Momentum changes everything!
When your team is fired up with momentum, everything rolls forward like a beautifully oiled machine.
Teams have the confidence to get things done, wins come, targets are smashed, and customers are happy.
Momentum increases self-confidence and the belief that success is possible.
This self-confidence, in turn, elevates a team’s performance.
Performing at a whole new level, the team reaches that success – hitting goal after goal.
It’s clear the psychological benefits of positive momentum trigger a powerful domino effect.
Let’s look at a few practical actions you can take as a leader to fan the flames of momentum in your team!
Set clear goals, priorities, and expectations
“One way to keep momentum going is to have constantly greater goals” — Michael Korda
Clarity and momentum feed off each other.
The more action you take, the more wins you get on the board, the clearer the path becomes.
You need to start with a definite goal for your team and the initial roadmap to get there. Work backward to break down what actually needs to be done by each team member on a weekly and monthly basis to meet the end goal.
What’s the first step? Train your team to focus on the nearest goal to nix overwhelm.
Make those initial goals small and achievable to get some quick wins on the board first.
As you collectively take action and momentum begins to build, conditions and ideas will evolve and the roadmap will have to be adjusted. The ability to be flexible plays a big role in keeping the momentum going.
Stick with maximum 3 major goals for the year – setting too many goals can actually zap momentum, rather than inspire it.
Encourage a transparent culture to keep the ball rolling
If team members are hesitant to communicate issues momentum is bound to grind to a halt as problems stack up behind the scenes.
Transparency allows the ball to keep rolling.
When you cultivate a culture where information flows freely between people problems are spotted and solutions are found quickly.
Allow for open communication – it builds trust, cultivates a healthy work environment and encourages innovation. Momentum thrives in these conditions.
Remove barriers to high performance
Commit to overcoming any barriers that stand in the way of gaining momentum – especially in the early stages of moving a floundering team forward.
It’s your job to keep the road clear for them to focus on real and valuable work.
Common barriers include things like –
- Meetings that don’t have a clear purpose
- Not having the resources – be it training or additional support – to do their job optimally
- Redundant steps in a process
- Restrictive policies that add no value
- Writing documents that nobody reads
Find a way to break down the barriers of unnecessary bureaucracy, lack of resources or extreme risk aversion that will stifle your team’s momentum.
Use the ‘sprint’ technique for massive action
A well-executed project sprint won’t only move you towards goals faster, it will also help your team understand what needs to get done and how to better prioritise their work.
Essentially a sprint is focusing on a single objective you can accomplish in a relatively short period of time.
For example, a marketing team might plan to roll out a new campaign in 2 weeks – something they may usually spend 2 – 3 months working on. Or a sales team could fire up all outbound calls for a week to reach more customers in 5 days than they usually would in a month.
Here are a few high level points to get you started –
- What is the single goal the team will focus on?
- With your team, come up with a list of all the tasks that will need to be completed to reach the goal
- What are the success metrics?
- Determine the right length of the sprint (usually 2 weeks or less)
- Who will be responsible for what?
The idea of a sprint is that by taking massive action forward progress is achieved quickly – the ultimate momentum builder.
Create a high-impact training plan
How much access does your team have to professional development and upskilling opportunities?
Effective, highly engaged employees who are confident in their skills are powerhouses of momentum. They get the job done and bring new ideas and innovations to the table.
On the other hand, those who aren’t confident in their abilities and struggling to keep up are likely slow everyone else down.
Have a chat with your team to understand current skill gaps and where they need extra training then create a high-impact training program based on those needs.
Some training opportunities may be done as a group but for the biggest momentum pay off, don’t always take a one-size-fits-all approach. Blend group training with individual needs.
Instill the philosophy of deep work
We all know the feeling of getting trapped in the vortex of time-sucking, ‘busy’ tasks like responding to emails or putting out mini fires.
It’s hard to build momentum with projects that really matter when most of the day is spent in this kind of shallow work. The dualism to shallow work is deep work.
Best selling author and computer scientist, cal Newport coined the term deep work in his Wall Street Journal business bestseller “Deep Work – Rules For Focused Success In A Distracted World.”
According to Newport, deep work is “professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit.:
Momentum is created in this state because work that really moves the needle gets done.
Encourage your team to engage in deep work. Allow them to incorporate uninterrupted periods of focused work in their daily, or weekly, schedule in the way best suited to them.
Consider your employees individual working style
Let them choose the type of workspace that best supports their deep work time. This might be a quiet corner of the office or even the cafe in the foyer.
Be flexible about schedules
Some people are most energised and focused in the morning, for others, it’s the evening hours.
Give your team permission to work in the way most conducive to their productivity as long as they are fulfilling their professional obligations.
Instill the philosophy of deep work into your team and watch incredible collective focus and unstoppable momentum unfold.