How to Keep Team Members Committed to Your Project

9 of 10 in Series: The Essentials of Managing a Project Team

When managing a project, you have to keep people committed to it until the end. Although some people commit to completing an assignment because someone tells them to do so, you get a much more serious commitment when a person recognizes and appreciates a project’s benefits.

Identify the benefits of a project

When discussing your project’s benefits with your team, consider those benefits that are most important to your organization, its employees, and its clients, such as

  • Improved products and services

  • Improved internal processes and procedures

  • Increased sales

  • Improved productivity

  • Better work environment

Also consider potential benefits to each team member, such as

  • Acquiring new skills and knowledge

  • Working in an enjoyable environment

  • Expanding business contacts

  • Enhancing career potential

When you help people realize the personal benefits they can get from participating in your project, you increase their commitment to the project and, therefore, the chances that the project will succeed.

Identify the purpose of and hopes for the project

Occasionally, someone may remind you that his team members receive salaries for doing their jobs. In other words, this person is suggesting that he doesn’t have to worry about whether his team members realize personal benefits from doing their assigned tasks. As far as he’s concerned, people will perform their assignments because they want to receive their paychecks. Unfortunately, however, this type of reward power encourages people to do the least work necessary to ensure they receive their next paychecks rather than to work toward the highest-quality results.

Of course your main concerns on a project are not your team members’ personal benefits. However, people are more committed if they feel they can accomplish their personal goals while helping their organization achieve its goals.

Do the following to help your team understand and appreciate the benefits your project can achieve for the organization:

  • Identify the situation that led to your project.

  • Identify your project’s key drivers, and clarify their hopes for the project.

  • Encourage team members to discuss the expected benefits and the value of those benefits.

Do the following to encourage your team members to identify the personal benefits they may realize from participating in your project:

  • Discuss their personal interests and career goals, and relate those interests and goals to aspects of the project.

  • Discuss past projects they’ve enjoyed and the reasons they’ve enjoyed them.

  • Discuss some of the benefits that you and other people hope to realize by working on this project.

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