more smoothly and the group can anticipate those stages all together.
Here are six ways to make group projects smoother:
- Clearly define the desired outcome.
- Clearly define responsibilities within the group.
- Clearly match the capabilities of the individuals to the tasks.
- Clearly match the capacity of the individuals to the contribution.
- Clearly create a language for accountability.
- Clearly create a language for conflict.
What word is repeated in each section? Yes, that would be clearly. And by that, I mean clarify and discuss. Give permission to storm and you won’t be so blindsided by disagreement. (You will disagree or there wouldn’t be any reason to simply “do it yourself” right?)
Find out which team member is really good at each task or skill needed for the project and the project management. Have a meeting (it doesn’t have to be life sucking) to put those stages on the table. Talk about storming and how the group can make it okay to storm a little.
It’s more fun to collaborate. And quite frankly I get more done… So I will have to take my own advice too.
Put a common language to the process and succeed sooner.
Leading teams without direct power calls for influence and motivation. There is a fine line between us and them when it comes to large scale projects where there are diverse statements of work and specific buckets of money. Yours and mine is heard in the workplace, but don’t even get me started on “that’s not my job” and now “it’s out of scope.”
Aren’t we all working on the same project for the same company for the same customer? What makes it okay to be innovative and think out of the box, but forget that we are all in this together? When we forget we are all on the same team with the same ultimate goal of meeting deadlines for the customer, who ultimately loses?
We all lose.
The only way to win is to work effectively and efficiently, streamlining to make money on those efforts. That ultimate goal drives the “end” to which we “influence” people to move more quickly towards. When we are clear on the outcome expected, the “how” of the communication gets easier.
To move people in your direction, use storytelling techniques and one or more of the following strategies of influence outlined by Robert Cialdini:
- Reciprocation. People are willing to do something for you when you have done something for them. Even when you ask for something first, you may offer to pay it forward on another issue. For instance, when finished and thanked, say something like “No problem. It’s what long term partners do.” Or, “I know you would do the same for me.”
- Commitment/Consistency. People like to be seen as consistent and true to their commitments. By simply asking for commitment to completing a request, the odds increase that you will get the results you are seeking.
- Authority. People are more willing to follow someone to whom they attribute relevant authority or expertise. If you have relevant expertise, do not underestimate your ability to influence.
- Social Proof. People are more willing to act if they see others acting. Or follow someone who is similar to them.
- Scarcity. People place a higher value on scarce, rare, or dwindling availability and are more likely to be influenced.
- Liking/Friendship. People prefer to say yes to those they know and like. Take time to allow team members to get to know each other and to develop bonds.
For more details on these strategies, see “6 Principles of Influence.” These influence strategies work in all directions and can be leveraged by those who are responding to a request to build future influence.
Also see Doug Stevenson’s, “Nine Steps of Story Structure” for building your story. You won’t go through these stages every time you make a request, but you are more likely to influence others when your story is well thought out and presented with compelling elements.
Please contact Sage Strategies to brainstorm the ways your company can introduce the principles of influence and make leaders out of managers.