Posts Tagged project collaboration

The energy crisis

I sent this quote to our management team a few weeks ago:

Many people have the talent to become great, but few have the energy. – Pat Fallon

One of our project managers wrote back to me and asked:

"Rudolf, that is actually very true. I also think that the level of energy is different at various points in your career. So in your opinion how do you ensure that the level of energy always stays at a high level?"

Here is how I replied:

"I have three children; I can see how excited they are about life every single day, every minute. Similarly, when you start your career you are all excited and full of energy. Everything is new and you are all fired up to learn as much as you can and get to know as many of your colleagues as possible. The project you work on is your passion and you cannot believe how fast the day has gone by … One should do everything to protect and nurture this enthusiasm. If the enthusiasm is lost, if the magic is gone, it is very hard, if not impossible, to get it back. If you always keep it, you will do extremely well regardless of the problems you face."

One of my most important responsibilities at Tenrox is to try as hard as I can to keep everyone excited about their project and the team they work in. I do that by:

  • Talking to people about their projects: asking them questions about their role and then relating back to them how the project is making Tenrox a better company or how our customers are benefiting from it
  • Celebrating success: we buy an expensive bottle of whisky and have a drink together at the end of the week when a key milestone is reached. For the none-drinkers we buy a cake, ice-cream or dinner, whatever it takes for us to connect and cheer the great results for an hour or two
  • Recognizing the team and its members: at our quarterly all hands meeting we make a point of mentioning the teams and projects that performed remarkably well.
  • Management does not mean entitlement: we have no reserved parking even with the cold winters in Montreal. Whoever gets to work first gets the best spots including indoor parking spots. Those who are late (including me on occasion) have to park far away. Same goes for offices, I work in one of the smallest offices along side the sales and professional service teams. I chose this office because it is the best place for me to be, so I can collaborate with our sales and service teams right from the trenches.

Essentially, our goal is to create an environment in which success is celebrated and people, regardless of their seniority or title, feel that they are part of one team. If people are fired up any issue or obstacle we face seems beatable. I have seen this over and over again. An excited team destroys obstacles, Terminator style.

Given our outstanding performance in 2008 in spite of the gloomy macro picture, I have to say what we do to create and maintain an enthusiastic team has been working.

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