As the days start to feel just a little bit longer, we’ve made it through the darkest point of the year and we’re looking ahead to brighter times.
While lockdown looks set to continue for at least the next few weeks, we’re looking at ways to keep teams feeling energised in a year that could potentially feel quite draining. In a time when there isn’t much to break up the days, how can we ward off the monotony and keep individuals focused and motivated?
Once again, we’re taking inspiration from motivational speaker and elite mountaineer, Andy Cave who understands what makes a successful team, whether in a boardroom or hanging off the side of a cliff.
The first step in energising any team, says Andy, is establishing a team’s purpose, and giving them pride in that purpose. He says: “What's the mission? Is it inspiring? Do people feel motivated by it?”
Setting out a clear plan of action and explaining to individuals where they fit into that mission is crucial. The fact that they are part of something larger than themselves can be an extremely effective tool in giving team members a sense of purpose.
However, as Andy explains, not every person will be motivated by the same things. People work in different ways, and members of the team will be motivated by different goals. Some people are motivated by numbers, whereas others need something deeper than that.
In mountaineering terms, Andy describes that for some people, it could be ‘Let’s find a 4000 metre peak’, and that will be enough of a mission. For others, the motivation could be that they were going to be the first to climb a mountain. “Sometimes it's a number, but there's that other fuzzy thing as well, and that can help. And of course, helping people to understand how they can contribute in an individual way to the purpose is really going to help them be motivated, committed, and possibly more caring, and that's something that is quite important to me.”
To be done effectively, it’s best not to approach this as a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s important to understand what motivates each of the members of your team and structure their objectives and their mission to suit their personality.
Are they driven by numbers? Is competition what inspires them, whether that be compared to others or to themselves last year? Or is it something more abstract - putting forward a more ambitious proposal, more creative solutions or honing and improving on a service they are already providing? Perhaps you already know this about those in your team or you might need to set some time aside to figure this out.
Whatever it is, getting to know your people and what drives them, and then communicating with them effectively is key to fostering an atmosphere of inspiration.